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Phone: (250) 595-4232
Fax: (250) 595-1458
#111-1644 Hillside Ave.
Victoria, B.C. V8T 2C5
If you think about it, even the most dismal day in Victoria is still beautiful. When we’re saying “local” this and that, we’re talking about things that are located in one of the greatest places in the world. So with that in mind, my advice to you today is to go outside. Well, perhaps get a cool trail/lake/city/beach guide book written by a local author, and take it outside with you.
We have an abundance of potential outdoor activities here. Thankfully, we also have a formidable list of locally authored guide books to point you in the right direction. Again this is a category where I can’t feasibly list all of the options. So here are some highlights!
I’ve never met John Crouch, but I assume he’s been to every nook and corner of Victoria. Crouch is the author of Hike Victoria, Bike Victoria, and Walk Victoria. All three guide books provide easy to use and inspiring information on Victoria’s outdoor spaces. I challenge anyone to open these books and not find a cool trail that they’ve never heard of before.
Mountain bikers should definitely stop in and take a look at the cool new Mountain Bike Vancouver Island trail guide that we’ve just started carrying. Daniel Cammiade (http://freakmaps.com/) has assembled a mountain of priceless info for trail riders. With topographical maps and first-hand experienced accounts, this is the mountain biking guide book for the island. And thankfully, it’s spiral bound. The staff here have been loving it!
Many of you will recall last summer’s big deal “get outside” guide book; Secret Lakes of Southern Vancouver Island. If you don’t have this one in your backpack yet, well then I don’t know what to tell you. With 25 lakes at your fingertips, how can you not have a great summer?! Personally, I hope Adam Ungstad is working on even more local guide books, because Secret Lakes has been awesome.
The Vancouver Island Trails Information Society (that’s a real thing!) publishes a very cool series of guides. They divide the island up into three sections, so there are books for Victoria, mid-island and gulf islands, and the northern island. Hiking Trails I: Victoria & Vicinity is their guide for this area.
Or perhaps you mostly love beaches and secrets, then you can try the Secret Beaches series. Theo Dombrowski is a fascinating fellow who has mastered the fine art of local beaches. Secret Beaches of Greater Victoria is crammed full of great spots to hit this summer. For me, the best part is the index in the back that allows one to look up beaches by features and access points. Want to see all the good kayak launching beaches? Or jogging beaches? Easy enough with Secret Beaches.
There’s a small heap of these local guide books that I haven’t been able to mention yet still, but I think by now you get the idea. There are a lot of great resources to help you get outside and enjoy our fantastic local world. Now get out there and soak it all up!
While thinking of ways to talk about local authors this week I decided to poll the Children’s Staff here at Bolen Books. Now if you’ve ever dealt with our children’s staff you know what an enthusiastic and colourful bunch they are. With this in mind, and with no regard for my own safety, I strolled into the kids section and began my information gathering. It went rather like this;
Shawn (That’s me!): Hi there, I was wondering if you could tell me who are some of your favourite local kids auth…
Kids Staff #1: Polly Horvath!
Shawn: Okay, cool. And some others?
Kid Staff #1: I already said Polly Horvath! She’s local and simply the greatest! Are you trying to start trouble?!
Shawn: There are others though, yes?
Kid Staff #1: Hypothetically speaking, yes there are others, but Polly invented kids books.
Shawn: I don’t think that’s actually true.
Kid Staff #1: Prove it.
Shawn: Oookay then. I’ve got to go…
I posed my query to three or four more of our Children’s Book specialists and received the following answers:
- “Polly Horvath can win a game of Connect-Four in just 3 moves!”
- A fifteen minute explanation of why all detectives should probably be bunnies.
- “There are actually several brilliant local kids authors, we’re very lucky that way! I heard you guys talking about Polly Horvath though, man she is great! My favourites of her books…”
Thankfully, the conclusion to all of this was Maddy being ever so lovely and writing up a little spiel for us about Polly Horvath. I leave you with her words of wisdom.
We at Bolen Books simply cannot get enough of Polly Horvath.
Wickedly funny, deliciously imaginative, Horvath’s works are one-of-a-kind gems, every facet of which sparkles with intelligence, humour, and compassion. As thoughtful as she is hilarious, Horvath marries wisdom with whimsy on a regular basis, and her quirkiest characters are frequently her most profound. Whether it’s the courageous Primrose Squarp, heroine of Everything on a Waffle and A Year in Coal Harbour, who has “hair the colour of carrots in an apricot glaze (recipe to follow),” and knows that some things you just know “deep in your heart without reason”; Mr and Mrs Bunny, two furry detectives in fedoras who hail from Cowichan Bay, and their cohort the pragmatic Madeline, whose parents sell sand-dollar jewellery for a living, and who longs for normalcy, even as she teams up with the Bunnies to defeat a criminal empire run by foxes (a subsidiary of which is Fox News); Great-Aunt Sally, that glorious eccentric and master-storyteller from The Trolls who understands the best ways to eat green beans (hint: try knitting with them first) and who knows better than most that sometimes, the monsters we fear most are the ones we carry with us; or twelve-year-old Jane, who wishes for “one hundred adventures” in the novel of the same name, and finds herself on a journey of discovery and a coming of age both beautiful and difficult, Horvath’s characters are the perfect mix of eccentric and authentic. Also crucial to Horvath’s success is her marvellous sense of place and period: her extraordinary ability to distil the essence of summer and put it into words — the warmth, the complexity and the magical anticipation of those few months of the year when anything is possible.
No matter what your age or inclination, there is most certainly a Polly Horvath book out there for you. Go. Pick one up. It will make you laugh and make you think, and it might just change your life.
Victoria has quite a lengthy list of successful local authors. However, I find it rather neat that we also have some cool author husband and wife teams. I like to imagine them having fascinating conversations over breakfast at The Blue Fox or while stuck in the BC Ferries queue.
Bill Gaston is not only a mega-award winning author, and generally a big literary deal, but he’s also a Victoria resident. Beyond writing bestsellers, he’s working to guide future generations of local authors up at UVic! The other half of this writing couple is Dede Crane, whose new book Every Happy Family is currently displayed proudly on our shelves.
Another local author couple is poet/novelist/professor Steven Price and his wife Esi Edugyan. Certainly anyone who stepped foot in a book store in the past 2 years is familiar with Edugyan’s wildly successful Half-Blood Blues.
Anyway, as I said, this is just a small example of our local author community, but I think it’s nice. It’s nice to see happy families thriving as much in our own little town as they are thriving in the literary world. I suppose it’s just another way of thinking local.
Think local. Read local. Shop local. Live local. Win local, by stopping in and entering our draw to win a pack of gift certificates to some great businesses all around Victoria. And by all means, stop by our Facebook page and Share local. We’d love to hear who your favourite local authors are!
It’ll come as no surprise to many of you that we here at Bolen Books are big believers in shopping local. As a locally owned, independent bookseller in a world of giant chain stores, we’ve learned the lessons of local economics first hand. And certainly, Victoria is a fantastic city for independent local businesses. Which brings us to the theme of Shop Local Week!
From this Monday June 3rd until Sunday June 9th it’s Shop Local Week. This is an initiative brought about by the good folks at Shop Local Victoria. The intent of this week is to remind everyone of the importance of shopping local. We’d also like to use this week to remind you about our great local authors. There are too many to practically mention in one week, but we’re going to highlight as many authors as we can this week.
We love seeing your smiling faces in the store anytime, obviously, but be sure to pop in this week and enter the Shop Local Week promotional draw! Starting June 3rd, we’ll have a ballot box for the “Win a Local Life” contest put on for Shop Local. It’s a contest where 10 lucky local folks will win a pack of gift certificates to some great businesses all around Victoria… including Bolen Books!
In the meantime, we’d love to hear about your favourite local authors. Click on over to our Facebook page and tell us who your local favourites are!
Today we’ll leave you with the seven top reasons to shop local from the Shop Local Victoria site. We know you have a lot of choices when you’re out shopping, and we’re very thankful to see you shopping here. With our recent renovations we’re planning to give you the best experience possible. Have a great day, and thank you for your kind patronage!
7 Reasons to Shop Local
We are almost ready to reveal the first phase of our store renovations and are very excited to show you what has been going on behind the wall. Be sure to stop by the store next week to see the amazing work that has been done on the side entrance of the store.
This also means that we will begin work on the next phase and that will entail walling up the front section of the store. While we are working on the new front desk area it will be necessary to enter through our newly opened side, also this will be how the store is accessed when the rest of the mall is closed on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday nights.