This Sunday I decided to do something off the beaten path, so I packed up the husband for a trip to a place I’d only heard about in rumors—The Last Bookstore.

The Last Bookstore

A friend mentioned once that there was a magical store in LA where books became works of art and plenty of good reads could be had for just a dollar. After a bit of googling, I located the two-story independent bookstore. Turned out it was only nine miles away, in downtown LA (although nine miles is kind of far in LA’s space-time continuum).

The Last Bookstore is a used bookstore that accepts donations and trade-ins, and also offers cash for items in like-new condition. But it isn’t just the fair-priced books that entice potential customers in a day and age when the brick and mortar stores are rapidly disappearing. There is a sense of magic and wonder, from the moment you walk in the door and spot the sales desk made of stacked books, or look up to see the waves of books hanging high on the wall. Little nooks and crannies beckon with cool artwork or popular books from different genres on display. And that’s just the first floor.

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The upstairs is called the Labyrinth, and there you will find a maze of books, more book art instillations, and random surprises, like a Fonzie Fire Hydrant. 

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And, of course, stacks upon stacks of books, in almost every language and from all different time periods. Being that it’s a labyrinth, areas aren’t that well labeled (except for the crime novels vault—the building might’ve been a bank in a previous life).

behindbars

But then, that was always the fun of libraries and bookstores…that “let me drag my eyes along this shelf and see what jumps out at me” thing that we don’t get to experience as often these days. As much as I love the internet, sometimes it’s a little too easy to tailor it to give us just what we want, which cuts down on accidental but possibly wonderful discoveries.

I was tempted to buy a few writing/publishing advice books, but their publications dates in the 70’s and 80’s made me wonder if they’d be all that helpful. I was still tempted to buy them, just for fun, but if you saw the boxes of books I have at my parents’ house and in our garage, you’d understand why limits have to be placed.

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I found my temporarily lost husband in the woodworking section about an hour later, and we made our way back downstairs. I bought a couple of books by Anne McCaffrey, who was my favorite author when I was a teenager, and then finally located the LGBT area. This is where I have to say I was a little disappointed…in this huge, well-stocked store, there were only two tiny rows on a shelf that were LGBT. It could be that some of the fiction is mixed in among different genres, but I didn’t come across anything in my travels. There was also a section under remodeling, so I’m hopeful that there are more books to be found. I’ll probably make a return visit sometime and keep my eyes open—I’m positive I could wander around there for hours and still not see everything!

Tunnel o' books

 

Recommended place to visit if you’re ever in the LA area :)