The ingenuity that’s keeping this indie bookstore going

As a lover of books, I like surrounding myself with more books than I’ll ever read in my life. I admit I haven’t been able to finish a book since 1984. Not the year, the title. The year was 2015. But that’s beside the point.  

The good news is that Black Squirrel Books & Espresso Bar can help with my obsession. They quickly adapted to the quarantine situation and figured out a way to keep their doors open by setting up an easy virtual book browsing experience. And while many of the big retailers like Chapters are now starting to re-open, local bookstores still need our support to help keep the lights on.  

Black Squirrel Books & Espresso Bar post a list of books available for pick-up on their Instagram every day.

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Bell Hooks – Outlaw Culture – $15 Payne (ed.) – Time Longer than Rope: A Century if African-American Activism, 1850-1950 – $20 Langston Hughes – The Ways of White Folks – $30 [CLAIMED] James Baldwin – Go Tell it on the Mountain – $10 (1965 Dell paperback, some creasing, binding remains solid, no underlining) James Baldwin and Margaret Mead – A Rap on Race – $20 (First Ed., 1971 Lippincott hardcover, jacket a bit faded on spine; small rips all edges; small coffee stains on fore-edge; otherwise fine) Oliver (Ed.) – Black Ink: Literary Legends on the Peril, Power, and Pleasure of Reading and Writing – $12 (includes essays by Maya Angelou, WEB DuBois, Zora Neale Hurston, Jame Baldwin, Malcolm X, Toni Morrison, Ta-Nesi Coates, and many more) Robin Kelley – Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class – $15 Wetherell (ed.) – Mapping the Language of Racism – $5 Charles M. Payne – I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle – $20 Angela Y Davis – Blues Legacies and Black Feminism – $15 Cornel West – Democracy Matters – $10 Lawrence Hill – Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada – $10 Frank Mackey – Black Then: Blacks and Montreal, 1780s-1880s – $15 Gina Dent (ed.) – Black Popular Culture – $7 Jessica B. Harris – My Soul Looks Back – $10 Franz Fanon – The Wretched of the Earth – $15 [CLAIMED] Franz Fanon – Black Skin White Masks – $15 [CLAIMED] Ruth King – Mindful of Race – $15. . . . A note: a second-hand shop, we often sell out of the most recent and timely books fast. We always take requests, especially for hard to find books, and we’ll let you know when we find them! But if we don’t have what you’re looking for at the moment, we also encourage you to check out @octopusbooks. Just a few minutes north of us, their 50 years of service to reading and social justice is an unbelievable community asset. They can also order in new books for you. Support them if you can!

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If you see a book you like, slide into their DMs and let them know which book you want, and they will put it on hold for you. If you’re craving some iced coffee or an espresso shot to go with your book order, they have also set up an impromptu take-out setup for their espresso bar, operating every day from 11 – 5 PM.  

How it works: pre-order and pre-pay your drink order on their website for a completely contactless transaction. Your order will be ready in 15 minutes. You’ll receive a notification when it’s ready for pick-up. If this isn’t an option, you can drive up to the curb and call them at 613-422-9050 to place your order right then and there (the menu will be posted on the window) and a wireless debit/credit machine will be brought to you.  

Happy reading!  

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