I Have Never Seen This in a Bookstore
When we walked into Book Alley, a group of about 15 people were solemnly saying goodbye to one another and leaving, each with a red carnation in their hand. Talk about being involved with the community, a memorial service was just breaking up. That is a full service bookstore. I have heard of speed dating in a bookstore, birthday parties in a bookstore (I may try that), I even have a faint memory of reading about a wedding in a bookstore, but a memorial service? A first for me, but for a person who loves books, having your friends and loved ones surrounded by them while they remember you isn’t such a bad idea.
New, Used and Rare Books & Other Works on Paper
And these are lovely books to be surrounded by. Book Alley is the classic used bookstore I love to meander around. Books on shelves, stacked on the ground, sale tables bursting, all call out the sleuth in me. The huge art section drew me in. Just what I was hoping for, I found gems I didn’t know I wanted until I opened them. For me, some books are more interesting used than new. The Harold Letters: The Making of an American Intellectual by Clement Greenberg is just such a book. Clement Greenberg was the great American art critic who influenced the course of post-WWII American art. I’ve read about him, but never his writings, nor do I have a sense of him. The Harold Letters are a collection of letters written from 1928 to 1943 to Harold Lazarus, a college friend. The letters start the summer of their sophomore year and comprise a sort of epistolary bildungsroman autobiography. The Harold Letters reminded me of the books Helene Hanff would request in 84, Charing Cross Road. I haven’t been disappointed, the letters reflect Greenberg’s striving to lead an intellectual life. They include what he’s reading, what books he purchased, and a variety intellectual observations, all in nugget bite-sized pieces that I can read while I’m waiting for my printer or sitting on hold.
Keith spent his time looking at the extensive collection of rare Los Angeles books. He found several he loved, alas, the recession. The bookseller was willing to be flexible with the price (love that) and Father’s Day isn’t that far away, hmmm. The website highlights a variety of rare books, right now they are selling a collectible edition of The Hound of Baskervilles and a unique bootleg Russian version (in English) of Salinger’s works. It’s worth perusing.
1252 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91106