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The Iliad Bookshop in NoHo

Yesterday at dim sum DM showed me an article on LA Times about The Iliad Bookshop, which was named the best used bookstore in LA by the Los Angeles Magazine in April 2007. That article jumpstarted our day after dim sum, as we drove from San Gabriel Valley to North Hollywood. Nested in the quiet stretch of Cahuenga Boulevard in the NoHo artist district, The Iliad is housed in this dark orange adobe type of building at the corner. Upon entrance we were greeted by the 2-Dollar book-table—everything on it is 2 bucks. Owner Dan Weinstein briefly informed us the layout of the store, which has recently been renovated and expanded to 5,000 sq. feet. The fiction and literature section has been relocated to the annex toward the back of the well-lighted store with new hard-wood floor. Lounged on a soft leather single-seat couch, asleep, is the one-eyed residence cat Zola. This is the list of what I acquired after a quick 15-minute browse:

Brightness Falls, Jay McInerney
Published in 1992 to great reviews, this novel introduces the characters later seen in 2006′s The Good Life, which I enjoyed tremendously.

Hold Tight, Christopher Bram
The Iliad has multiple copies of Bram’s first editions. This book is a page-turner about a gay man who is made a spy against the Nazi in a brothel.

Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
I’m getting my hand on this one after I zipped through East of Eden, which has now made my all-time favorite novel list.

Fingersmith, Sarah Waters
Many of you have raved about how you cannot put down this book. I have started reading this morning and it’s catching on like a wild fire. The copy I got is the hardbound, UK edition, with library wrap—for $10.

We had to leave after the brief visit due to impending plans. But if I’m allowed to browse the whole store more closely, going through the canyons of shelves and matching the selections against my list, I would need a big rig to carry the loots home. The prices are so competitive. The Iliad Bookshop, by the way is named so because at the time it first opened there was a video store next door called the Odyssey at the old location. The homey feeling to the store has, I’m sure driven book lovers and readers to the book mecca. So who says people in LA don’t read?

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23 Responses

  1. I used to work in NoHo and never knew it was even there. I don’t work there now but I am close enough to make the trip. I can’t wait to check it out. If you ever visit Ojai be sure to visit Bart’s Books. Another used bookstore that is very unique and different. Here’s a link if you want to check it out.

    http://www.bartsbooksojai.com/

    I blogged about it here:

    http://bookchatter.net/2009/05/10/the-sunday-salon-barts-books/

    • I have bookmarked Bart’s Book. We always look for new neighborhood indie bookstores in the greater Los Angeles area. The Iliad is on the quiet stretch of Cahenga Blvd in NoHo. It’s a dark orange adobe-type of building with its own parking lot. You can’t miss it. :)

  2. What a great and unexpected side trip! Always love a new and fabulous independent bookstore. And you exercised remarkable restraint I think. Enjoy the new books.

    I am starting to feel your same anxiety of influence about Fingersmith too. So many people love it!

    • I think the time restraint we had on Sunday forced me to exercise remarkable restraint to buy more books! I’m definitely going back for a closer examination! :)

      I just finished Part 1 of Fingersmith—cannot wait to find out what happens.

  3. Bookstore sounds great. Rizzoli Bookstore in NYC is one of my favorites. Hard wood floors, good music. Cat. I don’t even really like cats, but they seem requisite for a good bookstore.

    And I am loving your reading list. Everything you are reading right now is right up at the top of my list. Fingersmith is incredibly intricate and dark and goooood. I picked it up once at the university I attended. It was on the bookshelf for another class, but I couldn’t resist. I later apologized to the professor, and we had a long discussion of the book. Interestingly enough, my great grandmother was Choctaw Indian, and her name was Sarah Waters. I always thought it would be a good pen name until I saw it was taken.

    • Rizzoli used to have a store in downtown San Francisco, just a stone’s throw from Union Square, on the same street as all the glitz stores. At first I didn’t realize it was a bookstore because there was absolutely no display of any books up front! It occupied three floors of books but most of the patrons were perusers of magazines, which occupy the mezzanine level. All I remember was the dark wood panels and walls and the plush carpet so people walked around with no sound!

  4. LOVE Grapes of Wrath & Fingersmith, so enjoy. They are awesome. Grapes of Wrath is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.

    • I am reading to the end of Part 1 of Fingersmith, which is very engaging. I shall begin Grapes of Wrath very soon since I have enjoyed East of Eden tremendously, in a short time!

  5. Oh, this sounds like a lovely find and one that I am sure you will frequent often, as time allows.

  6. Sounds like a great bookshop, and I hope you continue to enjoy Fingersmith. :)

  7. How did a library wrap UK Edition Fingersmith find it ways to Hollywood? intriguing….

    I’m reading “The Little Stranger” now. If it’s good, I will read the rest of her books!

    Enjoy your books!

    • I was pondering the same question when I found it on the shelf. Along with it were several copies of the US trade paperbacks. Since many of you have enjoyed the book, I decided to purchase the UK hardback with library wrap.

  8. Congratulations on discovering a wonderful new bookstore! And once again we have reading kismet…I am reading Fingersmith right now myself!

  9. I just bought a copy of Fingersmith too…although I think your used copy is nicer than mine.

  10. I look forward to reading your review of Fingersmith! I am reading it on my Kindle and it says I am 30% of the way through. I love it so far!

    • I’m almost the end of Part 2. All I can say at the moment (although a bit cliche) is: O…My…Gosh! I love the twist! I am expecting more twists! I am ordering in food tonight because I don’t want to put the book down. :)

  11. Oh my gosh, I got to the twist last night and sat in stunned silence. I love that it caught me unaware. I was reading as much as I could this morning before work and can’t wait to read more tonight when I get home! Hope you are still enjoying it. I can see why so many have recommended it so highly.

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