Calling all bibliophiles

The Argo is for sale!

After five wonderful years of living a childhood dream, it is time for me to move on to different pastures.

I’m looking for someone(s) to take over, and keep this little place alive. The Argo is undeniably a historical landmark in the city and I believe independent bookstores are vital to nourishing the spirit of a city.

Anyone who wishes to take up the post in Montreal’s oldest English bookstore, please get in touch via email at

Thank you Montreal, for letting me sit here on Saint Catherine’s and talk about the books I love for this long.

Meaghan Acosta

News & Events

While Spring proves reluctant to appear, let us curl up with some good poetry this month.

A Selection of New & Latest Arrivals




International Poetry Month
(All Poetry is 10% off)


We will be celebrating the under-celebrated form this month with featured titles from local Montreal publishers Vehicule, Metatron and DC Books, each with their own shelf of chosen poetry titles. There are also great new titles either in store now or to be later in the month as they are released, so come by and peruse. 

April’s Events
Three poets read on April 15th at 7PM
Peter Van Toorn
Shane Neilsen &
Dan Renton

After a much needed and extended hiatus, we’re finally back!

Wanderlust has subsided, weather-induced melancholy is slowly lifting and the chaos of the winter semester has finally ended. With such calm comes new life into the shop. We have lots of new titles this week with more on their way, we will be resuming the reading series next month, our hours will once again be extended, and we’re re-instating the book of the month.

March’s book of the month is Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts/The Day of the Locust compendium from New Directions.


These two novellas are a classic favourite at the Argo, and this feels like the perfect time to return to it. Set in New York, at around this time of year, this black comedy is perfect company for anyone feeling the malaise of grey slush and frostbite. Miss Lonelyhearts is the tale about a man who writes for the agony column of a newspaper under the pseudonym Miss Lonelyhearts. We never learn his real name as he pulls us through the grind of anonymity in New York, where he alternates between sitting at his typewriter, unable to provide genuine advice for his readers (real excerpts from a newspaper), and bouts at a speakeasy with his cynical editor Shrike where nothing is sacred and everything is turned inside-out.

As usual, the BOM is 20% off until March 31st (or until we run out).



New Arrivals snyder book

Garments Against Women, Anne Boyer
Diana’s Tree
, Alejandra Pizarnik
This Present Moment, Gary Snyder
And: Phenomenology of the End, Franco Bifo Barardi
Bibliodiversity: A Manifesto for Independent Publishing, Susan Hawthorne
Interaction of Color, Josef Albers
Heartsnatcher, Boris Vian
In Praise of Shadows, Jun’ichiro Tanizaki
This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein (now paperback)
And more!


Forthcoming Titles we’re looking forward to later this month and in April
(call or email to pre-order!)

Extracting the Stone of Madness, Alejandra Pizarnik
A Little Lumpen Novelita, Roberto Bolano
State and Politics: Deleuze and Guattari on Marx, Guillaume Sibertin-Blanc

bolano book

My Struggle, Book 5, Karl Ove Knausgaard
Houses, Boris Pekic
The Last Interview of Jane Jacobs

Our hours have changed for Spring and will be longer:
Tues-Friday, 10-7PM
Saturday, 12-6PM
Sunday & Monday, closed

Updates on the reading series to come!

May Newsletter (05/01/2015)

Greetings! Tomorrow is Authors for Indies Day, so be sure to come by our shop any time between 11AM and 8PM to meet local authors and discover the books they want you to be reading!


A quick synopsis of the newsletter: May’s book of the month is Brooke Jeffrey’s Dismantling Canada: Stephen Harper’s New Conservative Agenda from McGill-Queens Univeristy Press. As for events (click on the links for the Facebook events), we’ve got a great line-up we hope you’ll check out. First (May 9th) we’ll be hosting a triple threat book launch of short stories, a novel and poetry with Rhonda Douglas, Nadine McInnis and Leslie Vryenhoek. Second (May 13th), we’ll be hosting our 29th Featured Reading with poets/small press stars Lillian Necakov, Nick Power and Jim Smith. Finally, we hope any and all folks will be able to come out to our LAST open mic session (#35) on May 27th. This will be Argo co-owner JP’s last month at the shop, and he’d love it if you could drop in and say goodbye!

& don’t forget: We’ve got a regular discount of 15% off offered to any and all book clubs and book club members.

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Book of the Month: 20% off

Dismantling Canada by Brooke Jeffrey


“Stephen Harper is the first prime minister to represent the new Conservative Party, and the first to declare that his goals include nothing less than changing Canada by entrenching conservative values and replacing the Liberals as the country’s natural governing party. After nine years of a closed-door governing style, his agenda is no longer hidden.
As Brooke Jeffrey outlines in compelling detail in Dismantling Canada, Harper’s agenda is driven by a desire to impose order and tradition at home, and to take firm stands on emerging issues abroad. With only thirty-nine per cent of the popular vote in 2011, his government appears to have gone a surprisingly long way towards achieving those objectives, with little or no concerted public opposition. Illuminating the importance and influence of British and especially American right-wing conservatives on Harper’s strategies, the book explains how he has achieved so much through a combination of stealth, pragmatism, and ruthless determination.” (from McGill-Queen’s University Press)


New & Latest Arrivals








  • Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls



  • Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Night by Elie Wiesel
  • Awakening the Buddha Within: Eight Steps to Enlightenment by Lama Surya Das
  • Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be: Lessons on Change, Loss, and Spiritual Transformation by Lama Surya Das
  • Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem by Gloria Steinem
  • Race, Nature,& the Politics of Difference by Donald S. Moore
  • Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings by Walter Benjamin
  • Illuminations: Essays and Reflections by Walter Benjamin
  • Selected Poems of E.E. Cummings
  • Collected Poems of Siegfried Sassoon
  • Collected Poems of Stevie Smith


Events for the Month of April


Triple Threat Book Launch
Rhonda Douglas, Nadien McInnis & Leslie Vryenhoek
Saturday, May 9th
Argo Bookshop
Reading @ 6PM

On Saturday, May 9th at 6PM, the Argo will be hosting an evening of poetry, short stories and novel excerpts from three authors:

Rhonda Douglas will be launching her debut collection of short stories entitled Welcome to the Circus(Freehand Books), a book that “dazzles with daring, dangerous prose. Every moment is a tightrope act, precariously balanced on the edge of destruction. These ten strikingly original stories highlight the courageous, acrobatic acts we learn to perform in search of love.”
Douglas is the author of Some Days I Think I Know Things: The Cassandra Poems, (Signature Editions, 2008). Her writing has been published across Canada and has won awards from The Malahat Review, Arc Poetry Magazine, Prairie Fire and Room Magazine.

Nadine McInnis will be launching her new book of poetry Delirium for Solo Harp (Buschek Books): “How do we accompany someone we love through the process of dying? The harp stands in for the visceral aspects of being human in these unflinching poems about the final days of a father’s life. Nadine McInnis is tuned and attuned to the music of memory and mourning.”
McInnis is the author of eight previous books of poetry, literary criticism and short fiction. Her work has been compared by Publishers Weekly to that of Alice Munro and has won or been shortlisted for many awards. Her last book of poetry, Two Hemispheres, was short-listed for the Pat Lowther Award, the Relit Award and the Lampman-Scott Award. Her most recent book of fiction, Blood Secrets, was long-listed for the international Frank O’Connor Short Story Award and short-listed for the Ottawa Book Award.

Leslie Vryenhoek will be launching her debut novel Ledger of the Open Hand (Breakwater Books): “Worlds collide when cautious, small-town Meriel meets her well-heeled college roommate. The give and take of this improbable friendship will shape Meriel’s life for years to come. With humour and insight, this debut novel explores the intimate power of money and personal debt, the fictions we create in our relationships, and how we tend to treat love as a balance sheet.”
Leslie Vryenhoek is a St. John’s-based writer whose fiction, poetry and memoir have appeared internationally. The author of Scrabble Lessons (short fiction) and Gulf (poetry), she has won numerous awards and is the founding director of Piper’s Frith: Writing at Kilmory.


Argo Featured Reading #29
with Lillian Necakov, Nick Power & Jim Smith
Wednesday, May 13th
Argo Bookshop
Doors @ 7PM, Reading @ 7:30PM

Come to the Argo on May 13th for an evening of poetry with some of Toronto’s small press superstars, a preview of Jim Smith’s one-man play I Love You Judy Merril, and discussions on the small press scene!

It’ll be the funniest thing since striped cats!” – Jim Smith

Lillian Necakov is the author of a bunch of books of poetry, including The Bone Broker (Mansfield Press) and Hat Trick (Exile Editions). She runs the Boneshaker Reading Series in Toronto, where she lives with her family.

A founding member of the Meet the Presses literary collective, Power has performed with the storytelling duo The Wordweavers and the sound poetry ensemble Alexander’s Dark Band. He works as a psychotherapist in private practice. He was published in 2014 by Teksteditions (Melancholy Scientist), and also has chapbooks with Underwhich Editions (wells), The Writing Space (a modest device), and Battered Press (No Poems). He has been editing and publishing with his own Gesture Press for 30 years.

Jim Smith’s last two books were Back Off, Assassin: New and Selected Poems, in 2009 which was long-listed for the 2010 Governor General’s Award for Poetry (the year of the leaked list!); and 2012’s Happy Birthday, Nicanor Parra, published the same year that Jim visited the then 99-year-old poet in Chile. This year, he is exploring a whole new area – his one-man show, I Love You, Judy Merril premieres for 7 nights this July at the Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival, directed by Second City alumnus, Canadian actor Jim Annan. In the meantime he still laws for a living.



The LAST Argo Open Mic! (#35)
Wednesday, May 27th
Location TBD
@ 7PM

It’s with a heavy heart that we’re announcing the month of May will be Argo co-owner JP’s last month in the shop. Ergo, the open mic series which so many great Montrealers have contributed to must sadly come to an end.

We’re hoping to make this one a grand bash of readings, and are currently researching a location that will allow us to have some drinks and dialogue. So stay tuned through either the Facebook event page or here on our website, as we’ll be posting the when and where during the next couple of weeks!


Vote for Us!


It’s that time of year again! Montreal’s premier Anglophone alt-weekly paper Cult MTL is holding their annual Best of #MTL vote, and we’re hoping you’d consider our little shop for the category of Best New Bookstore. We’ve managed to make it onto folks’ ballots in the past, and we hope to be on there again! Here’s the link.

Straight from the Montrealaise horse’s mouth:

“Welcome to the Best of MTL, Cult MTL’s third annual readers’ poll! This is a forum to reward your favourite local people, places, media, art, food, events and services.

Rules: One entry per person (per IP address). Ballots must have a minimum of 25 categories filled in to be counted. Votes for non-local people or things — that are not based in or made in Montreal — will be disregarded. The deadline for voting is 11:59 p.m. on April 17. Results will appear in the May 2015 print edition of Cult MTL.”


Click here & show us some love!