Tag Archives: Shopping

“…not like a railway booking office…”

There is a truly worthwhile article in The Canberra Times that you should read in its entirety for, if nothing else, its sincerity. I cannot resist quoting here, however, part of a radio address given by the economist John Maynard Keynes. It’s just one of those collections of words that you (I) wish you (I) could have articulated your(my)self.

The reader, he said, “with all his senses… should know their touch and their smell. He should learn how to take them in his hands, rustle their pages and reach in a few seconds a first intuitive impression of what they contain. He should, in the course of time, have touched many thousands, at least 10 times as many as he really reads. He should cast an eye over books as a shepherd over sheep … He should live with more books than he reads, with a penumbra of unread pages, of which he knows the general character and content, fluttering round him. This is the purpose of libraries …

“It is also the purpose of good bookshops, both new and secondhand, of which there are still some, and would that there were more. A bookshop is not like a railway booking-office which one approaches knowing what one wants. One should enter it vaguely, almost in a dream, and allow what is there freely to attract and influence the eye.

“To walk the rounds of the bookshops, dipping in as curiosity dictates, should be an afternoon’s entertainment. Feel no shyness or compunction in taking it. Bookshops exist to provide it; and the booksellers welcome it, knowing how it will end.”

I’ll drink to that.


Filed under The Stuff of Stuff

Wherein you are updated, invited, forewarned and informed.

The (A)Musings page has been updated. Hurray for procrastination which must end sometime! Three weeks’ worth of new stuff for you to peruse.

Currently up on the board: What have you done that you never thought you’d have the courage to do? People have put up some of the most interesting answers yet and we can’t wait to post them here next week– you should add your own here and they’ll be included.


In other news, our very own Lucia Silva will be chatting with Susan Stamberg on Morning Edition, on all of your local stations, sometime in the very near future. We’ll keep you updated on the air date. Can’t wait to hear what she and her cohorts will be recommending for this season of giving! Hint: they will be interesting and unique titles, guaranteed to surprise you, not recycled from some bestseller list. And a hurray for that, as well.


We have another epic list from Kevin in the works. You can look forward to that in the next couple of days.


Tomorrow, Saturday, December 4th, from 5-9pm is the Annual Tujunga Village Holiday Fair! Bring the whole family. We’ll be waiting for you, along with all the other lovely people on our block, with smiles and food in hand. And lots of fun to offer up. Have you seen our children’s section, lately? And all the new books? And all the cool, new gifts? And do you know what fun it will be just to wander along the wonderland-transformed street? Okay, so just come.


Totally unrelated and completely out of the blue: someone very close to me, I won’t ever tell you who because I’m pretending it’s not true, just got an e-reader, I won’t tell you which one. And… it’s confirmed! IT MOST DEFINITELY DOES NOT SMELL, FEEL, LOOK OR READ LIKE A BOOK.

That is all. Carry on.


Oh, and one more thing. Guess who’ll be wrapping your gifts when you shop here. Go ahead and take a wild guess.

You’re right!

Doug Dutton.

Of Dutton’s Books in Brentwood.

This man:

The amount of fun we’ll be having is hardly describable.


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Filed under Bits and Bobs

I know what “a cappella” means.

Their parents must have been savoring a long post-meal linger in the cafe’s back garden, because two young teen gal-pals wandered into the children’s section in search of amusement.  Their clothing fascinated me.  Conventionally unconventional in that teen-uniform sort of way – a mix of Madonna, grunge, and Goth.  Sneakers, red & black plaid net mini skirt over shorts on one, denim mini over leggings on the other, tank tops, cropped jackets with necklaces, leather buckled bracelets, tousled hair with turquoise streak, etc.  My generation, at their age, was still dressed by their mothers in girly frocks an inconceivable universe away from such street-smarts. They idly perused past a few teen titles: the goth tale The Replacement, and from the Twilight series The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner.  Then to my surprise one of them caught sight of a fairy-themed play tea set and fell in love.

Oh, enchanting moment, to see the Miley Cyrus carapace crack open and reveal the sweet youth still imagining within.  Soon enough the luminous lofting soap-bubble between-worlds fairy delicacy will thud to earth, perhaps in vampire leather and heavy eye-liner or hip-hop army boots with hot-pants and knit beanie.  But this moment still held a wrestle between a fairy tea-party and an allowance just shy of enough to pay for it.  After intense debate with her pal about whether this particular purchase merited her entire cash reserve, the decision was finally made in the negative.

Summit concluded, her financial adviser turned and picked up the vintage classic moo-in-a-can toy.  I remember this toy from my childhood. Its simple goofiness seems to be persistently attractive – there’s even an i-phone ap that brings it into the cy-world.  Of course part of its charm is that the cow (or lamb, or goat, or whatever) never sounds very real…more the slightly strangled groan/croak of some indeterminate species.  The girls convulsed into giggles and began an a cappella chorus for cow, sheep and two voices. The possibilities were too rich, and by the time I was done with my enthusiastic instigation they had escalated into full beat-box farm rap opera with all the sound effects. I was in school choir.  I know what a cappella means.  But I would never have had the nerve to leap into the kind of wild scratches, buzzes, moans, and pops these little divas were throwing out. They took a bow, then bopped off to check on their parents, and my eyes fell upon two books nearby.  Air Guitar by Dave Hickey is a terriffc collection of jazz club-honky tonk-art gallery-hot rod-surf shop essays on creativity and art and our big, messy Democracy.  He likes to take seemingly unrelatable things and remark on how they tango together to make Art.  Like, possibly, baby’s moo-cow toy and beat box riffing.  Perfect segue to the next book over:  Becoming Jimi Hendrix by Steven Roby and Brad Schreiber, the thorough and thoroughly riveting biography of the shy, spacey, apparently chronically untogether young guitarist whose wild sonic experiments got him rejected as an ugly duckling at home, who journeyed away to foreign lands (well, England) where his strangeness took the rock scene by storm, who returned home a glorious Swan God of Music.  Hail! all ye eccentrics riffing the sounds in your heads, who can still see fairies, possibly adorning yourself in plaid netting and/or a worked-over tee – we at the bookstore are happy to egg you on!


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Filed under The Other Day at Portrait...


Jonathan Franzen’s new book is one of those rare phenomena which come along every few years or so and very loudly announce the fact that it doesn’t really matter whether or not they’re good. What matters is that if you are to be a successful water cooler conversant or a charming, well-regarded guest at a get-together involving mimosas and  harried political and psycho-social analyses still rooted in the theses written in college,  you must have read the book. Oprah Winfrey says so. And, who knows, maybe it is good.

We have close to about a million copies of Freedom in stock. And all our hardcovers are 20% off. You do the math. I think it’s worth your reputation!

Here are some of the other brand new books, which you should consider picking up, because Ms. Winfrey can only pick one book a year and that shouldn’t stop any of us.

[Click on book covers for summaries and reviews from BookBrowse.]



These will be released early next week. You can order them now and pick up whenever you like.

Guess who has a new book?


For Kids:


Happy Reading.

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Filed under Book Recommendations


New Feature:

 Interesting Thought of the Day


“Indie bricks and mortar bookstores may not always be able to satisfy that desire for ‘search-find-click-done’ instantaneity, but they do have an edge in browseability. And I would give a physical bookstore the edge in what I might describe in parallel terms as ‘wander-browse-sample-done…. If all your book-buying is done online, you might find that your local physical bookstore is no longer there when you have one of those ‘I wonder what life will put in my path’ sort of days. And that would be a shame.”

–John Mesjak, founder and editor of my3books.com and an independent sales representative, in the Huffington Post.

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Filed under Interesting Thought of the Day