TYPE Books in Canada is our Bookshop of the Month, for the second time, seven years later! An independent Toronto bookstore now open across three locations, QUEEN WEST, JUNCTION and FOREST HILL, TYPE books is a bookshop for serious book lovers and whimsical readers alike. TYPE offers knowledgeable staff, thoughtfully chosen inventory, a selection of unique gifts, and a welcoming venue for literary programs and events. We caught up with Olivia Parker to find out more!

What do you think is special about TYPE Books?

We do our best to keep community at the centre of everything we do. Our Junction store has such a thoughtful and vibrant variety of titles on hand thanks to my knowledgeable colleagues; I learn so much from them, about books and the world at large, every time I’m in the store. It’s the same with our customers–their interests and life experiences spill over into what we offer, how we adapt the store’s offerings every week, and the ways we, as booksellers, push our personal reading to grow as learners and to better serve our community. One of my favourite things we’ve begun this year is an interview series, “Our Regulars,” that my colleague Max has created on our substack. I feel fortunate to be able to see our place in the community from the perspective of our regular customers, and find it invigorating for my bookselling as well.

If money was no object, what changes would you make to the shop?

We’re lucky to have so much natural light and a large, open layout to really allow us to curate our sub-sections, but I wouldn’t say no to more floorspace! Our TYPE team is all for staff and customer picks, so I would love extra shelves to display the books we are all loving. A cozy area to sit and read in-store would also be a welcome addition if unlimited space was on the table.

How / why did you get into bookselling?

The TYPE team is pretty unique in that a large portion of our bookselling team is involved in the literary world in multiple ways. Many of our staff are writers or have worked in the publishing industry, and one of our booksellers, Emily, co-hosts a literary series called Pack Animal here in Toronto. For me, TYPE in the Junction was my local indie before I ever worked here–every Tuesday on my way to a local pottery class, I would stop into the store and pick up a few (always fantastic) titles. To be able to now recommend books I love to this same community is quite the dream.

What’s the funniest interaction you’ve ever had with a customer?

It’s the best when two peculiar customers cross paths and I witness a delightfully eccentric conversation. During the holiday rush last year, I was wrapping a stack of books for one customer when suddenly they were divulging that their beloved poodle (present at the time) held the spirit of their recently passed mother. The next customer waiting behind them agreed that this poodle had very beautiful, human-looking eyes, and that he himself had been followed by a pigeon on several occasions who was remarkably similar to his own late grandfather. May we all be visited by our departed loved ones as animals!

What’s your favourite And Other Stories book?

Boulder by Eva Baltasar and translated by Julia Sanches, forever and ever and ever. Baltasar’s writing, here and in Permafrost, is searing and never shies away from the harshness of her protagonists. This past April was the first time in quite a while that it took a break from being featured as my staff pick, and that’s only because our wonderful regular Colleen selected it as her customer pick.

What book published in the last year do our readers need to get their hands on?

Dogs of Summer by Andrea Abreu, trans. Julia Sanches, published by Astra House last August. Obviously I am such a fan of all of Sanches’ projects–her translations are miraculous. The world of Dogs of Summer is clear and fully realized, the two girls at the center of it encapsulating the awful (and astonishing) nature of girlhood. Recommended reading for the peak of summer.

What would be your desert island book?

Coraline by Neil Gaiman for sure. It has an endless amount of detail to get lost in and obsess over. It also creeps me out to such a degree that I don’t think I would ever become bored or absentminded on that island. The rainy, gloomy vibe of the whole book might even help against feeling sunstroke?

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