We’ve spoken of the virtue of supporting your local independent bookstore — at this post about Diesel’s in Malibu, this post about Indies in general, and in this post about Townhouse Books in St. Charles, IL — and we have also warned you of the dire results of NOT supporting your local indie at this sad post about Transitions Bookplace in Chicago. Today we yank you out of the Valley and force you to drive some thirty miles further inland — to Pasadena where laborers are even now struggling to erect bleachers in preparation for the annual Rose Bowl Parade.
There on the parade route, on Colorado Boulevard, you will find the very best indie bookseller in the area: Vroman’s Bookstore. The rear (FREE!!!) parking puts you near a back door opening onto everything you want in a bookstore except being closer than thirty miles. Inside you may gasp at two levels spacious enough to accommodate tons of books and booklike publications, book sellers and buyers, their bright children, globes, novelties, games, jams ‘n’ jellies from E. Waldo Ward, bric as well as brac, a mysterious black-cloaked stranger, a coffee shop (of course), candles (of course) and (not so of course) bucket hats:
Large it is, citizen, but not warehousey like those (bless ’em) big box bookstores. Vroman’s retains that cozy sense of intimacy needed to foster the book-browsing buzz we do so prize and which we’ll travel many a weary mile to experience. Indeed, we may have to travel many a weary mile since the San Fernando Valley doesn’t seem to have any bookstores other than the used variety and the biggies. We love the Valley, but it must be admitted that reading, as an activity, takes back seat here to spectatular multi-vehicle car collisions and shopping.
But we musn’t kvetch: to have a choice of swell indie bookshops within internal combustion distance is a real boon. To have so nice a place as Vroman’s is a double boon — a dubloon? And if that weren’t enough, as you grasp your bag of Simenons and Grishams and hurry out the back way you get one more treat in the form of the mosaic decorated stairs up to the (FREE!!) parking area: