The Barely Bruised Book Club

Let me paint you a picture:

It’s a beautiful, sun shiny Wednesday in the middle of September. I’m walking around Sandy Hill, people watching, listening to music, and trying to soak up the last few good days of the year. As I am on my way out of a local coffee shop, I see a bookstore I’ve never seen before. As an English student, a better day does not exist. 

This used bookstore, aptly titled The Barely Bruised Book Club, is run by Scott MacKillop, who has been in the bookselling business for over 15 years. An avid reader and lover for literature, he dedicates his time running TBBBC, which has developed into a makerspace of sorts for lovers of literature in the community. Not only is TBBBC a bookstore, it is also an event space for poetry nights (held every second Sunday), an Indigenous reading group (held every last Tuesday of the month) , as well as a philosophy reading group (held every second Tuesday of the month). Poetry nights are open to the public and are by far the biggest attraction at TBBBC. Although the space is intimate, almost 30 people since last October have dedicated their time to poetry each and every second Tuesday. 

Books decorate almost every square inch of this charming second-story store and more books regularly. Books can be seen in towers from floor to ceiling, piles where people have rummaged to find a certain title, and scattered wherever space may be found. 

"Club Picks": Favourites from the owner, Scott, as well as regulars.

The most charming part about TBBBC is the active role that it plays in the local community of Sandy Hill. Not only does the club run events that bring different groups of people together, but the owner, Scott, donates books to schools and children in Kenya to help those in need gain an appreciation of literature from a young age. During our chat, we discussed how the digital age that we live in can impact the appreciation the younger generations have for physical printed books, as they grow up with Kindle, e-readers, and audiobooks. Despite all the advancements that have been made that can make the printed book obsolete, Scott notes that his business has not declined due to these influences. His goal is to spread his love of literature to children in Sandy Hill, as a well as around the world. 

Below is a picture of the Free Kids shelf that Scott made for children in Sandy Hill. A strong sense of community can be gathered from just this simple idea. Parents, students, and all sorts of people living in Sandy Hill and area will donate books of all kinds, including children’s book, that get donated right back to the very children living in the same community. Scott adds that French books fly off the shelves as there is a French elementary school one block away. 

The Barely Bruised Book Club also offers 30% off for students, which is great for anyone who lives in Sandy Hill. Hello, U of O Students, I just found your new book dealer. What makes this used bookstore better than a commercial bookstore is that Scott can find you any book you need from professional books, textbooks, novels and etc., and you need to do is request on his Facebook page, linked below.

TBBBC’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bestbookscanada/ epa=SEARCH_BOX

Artwork from local artists for sale.

This bookstore is definitely a hidden gem in Sandy Hill. Stores like this are vital to an active, learning community where people are encouraged to connect with literature and the community they live in. The Barely Bruised Book Club is, as Zero Mustafa says in Wes Anderson’s “the Grand Budapest Hotel”, is “an enchanting old ruin”. These rooms at 315 Wilbrod will make you feel nostalgic and remind you of your childhood when renting movies and books from libraries was the best part of your week. Thank you, Scott, for keeping this old ruin alive. 

P.S.

If you don’t go for the books, go for Milo. 

Milo, the manager.