Shelf Life



Esmée Colbourne
Geraldine Pinzon
Emily Valente

Massy Books is an independent bookstore located in Chinatown on East Georgia Street, owned and run by its namesake, Patricia Massy. Massy’s bookstore is a labour of love. Open for almost a year now, Massy has used the space not just to sell books, but also host readings and build community.

Illustration by Emily Valente for Discorder Magazine

The entrance is easy to miss. This, in combination with its clubhouse-meets-library feel makes for a cool and welcoming oasis from the hot summer. There’s no trace of that musty odour normally associated with secondhand books, yet the main space is laden, floor to ceiling, with stocked shelves.

Massy and her staff are approachable and knowledgeable. While watching her talk to the people coming and going, it was easy to see the pleasure she gains from small exchanges with new faces and her dedication to finding niche books for customers. Her personal love of books stems from the learning that can be gleaned from them, for example “a sensical kind of rabbit hole that books can take you down and lead to other books and other histories and other works.” She also enjoys dense or complex novels because they enable her to emotionally connect with and learn about characters’ lives: “It’s like travelling without going anywhere. Sometimes when a book is challenging I literally feel my brain working hard […] It feels good, kind of like weightlifting, but with words and ideas.”

Illustration by Emily Valente for Discorder Magazine

Owning a business and living in Vancouver comes with issues of affordability and precarity. Luckily, the building that houses Massy is relatively new and there’s co-op housing above the store, decreasing the likelihood that redevelopment will affect them during their current five-year lease. Massy believes that the lack of affordability is what makes Vancouver so unwelcoming to small businesses and residents. “[Vancouver] really caters to developers. I was asked by the City […] to sit on a panel on how to support the promotion of Indigenous culture and I didn’t go. […] I basically said, ‘We should be talking about how to make spaces more affordable so [Indigenous-oriented] events and cultural things can exist.’”

Massy Books is fast becoming the go-to place for discovering Indigenous literature. “A lot of great fiction by Indigenous people exists. It’s just a matter of finding them used. People hold onto their books or there weren’t enough printed in the past,” explained Massy. The sheer quantity of Indigenous books as well as Indigenous-focused events, such as the Indigenous Brilliance Reading Series in partnership with Room Magazine, or the shop’s willingness to host book launches for Indigenous authors, have cemented Massy Books as a cultural centre. In fact, thanks to an anonymous donor through Room Magazine, Indigenous Brilliance Reading Series will continue with more resources. “Now we can pay the readers for their work. So often Indigenous people are asked to work for nothing, so it is really great to be able to offer an honorarium,” explained Massy.

Massy Books || Photography by Geraldine Pinzon for Discorder Magazine

Massy’s support for the community extends to the artists shown in the bookstore’s upstairs gallery. “We are always looking for artists. […] We have a link on our website, a call for artists […] and a call for Indigenous artists. It would be great if people started applying to utilize the space. […] It’s for established artists and emerging artists that have never had a show before.” Currently, photography by Laura Noonan and Tara Paget of Meet Me at the Lamppost (MMATLP) is on display until mid-July. For the entire month of September, there will be a showcase of different Indigenous art forms featuring Northwest Coast Indigenous Women/2SQ artists.

Massy Books is a quiet haven for Vancouver book lovers. Patricia Massy’s commitment to stocking enriching books and her engagement with customers and artists is what makes Massy Books such a lovely place to be in. The shop is a joy to wander through and a prime example of what a good independent bookstore should be: community and identity driven, supportive of artists and welcoming to visitors.



Massy Books is located at 229 East Georgia Street. You can follow them on social media or visit their website for news and upcoming events:

For a Summer Reading List of recommendations from the staff at Massy Books, find a print copy of Discorder around town, or keep an eye out on our social media channels.



Clara Dubber
Evan Buggle
David Wakeham

Moniker Press is a Vancouver-based risograph print shop started by Erica Wilk in 2014. Wilk uses it to print both her own work and collaborative projects with local and international artists. Moniker’s first project was a book called Duality, in collaboration with photographer Shannyn Higgins. Since then, Moniker has grown to develop a mandate that emphasizes print as a collaborative and experimental platform. Wilk is constantly looking for ways to bring out new and interesting risograph aesthetic from what has once been considered to be a limiting process. With her project, Mobile Moniker, Wilk has travelled to Eastern Canada, Europe and Mexico to meet, collaborate and experiment with risograph printers around the world.

Wilk is a self-proclaimed problem-solver, which drives her experimentation with risograph: “One thing I enjoy is pushing the limits within the restrictions of risograph printing and bookmaking.”

Erica Wilk || Photography by Evan Buggle for Discorder Magazine

What also excites her is the interactivity between projects. Moniker’s latest release, 100 Days of Bulimia, is a book based off Janet Ford’s Instagram series by the same name, combining online and print media. Another innovative project is the poster, i. ii. iii.: Trio, a collaboration between Wilk and the artist Sylvie Ringer, which invites the viewer to cut out shapes to create a three-dimensional piece. Wilk also likes to invite collaborators who aren’t familiar with print: “I’m interested in working with artists and writers, and whoever wants to make a book but maybe hasn’t made books before.”

Mobile Moniker began in 2016 as a way to continue printing with risograph while travelling, and for Wilk to make her own work again after “feeling very disconnected from creating art.” Wilk explains, “[I was] aiming to find a more clear direction for Moniker’s mandate.” At first, Wilk didn’t know if the presses she had contacted would be receptive to her ideas. Their responsiveness and hospitality has given the project an air of excited uncertainty. Wilk explains, “Some of the collaborations we did, they’re very playful, and we did them in an hour. You meet a stranger and then all of a sudden you have to make something together.”

Illustration by David Wakeham for Discorder Magazine

Seeing how other presses work around the same restrictions has taught Wilk different ways of using risograph, not to mention troubleshooting: a large aspect of printing riso is learning to fix machines, working around paper jams, printer errors, etc. Wilk has seen how other presses operate as businesses. Through Mobile Moniker, she discovered what she did and did not want to do with her platform. “I’m not interested in publishing mass quantities of prints or, for example, paperback novels. There’s so much to be explored with risograph techniques that I would rather focus on smaller editions and experimentation,” she says.

Keeping Moniker’s publishing practice non-commercial is emblematic of Wilk’s broader push towards a more politically conscious mandate. In Mexico, Wilk was around presses that print riso “less for the actual medium and more as a method to distribute ideas, often relating to resistance [or] counter-information,” including Gato Negro Ediciones, Casa de El Hijo del Ahuizote and Red de Reproducción y Distribución. They inspired her to produce political content here in Vancouver: “While I want to continue experimenting and pushing the medium of riso and collaboration with everything that I’m printing, I am also starting to intentionally focus on work that might have a more political and inclusive nature such as 100 Days of Bulimia.”

Erica Wilk || Photography by Evan Buggle for Discorder Magazine

Wilk feels that print is for “getting ideas to a larger audience, creating discussions and community.” She says, “I would be amiss as a publisher if I wasn’t striving to contribute to those movements.” By inserting herself into each project, Wilk brings her passion for strong aesthetics to collaborative work, explaining that she is “interested in connecting the content with the format.”

Moniker also seeks to grow a community around print by hosting open studios every few months. Wilk hopes that future workshops will make risograph a more accessible medium. “I love collaborating with people, so wherever I can do that is ideal. And if people want to learn from me and then do their own collaborations, that’s even better.”

Moniker Press is a platform founded in experimentation and collaboration that is moving towards the collective and political. Wilk is expanding not only Moniker’s mandate, but its facilities as well, with a new printer and ink colour on the way. If you want to see Moniker’s work, look forward to their upcoming release, Suburbanatomy by Adi Hadzismajlovic, a collection of short stories.



Illustration by David Wakeham for Discorder Magazine

For more information on Moniker Press, visit and keep an eye out for the Moniker table at your next art book fair.