Elaine Janes is the owner of a new bookstore on Duckworth Street, appropriately named Elaine’s Books.
Elaine is from St. John’s but she has spent time travelling across the country and lived in Halifax and Toronto. During her time on the mainland Elaine collected books, hoping to eventually open a bookstore in St. John’s.
“It was always my dream and plan to return to my home, to retire and open my bookstore. I just love St. John’s,” Elaine said about returning to the island to start her business.
Elaine’s Books is primarily a used bookstore and most of what is available is from Elaine’s personal collection. However, she has just added a section to the store that features new titles from Breakwater Books, by Newfoundland authors. Since the store opened she has also bought used titles and accepted some donations.
Elaine’s first concern about curating the selection in her store is that the books be gently read and in good condition. She makes sure to have a wide variety of genres and authors in both fiction and non-fiction. She has a large section of used books about Newfoundland because she knew they would appeal to locals and tourists.
Elaine is a voracious reader of both fiction and non-fiction and she particularly enjoys crime narratives. She is a huge fan John Dunning’s Cliff Janeway series. With titles like Booked To Die and The Bookman’s Wake, the series combines Elaine’s love of crime stories and her passion for books.
“All of his books have a connection to the book world, a books scout gets murdered, or a rare manuscript gets stolen. The books are also woven with tidbits about book collecting. So anyone who loves books would enjoy these novels,” Elaine said.
Recently Elaine has mostly been reading non-fiction, she was deeply affected by Starlight Tour: The Last Lonely Night of Neil Stonechild by Susanne Reber and Rob Renaud. The book tells the true story of an aboriginal teenager who froze to death after being beaten and driven to the outskirts of Saskatoon by police.
Elaine believes that books are important tools for learning about what is happening in our country. She is passionate about fostering literacy and supporting local authors and is therefore deeply disappointed by the Liberal Government’s decision to place a provincial tax on books.
“I think the new tax on books is so ridiculous, “she said. “The government should be promoting reading and education and not making it more difficult by adding an extra expense to an educational tool. I propose the government rethink this decision and consider the literacy figures in the province before moving ahead with this in January.”
Elaine is planning to use her bright and spacious store to host community events that celebrate books and local authors. She will be collaborating with Breakwater Books to host author readings and book signings in the store. She may also begin offering reading events for children on Saturday afternoons.