Readers React: For a taste of what Caravan Book Store offered, wander around your local library

Rachel Bernstein Stark helps her father, Leonard Bernstein, pack items at Caravan Book Store, which closed after nearly 64 years in downtown Los Angeles.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Los Angeles Times reporter Thomas Curwen deserves an Oscar for his poignant description of the magical world revealed to Caravan Book Store visitors. (“Requiem for a bookstore: Caravan writes its final chapter,” March 2)

I confess I made very infrequent pilgrimages to this shrine of eccentricity in downtown L.A. For those who mourn its passing, a glimmering of Caravan’s delights can still be found in other libraries.

Bury yourself in the stacks of any large library; yes, search for a particular book, but allow yourself the freedom to wander and poke around the edges of your target and you will find byways — that “no step had trodden black” — to distant worlds you never imagined. Sadly, I understand, even this experience is fading as libraries take books off their shelves that are seldom checked out, to make room for more popular reading material.

So it goes: The old, the quaint, the naive dreams, disappear — like Caravan, like our grandparents, like our parents, and our lives are made poorer.


John Schwada, Los Angeles

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