WHAT’S SO FUNNY
The Friends of the Library Bookstore used to close every day at 3
p.m., but for several months now it has stayed open until 6 p.m. or
later on Wednesdays. You may not find this news electrifying, and
granted, it’s not true crime. But for book people like me, it’s a
riveting quality-of-life story.
I’ve been reading books since I was old enough to stop chewing on
them. I don’t understand people who say, “I’d love to read but I just
don’t have the time.” What, you’re never at a stoplight? This is why
people think Californians are illiterate.
Reading incessantly is a weakness too -- or so I’ve been told. But
every book has its own message, it’s own personality -- a book is, in
essence, a person doing his best -- and a good personality is worth
In recent years the Downtown Laguna book trade has taken a hit
from the superstores. We’ve lost several small individual shops,
including Upchurch-Brown and Different Drummer. Two Farenheit 451s
have shrunk into one Latitude 33. The second-hand bookstore that was
across from Main Beach when I moved here in 1986 has been gone for
But the Friends of the Library Bookstore remains down the stairs
from the library, offering used books at laughable prices. I’m not
kidding. It’s like “Come on down to Crazy Eddie’s.”
I got Garson Kanin’s “Tracy & Hepburn,” hardback, for a dollar.
Olivier’s “Confessions of an Actor,” hardback, for $1.50. Paperback
novels for a quarter. I mean, these volunteer staffers have lost
their minds, they are standing on their heads to get you together
with a mystery, a biography, books on art, photography, diet,
cooking, travel. Some books are priced higher, but all are steals.
Now some of these books show signs of having been read previously.
But as a condition-sensitive booklover I can testify that some of
them are like new. The Olivier, for instance, must have stayed on the
owner’s shelf as decor until it was donated.
So, if you’re interested in words on the page in handy containers,
come on down to where they’re open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday
through Saturday, except on Wednesday when NOW they’re own until 6
p.m. ... 7 p.m. if busy.
And hurry if you want to beat me. One of the reasons I’ve gotten
so many bargains is that I work there one Wednesday a month from 3
p.m. till closing. It’s supposed to be a good deed. What it is, is
* SHERWOOD KIRALY is a Friend of the Library.