I had a rather exciting Friday. After spending three hours whiling away the time in Burger King while my car was being serviced, I took a drive out to Booktown. Sidney is a small community on the Saanich Peninsula, just north of Victoria, with less than 12,000 people, but a bustling arts scene. I have spent most of the last two weeks trying to find some used book shops that would take my boxes and boxes (eight apple boxes) of long-ago-read and never-will-be-read books. In Sidney I found Beacon Books and, I swear, it is the largest used book store I have ever seen. I kept wandering farther and farther towards the back of the shop, but it never seemed to end. They were happy to take some of my old books off my hands on a trade basis. I spent over three hours browsing through the titles and walked out with another box full of books. I was on top of the world.
Afterwards, I went downtown Victoria to visit Chapters. For those of you who aren’t in the know about Canada’s shopping scene, Chapters-Indigo is Canada’s version of Barnes & Noble. I spent another hour wandering around in Chapters and walked out with $100 worth of TBR material. As I was leaving the store, I noticed a group of protesters holding Israeli Apartheid signs and went over to ask what it was all about. It turns out they were boycotting Chapters-Indigo. I was previously unaware that Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz, the majority shareholders in Chapters-Indigo, run a charitable foundation called the HESEG Foundation that supports members of the Israeli military. Unimpressed, I marched straight back into Chapters and returned all my books. The girl who helped me with the return had the friendly meter cranked to max and was killing me with kindness, hoping, I suppose, I might change my mind. When I was walking out of the store I had a look at the return slip and under reason for return it read “got sucked in by PROTESTERS” I couldn’t help but have a good laugh.
I was proud of myself for standing up for something that I really believe in. And, in the end, I ended up doing another great thing. I walked down to Munro’s Books (think Alice Munro) Victoria’s best known Indie Bookstore and spent twice as much money as I had at Chapters. Opposing Israeli Apartheid, buying local and supporting Indie Bookstores all in one day. What a fantastic weekend!