A lot of sites and media are reacting to the sad news — first posted here at LA Observed early this morning — that Dutton's Books in Brentwood will be shutting down. One of the least expected venues (to me) is the courts and crime blog maintained by Daily News reporter Brent Hopkins. He's quite bummed.
When Doug Dutton closes the doors of his bookstore on April 30, the city will lose an absolute treasure. This doesn't have that much to do with court stuff, I know, but I wanted to offer thoughts from my little pulpit while I had the chance while I'm on my lunch break.
Dutton's was the first bookstore I visited where I felt like a real adult. I went there in college with a very cultured older friend and immediately fell in love with the place. Its weird layout, its cafe, its boundlessly knowledgeable staff. There was seemingly nothing they couldn't find or didn't know. On that first trip, I bought my first book by a man who'd become one of my heroes, Richard Halliburton. When I got "The Royal Road to Romance" home, I knew I'd be back to Dutton's again and again.
And indeed, I did. Whether I needed Raymond Chandler or Michael Chabon, Dutton's never let me down. After his brother, Dave, shuttered his North Hollywood shop of the same name a few years back, I became an even more frequent patron. I didn't care if Barnes and Noble or Borders had cheaper rates, I kept going back for the pleasure of walking through the aisles. Plenty of times, I ran in five minutes before closing, not only to find the one book I wanted, but several others I didn't even know I couldn't live without. In my geekier moments, I dreamed what it would be like to do a book signing there.
Dammit, I even went there for my reporters' notebooks.
City News Service moved an item, so the news has gotten on some TV station websites. Publishers Lunch and Publishers Weekly, of course, picked up the news. Some other links: California Authors, The Elegant Variation, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind, Beattie's Book Blog, Galleycat, LAist. Steve Lopez also reacts at the L.A. Times news blog.