One by one, they fell-- the independent bookstore. One by one, they closed-- the mall bookstore. Fare thee well, B. Dalton. It was great while it lasted, Waldens. Then, like Goliath being felled by David, big literary superstores, such as Borders, began shuttering their doors. Pushed out by ever-increasing rents, some. Others, victims of Amazon’s online bookstore and their high-tech Kindle.
I say, electronic reading media be damned.
Nothing ever feels more satisfying to me than the weight of a book in my hands and the aroma of a good independent bookstore. Whenever I am in need of something to read, I head over to the Iliad Bookshop in North Hollywood, California.
The Iliad reminds me somewhat of Olivander’s wand shop, with its ladders and step stools in every aisle to access the hard to reach shelves. It’s a bit dusty and the floors are creaky and the sofas are worn. It’s a cozy haven on a rainy afternoon and a quiet respite from the minutiae of a busy day.
This past year, the Iliad broke through the neighboring wall and doubled in size. Their shelves are steeped in history, art, photography, theatre, classic literature and pulpy paperback galore. It’s a biography lover’s dream, a collector’s Mecca. It’s the kind of place where sci-fi and graphic novel fans can while away hours. If you’re lucky, you may happen upon a signed first edition by Nick Hornby or Alice Walker. Time to replace that worn copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? You’ll find it at the Iliad. Don’t seem to have what you’re looking for? Just ask Dan or Lisa. Your Iliad hosts are more than willing to oblige.
Best of all, is the two dollar wall; hardcover fiction heaven from A to Z. Up front, the two dollar table is piled high with non-fiction, and if you’re willing to dig around a bit, you never know what you may discover. And for the avid reader, for whom spending a buck or two is quite a stretch these days, they are more than welcome to riffle through one of the boxes of freebies just outside the front door. You really can’t get much better than the Iliad.
Just ask Zola, the Iliad's cat in residence.