Lazy summer days are perfect for cracking into a good book! There’s nothing like a juicy beach read, addictive mystery novel, or the latest bestseller to while away a sunny afternoon. DTLA is a bookworm’s paradise – from the venerable Los Angeles Central Library to major specialty stores, quirky collectible destinations, bookstores cum gallery and performance space, and even a literary book fair!
Looking for some inspiration? Here’s a list of 20 beach reads you won’t want to put down. And don’t miss The Library Book by Susan Orlean – this summer’s must-read which chronicles the devastating Los Angeles Public Library fire of 1986 and its aftermath, along with lots of tasty historical tidbits.
Los Angeles Central Library 630 W. 5th Street Los Angeles, CA 90071
An essential DTLA resource, the Richard J. Riordan Central Library is both a leading public research library and a major architectural landmark. Comprised of the original 1926 library now called the Goodhue Building and a 1993 addition named for former mayor Tom Bradley, it ranks with the Bradbury Building and Union Station as a treasure of the city’s historic downtown. The library has been designated a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument (#46) and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to the mother-lode of books, archites, and reference material, the Central Library has an amazing events program including movies, lectures, readings and classes.
The Library Store 630 W 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071
The Library Store is operated by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, which provides critical support to the Los Angeles Public Library resulting in free programs, resources, and services available to the millions of adults, children, and youth in Los Angeles. Through fundraising, advocacy, and innovative programs, the Library Foundation strengthens the Los Angeles Public Library and promotes greater awareness of its valuable resources. Shop the carefully curated collection of books, tees, totes, stationery and much more. All sales benefit the Los Angeles Public Library.
The Last Book Store 453 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
A true DTLA treasure, The Last Bookstore is California’s largest used and new book and record store, housed in a stunning 22,000 square-foot space in the Spring Arts Tower. According to owner Josh Spencer, the name was chosen with irony, but seems more appropriate with each passing day, as physical bookstores die out like dinosaurs from the meteoric impact of Amazon and e-books. In addition to over 250,000 new and used books on two floors, including the Arts & Rare Book Annex, the shared space includes tens of thousands of vinyl records and graphic novels, and a huge mezzanine level featuring the Labyrinth Above the Last Bookstore, Gather Yarn Shop, and the Spring Arts Collective gallery shops.
Hennessey + Ingalls Bookstore 300 S. Santa Fe Ave. Suite M Los Angeles, CA 90013
Since its founding in 1963, Hennessey + Ingalls has grown to become the largest art, architecture and design bookstore in the Western United States. In 2016, the store moved to its current location in DTLA’s booming Arts District. A landmark in the visual arts community, Hennessey + Ingalls counts many of the country’s leading architectural firms as clients, along with museums, collectors, art galleries, students, interior designers, graphic design firms, and schools. Even if you’re not an industry professional, it’s fun to browse the store’s in-depth selection of books, including art, art history, architecture, photography, interior design, graphic design, and landscaping.
LITLIT: Little Literary Fair Hauser Wirth Schimmel 917 E 3rd St. Los Angeles, CA 90013
July 20-21 LITLIT, or The Little Literary Fair, is a two-day book fair celebrating independent booksellers, book publishers, and book makers from Los Angeles and beyond. Hosted by the Los Angeles Review of Books and Hauser & Wirth Publishers, LITLIT brings together the eclectic contemporary in publishing, creating a unique opportunity for independent publishers to offer a range of books, while sharing their missions with Angelenos of all stripes. Presented in partnership with the 2019 LARB Publishing Workshop, LITLIT is an exciting addition to the landscape of summer activities for the culturally curious. Programming throughout the weekend will include interviews and panel discussions with publishers, authors, artists, and community organizers. Free and open to the public.
Kinokuniya 123 Astronaut E S Onizuka Street #205, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Founded in 1927 in Tokyo, the Books Kinokuniya chain spans 68 locations in Japan and 28 stores overseas, including the popular location Little Tokyo’s Weller Court. Kinokuniya offers an extensive selection of manga, graphic novels, art and design books, cookbooks, travel books, and children’s books. Calling all fans of animation director Hayao Miyazaki! Kinokuniya is the official retail partner of Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli and carries merchandise shipped directly from Japan, including DVDs, books, stationery, puzzles, pins, stuffed animals and more.
Now Serving Far East Plaza 727 N. Broadway, Unit 133 Los Angeles, CA 90012
Founded by Ken Concepcion, former chef de cuisine at Wolfgang Puck’s CUT, and his wife Michelle Mungcal, Now Serving carries a melange of new and used cookbooks, including out of print editions. The cookbooks are organized in geographical deparments such as the Americas, Asia, the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Europe, and categories like pastries and baking, beverages, general food writing, and reference books. Now Serving also offers gourmet kitchen tools like Japanese knives, new and vintage cast iron pans, and chef’s apparel. Check their schedule for in-store author events and book signings.
These Days 118 Winston St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Owned and operated by longtime DTLA residnets Stephen and Jodi Zeigler, These Days is a gallery, store, and publisher located in downtown Los Angeles. Since its first exhibition in 2014, the gallery has exhibited a diverse range of work including abstract paintings by photographer Nick Waplington, photography by Gusmano Cesaretti, Lookout & Wonderland’s collaborative fiber art project, and Ian Reid’s photographs of New York’s BDSM community. Though their interests are varied, These Days’ embrace of creative rebellion and nonconformist culture, communities, and artists is apparent in everything they curate. In 2016, These Days began publishing with work by Gusmano Cesaretti, Ian Reid, Sean Maung, and Estevan Oriol. The store features collectible and out-of-print photography books, zines, art and design objects.
Ooga Booga 943 N. Broadway #203 (upstairs) Los Angeles, CA 90012
Ooga Booga started in 2004 as a tiny shop in Chinatown Los Angeles specializing in independent art, books, music, and clothing. Over the past decade-and-half, the store has organized events, performances, film screenings, and readings at this space and in satellite projects such as Swiss Institute NY, Kadist Foundation SF, and Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Philadelphia. Ooga Booga occasionally publishes books, zines, records, tapes, and art editions. In 2008, Ooga Booga created a free online database of art book printers, in response to frequent requests from customers for advice on book publishing and art printing.