Pulp Fiction owner tells us how he got his books and what they represent

How did he get all those books?

Scantily clad woman and bulky shirtless men in tight leather pants line wooden shelves that enclose a bright red, retro Coca-Cola refrigerator, black cushioned seats with metal backings and a fluffy, eloquently trimmed poodle draw customers in, rather than just the smell of coffee that permeates the Lawrence Avenue and Pandosy Street junction.

Max Sloan, 76, owner of Pulp Fiction Coffee House in downtown Kelowna, spent almost 60 years of his life collecting these books.

The shop is named after the term coined in the 1920s describing the type of cheaply produced 10-by-7-inch paper manufactured by wood pulp, in which risky literature was printed on, according to R.D. Mullen, back in 1995.

“Of course, I’m old as dirt now,” Sloan said with a grin. “I’ve been doing this for a lot of years.”

When Sloan, originally from southern Alberta, retired from the oil industry as a consultant 10 years ago, he knew this was his chance to follow a lifelong dream.

“Someday I knew I was going to open a book shop,” he said.

And that’s what Pulp Fiction was meant to be when it opened in 2012: a book shop. But the demographics didn’t suit the business and Sloan married the idea of a coffee shop, with a book shop to sustain his business.

READ MORE: Separating fact from (pulp) fiction in Kelowna

“I have the best baristas and the best coffee,” he said. “I realized that combining the two was the only way that this book shop could exist.”

Sloan proclaimed he has one of the largest antique bookend collections in all of North America. When he travelled for work, he would journey through the United States’ southern and mid-western states to pad his collection of antique literature. One by one, he slowly gathered the collection you see today in Pulp Fiction and the overflow that he has tucked away in a warehouse.

“I’m an image guy—I love to read—but I’m an image guy, too,” he said, referencing the provocative artwork on the front of the his books. “That was really the hook for me.”

READ MORE: Iconic rock photographer Bob Gruen talks life, photography, rock ‘n’ roll

Back when the infamous string of cheap literature, known as pulp fiction, was published in the late 1800s and early 1900s, some of the artwork was quite suggestive, creating a counterculture against the more reserved 20th-century norms.

Some say this genre of literature influenced the following century; a century that featured the 1950s beatnik generation, lead by Jack Kerouac, Joanne Kyger, Allen Ginsberg, Diane Di Prima and the wily Neal Cassaday. Following the footsteps slowly after was Ken Kesey and Hunter S. Thompson.

Covers on books such as the Nympho Librarian and Sin on Wheels featured sleek, beautiful women essentially selling literary sex. It’s a relic that lives on, almost in secrecy, due to the popularity of the cult-classic film, Pulp Fiction.

READ MORE: Shop owner says City of Kelowna hurting small business

Sloan’s wife, Gloria, was a realtor before retiring around the same time her husband did. She is normally around the shop between 10 and 3 p.m.—not as much as her self-proclaimed “workaholic” husband, who puts in seven days a week at about 10-hour shifts.

They have two children; one who lives in South Korea, teaching English and another who started his own business. But do they share their father’s passion for 1900s literature?

“No, probably not,” Sloan said, smiling at his attempts to draw his kids into the art form. “He’s a little older now and he started to come around and say that’s pretty nice. So they’ve had a change of heart a little bit.”

READ MORE: New joint opens its doors in Kelowna



David Venn
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at david.venn@kelownacapnews.com
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter

Just Posted

Vernon man facing drug trafficking charges in Kelowna

The man was found with suspected cocaine, heroin and fentanyl and thousands of dollars in cash

Lawyers to hold pro bono ‘advice-a-thon’ in Kelowna’s City Park

Free legal advice will be given to low-income Kelowna residents from 10am-2pm on Sept. 10

Hell’s Angel prospect back in custody after being charged with assault

The 30-year-old man now faces several additional charges

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

Okanagan Rail Ride gathering steam ahead of inaugural race

The ride is a non-competitive event celebrating the Okanagan Rail Trail

Sister Speak comes home to Okanagan on world tour

Shosws in Kelowna, Vernon and Revelstoke

North Okanagan home scorched by flames

Neighbouring homes threatened by blaze, which is producing heavy black smoke

South Okanagan wildfire monitored closely for hot spots

The Eagle Bluff wildfire, north of Oliver, is classified as held

Drugs, cash and 11 people apprehended at North Okanagan house

RCMP executed warrant at 35th Street home for second time in a month

New South Okanagan winery will open its doors soon

Phantom Creek Estates announced its new CEO and winemaker, and completed first phase of construction

B.C. man tells judge he attempted suicide a month before daughters’ murders

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Shuswap’s Rust Valley Restorers team rolling onto Netflix

Mike and Connor Hall, Avery Shoaf see Tappen-based television show expand to streaming service

Province funds new shuttle buses for 13 B.C. senior centres

Activity, socializing helps maintain health, Adrian Dix says

Most Read