Return to Portrait of a Bookstore

This is the place that encompasses "Portrait of a Bookstore."Daughtergirl and I so enjoyed our visit the other day to the Studio City indie bookstore, Portrait of a Bookstore, we felt compelled to drag Madame Nicework there today to experience the oddity for herself. This time we came equipped with appetites, for our intention was to do the old buy-a-book/have-a-nosh routine of our bygone Townhouse Books days.

Fortunately, we also came equipped with much patience. The way Aroma Cafe — that’s the restaurant engulfing the bookstore — works is this: You stand in line and stand in line and stand in line and stand in line until, one happy day, you find yourself facing the young’un behind the counter who cheerfully — or at least not depressedly — takes your order and money, for which you receive in exchange a stick on a stand bearing a number. Our number happened to be 2.

Back at the al fresco table you display your stick on a stand bearing a number (2, in our case) and — after you’ve played with you camera, read a chapter or two of your book purchase and gawked at the very gawkable Studio Citizens — a food service industry employee dashes up with your paninis and Asian salad balanced on her forearms.

Was Madame Nicework sending a message?Very good food it was, too, and well worth the character-building wait. Good book as well. Madame Nicework, who had assumed my browsing duties while I handled provisions, picked out Michael Wex’s Born to Kvetch for my pleasure. It’s all about the Yiddish language and it is chock full of both learning and laughs as you would expect in a book about Yiddish. Someday I may review it here. Until then, if the following 288 pages are anything like the first 15, it has a provisional NiceWork Seal of Approval.

Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All of Its Moods
By Michael Wex
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 303 pages)


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