by Morgan on January 10, 2011
Oh, love. I love you, love.
Chaucer’s is a dream. I don’t know if my standards are beginning to slacken, now that I live in Los Angeles and the availability of personal meccas like Nicholas Hoare is a distant memory, but Chaucer’s is very impressive.
The first thing I noted, an hour before closing, on a Sunday, was that the store was packed, and the majority of the shoppers were sifting the Fiction section: a good sign.
The sections were clearly announced and the layout made sense. Lord of Misrule enjoyed an exulted position, with copies aplenty, and the new releases were displayed prominently on a well-organized table at the front of the store, easily accessible and (to my delight) abundant. I spotted almost every January hardcover release appropriately stocked, both on the table, and in the Fiction shelves, among them Erin Kelly’s The Poison Tree, Colm Toibin’s The Empty Family, and Indie Bound’s January favorite, Lisa Genova’s Left Neglected. There was an impressive collection of signed books, all of them contemporary, hardcover, pertinent, and the Fiction shelves were packed and ruthlessly edited for quality, though inclusive and unpretentious in addition. I was happy to note the entire cannon of Alice Munro, Bernard Malamud, Lydia Davis, Kurt Vonnegut, et al.
I couldn’t find Gryphon, but not because Chaucer’s isn’t sharp: the bookseller I asked (who knew, instantly, who the author was) told me they’d ordered twenty copies and sold out within a couple days. More were on their way, and customers had reserved copies. Oh, love.
I picked up:
The Best American Short Stories, ed. Richard Russo and Heidi Pitlor (I want her job)
Long, Last, Happy: New and Collected Stories, Barry Hannah
The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon (one of the only books on my TBR list that I didn’t own)
Something Is Out There, Richard Bausch (an impulse buy; no idea how it was reviewed but the snippet I read in the store was compelling. For your entertainment, do check out the aesthetic discrepancy between the hipsteresque cover of Something Is Out There, and Bausch’s author photo.)
Chaucer’s wasn’t on my California hit list (The Book Works, in Del Mar, still tops it) but it’s now a personal favorite. We need one in LA.
As a few of my fellow readers in LA have pointed out, I missed Snooki at Barnes & Noble. Relevancy fail.
- 6 comments • Tagged as: alice munro, barnes & noble, barry hannah, bernard malamud, bookseller, bookstore, charles baxter, chaucer's, colm toibin, erin kelly, gryphon, heidi pitlor, jaimy gordon, kurt vonnegut, left neglected, lisa genova, long last happy, lord of misrule, los angeles, lydia davis, nicholas hoare, richard bausch, richard russo, santa barbara, something is out there, tbr, the best american short stories, the book works, the crying of lot 49, the empty family, the poison tree, thomas pynchon
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