‘We Have Your Book!’, Patrick Doerksen

Illustrations © 2018 Valeria Vitale

 [ Lifecycle Books, photo © 2018 Valeria Vitale ] Lifecycle Books and Binding
 [ 2.5 stars ] 11 reviews

Address: 616 Gastown Alley
Hours: Closed now

 [ Trish_Delaney ] Trish_Delaney

 [ 4/5 stars ] 5 years ago

A lovely little bookshop, situated across the street from the Parkland Retirement Residence. (Full disclosure, I work at the residence!) For years the seniors have chosen their books here; they love their biographies, and the owner keeps that section well stocked. The shop is somewhat inaccessible for those in wheelchairs, but walkers do fine, and there are plenty of comfy wingbacks for reclining and reading. I do wish he’d put some higher watt bulbs in though, since it is rather dark. The owner is a nice man. When the seniors wander off from the home, this is the first place we check and he is always very helpful. He keeps a cat and an owl (yes, an owl), and both are very friendly. All in all a lovely bookshop. It’s hard to get the seniors to leave!

 [ Gorilla_king ] Gorilla_king

 [ 1/5 stars ] 4 years ago

i think the owner must be foriegn? which is fine, i’m not against foriegners, but I like them at least to know the language. why has no one comented on this? says “i am a bookshop” not “i run a bookshop” and things that drive you crazy

 [ Lydia_Plowright ] Lydia_Plowright

 [ 5/5 stars ] 4 years ago

I will always remember “Lifecycle Books and Binding” as the bookshop my daughter Annabelle loved. It was only three blocks from our house, and she’d go almost every weekend and return with a book or two. She discovered Jane Austen here. The owner was always so kind, and I remember he gave her a very special deal on the box set. Even when she didn’t need anything to read she’d go here to see the owl. When she disappeared, he kept a MISSING poster on the window for six months; he made it himself with a picture of Annabelle and the owl, her wearing the purple summer dress she loved and smiling to show all her braces. He must have taken it the day after her oboe recital, because she had her hair in the tight braids I did for her then. I am sorry for writing such a personal review. I get very emotional when I think of this little bookshop and will always be grateful to it.

 [ mystic_kitty ] mystic_kitty

 [ 1/5 stars ] 3 years ago

i am a psychic and i like used books pre-loved books i call them with energies and there is nothing like reading a novel someone enjoyed before you but i cannot go here because this bookshop is full of spirits not haunted something else inside the aura is dense i choke towards the back stay away especially if you are a sensitive or clairvoyant the air is full of yammering it makes my skin crawl please be careful you can believe me i knew fukusima would happen before it did i am psychic

 [ 001_McKnight ] 001_McKnight

 [ 3/5 stars ] 2 years ago

1. Everything is two or three bucks.
2. You can get your books rebound here I guess?

1. Poor selection. Too few novels, and in the bio section covering the back wall there’s nobody I’ve ever heard of.
2. Smelly and cluttered. Found a hearing aid between books in the back shelves.

Conclusion: I think I’ll stick to Chapters.

 [ Nadia_Davies_:) ] Nadia_Davies_:)

 [ 2/5 stars ] 8 months ago

My experience with “Lifecycle Books and Binding” goes as follows. I was at a dentist appointment nearby, and on my way to catch the bus when I saw the sign out front, “We Have Your Book!” and remembered that I’d promised to pick up something for my daughter at the library. She’s in fifth grade and likes dystopian fantasies. So I ducked in. The shop was rather dim and smelled funny, and the owner was at work behind a mound of paper and old books. “Do you have a fantasy section?” I said. He was binding a book and looked up a little cluelessly. “A fantasy section, do you have a fantasy section?” I repeated. He smiled and gestured to the back of the shop. Well, I skimmed a few books there and found one with an intelligent-looking girl in tight braids on the cover. I always try to get my daughter books with strong female leads, and I was in a rush—so I put it in my purse, paid the man, and caught my bus. Now, it’s possible that the owner misunderstood me when I said “fantasy,” since my mouth was still numb from the dental freezing, but on the bus I took a look at what I’d bought and discovered it was actually some sort of biography. It described the girl’s life in a straightforward way: she played the oboe, she liked Jane Austen, and her favorite movie line was, “Life is such a beautiful thing, when I’m dead I shall find it so very hard to forget.” She’d kept a secret journal in which she recorded everything, Anne Frank-like; apparently she’d wanted to become a writer. A good role model for my daughter, maybe, but the book itself was extraordinarily boring. I will definitely be returning it next week when I go for my second filling. If anyone knows a good dystopian fantasy for her, please let me know!

 [ Dan_D ] Dan_D

 [ 2/5 stars ] 3 months ago

People, don’t insult the dude’s owl. It regurgitated something right in front of me and I sort of made a face—next thing I know, the owner’s offended and explaining the whole damn process of how all the undigested bits of prey like the bones and fur of a mouse are condensed in the gizzard and expelled as a package. “This pellet, remarkable!” he says, and actually picks up the thing between his fingers to prove his point. “And owls are not the only things that do this.” Noted, sir, noted.

 [ Zeke_Walpole ] Zeke_Walpole

 [ 3/5 stars ] 1 month ago

I have used the services of this venue thrice for the rebinding of old folios, and by all appearances it is just what you want from a hole-in the-wall bookshop: stacks of books high as your chin, the air saturated in the aroma of aging paper, a cat that ghosts about the place, brushing your shins, and an owl that watches as you browse. Indeed, Orwell’s “paradise where charming old gentlemen browse eternally among calf-bound folios” comes to mind. And yet, the books! The books themselves will assuredly sink deep into oblivion. Who wants to spend four-hundred pages will “Bonnie L. Willis,” a woman who “liked to knit and garden” and ended up lonely in a retirement home? Who would willingly read of the illnesses and chronic pains described in Nadia Davies: A Tortured Life—of which the greatest is the writing style! Was it Jonson who spoke of prose that kills its subject? My advice, stay away from the shelves; the value of this shop is in entirely in the rebinding service.

 [ mystic_kitty ] mystic_kitty

 [ 1/5 stars ] 1 month ago

mother gaia im used to seeing what no one else sees but i cant stand anymore please if anyone is reading meet me at the end of gastown alley in two weeks november 16 at 7pm when the shop closes the stars are best then bring charms of course it will still be dangerous but im a lover of all spirits it is why im here and i will go alone if i have to

 [ Lydia_Plowright ] Lydia_Plowright

 [ 1/5 stars ] 2 weeks ago

mystic_kitty, I’ve just read the reviews. Are you there? Is it too late to meet you at the end of Gastown alley? I’m five minutes away. Wait for me, I’m coming.

 [ Shelby_1 ] Shelby_1

 [ 5/5 stars ] today

I don’t normally go online and write reviews, but this is a really kind man going through a rough time. He’d just lost his pet owl to some hostile customers apparently, and for financial reasons he was closing down shop for good. He gave me some books, free, and we had a real heart-to-heart about the plight of used book stores—not many people are interested in reading anymore, attention spans and all that. He told me he wanted to return home, but home was so far away he wasn’t really up for the trip. Instead, he was going to open a new store, one that sold dolls, antiques and vintage figurines I guess he meant. “It will be hard. I was a bookstore for all my life and know nothing else. But a man’s got to eat somehow.” Yes indeed. All the best, sir, and thanks for the books. There’s one on mysticism, looks like, and one on grief—I’ve put them on my bedside for tonight.

© 2018 Patrick Doerksen

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