The Book Nook Cafe

The Book Nook Cafe in Chemainus is a central place for coffee and literary pursuits

by Lisa Crane

The Book Nook Cafe in Chemainus proclaims it has the best coffee in town, and is a great place to spend a few hours taking in a few chapters of your latest novel or browsing the books on the shelves. Susan Martin has owned the cafe for eight and a half years.

Martin sells mostly current books and literature, and murder mysteries. 

"I also carry classics and I have a large selection of plays," said Martin.

While relaxing with your book, you can also sample Martin's coffee and something from her selection of baked goods.

"The muffins and scones are baked fresh from scratch every day," said Martin.

Martin's favourite place to read is, of course, her own store.

"You can wander down to the beach and read or sit outside the bookstore with a great cappuccino," said Martin. "We have a couple of comfortable chairs in front of the fireplace and you can catch up on computer business on our Wi-Fi."

Visitors to the small town are enthralled by its murals.

"We are a mural town," said Martin.

She said the murals explain the history of the town and two new pieces will be completed by next spring. She said that the town is also home to the Chemainus Theatre Festival, which runs a full season of professionally produced plays and musicals. The coming summer will feature Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat

Chemainus's literacy efforts

Martin involves herself in the local literacy events. She said that the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, along with several Rotary clubs, has embarked on a literacy project in the area. It is designed to support increased literacy in remote and isolated communities in British Columbia. The centre should open this summer.

"We are in the process of constructing an early learning centre on Penelekut Island," said Martin. "This centre will house books, educational toys and resources including computers. It will be a place for mothers and young children to meet in an enriched environment."

Martin noted that Chemainus is home to writer Eliza Hemingway, who has a studio and publishing company in town. She has written a number of books and has acted in films and theatre.

And what is Martin's recommendation for a book that is worth checking out? She suggests Out of the Warm Land. It is published every year featuring local new authors and poets from the Cowichan Valley. You can find it at Martin's book shop.

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