The window display of the store on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica was worthy of a marginal comic book shop, but we are always on the lookout for interesting bookstores, and so we braved the raw exterior to see what was what in Arcana, Books on the Arts.
I’ll tell you what was what: Art books.
A really staggering collection of art books, big and small, but mostly big; the sort of gigantic, weighty, pricey, printed-by-elves artbooks that you see on the coffee table in Frasier’s apartment.
Go ahead, name an artist. Yep: Arcana had a huge, illustrated book devoted to him. Name another. Yes, she was represented. And before you ask: absolutely! — and not a single oversized tome, but three.
Normally we can’t afford this sort of luxury. Art exhibit tie-ins plus a museum membership discount are the only way we get to class up the joint with coffee table back-breakers. But we indulged today. A beautiful slip-cased 10×14″ edition of Gustave Moreau by the foremost Moreau authority (so said the bookseller) Pierre-Louis Mathieu was damaged enough to bring the if-ya-hafta-ask price down to $60. We lugged it away like drunken looters.
Look here is a photo of a photo of Gustave Moreau’s palette du peintre:
Addendum: We’re new to this area of the world — SoCal — and so in order to find where nearby independent bookstores are I used the handy web tool that IndieBound Books provides. To find an indie bookstore near you — you may be surprised how many there are — click on these magical words: O! HOW THE WHEEL BECOMES IT!