It was there I discovered Mordecai Richler. First it was The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, then Hunting Tigers Under Glass, and then Cocksure, with a wonderfully nasty scene with a dish cloth that etched itself onto my teenaged brain. Wow. What an introduction to CanLit.
I bought them all.
Eventually I was heading downtown to Duthie’s, looking for more books. By then I was taking English 100 courses at night school, and I made a bee-line to the orange spines to learn more about the authors I was hearing about in class, Lawrence and Maugham and Hemingway, among others.
Over the years I’ve shopped at many bookstores. I’ve always been struck by the dedication of staff, their willingness to hunt down the right title, to come up with suggestions when I am stuck for ideas, myself. But it is those first two booksellers I can thank for launching my love of books. Both enterprises are gone now, the disappearance of Duthie Books a sad example of the struggle of independent booksellers to survive, but their impact on me remains.
Now that I’m an author I appreciate even more the influence that booksellers can have on readers. That’s why I’m taking part in Authors for Indies. It’s my chance to give back. I’ll be out there on May 2 in an independent bookstore, ready to greet readers and recommend books to them. I might even be talking up an old favorite, Mordecai Richler.
On Saturday May 2, the Book Warehouse store at 4118 Main Street, Vancouver, will be hosting June Hutton.
June Hutton | Photo: Pink Monkey Studios