Author Sonja Larsen and People's Co-op Bookstore

After reading about Centennial College and the Authors for Indies Adopt-A-Bookstore program, author Sonja Larsen (author of Red Star Tattoo) decided to adopt a bookstore herself. We love it when authors take the initiative! It doesn't hurt either that the bookstore is located on Commercial Drive, one of the funkiest and most community-oriented neighbourhoods in Vancouver. Sonja persuaded People's Co-op Bookstore to register for Authors for Indies, recruited a few other authors and poets, and will be promoting the event on behalf of the bookstore. Here, in her own words, Sonja explains why she decided to do more than just show up at a bookstore on April 29. 

People’s Coop bookstore is the oldest independent bookstore in Vancouver. Over the years the little bookstore has been a witness to the many changes that have taken over Commercial Drive. But through it all the Drive, and the bookstore, have maintained a community atmosphere and local pride. These are some of the reasons I live in this neighbourhood and adopted People’s Coop as my bookstore for Authors for Indies 2017.

The cause of independent bookstores is near and dear to me. I’ve written before about the Different Drummer, the Seattle store my grandparents owned — how it once hosted a 160 hour browse-a-thon, how it was “crowded and intimate and familiar in all the ways a Chapters will never be” — how it was a place to be both lost and found in a world of books.

I participate in Authors for Indies because it’s a way to celebrate how our actions — writing, reading, shopping — can foster community-building. To acknowledge that bookstores are still places where we know we are in the presence of kindred spirits. This was true for the Different Drummer, whose lesbian and gay section was one of the first in Seattle, and it’s still true in bookstores today. We find ourselves not only in books, but in other readers. We know we are not alone.

So this Authors for Indies Day I hope people will take some time to appreciate and support these local businesses. Because they offer not only books but places of community, where ideas and stories are valued. And this year, with all that's going on in our world, that feels especially important.