A glass skyline that reflects vibrant summer sunsets, moody forests of damp mist after a winter rainfall, a medley of languages that pass by on city sidewalks, and neighbourhoods of coffee shops, used book stores, produce markets and theatre all just a walk away from the water’s edge; Vancouver has many places that inspire stories. And many authors who have been inspired to write here.
We asked four Vancouver authors from the Globe and Mail’s 100 Best Books of 2017 list where their favorite places in the city to read are, and here’s what they said:
Author of Next Year, For Sure
“Vancouver Public Library is hands down my favourite place to read, and really my favourite place on Earth. There are so many nooks and niches to choose from at the central branch, but here’s my secret spot: Up on the fifth floor, back behind all the art books, there’s a sleepy little clump of microfilm readers. There’s something about being surrounded by all that clunky Soviet-era technology that reminds me of a time before smart phones and constant connection—a time when you could really sink into a book and disappear.”
Get there: The Vancouver Public Library is located right downtown at the intersection of Georgia and Homer street. Impossible to miss, it’s fashioned after the Coliseum in Rome, although this one is more of a monument to knowledge and discovery instead one of power and slaying people and animals. Less history sure, but more good energy. And of course, more books!
Author of Son of a Trickster
“Jericho Beach, on a log, listening to the wind and the ocean. Because there is nothing like our skyline and beaches to inspire the muses.”
Get there: Jericho is one of Vancouver’s most beautiful beaches, located over the southern bridges from downtown and west towards UBC. Get there on West 4th ave, or access the parking lot via Point Grey Road. You can wander impossibly far out towards the boats during low tides or swim in the waves, and spend long days on the soft sand or on the grassy park. There are facilities nearby, as well as a concession in the summer months.
Author of The Clothesline Swing
“Funny thing is, I truly love reading on public transport. I make it a point to sit on a corner chair by myself and pull my kindle out and start to read. You’ll find me on the #6 running up Denman reading while enjoying the views of English Bay and Davie Street. I might leave the bus for Starbucks on the corner of Davie and Denman and finish a good book there, I might just let it take me around the downtown area for a travelling read.
“It’s beautiful to read on transportation because it breaks the challenging habit of scrolling aimlessly on Facebook and other social media platforms. It’s a beautiful exercise of calmness and serenity in a moment of hassle such as dealing with public transportation, and you never know when someone will knock on your shoulder softly and ask the magical questions: What are you reading?”
Get there: Choose a stop and get onboard! Vancouver’s buses accept cash or a re-loadable Compass card at any SkyTrain station or one of many retailers. Try the #6 bus if you want to tour around downtown and not go too far, or the SkyTrain if you want to go further and explore.
Author of Bad Endings
“My fave place to read a book in Vancouver is the Far Out Coffee Post in Hastings Sunrise. It’s in my neighbourhood, and they make the best cappuccinos. It’s also a great place to have a game of pinball between chapters, if that’s your thing. (It’s totally my thing.)”
Get there: Find Far Out Coffee Post at the corner of Dundas and Templeton, east of downtown. And if after some coffee and reading you’d like to take a stroll, head south (that’s away from the mountains) on Templeton and turn left on Hastings for a neighborhood of shops, restaurants, and even more places to duck into for a second caffeine fix.