WORD MAKING BOOK ON L.A.
The Los Angeles Times (Mar 17, 1995)
literary landscape of Southern California has long been dismissed
by East Coast snobs as an intellectual desert. That's nonsense,
of course, but until recently, anyone looking for a single
place to buy books on the region's writers, history and culture
was pretty much out of luck.
longer. Now there's L.A. (The Bookstore), perhaps the first
full-time haven and bully pulpit for everything Southern Californian.
in November by John Gabree, who was Newsday's book reviewer
for 17 years before he moved to Los Angeles in 1979, the Santa
Monica store is situated in a concrete-and-steel oddity built
by noted Los Angeles architect Frank Gehry.
lit-crit elitist who scoffs at the idea of a literary L.A.
gets a vitriolic response from Gabree. "That's the kind
of cut-rate arrogance that New Yorkers and San Franciscans
tend to be afflicted with," he says. "It's a bad
rap born of ignorance, and if anyone else says that to you,
you send them here. The proof is all around you."
are thousands of books, fiction and non- fiction. There isn't
a topic uncovered, from history to anthropology to the occult.
"Sex, Death, God and L.A.," an anthology of essays
by novelists, journalists and critics on the city's cultural
mythology, is a hot seller. "It's indicative of the books
that sell well here, " says Joe Gannon, the store's assistant
Angeles is supposed to be a cultural wasteland," Gannon
says, "and yet it has produced a number of great writers
such as Joan Didion, William Saroyan, Charles Bukowski and
Raymond Chandler. Hollywood casts this huge shadow over L.A.,
but if you look into the deep shade, you will find a rich
literary life that Angelenos are now searching to find."
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