I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and Hanukkah!
I’ve lived fairly close to Disneyland for the last five years without ever visiting it. So last Friday S and I decided to make a trip of it. I donned my kiddie hat determined to enjoy my first trip to Disneyland. As children, my sister and I dreamed of visiting Disneyland- the fairy princesses, the dressed up characters; we even made up ‘Santa Claus’ stories mostly describing to each other the magical toys that Santa might make. So I missed her as I entered Disneyland. I did enjoy parts of it, like the blue curtains in Winnie the Pooh’s house (above picture) and the Splash Mountain Ride with creatures singing ‘Zip a dee doo dah’ on the landing. But mostly I felt too old for it and as if I was trying too hard to love it. I felt much more at home the next day at a used bookstore in Downtown LA, browsing, buying gifts for my husband and generally lounging on a sofa with a few classics. Used bookstores are one of my favorite places to be, but more on that later. Oh, I did find a perfume store in Disneyland and entered it much to my husband’s annoyance (‘Not here too’, said he). I was curious about the modern version of Miss Dior (which is quite nice, by the way) and resniffed Shalimar Parfum Intial, which I sometimes liked, but mostly found too sweet.
The sight of a Christmas tree with gifts underneath always warms my heart and this post by Undina inspired me to make an effort to bring a little bit of the holiday into my home. Here’s my itsy bitsy holiday tree.
I spent the day watching one of my favorite Disney movies : ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (who doesn’t love a heroine with her nose buried in a book?) followed by ‘It’s a wonderful life’ which we thoroughly enjoyed.
Aah..used bookstores. To me nothing compares with the joy of prowling through a used bookstore, with stacks and stacks of books, not knowing exactly what I might find. In Bangalore, where I spent most of my teenage years, I loved Select Bookshop which came with the stacks of books as well as a wizened old owner who had his own stories to tell and often quite willing to chat. Later, a new bookstore called Blossoms opened up which also had a pretty good collection of used books that I would hungrily dip into. But my favorite bookstore in Bangalore was this tiny bookstore called Premier Book Shop. To be honest, it wasn’t even a used bookstore but it deserves that honorary status owing to the piles of books lining the walls all the way from the floor to the ceiling. And the 20% discount that the owner, Mr. Shanbagh, always gave his customers. I’d find a chair or a stool, place it near the stack that looked most inviting to me and climb it as I looked through the books, lovingly touching a few here and there.
When I came to the U.S, I managed to find a darling used bookstore called Webster’s Bookstore and Cafe in the small University town in which I lived. I have spent hours hidden in the corners of this bookstores on rainy afternoons and other difficult days.
In the city I currently live in, there aren’t too many independent bookstores, leave alone, used bookstores, but we do have a wonderful public library and a tiny bookstore associated with the library where I’ve managed to snag amazing finds for not more than a couple of dollars.
I’ve only recently started exploring the used bookstores in LA (which is less than an hour from where I live). I really enjoyed browsing through the ‘Last Bookstore‘ which has a small but well-edited collection of books and lovely customer service. Their collection of books on film and film makers was especially impressive. Next, I look forward to exploring the Iliad Bookstore about which I’ve heard great things.
One of my favorite bookstores in the U.S is probably Green Apple Bookstore in San Francisco which I visited very recently and mentioned in this post. I don’t know what it is about this bookstore. Maybe it is that warm dusty book smell that envelopes you when you enter.
Maybe, it is the amazing collection of books.Maybe it is the tiny notecards that are placed in front of some books with comments by the employees. Like this
What are some of your favorite bookstores, used or new?
And wishing you all a very Happy ‘rest of the break’ and if I don’t post soon- a very Happy New Year filled with all your favorite things!!