When people walk into my apartment one of the first things they see are my bookshelves, and one of the first things they say is, “Wow, you have a lot of books.” I guess they aren’t wrong.
Being a huge bookworm/literature nerd, I do buy a lot of books. I even have duplicates of some (they have different covers!). My bookshelves are literally full, and a lot of my books are piled on top of and in front of each other, or wherever they fit.
Everyone thinks my book collection is awesome, expect my Mum, who is constantly complaining about “all those damn books, taking up space.” Listen, Mum, they’re all piled up in my apartment, not your house, so stop it.
While my mum complains, the majority of my friends are often asking how I am able to afford all of these glorious, wonderful books; this question is usually quickly followed by, “So, can I borrow one?”
Well, my friends, the answer is simple: most of my books come from used book stores, thrift shops or garage sales. There’s no way I could ever afford to buy all my wonderful books brand-new from Chapters. As for borrowing books, that depends on whether or not you dog-ear pages, which is unforgivable.
This past weekend I visited one of my favourite used bookstores: City Lights Bookshop, located in downtown London, Ontario.
I’ve been going to City Lights with my Dad for as long as I can remember. Whenever we venture into the realm of London, we make our way downtown to get lost between the stacks of this magical, wonderful little shop.
If the teeming piles of used books don’t excite you, then their hilarious, retro decorations will. The walls are adorned with weird posters, literary quotes, action figures, comics and more. The decor is also always related to whatever section you’re in.
When you’re browsing Canadian literature, for example, you’ll see Canadian flags everywhere. The sci-fi section, on the other hand, is covered in Star Wars prints. There used to be a cardboard cut out of Captain Kirk, but he wasn’t there this time.
Every time I venture into City Lights, I leave with at least five new books. While five books would likely cost you $100+ at Chapters, at a used bookstore, you’ll likely only need $25-50, depending on the quality of the books.
The staff at City Lights are also super friendly, and more than willing to answer any questions, provide recommendations, or help you find your way through their piles of books. The shelves in this place can be intimidating, especially since they look like they will topple over at any given minute. However, the hoards of books only add to its cozy atmosphere.
The layout of the store might seem a bit confusing — some of the aisles bend and turn where you least expect them too — but this shouldn’t sway you from browsing! Just think of it as an epic adventure which will probably end with you finding more treasure than you thought you would.
If you ever find yourself in downtown London, I highly recommend stoping by City Lights Bookshop. You can find it nestled in the corner of Richmond and King Streets. In the meantime, enjoy all the awesome photos of their stacks of books!