los angeles, California
March 7, 2003
I never miss a chance to shop at these stores whenever I'm in town. The selections at both stores are marvelously eclectic, I always discover new authors or find books I've never heard of by authors I love - things I want but didn't know I wanted.
On this trip I picked up a leather-bound set of Thackeray from the early 1900s. It was a splurge but I couldn't talk myself out of it (and neither could anyone else).
Black Oak carries new, used, and rare books - on this trip I found a slipcased copy of Macbeth illustrated by Salvador Dali that I didn't know existed. I didn't buy it (a bit pricey), but I enjoyed looking at it. They always have some books that I want and almost always I can afford them.
Chelsea Bookshop on the other hand only carries used/rare and though they too always have something I want, they rarely have something that I can afford.
The staff in both stores is always knowledgeable and helpful.
Next door to Chelsea Bookshop is an unattractive coffee shop with great food. In fact both sides of Irving surrounding the bookstores are full of great restaurants and shops. I think I've eaten at every one of the restuarants over the past few years - and never ever a bad meal.
The URL for Black Oak Books is here. Chelsea Bookshop doesn't have one.
From journal Alameda Island (a quiet spot on San Francisco Bay)