For years I’d been searching for a copy of Janusz Glowacki’s Antigone in New York, a play I performed back in Mexico. I couldn’t find it anywhere: big bookstores, small bookstores, online, in Canada, in the United States –nowhere. Until a friend of mine told me about Theatre Books, a little store specializing in screenplays and scripts that happens to be two blocks away from my apartment. It was right there under my nose, but I didn’t even know it existed. They had the book in stock.
More recently I’ve been hunting for books by Roberto Bolaño, in their original Spanish. Again, I couldn’t find them anywhere. Online, I learned about a Spanish bookstore in New York, but it had closed before I could visit it. So when my sister, who is visiting from Mexico, asked me if she could bring anything for me, I requested as many books by Bolaño as she could find in our hometown of León. She brought several and made me happy.
Today I was showing her around town. We went to the Annex and I thought of walking further west into Koreatown, an area I don’t frequent much. That’s where we found it: Spanish Books, a nice little bookstore specializing (you guessed it) on books in Spanish. Just a couple of blocks after Honest Ed’s. I couldn’t believe it. I asked the seller when had they opened; he told me the store had been around for 12 years. Twelve years, again right under my nose, and I’d never seen it or heard about it. And if I hand’t been showing my sister around I would still not know about it.
They had a bunch of Bolaño books too (fortunately none but one of those that my sister brought with her) and I walked out with all of them.
Now I’m just wondering about other fabulous bookstores within walking distance of my apartment that I simply haven’t discovered yet.
(The store is moving, by the way. In a couple of weeks you’ll find them on Bathurst, a block and a half north of Bloor. It’s a bit expensive but it’s worth it. They also do requests.)