Places for bookish people in Ottawa

If you are in Ottawa and you like books then the following places are for you:

  1. Black Squirrel Books & Espresso Bar:
    This is my favourite bookstore in Ottawa. It’s a combination coffee and book shop. The coffee shop is on the top floor. Sometimes they have little events here, like concerts and readings.

    You can also go in the basement where there are shelves and piles of books, as well as old typewriters, and more places to sit.

    This is located in Old Ottawa South, which is nice corner of Ottawa. There’s an old movie theatre across the street, and a really good gelato place called Stella Luna a few doors down. It’s also a short walk to the Glebe, which is another nice neighbourhood to walk around.
    Here is where to find it.

  2. The Library of Parliament
    The library of Parliament is beautiful and you can tour it for free. You can arrange your tour here.


  3. Book Bazaar & Troubadour Books & Records
    These are two separate shops, but they are close to each other so you might as well go to both. They are both in Centertown, not a far walk from Parliament.

    Book Bazaar is two floors and is packed with books.

    Troubadour Books & Records is smaller, but has new and used books as well as records.

    Here is how to get to both

Thanks for reading!

Check out my book, Oh Honey & My instagram 



Praise for Oh Honey

Sharp, funny, and dark, “Oh Honey” is a novel about identity and connection. Jane is a telemarketer. She uses a different name each time, and soon it becomes clear that she is calling the same man again and again. Each call is a new battle between them, with him becoming angrier and more threatening. But Jane isn’t calling him at random; Jane has a purpose; and Jane has a past which seems to change each time she tells it.

“A debut novel about a disaffected slacker who hides her troubles behind a witty façade […] Austin infuses the character of Jane with an easy charm […] As the story twists and turns in unexpected ways, it moves from amusing to terrifying—a transition that Austin also handles expertly. A well-crafted and engaging novel, even when the protagonist’s actions are hard to take.” – Kirkus Review

“A black humored checkerboard with ivory tiles of compassion […] Austin’s breath-taking cynicism, and laugh out loud one-liners, take the reader on a skillfully crafted journey […] The writer’s smooth and sinewy conversational writing style belies a razor-sharp opportunism and a wickedly warped perspective […] When you mix frivolous wit and unrelenting misfortune in the correct proportion you end up with a poignant portrait: a sweet-bitter nugget of life like multicolored jellybeans rolled in a crisp peppercorn crust. As a bonus, “Oh Honey,” has my favorite kind of ending…” – Madeline M, Reviewer 

“WOW! Oh, Honey is a laugh out loud at times albeit dark short story […] I started reading this book in the morning and finished it by the afternoon. Gritty and awesome […] I laughed and felt morose all on the same page over and over […] Highly recommend.” – Anisa M, reviewer

 “[T]his book was exactly what I needed today. It was brief, and angry, and perfectly dry humoured […] I loved it.” – Liz Laurin, reviewer

Order Oh Honey here.

Oh Honey Book Launch, July 22, 2017

Oh Honey was released on July 20th, 2017. The book launch was at Oxford Books in London Ontario.


Emily R Austin OhHoney


Oh Honey Emily R Austin Book Launch






About the book: Sharp, funny, and dark, this novel is about identity and connection. Jane is a telemarketer. She uses a different name each time, and soon it becomes clear that she is calling the same man again and again. Each call is a new battle between them, with him becoming angrier and more threatening. But Jane isn’t calling him at random; Jane has a purpose; and Jane has a past which seems to change each time she tells it.

You can order “Oh Honey” here, or pick it up at Chapters/Indigo, Barnes and Noble, or request it at your library if you’d like to.

Thanks for reading.

The first copy of “Oh Honey” came in the mail

The first copy of my book, “Oh Honey”, arrived in the mail two days ago. It is neat to see it in the flesh (in the paper?)

I have been carrying it around with me. It’s nice to have a physical reminder that I’ve accomplished something. This way, on unproductive days when I do nothing but walk to buy coffee, I can look in my bag and think: whatever, I once wrote a book. That’s why people keep pictures of their kids in their wallets, I assume?

It comes out in July. You can pre order here.

Recommended Book: Apathy and Other Small Victories

Lately I have been reading the negative reviews of books that I like. I do not know why. It might be because my book is coming out in a few months, and I need to prepare myself for when someone one-stars me. It may be because I find negative reviews more likely to be funny. Who knows?

It turns out that every book I have ever loved has been ripped to shreds by reviewers. This is both a comfort and a source of distress. For example, who could have imagined that some people hate the funniest book I’ve ever read, Apathy and Other Small Victories? Take this review, for example:

“This was one of the worst books I have ever read in my life. I’d rather read all the Twilight books twice AND see all the movies before ever reading this again one time. The figure on the cover holding a gun to his head? That’s how I felt the whole time I was reading this book…”

My experience with this book was different than the experience described above. I laughed out loud on a bus while I read this book, and I try really hard to be as unobtrusive as possible on busses. I think this book is sharp and hilarious. The reason why someone might feel differently is likely just because our senses of humour vary, and that’s okay. That’s part of what makes our world a magical tapestry, and I can appreciate that there’s value in our varied, unpredictable tastes.

Funny quotes from the book for you:

“I’d never actually talked to a deaf person before but I’d been swimming and gotten water stuck in my ears lots of times, felt that underwater silence as I shook my head and watched people’s mouths moving without hearing the words, so I knew what it was like for her. I could empathize.”

“But really it’s condescending and patronizing not to make fun of someone because they’re old or stupid or crippled or morbidly obese. Banged up people don’t want your pity. They just want to be treated like everyone else. Mockery, when done without prejudice or discretion, can be a form of respect. It’s the closest we’ll ever come to true equality.”

 Thank you for reading.

My book Oh Honey comes out in July, check it out if you’d like to.

Oh Honey: Book Trailer

“Oh Honey” is being released July 20th, 2017.

Click to watch.

You can pre-order if you’d like to on Amazon or at Chapters/Indigo.

Thanks for watching!

Recommended book: The Bell Jar

If you’re into clinical depression and New York City, I’ve got a book for you.

the bell jar

Lisa Simpson, an apparent sadist, is smiling while reading about Esther Greenwood’s severe and relentless feelings of despondency and dejection.

Esther is the main character and she is on the trajectory from teenagehood to adulthood. This book outlines the depressing feelings associated with that distressing metamorphosis.

Esther is a college student who is living in New York as a guest editor. She lives with other girls in a women’s hotel. She feels deadened.

Maybe recommended books should be more obscure than The Bell Jar. I’m recommending it anyways because, in my experience, Plath is overly associated with her sad death and that association can overshadow the quality of her writing. I think that association deters some people from giving The Bell Jar a shot, lest they be subjected to the bleak and perhaps melodramatic angst of a 1950s emo.

My point is, I think you should read it anyways. Below is a quote from the book that I like. If you also like this quote, give the rest of the book a read.

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

Thank you for reading.

Free books for kids in Ottawa

I have been volunteering for an organization that gives free books to kids across Ottawa. I volunteer in the YMCA section of the organization, and we give free books to kids living in the shelter at the Y.

A lot of the kids living there seem to be new to Canada and are not familiar with some really popular books. This is a bit of a tangent, but I was reading Winnie the Pooh to one little boy and he kept stopping me and asking, “He’s hungry?”, “Pooh is a really hungry bear?” I said, “Yeah, he sure is,” and pressed on. The little boy looked really wide-eyed and kind of terrified. I had no idea why. When Piglet hit the scene, the boy made a neck-cutting gesture and I realized that Winnie the Pooh is the story of an insatiably hungry bear who is always looking for a little boy and a pig.

Anyways, the organization is called Twice Upon a Time. If you would like to make a donation that would help us buy books, store books, let parents and teachers know about us, and terrorize more new Canadian kids with the horrifying story of Winnie the Pooh.

Thanks for reading.

Recommended book: Person (by Sam Pink)



Person is a short book with no plot and it is very funny, sad, and thoughtful. I read a GoodReads review that called it lazy, and I suspect that the person who wrote that review is the author’s ex-girlfriend and/or someone he beat in a contest.

Here are quotes from Person:

“I don’t make eye contact with any girls because I don’t want to ruin their night and make them feel bad. I make eye contact with some guys because sometimes I just feel angry.”

“I always think about getting randomly hurt and how awesome it would be to just immediately be changed and removed from my situation. To have something direct to worry about, like a broken leg.”

“In the long transition to sleep I entertain a complex paranoia about a group of people who will be assigned to review each action I have taken throughout my life.”

Buy it here.

Also, my book “Oh Honey” is coming out in July. You can pre-order it if you’d like to by clicking here.

Thank you for reading.