Written by Jessica Woollard

It’s bound to happen at least once a holiday: you’re curled up with a book in the park, on the beach or peaceful patio, turning pages of marvelous prose, completely engrossed in the heart-wrenching drama, mind-blowing plot twists and larger-than-life characters, when all of a sudden... you have no more pages to turn.

Not to worry. While Victoria isn’t known as “Booktown,” as is neighbouring Sidney, the downtown core has some great bookstores where you are sure to find your next page-turner. Here are a few suggestions, besides chain stores, on where to find your next great read, with a Victoria twist. Munro’s Books Munro’s Books was started in 1963 by Jim Munro and his wife, notable Canadian author, Alice Munro. Located in a heritage building at 1108 Government Street, the store is known for its focus on new writing and its selection of local and Canadian literature. Columnist and author, Allan Fotheringham, describes Munro’s as “the most magnificent bookstore in Canada, possibly in North America.” With praise like that, how can you not pop in for a look? I suggest you pick up a book and head next door to Murchie’s Tea and Coffee, a local favourite since 1894.   Russell Books  The great mecca of books for most Victorians is Russell Books, located at 734 Fort Street. Russell Books boasts an impressive collection of more than one million new, rare, and (mostly) used books of all genres. The prices are reasonable, and chances are you will walk out with an armload to take home with you. Locals bring in their old books for store credit on a regular basis, so their stock is always changing and there is always something new. Make sure you also visit the second storey of the building next door which contains mostly fiction books. They also have a second branch, Books on View, that is located at 702 View Street. Books on View might not catch your eye as it is in the basement of a building with a modest storefront, but it is worth the visit for the atmosphere alone! It’s quieter than the main store and is a nice place to cool off on a hot day or to re-energize with that delightful, old-book smell.
    Chronicles of Crime
Chronicles of Crime is a unique store that is worth a visit, located at 1057 Fort Street. As the name suggests, the store focuses specifically on crime and spy novels and also specializes in out-of-print, used and rare books in the genre. If you’re looking for a book that the store doesn’t carry, they will track it down for you. The store has a fun atmosphere with law enforcement memorabilia on the wall behind the counter that has been brought in by fans of the genre and the store. It also features the “Evidence Locker,” which holds rare and signed copies of novels. If you’re a big fan of a good mystery then you’ll definitely want to head over and choose your next page-turner.     Be it mystery, science-fiction or fantasy, with the Labour Day holiday quickly approaching, Victoria has plenty of ways to keep you flipping pages. Many of the greatest stories told have come from the pages of old books and you never know what one of these landmark stores has in stock for you!