a peek inside the fishbowl

26 Jun, 2020

Would you like some books to add to your summer reading pile?

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Thrifty is nifty|Misc. life|Oh! Things!

One of the things that I’m absolutely clinging to right now is our camping trip this summer. It looks like MIGHT be a go, but frankly, I wouldn’t be too surprised if it was cancelled by the powers that be. We booked our campsite months ago, pre-Covid. According to Ontario Parks our campground will be open by the time of our stay – albeit with no showers or laundry facilities, and possibly no kayak rental – but I don’t care, I’ll take anything that this point. I am desperate.

Here’s what’s worrying me right now: a friend of our daughter’s had a site booked and she got the dreaded “I’m sorry but we’re cancelling your booking” email. I am guessing that person had booked a particularly crowded area where physical distancing might be tougher to pull off. Maybe Ontario Parks is taking measures to bring down the numbers at the more crowded sites but I don’t rightly know. We haven’t received any such email… yet. I am crossing my fingers and my toes that we get to go.

In the meantime, I am getting ready. My top priority at the moment is making sure I have enough reading material. We used to buy a boatload of magazines every year before we went camping. In fact, it worked really well because the kids inevitably ran out of theirs and were “forced” to read ours e.g. Canadian Geographic, Chatelaine, The Walrus, Scientific American… basically anything that struck our fancy at the drug store before we left). Sometimes there was actually EDUCATION HAPPENING.

In recent years I’ve taken to stocking up paperbacks to bring camping in addition to the magazines. I like paperbacks because I don’t have to worry about crushing them under a sleeping bag or getting the pages wet and sandy at the beach. My favourite source for cheap paperbacks right now is my neighbourhood mini libraries. You know the kind: You leave a book, you take a book. What can be better than that?

FYI, there’s a map of registered mini libraries in North America here and there are Ottawa libraries listed on it, although I don’t think it’s a complete list. There are a few mentioned in this archived article too, but I’m not sure if they’re all still there.

Sidebar: Some of you might be wondering if it’s a good idea to bring home other people’s stuff during a pandemic. Well, I just make sure to wash my hands, before and after. The books I’ve collected so far are sitting on a pile next to my bed. If they were ever handled by someone who had Covid-19, I’m sure any traces of it will be gone by now.

So while I wait and see if our camping trip will actually happen, I am slowly stocking up on summer reading material. I am clearing out my bookshelves as well…  a win-win, in my books.

2 Responses to "Would you like some books to add to your summer reading pile?"

1 | Ginger

June 27th, 2020 at 1:38 am


I hope COVID-19 doesn’t take away your camping trip!

2 | andrea tomkins

June 27th, 2020 at 3:06 pm


Me too! I am REALLY looking forward to it. We didn’t get to go last year so I’m really counting on it this summer!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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