Encore Books & Records: A gem that you’ll never find elsewhere

The mom-and-pop second hand books and records shop finds a way to stay alive despite various adversity

In the early 90’s, Sean Madden, a young Concordia graduate, began buying books and records from local yard sales and auctions, eventually sparking his interest in selling them. As his hobbies pursued, his father — playwright Peter Madden — joined him, setting his literary passion ablaze.

“We often buy things from the community, and then it’s a nice process because it returns to the community. I always feel like I work really hard to keep Encore open because what we do here isn’t as much about selling as being a space for works of art to find other lives,” said Madden, the dedicated owner of Encore Books & Records.

Shawn Madden, owner of Encore book store Kaitlynn Rodney/The Concordian

The two would trade from all sorts of stores across town, namely S.W. Welch, The Word, and Odyssey. “Eventually we had so much stuff piled up, we were getting too good at it,” said Sean Madden.

“We stopped supplying other stores and looked for our own. It took us a year and a half to find this location. We lived in NDG, and we wanted something from NDG.” Thus, Encore Books & Records was opened in 1999 on Sherbrooke West and Harvard. 

Madden was keen on finding unusual records from niche genres. “People were throwing out all kinds of things, and it’s always so fun to find somebody’s collection and learn about who they are, what they enjoy.” 

Encore Books & Records has well over 100 genres of books, and over 40 genres of music on vinyl. However, running a second-hand bookstore on a busy street is no simple task.

“Our profit margins are fine, but it’s a lot of work and I think it’s difficult, because our customers are also our suppliers, and people aren’t used to selling things to us,” said Madden. However, the team is always looking for great finds, and people can make their own contributions in their own way and pick something up for themselves.

Caitlin, waiting at the cash for her next customer. Kaitlynn Rodney/ The Concordian

The owner disclosed that he was not planning on expanding the franchise, especially after how COVID-19 affected small retail businesses over the past couple of years. 

“I hope Encore is here forever.”, said Caitlin Van Fossen, an Encore Books employee and a student at Concordia. “I think folks do love supporting local, and Sean likes to emphasise that we want to support the local community, unusual gems that you’ll never find elsewhere.”

Kaitlynn Rodney/ The Concordian
Encore bookstore, is a used and new book store they carry all kinds of genres, as well as records , cds and cassesttes. Kaitlynn Rodney/ The Concordian

Thierry Henry: The living legend

Henry brings his talent on and off the field

Filling up trophy cabinets was common for former football player Thierry Henry. Unfortunately, Henry’s time as a head coach of CF Montreal did not reflect his career as a player, and had to come to a premature ending.

The all-time top goal scorer for France with 51 goals, he started his professional career in Monaco, where he spent five years. There, he won his first major trophy during the 1996–97 season, lifting up the Ligue 1 trophy and crowning Monaco as French champions.

Henry’s talents were not left unnoticed, and after an uneventful year playing for Italian giants Juventus for the 1998–99 season, he moved to London, where his career with Arsenal would engrave him forever in not only the history of the club, but also the sport.

While playing for Arsenal, Henry changed his play style and became a central offensive player rather than playing out on the left wing. This made a huge difference in Henry’s goal scoring record, where his mentality of quickly controlling the ball and shooting on net became evident and ruthless.

Henry played for Arsenal from 1999–2007, and saw his club lift the Premier League Cup twice. During the 2003–04 season, the London-based club won the Premier League without losing a single game, earning them the title of ‘The Invincibles’ and lifting up a golden trophy; the only team in the history of the Premier League to ever do so.

Henry’s time with Arsenal came to an end in 2007, as he joined famous Catalonian club F.C. Barcelona — the club he had lost to in the Champions League Final in 2006.

Henry’s time with Barcelona surpassed expectations. The striker became champion of Spain in his second year there, and created history once again as Barcelona won six trophies in a calendar year: the Supercopa de Espana, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup, La Liga, La Copa del Rey, and the most famous Champions League. Henry’s influential career with Barcelona came to an end in 2010, when he shockingly joined Major League Soccer (MLS) team the New York Red Bulls.

His player career in the MLS was different from his European past. Henry became a role model for all his teammates, and his influence was greater than ever, a source of discipline, confidence and rigour. Winning only the Supporters’ Shield with the Red Bulls in the 2012–13 season for having the best record in the league, Henry retired in 2014 and meddled in a managerial career soon after.

He became the head coach of CF Montreal in 2019, but unfortunately left his coaching duties this February 2021. During his time in Montreal, the Frenchman continued to elevate the standards of his team, leading CF Montreal to the playoffs for the first time since 2016, but was eliminated by the New England Revolution. Henry’s record for the Montreal-based club is nine wins, 16 losses and four draws for both the 2018–19 and 2019–20 seasons. Although these statistics may not seem impressive, Henry’s goal was to build the team from the ground up; a plan which demands time and effort.

Henry had to leave his position last month for family reasons, but his coaching career is nowhere near finished. The Frenchman’s departure has made clubs such as AFC Bournemouth from the England second tier division keen on signing the legend into their coaching spot, whenever he’s ready.


Graphic by Sarah Alouani


LeBron James reaches another career milestone

LeBron James scored his 35,000th career point on Feb. 18

On Feb. 18, LeBron James became the third player ever to reach 35,000 points in the National Basketball Association (NBA), joining Karl Malone and fellow Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. James reached the milestone in a 109-98 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

“For me to be linked with some of the greatest to have played this game is an honour,” James told reporters after the game.

Joining the league as a teenager in the 2003–04 season, James took the NBA by storm with his superb athleticism. Nearly two decades later, he continues to dominate the sport by consistently adding to his already elite game. The Lakers, led by James, are the third seed in the Western conference, trailing only their California rival Los Angeles Clippers and the rising Utah Jazz.

Over the course of his career, The Lakers’ superstar has epitomized longevity. This season, James has yet to miss a game, logging 1148 minutes in his 33 games played. At 36-years-old, he was selected by fans, current players, and media analysts to start in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game. James’ 17 All-Star selections only trail Kobe Bryant (18) and Abdul-Jabbar (19) for the most in the NBA’s history.

Since entering the league, James has charted 49,699 total regular season minutes to go along with his 10,811 minutes in the playoffs, the latter of which roughly equates to three additional full seasons played.

Despite having an illustrious career that has thus far not been jeopardized by injury, history has shown that Father Time is undefeated when it comes to sports.

In the 2012–13 NBA season, a 34-year-old Bryant led his injury-ravaged and floundering Lakers squad to a winning season, showing no signs of his old age before his body suddenly broke down on him when he tore his Achilles tendon.

Eight years later, the Lakers find themselves in a similar situation with James. And yet, the generational superstar has pushed back on the notion of resting while he is healthy and available to play.

“I’m resting now, sitting here talking to you guys,” James said during his postgame Zoom conference with reporters. “I’m resting when I get in my car and head home. I’m resting when I get home. I’m going to rest tomorrow.”

The Lakers have lost four straight games and five of their previous six since Anthony Davis’ lower-leg injury. Since James’ arrival in Los Angeles in the 2018 offseason, the team has struggled in producing quality offence when he sits, including when Davis is in the starting lineup and healthy. With Davis expected to be out at least until the All-Star break, the team needs their leader in James to overcome this rough stretch in the season.

The greatest player of all-time is a heavily debated subject among basketball fans. While it has no definitive conclusion, it commonly narrows down to James, Abdul-Jabbar, and Michael Jordan.

As it currently stands, James has won four NBA championships to go along with four Finals MVP awards and four regular-season MVP awards. He also ranks remarkably in almost every statistical category in the sport.

Perhaps most notably, by riding out seemingly inconsequential regular season games, James inches his way closer to surpassing Abdul-Jabbar’s career scoring record set at 38,387 total points. James is currently 3,101 points shy of the record that was once deemed unbreakable and has expressed a desire to sit atop the list when his career is all said and done.

On his pursuit of a fifth championship ring, James has chosen to lead his teammates by example amid a rough patch in the season, while paving his unique path towards individual greatness along the way.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


The demand for sports cards is at an all-time high

Sports cards rise in popularity amidst the pandemic

Collecting sports cards is an old hobby that has seen an unprecedented surge in popularity over the last year. As a result, the  trading, buying, and selling of sports cards has never been hotter.

In January, American entrepreneur and Indianapolis-native Rob Gough bought a rare 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card for a record-setting US $5.2 million. Meanwhile, a limited edition LeBron James basketball card sold for a little over $1.8 million last July.

Trevor Ingram, owner of Sports Card Check-Swing in Brossard, said demand for cards started reaching all-time heights last year.

“In the early stages of the pandemic, I think people were looking for new hobbies to pass the time from home and get their minds off the virus,” Ingram said. “Collecting cards just so happens to lend itself well to confinement and social distancing.”

The most common and affordable method of collecting sports cards is to buy individual packs, in which consumers can expect to get several cards from the base set with a slight chance of pulling exclusive cards called inserts. Cards from the base set are common and guaranteed in every pack whereas inserts are unique cards that are randomly inserted into packs, which makes them considerably harder to acquire.

“Autographed, jersey memorabilia, and rookie inserts are generally worth the most, but it depends on the sport and particular set.” Ingram said.

Retail and hobby boxes offer packs in greater bulk with better odds of pulling a set’s valuable inserts. The former is widely distributed and sold at most retail outlets, while the latter is an alternative that gives avid collectors a certain number of guaranteed hits at a higher cost.

Cards can also be acquired on an individual basis. Nowadays, a desirable card is a point and click away for card gatherers, thanks in large part to the internet, social media, and e-commerce platforms like eBay.

According to Ingram, a fervent card collector himself, the most dedicated people in the hobby will do a little bit of everything. For Ingram, that means generating a personal collection of untouchable cards, which allows him to regularly open packs for the sheer joy and excitement, while simultaneously turning a profit whenever appropriate.

“As a kid, I was addicted to the mystery that comes with opening a fresh box of cards,” Ingram said. “Even though there are better ways to spend money in the hobby with the lopsided pack odds nowadays, the thrill and excitement of opening packs isn’t there when you are buying cards secondhand.”

With the hobby’s resurgence in recent times, Ingram said his valuable sports stock sells out in a matter of hours. He added that due to limited supply and absurd demand, prices for card packs across every major sport have risen by a large margin.

“Now, some boxes are selling for up to five times their original price, and those numbers will keep climbing so long as people are willing to spend,” Ingram said. “Unfortunately, average people who are interested in collecting but don’t want to spend an entire paycheck on cards are being priced out.”

Despite the growing costs of collecting sports cards, Ingram said there are ways to stay engaged without breaking the bank amidst the card market boom.

While most card investors set their sights on the exclusive mint-condition cards, many will bundle their non-graded cards for sale at a modest price. This remains a viable option for those who are looking to open packs with their children or just indulge in the mystery themselves.

“Getting a card professionally graded is costly and usually takes a few months with shipping,” Ingram explained. “Grading significantly boosts the value of cards, but most of the time it’s simply not worth the struggle unless the card is worthwhile.”

Sports Card Check-Swing never put products on reserve for clients in the past — according to Ingram, no one ever asked, and the need was never there.

Today, Ingram said he gets calls daily from clients asking him to put aside products for them; often months ahead of scheduled release dates. He added that if not for an imposed limit on the number of pre-orders he can accept, the local card shop would have nothing to sell on the days of release.

“I’ve been in this business for over 30 years, and this is undoubtedly the biggest sports card boom I’ve ever witnessed,” Ingram said. “Yet, I think the industry is years away from actually reaching its peak.”


Photo by Liam Sharp


The most anticipated albums of 2020

2019 was an excellent year for music – can these 2020 releases top it?

Drake – TBD

As expected, the chart-topping king will return in 2020 after a fairly quiet 2019. Scorpion came and went in 2018 and despite its long run in Billboard’s charts, failed to resonate with most of its listeners. It was too long, too safe, and the number of bad songs outweighed the number of good ones. The year 2020 represents an opportunity to return to form. No longer shadowed by a deadly beef that kept criticisms of the rapper high, Drake can release an album on his terms with his own promotion.

“War,” the first new bit of Drake we’ve seen in a while, borrows elements from Chicago’s drill music and the UK’s grime scene, but ultimately wound up being just another passable moment in his lengthy discography. Let’s just hope the new album is less filler and more killer.


Frank Ocean – TBD

The elusive Frank Ocean has been confirmed to headline 2020’s Coachella after releasing two singles (and a few other snippets) in 2019. When Blonde came out, the R&B singer was difficult to track. Now, it seems he’s ready to embrace the fame a little bit more as he’s been sneaking in new songs at various events he’s hosted throughout the year. “In My Room” and “DHL” weren’t as well-received as his previous songs, but perhaps they’ll sound better in the context of the album.

We still have no indication of when the album will drop, but we do know it’s coming (eventually).


Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

The Slow Rush will end a five-year drought from the Australian music project, Tame Impala. Backed by a few singles like “Borderline” and “Posthumous Forgiveness,” the fourth studio album from Tame Impala is shaping up to be another strong entry to their already proven discography. Thankfully, the wait is almost over.


Rihanna – TBD

Look, this one’s been floating around since Anti dropped, and the hype for Rihanna’s newest album keeps growing as every Instagram post of hers has a wave of comments imploring her to release new music. Anti was stellar and whatever kind of project Rihanna decides to drop, we’ll be accepting it with open arms. Twenty-twenty needs this.


Kendrick Lamar – TBD

We all knew this one would be on the list. I mean, it’s been three years since DAMN. and we want more. The Black Panther soundtrack was passable and Lamar’s features continue to be subpar but we can all agree he has yet to release a bad album. His follow-up to the acclaimed 2017 project is expected to be an Album of the Year contender across the board. There is absolutely zero confirmation that an album is on the way this year, but one can only hope.

Lana Del Rey – White Hot Forever (tentative)

Immediately after releasing her best album, Norman Fucking Rockwell!, Lana Del Rey announced she had another project in the works with an expected release in Fall 2020. The tentative title is White Hot Forever but she also stated that it could change. Del Rey reached new heights with NFR and expectations will undoubtedly be sky-high for this new record.

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