25th Trillium Award

Behind the Books, with Lisa Greaves of Octopus Books

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Lisa Greaves

Ontario has a wealth of fantastic writers and amazing stories. This October the Ontario Book Publishers Organization is highlighting a selection of Ontario's finest writing from some of the great Ontario publishers, which will be proudly displayed at independent bookstores across the province. Visit one of the participating booksellers and ?Read Ontario!?

Known as "Ottawa's radical bookstore," Octopus Books has been bringing a wide selection of quality books to the booklovers of Ottawa since 1969. The shop's owner, Lisa Greaves, has spent the better part of the past few decades at Octopus Books. She has two kids who ask her a lot of questions she doesn't know the answers to (despite being surrounded by so many fantastic books), an endlessly patient partner who tolerates the vicissitudes of life in the book industry in 2013 and a great fondness for gelato. In today's Behind the Books interview, she tells us how she's fulfilled her childhood dream...almost.

Open Book:

How long have you been at your current job?

Lisa Greaves:

I have been here since 1996.


What did an average work day look like for you?


The average day involves a lot of running around looking for things — invoices, books in odd places, my lunch. Then I get to read a bit, and help people find the perfect book.


What's the best thing about your job?


The best thing about this job is the people. I work with great people, and great people come into the store — customers, delivery people, people looking for directions. I don't make a lot of money, but I am grateful each day that I am generally happy and don't feel I have had to sell my soul doing things that go against my politics and general life philosophy.


Tell us about a memorable work experience.


We have done lots of events with wonderful authors, and the year of our 40th anniversary we did a solid year of celebratory events, but really it's the day to day conversations that I have with people in the store that stick with me.


When you were a kid, what was your dream job?


When I was a kid, I dreamt of being independently wealthy and getting to sit around and read all day, surrounded by books, a sunny window and some plants. Except for the first part of that, I have made it!

Find out how you can win all 42 Read Ontario books here.

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