The Printed Word

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Come on over, take a seat, let Auntie Char tell you a little story. A story of real life magic...

I have had the pleasure of visiting a new local shop called The Printed Word over the past year and each time I visit, I end up with the most incredible books. It's funny because as I write the word "books," I'm keenly aware that the word doesn't come close to describing what it is I actually found there. In fact, the whole premise of visiting a bookstore and buying a book sounds super ordinary, like, "yeah? Aaaand I had 2 cups of coffee this morning...".

Are you confused?

"Why write about it at all!?"

Hang on, lemme explain...

I have been to The Printed Word several times. Early on, to find books for my kids who were 8, 6, and 3. I wanted something that wasn't Geronimo Stilton or Harry Potter, or like, the Magic Tree House books. I wanted something of good merit, something exciting and well written. Something that my kids would get lost in.

Listening intently, owner James, nodded and led me to a small section of books by an author named Enid Blyton. I had heard of her once before from a good friend who had also visited the shop and had read one of her books called: "The Secret Forest," but what James recommended was a series of her books called "The Enchanted Wood," "The Magic Faraway Tree," and "The Folk of the Faraway Tree."

To date, they are my son's favourite books. They are the books he will keep coming back to. They have become a part of the narrative of his childhood. Which is amazing!

I even could wrap up here and say:

"Well, so there you have it! Check out The Printed Word! Owner James clearly knows what he's doing, the store is amazing and local, so what are you waiting for!?"

But it's not enough. If I read all of that, I'd still feel like... "So... books... Yay! Also, Amazon... sooo easy..." 

Here's why. Here's why The Printed Word is a thing of beauty...

The Printed Word, kids nook
I went into the shop about a month ago with my dad who was, again, looking for a gift for my now, 9-year old son. My dad, who has zero hesitation in engaging in boisterous conversation with our friendly locals, gave James a personal profile of the gift recipient- The gift was for:

- a 9-year old boy
- who is an advanced reader for his age
- and likes magic and wizards
- who is also very creative

James, again nods, and says something like: "right, I know the type," and then bends down and picks up a book off of the bottom self, located in a sea of books stacked floor to ceiling and says:

"This is a book called Kaytek the Wizard by Janusz Korczak. It was written long before Harry Potter, actually before the Second World War. It is one of two books written by Korczak who was a Polish-Jewish school teacher to Jewish children. He only wrote two books because during the Jewish roundup, when all of the Polish Jews were taken to extermination camps; Korczak, boarded a train with his children (refusing repeatedly to accept sanctuary) and was never heard from again..."

And then he handed my dad the book...

I'm not going to lie, I felt froggy-throated and a little light-headed. I felt like we had just been handed an amazing gift.

Guys, James IS an amazing gift. I think it's because to him, at least in what I can deduce from my interactions with him; is that books are not just books. They are three dimensional, relational, living, breathing, things. His store, IS an amazing three dimensional, relational, living, breathing, thing.

I go into a bookstore and feel overwhelmed by choice and by the 'not knowing' what's good and what isn't good, and James has a whole store full of personal life experience. I would hazard the guess that he knows the inventory of his store like Ollivander knows the wands in his shop. There is a story or a poem that is just right for you.

I think the bottom line here is that you can shop on Amazon, you can go to Chapters, but if you want to have the experience of actual real-life magic, to dig up treasure, and find beautiful works of art, check out The Printed Word. It's an experience worth having to find the books that are worth treasuring. 

The Printed Word: 16 McMurray St. Unit 3, Dundas, ON.


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