Novel Idea First to Stock Dumagrad
If you're of a certain age, when you first step into Novel Idea you will feel a slight tug in the space-time continuum - back to the seventies or eighties, when even chain bookstores were brimming not only with bestsellers and promising new releases but also with mid-list and back-list titles, stocked in the serene confidence that eventually their readers would materialize. For me, it was the long-last chain Classic Books which for some reason came to mind - was it some deeply-buried memory of a colour scheme, of a standard shelf-height? (Note to self: scour eBay for one of those old Classic Books bookmarks, the ones that saw me through so many classic novels in youth.)
But enough nostalgia. Unlike those lamented chains, Novel Idea is still here, now, and flourishing. It's as large as a bookstore can be, without having to bring out the adjectives ("sprawling"). I walked straight from the door to the spot I expected to find the book I was looking for ("Harmless," by James Grainger) - a sure sign that a bookstore is vividly tapped into the universal genetic code of book placement.
The next time you are near Kingston, perhaps while enduring the tedium of the 401 between Toronto and Montreal, I strongly advise you take the five minutes to swing into town, and stretch your legs here. Rather than the nearest every-89-km-apart ON Route rest stop. Addictive though ON Route may be. But we all have bookstores that trigger a similar mixed response of glee and nostalgia; Novel Idea is hardly unique in that respect. It is unique in this, though: it's the first store to stock The Man Who Remembered the Moon. In Canada. On Earth. Anywhere.
Novel Idea. 156 Princess St, Kingston, ON K7L 1B1. (613) 546-9799. Novel Idea website