Thursday, March 20, 2008

Another one bites the dust

Dutton's is (was, now) one of the few reasons I enjoyed Los Angeles... the list has now grown smaller. I'm sorry to see it go.
Like a lot of LA writers, I had a book-signing at Dutton's, a Sunday afternoon event flush with kids and cookies and good will. My 6-year-old daughter accompanied me, and as I signed copies of my book, she signed books too. Only they weren't my books she was signing. They were whatever books--Yeats or Bukowski or Sandra Boynton--happened to be lying nearby. To this day, there might be a copy of Dickens or Roth with my daughter's signature scrawled hopefully, mistakenly, on the title page. That was Dutton's too.

Dutton's was a place you could go to meet a friend, have a cup of tea (you could even read a magazine from the news rack and put it back, although that wasn't encouraged), hold a job interview, work on a screenplay. It wasn't impersonal, like a Starbucks. It wasn't infernal, like Barnes & Noble. You could buy greeting cards there, and candles, and funny little knickknacks and book bags, but it wasn't a store that was mostly about the knickknacks, where books are disposable, an afterthought. It was all about the books.

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