Local bookstores and the treasures therein have been a big hobby of mine since I was little.
Whether they’re selling used, or new books, they just have a special feel to them, you know? They bring me comfort on days when I need it the most.
So, it’s my genuine pleasure to take you on a tour of some of the finds from my favourite Halifax-local used bookstores.
1. Otis and Clementine
Otis and Clementine has been a favourite of mine for years.
They have a wide variety of used books in-store, as well as a cafe. I love to sit at the tables or couches they provide with a new book and a coffee.
I don’t know about you, but there’s something SO relaxing about sitting in a cafe book shop with a cup of coffee and a new-to-me book.
Another bonus to this bookstore….
I kid you not. They have actual real-live kittens!
In fact, Otis and Clementine is well-known for fostering them. There’s nothing better than relaxing at a bookstore with kittens frolicking about. They’re so cute and love to play with the toys the owner has around the shop. Or snooze perched on the strategically placed cat trees.
The best part about the kittens? You can adopt them if you fall in love with one! You can contact the local SPCA to put in an application to adopt any of the foster kittens you see there. I have been tempted on more than one occasion.
The kittens are a big tick in the positive for me!
Where does their name come from, you ask?
Well, I found this interesting and sweet story on their website.
To summarize, the owner and her husband had wanted to name their first child “Otis” when she was pregnant. The baby was born a girl, so they didn’t end up using the name. On her second pregnancy, she ate a lot of clementines. The name “Otis” was never used for either of her children. But when they opened their bookstore, the name Otis and Clementine came into being.
I love how personal the name is for the owner and her family. It makes the store even more welcoming, somehow.
My partner and I always have an easy time finding books at any store. Pictured here are three that we have picked up at Otis and Clementine.
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran was my pick specifically. It’s a prose poetry book that is wonderfully descriptive and wise. I absolutely love it!
There are so many good books here that it’s hard to choose between them sometimes! I’m sure fellow book-lovers can relate.
2. John W. Doull
John W. Doull is another go-to of mine!
It’s an antiquarian, rare, and used bookstore.
There are so many good books here. If I want somewhere surrounded, floor to ceiling, with fantastic books, here’s where I go. There’s something comforting on a rainy day to be completely surrounded by these old books.
There are so many sections within the space for all of your interests! If you like a certain genre, you are sure to find it here. There’s a section for Penguin books, as well as Young Adult, Fiction, Poetry, Geography. Any genre you can imagine, they’ll likely have something for you.
I have found so many good books here, it’s hard to choose which ones to show you. I managed to narrow it down to just three, somehow!
These three books are particularly interesting.
The first is an old worn out soldier’s pocket bible that clearly carries a lot of history. It’s a really cool find. While it’s a harder book to read due to the age and smaller print, it’s an absolutely fantastic collectors item. There is no printing date for this copy, but a good estimation is 1880 and 1910 based on the binding and type setting on the copy. It’s fascinating to pick it up a book that was so meaningful to, and well-used by, it’s original owner.
The middle book is an old, antiquarian version of Paradise Lost. It’s very clearly well-loved by whoever owned it before I did. It’s also another interesting collector’s item. It has a few pages missing from it, but it is so well-worn that it’s worth keeping on the shelf just for the historical significance of having a book so old. This edition was printed in 1815, and the fact that it’s still around amazes me!
The third book is a collection of poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It’s a very well-loved and well taken care of copy. This edition was printed in 1901. The impeccable condition it’s in is astounding, considering how old it is. That’s 121 years that it’s been around, and it almost looks new! I love to sit in my living room chair, on a rainy day, reading her poetry from this edition – still as enchanting today as they were when she first wrote them, I’m sure.
3. Capricorn Books
The third bookstore I’ll share with you is Capricorn Books. This is a relatively new find for me. My partner mentioned that she’d seen it in passing and wanted to check it out with me.
Ok, twist my rubber arm – ha!
Not only does this bookstore have a wide variety of used and out-of-print books, but they also have CD’s and Records, as well as some interesting collectible items. Fun fact, I found a CD of Garth Brooks Greatest Hits there!
This used bookstore is jam-packed. There’s a big collection of James Patterson books on the shelves. So many options to choose from here. Tables line the inside of the store, shelves on the surrounding walls. I had a hard time choosing which books I didn’t want to buy, but I somehow managed to not buy them all.
Here’s some of my haul from Capricorn books.
The middle book is the most interesting to me. It is a collection of Hans Christian Andersen stories. I love fairy tales, but what I love most is reading the different versions. So an old collection of Hans Christian Andersen is a dream come true! I love going to a park on a bright sunny day to read this collection.
On the top of the pile, Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh. It’s her first book ever published. It’s a compelling story about man who, after a variety of interesting adventures, (SPOILER ALERT) eventually ends up falling in love with a wealthy widow.
Of Human Bondage, on the bottom of the pile, by Somerset Maugham, is probably his best work. In fact, many people argue this book is his masterpiece. This novel is also rumoured to be highly autobiographical. Although it is still a novel (and therefore, fiction) Maugham himself has admitted that he took inspiration from his own life while writing. It’s a great read.
Independent book stores & book-lovers
Well, thank you! I loved reminiscing about my time spent in each of these bookstores, remembering the different books my partner and I have picked up while browsing their copious shelves. They each have their own perks. Depending on my mood, I will go to a different one. And each time, I find new books to love and bring home with me.
These are three of my favourites Halifax local used books stores. If you have experiences in any of them, please comment and tell me all about your finds.
I would also love to hear about your favourite independent bookstores in the Halifax area. I am always looking for recommendations as my appetite for books, new and old, is insatiable!