One of the richest collections of unusual zines and artist-made books in the country has recently been installed in its new permanent home: the lowercase reading room, on Main Street in Vancouver. The space, which used to be a wee closet, is tucked away under a staircase in the Regional Assembly of Text, a store with a beautiful, understated collection of handmade stationery, T-shirts, buttons and oddments. I do mean “wee”—the room measures barely five by ten feet and has a low ceiling and a hobbit-size doorway—yet at the opening on October 18, 2007, four visitors (two of them sitting down) browsed there in comfort. The reading room, and the hundreds of one-of-a-kind handmade books that sit invitingly on slim shelves as if casually placed, are evidence of the design genius of Brandy Fedoruk and Rebecca Dolen, proprietors of the store. Before it opened, they collected and showed zines for six years, usually in their living room, where visitors could browse through little books on a long coffee table and engage in vigorous trading of their wares. Meanwhile, Jo Cook, a Mayne Island artist, was amassing another collection of unique artist-made books, the Cyclops Library, mainly by curating three exhibitions of zines at artist-run galleries in Victoria, Vancouver and St. John. Both collections outgrew their lodgings, the three women talked, and voilà—the lowercase reading room. The collection and its new home are so inspiring that I almost missed the cutting of the cakes, baked and decorated to resemble a number of books on a shelf—including one with the Penguin logo on the spine. The guests washed down these literary delicacies with cool water from a clear-plastic table fountain that was perhaps designed to pump champagne. And we browsed through six new titles in the Hell Passport series, edited by Florentine Perro, and Dragons of the Air: The Roswell Notebook of Frances Zorn, all published by Cook’s company, Perro Verlag Books by Artists (perroverlag.com). Fedoruk and Dolen each wrote and drew one of the Hell Passport books, apparently in their spare (?!) time. See excerpts from Fedoruk’s book, Hell Passport, Vol. 5, on pages 30 and 31 of this issue.