Hubby truly is my bestest friend. He studies me. Knows me well. This time he surprised me with something super special to me.
You guys! It was the coolest date destination yet. The Last Bookstore in downtown L.A.—one of the largest independent physical bookstores in the world! There are no words for the wonder you can experience here. This booking-loving nerd got to roam around for 3+ hours. My brain nearly short-circuited at the sight. The musty smell of 250,000 books put me into a trans. All those wonderful pages! I fell in hard and didn’t want to leave.
I guess this place has been called one of the “22 most beautiful bookstores in the world,” “world’s 20 most stunning bookstores,” “17 coolest bookstores in the world,” and “20 most beautiful bookstores in the world.” Apparently it occupies a space that used to be a bank built in 1914. You could imagine the charm. The first story of the massive 2-story building is filled with a plethora of new and used books galore ordered by topic, while the second floor makes room for independent artist retail shops and what they call the “Labyrinth” of used books.
The Labyrinth is where things get bizarre…. it’s deemed as a porthole into an alternate universe. It’s dimly lit and crammed with dark bookshelves in all kinds of frenzied sequence to give the impression of being lost in a never-ending labyrinth. You see piles of books stacked in what seems like complete disarray, books arranged to make windows and tunnels, books organized by colors of the rainbow.
At one point I felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. With so many copies of used books I wanted to really take my time scanning the titles and peeking at the excerpts. Truly, hubby gifted me with his patience by allowing me ample time to peruse at my own snail’s pace.
I had so much fun trying to find the most obscure used books. Old copies, new copies, various edition copies. I managed to find an old copy of a book that was given to me by my uncle many many years ago –- I must have been in my early 20s. It was a specific edition that I gave away after a moment of crisis in a friend’s life. Mere Christianity. It’s priceless to me because with it, the seeds of my faith were planted.
If we had eaten lunch and paid for all day parking, I would have spent my entire day there. Plus, I kinda have a non book-loving hubby who was looking tired out after 3 hours of watching me pore over hardbacks. I forced myself back downstairs to the writing’ section which is conveniently located next to an old bank vault—I got cozy with my pile and decided which to purchase. I then coerced myself to the checkout. How can you go wrong with 3 dollar books? The highlight was the whole experience. It’s just so beautiful and amazing. And I’m sure the smile on my face after finding that old gem, made it a mission accomplished for hubby.
It was a mini-trip date I won’t soon forget — my kinda Disneyland with so many one-off features throughout. Amazing. So worth seeing and experiencing for yourself! Thank you, Mr. Hughes for getting me there.
If you like books and you live local to LA, you gotta see this place!!! Check it out…