Long Beach Bookstores: Read All About It
Books not only afford us the opportunity for new knowledge and greater insight, but allow us to slow down and exit the superhighway that is modern life–at least for a little while. Long Beach, a city with a rich literary tradition, is blessed with a wealth of independent and distinctive bookstores, offering everything from comics to classics, new and used. Here are some of the city’s most beloved local spots ready to help you turn the page on a brand new you.
A great addition to the city’s literary scene, Casita (1440 E. Fourth St.), as the name suggests, is located in a charming little home that looks like something you might find in a magical woods. Large windows let in lots of natural light into its one room. Shelves are stocked with children’s and young adult books, as well as adult fiction, Spanish-language literature and cookbooks. The lighting is warm, the atmosphere calm and there are comfortable nooks to curl up with your new good book.
PULP FICTION COMICS
Long a local destination for comics aficionados of all stripes and interested, Pulp Fiction Comics (3925 E. Anaheim St.) stocks all genres–superhero to silly, dark to darkly comic. It has long been a place to go to to get the latest releases, and its weekly, live unpacking stream of new books on Facebook has become must see social media for many. The knowledgeable staff is welcoming and always up to help the uninitiated find what they’re looking for–even if they’re not sure what they were looking for.
This much loved, north Long Beach shop is well-ordered and well-known for stocking some of the world’s great literature. There was a time when Gatsby (5535 E. Spring St.) sold used books exclusively, but its many shelves are now stocked with new and used alike.A great place to lose one’s self looking for that just right book, the staff is always willing to help. That connection explains why people often return, some have even chosen Gatsby to be the site of their wedding.
ONCE READ BOOKS
This gorgeous tumble of used books–estimated at more than 35,000–is arranged on shelves from floor to ceiling, addressing practically every subject you can imagine. It is arguably that Once Read Books (5422 E. Village Rd.) is the closest a Long Beach bookshop comes to the long since passed, and mourned, Acres of Books, not only for the amount of books squeezed into the space, but the treasure hunt-like quality that you might find something you may not have expected, or even knew existed.
BEL CANTO BOOKS
Located at the front of The Hangout, Bel Canto Books (2122 E. Fourth St.) features a highly curated selection of fiction, nonfiction and children’s books organized a monthly theme, with a special emphasis on books by women and people of color. One of its unique and popular features is a book concierge program that makes personalized book recommendations based on a person’s personal and reading history.
PAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
Located on what can be described as Greater Retro Row, Page Against the Machine (2714 E. Fourth St.) is a relatively small, fiercely independent store offering a curated library of classic volumes and activist literature on social and political movements, socially-conscious living and sustainability. As you’d expect, it is also a popular meeting place for discussion groups, readings and exhibits that tackle and propose solutions to many of the world’s most pressing issues.