In Praise of Used Book Stores

Today’s ValleyNews has a wonderful article written by Jerry Blaz about the closing of The Bookie Joint in Reseda, the “Last hardcover used book store west of 405” (located at 7248 Reseda Blvd in Reseda). I do recommend that folk read Jerry’s article on the closing: it talks about his run in with celebrities looking for used books; what books have gone in and out; and the effects of the 1994 Earthquake. This article was also cited on valleyobserved and la_observed). I should note that I’ve known Jerry for ages. I think he’s been on Mail.Liberal-Judaism since its inception 16 years ago providing a very strong liberal Jewish voice, at times very stridant against Orthodoxy, but at times very spiritual as well. He’s also a regular at the YMCA, where he is in a Tai Chi class with my wife.

I do dispute his claim of being the last used bookstore W of the 405, as I know there is another used bookstore in the back of the shopping center at Devonshire and Mason. There is also supposedly one on Lassen as well. There had been one in North Hills, but it is temporarily closed due to a fire at the cleaners next door to it.

I love used bookstores: I can often find good books on the history of Los Angeles or California. When we go to the Pasadena Playhouse, we often stop by Cliffs Books (as well as the wonderful independent bookstore Vromans). Stores such as this must be encouraged; we have lost far too many of them. I’ll need to coordinate to visit Jerry before he closes his doors and retires for good.


16 Years. Wow.

I just prepped the text for v16n1 of Mail.Liberal-Judaism, which is the start of the 16th year of publication. This is a moderated mailing list I run to discuss Jewish issues in a non-judgemental forum. In it’s heyday, I had almost 200 issues in a volume. Last year I only had 44. Yet I still keep it around, even after 15 years.

Yes, I know there are mailing lists that are older. SF-Lovers is still around (it was one of the first mailing lists); I was on that list in the late 1970s. The older-sibling to MLJ is mail.jewish, founded in 1986 (making it 20 years old), which is a more halachic list. But still, I think 15 years is quite respectable.