Originally posted on The Algonquin Books Blog.
Intrepid former Algonquin intern David Bradley and his trusty sidekick, Lucky the Leprechaun, hit the road for a tour of (almost all) the coolest, hippest, greatest indie bookstores in the United States. Join us for the journey…
LOS ANGELES — Hustle and bustle. Glitz and glamour. Movie stars and, well, more movie stars. You know you’re in Los Angeles rather immediately. Mostly because the already hectic California traffic ramps up to a truly absurd clogged disaster, but also because L.A. has that iconic feel that’s rare even among the major cities. It’s not just the tall buildings or the crowded streets or the flashing lights or the Walk of Fame or the giant “Hollywood” sign looking over it all. Heck, I don’t really know what it is. But Los Angeles has it.
Los Angeles has it, but Book Soup has more of it. Sitting in West Hollywood just underneath the Hollywood Hills, Book Soup has a unique design and a beautiful entrance that stays true to its L.A. roots, with magazines and newspapers lining one of its outside walls. Meanwhile, the inside is so supremely decorated that you have to wonder how every movie doesn’t find an excuse to shoot a scene there (after all, we all need more bookstores in our movies). Their selection is top-notch, too. When I reached Book Soup I had literally gone coast to coast in search of a particularly strange book of poetry, Alien Vs. Predator by Michael Robbins. I had almost given up hope of finding it until, lo and behold, the Book Soup staff not only had it in stock but were totally familiar with it. If you’re in L.A. and you haven’t been to Book Soup, then you’re doing it wrong.
Former Store Manager Paige Ferguson answered the Algonquin Questionnaire before handing over the reins to current Manager Greg Tower.
When did Book Soup originally open?
What was in the current location before Book Soup?
There were some interesting things going on here a few years back. Next door used to be a funeral parlor and this location used to be a clothing store, but not just any clothing store. There were a lot of rumors that the store was owned by the mob although, obviously, I never got that confirmed.
What is the oddest non-book item that you sell in the store?
We actually have Book Soup condoms available for purchase. But I want to throw a disclaimer out there that the condoms are mostly a novelty item and we do not claim responsibility for their effectiveness (or lack thereof).
Are there any staff members with odd or unique talents?
One of our booksellers, Dustin, is a professional comedian who has actually performed in the store on occasion.
Is there a staff cocktail of choice?
Coffee. Always coffee.
Next stop: Skylight Books in Los Angeles.
*Note: The Lucky Tour posts are not in real time. David and Lucky have returned from their travels with great tales and many, many books. Stay tuned for more road stories…