The James Street Bookseller 134 James Street South

I was pleased to visit another local bookshop – James Street Bookseller. It’s a lovely, bright space tucked up a little ramp off Bold Street, right next to the Conservatory for the Arts. Stepping inside, the shelves of colourful books is overwhelming! A book lover’s paradise.


Introducing myself to owner Monique, I learned the shop has been in that location for three years, and another five before that, just down the street. The shop carries new, used, and rare books, which people bring in, and Monique also shops for. I noted that must be a really fun task.

I was drawn to some classics and some Canadian authors. Having studied English at McMaster, I almost miss buying that gigantic stack of books at the start of the term for each class. Then again, it’s fun now to have the luxury to read whatever strikes my fancy and to continue discovering new works.


James Street Bookseller carries local authors, which was also my reason for visiting. My friend Chris McNamee just released his first book Love, Lust & the Last Resort, which he wrote, designed, and independently published. It was exciting to see it in the shop’s window and grab a copy.

As one half of DJs Rockstars For Hire, I told Monique that Chris had just DJ’ed I Heart Hamilton’s last fundraiser. She said she didn’t know that he was also a DJ, and we laughed when I said I didn’t know he was also a writer. The book consists of poetry and short stories – it’s a great read. I recommend picking it up and supporting local talent. I had just come from lunch at The Ship where Chris had his book launch, so it was all very full circle and serendipitous, as my local travels tend to be.

Chris McNamee's book
Chris McNamee’s book

Local artwork hangs on all the walls, upstairs and downstairs. Every month, a new artist is featured for Art Crawl, so don’t forget to include James South in your travels before you venture to James North. July’s featured artist was Paul McCaig, and this was his first solo show.

Monique also let me take a look at the “Gallery Lounge” downstairs, which is a cozy living room and kitchen space that is often rented for book clubs and small gatherings.

I’ll be back to peruse those shelves again to add to my collection!

– Kristin


Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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