An Unintentional Literary Pilgrimage of Los Angeles

 

I’ve been to Southern California many times, and yet, I’ve never quite seen the Los Angeles that I wanted to. As a book nerd, I’ve always dreamt of doing a book tour, visiting famous literary sites. But Los Angeles County feels unwieldy. However, on this last trip, I lucked out. I stayed in downtown Los Angeles proper, with my friend, Erin Eyesore (check out her post-punk feminist radio show, erineyesore.tumblr.com). While she attended a conference for work, I did some sight-seeing. First on the list, The Last Bookstore which I’ve seen photos of on friends’ Instagram feeds. We were staying just blocks away from this heavenly place. It’s like the Cemetery of Forgotten Books in The Shadow of the Wind by Arturo Perez Reverte—you enter a noir bookstore, a space selling books in another realm, a fictional place that you wish existed—touching things seems unreasonable because they will flitter away in smoke because they exist in another dimension. But the  labyrinth you wander is real and if you go on a slow day, which I did, you find yourself in mazes all alone, which of course, makes things more surreal.

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What I’ve spent on Books in 2015

BOOKSIBOUGHT

Starting last year I began keeping track of all the books I’ve bought. Every year I think I’ve curbed my book buying, but each year I realize I’ve bought around the same amount.

It’s an addiction that I’ve learned to live with. I avoid book browsing for months at a time but once I walk into a bookshop, I take a deep breath and smell the fresh books. It’s both welcoming and comforting.

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Books I Read in 2015

2015books

Every year I try to outread myself. This year I read less books than expected. I suffer from the reader’s constant stress over not reading enough, buying too much, and being overly optimistic in my reading.

I spend almost as much time thinking about reading as I do actually reading. I like to browse bookstores, poke around online, and chat with friends. Numerous notes are made throughout the year to pick up another book recommended by a friend.

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Books for my Birthday, hooray!

Daryl gave me this card. I love it.

Daryl gave me this card. I love it.

I am fortunate to have such good friends. They are all incredibly smart, witty, fun, and accepting. They accept my quiet nerd side and my loud laughter. They encourage and enable both my solitude and my social life. Scott introduced me to his good friend Virginia and told us both, “You’ll really like my friend, she reads a lot.” I’ve since become fast friends with Virginia, fellow book lover.

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Editing my library: Giving away books that I don’t love

books I'm donating

books I’m donating

Ever since I was in grammar school I’ve had bookcases. My father made them for me whenever I needed them. He made them with smaller shelves as my childhood books became paperback novels. He made them taller when I needed more shelves. So I have always imagined having a room dedicated to my library. A place where all the books I have read live and all the books I plan to read live. Every book I have ever bought I have planned on reading. One doesn’t buy a book without the intention of reading it.

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