Books, Bookstores, Indie Bookstores, Los Angeles, Uncategorized

Favorite Indie Bookstores in Los Angeles

I have been based in West Hollywood, CA and Palm Springs, CA, including forays to other continents, since graduate school. Like most of you, I am a book reader, collector, and appreciator.

LAist magazine recently created a list of favorite bookstores in the City of the Angels. See   Photos are included.

Even though I am a faithful visitor to some of the wonderful retailers on the list, I’d like to add my own favorites which went missing on LAist:

  1. The Bodhi Tree where one can find innumerable healing, self-growth, and philosophical works. The store, established in 1970, closed for a short while. It has re-opened on-line and is looking for a new retail space at present. See
  2. Hennessey and Ingalls for outstanding art, architecture, and coffee table books.  Two locations.  See    Photo below from LA Weekly
  3. The Travelers Bookstore at 8375 W.3rd Street near the Beverly Center. tel. (323)655-0575. See  There are 11 other travel bookstores in the southland. Another notable bookstore is Distant Lands in Pasadena.


Books, Bookstores, Libraries, Publishers, Uncategorized, Writers

Head Librarian, Library of Congress – First Woman, First Black Nominated

Here’s some positive news for books, book lovers, libraries, and the Library of Congress… an innovative librarian, hip to the digital age, has been nominated by President Obama to be the new leader at the Library of Congress. Carla Hayden would be the first woman, and the first black in this life time appointment.  Note: the 160 million-item collection at the Library of Congress has yet to be digitalized. Good luck Carla!! (photo and bio below from Wikipedia).

Carla Diane Hayden is an American librarian. She is the current CEO of Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland, and was president of the American Library Association from 2003 to 2004.Wikipedia
Born: August 10, 1952 (age 63), Tallahassee, FL


See New York Times story at link below…




Books, Uncategorized, Writers

Iconic Rockstar David Bowie Was an Avid Reader; Loved Books, Words, Poetry

Iconic rock star David Bowie, writer-poet, avid reader, original thinker, and all around performer and musical talent, passed away bravely this week. No one other than his family, trusted associates, and palliative care team knew that he had been terminally ill with cancer for 18 months.  He went out a hero on his own terms at the age of 69, two days after his birthday and two days after the release of his latest album and a new rock video alluding to his imminent demise.

Photo below snapped this week, was found at

Flowers and lit candles are pictured next to a portrait of David Bowie outside the apartment house where he was living in 1976-78 in Berlin's Schoeneberg district

Here below, from the web site, is the complete list of his 100 favorite books demonstrating his open mind, eclectic taste, and fascination with the dark side:

Interviews With Francis Bacon by David Sylvester

Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse

Room At The Top by John Braine

On Having No Head by Douglass Harding

Kafka Was The Rage by Anatole Broyard

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

City Of Night by John Rechy

The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Iliad by Homer

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Tadanori Yokoo by Tadanori Yokoo

Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin

Inside The Whale And Other Essays by George Orwell

Mr. Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood

Halls Dictionary Of Subjects And Symbols In Art by James A. Hall

David Bomberg by Richard Cork

Blast by Wyndham Lewis

Passing by Nella Larson

Beyond The Brillo Box by Arthur C. Danto

The Origin Of Consciousness In The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes

In Bluebeard’s Castle by George Steiner

Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd

The Divided Self by R. D. Laing

The Stranger by Albert Camus

Infants Of The Spring by Wallace Thurman

The Quest For Christa T by Christa Wolf

The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin

Nights At The Circus by Angela Carter

The Master And Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodieby Muriel Spark

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Herzog by Saul Bellow

Puckoon by Spike Milligan

Black Boy by Richard Wright

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea by Yukio Mishima

Darkness At Noon by Arthur Koestler

The Waste Land by T.S. Elliot

McTeague by Frank Norris

Money by Martin Amis

The Outsider by Colin Wilson

Strange People by Frank Edwards

English Journey by J.B. Priestley

A Confederacy Of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

The Day Of The Locust by Nathanael West

1984 by George Orwell

The Life And Times Of Little Richard by Charles White

Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock by Nik Cohn

Mystery Train by Greil Marcus

Beano (comic, ’50s)

Raw (comic, ’80s)

White Noise by Don DeLillo

Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm And Blues And The Southern Dream Of Freedom by Peter Guralnick

Silence: Lectures And Writing by John Cage

Writers At Work: The Paris Review Interviews edited by Malcolm Cowley

The Sound Of The City: The Rise Of Rock And Roll by Charlie Gillete

Octobriana And The Russian Underground by Peter Sadecky

The Street by Ann Petry

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon

Last Exit To Brooklyn By Hubert Selby, Jr.

A People’s History Of The United States by Howard Zinn

The Age Of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby

Metropolitan Life by Fran Lebowitz

The Coast Of Utopia by Tom Stoppard

The Bridge by Hart Crane

All The Emperor’s Horses by David Kidd

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess

The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos

Tales Of Beatnik Glory by Ed Saunders

The Bird Artist by Howard Norman

Nowhere To Run The Story Of Soul Music by Gerri Hirshey

Before The Deluge by Otto Friedrich

Sexual Personae: Art And Decadence From Nefertiti To Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia

The American Way Of Death by Jessica Mitford

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Teenage by Jon Savage

Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh

The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Viz (comic, early ’80s)

Private Eye (satirical magazine, ’60s – ’80s)

Selected Poems by Frank O’Hara

The Trial Of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens

Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes

Maldodor by Comte de Lautréamont

On The Road by Jack Kerouac

Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonders by Lawrence Weschler

Zanoni by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Transcendental Magic, Its Doctine and Ritual by Eliphas Lévi

The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels

The Leopard by Giusseppe Di Lampedusa

Inferno by Dante Alighieri

A Grave For A Dolphin by Alberto Denti di Pirajno

The Insult by Rupert Thomson

In Between The Sheets by Ian McEwan

A People’s Tragedy by Orlando Figes

Journey Into The Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzburg


Books, Uncategorized, Writers

Poet Robert Frost’s Granddaughter w/New Book

The following is a re-print of the bio-section of’s interview with Robert Frost’s distinguished granddaughter Dr. Lesley Francis. Even though my area is wellness books, I am including this mention because poetry can be healing for many people, and reading about the life of Robert Frost might be healing as well.

Book Brahmin: Lesley Lee Francis

photo: Paul Fetters

Lesley Lee Francis is the granddaughter of Robert Frost. She received her A.B. degree from Radcliffe College and her Ph.D. in Romance Languages from Duke University. She became a professor of Spanish language, literature and history, and ran a summer program in Spain. Retired from the professional staff of the American Association of University Professors in Washington, D.C., she continues teaching and writing and helps organize the annual Frost Symposium. Dr. Francis has lectured and published extensively on her grandfather, including her biographical study, Robert Frost: An Adventure in Poetry, 1900-1918 (Transaction Publishers). She lives in Arlington, Va.; her three daughters and six grandchildren live nearby. Her new book, You Come Too: My Journey with Robert Frost, is available from the University of Virginia Press (December 3, 2015).

Book Fairs, Books, Bookstores, Uncategorized

Guadalajara Book Fair 2015, a Review


From DEMAC, a women's empowerment press and foundation
From DEMAC, a women’s empowerment press and foundation,  Losing Fear by Writing

It’s a great day (December 5) in Guadalajara. Think LA in the winter, the same weather. I checked, 76 degrees in both cities, no rain!! 😉

The Guadalajara Book Fair 2015 (in its 29th year) opened November 28 and closes Sunday night December 6 at 9 p.m. at Expo Guadalajara. The fair is considered the premiere book event of the Ibero-Americas. This year 1900 publishing houses representing 43 countries are participating. Around 700 authors are speaking at various forums, and/or, presenting their work(s) at booths. The United Kingdom is the featured country. The Brits created an impressive two-tier pavilion of billowing red fabric loosely inspired by the country’s red double-decker buses to invite guests inside.

The highlight of the 9-day event was British author Salman Rushdie’s lecture at Sunday’s Literary Salon. He spoke about his childhood tradition of storytelling (he was born in Kashmir) and how it influenced his work and perspective. Sir Rushdie received the Carlos Fuente Medal from the late Mexican author’s wife.

Also notable, the great number of junior high, high school, and university students flooding the floors, avidly scouring for books from one side of the Expo to the other. It was thrilling to watch young people so hungry for knowledge. Hope for this country’s future.

mostly young people at the Gandhi Bookstore booth
mostly young people at the Gandhi Bookstore booth
school boys captivated at the Arte Mexicano booth
school boys captivated at the Artes de Mexico booth looking at antique cameras

I spent five hours roaming the national and international floors.

There were the usual global players – Grupo Planeta (Spain), Harper Collins, Random House/Penguin (Bertelsmann AG, Germany), Hachette (France), and Oxford University Press (UK). I spent most of my time visiting university and small press booths for inspiring conversations, new paradigm thinking, etc.

Highlights for me in alphabetical order:

Amazon.  Presenting the Kindle White Paper with a $20 US discount for expo speakers, $5 US discount on e-books. Amazon Mexico, recently launched at,  was also promoting its Mexican self-publishing/direct publishing through Create Space to reach “more than 500 million Spanish speakers.”. See

AM Editores.  Mexico City-based publisher of exquisite coffee table architectural books, as well as books on haute cuisine and beautiful Mexico. See

Anadoludkm.  The Turkish Center of Language and Culture, bravely showing books on Islam as well as books by Turkish authors, artists, and chefs. They are located at Justo Sierra 2555 in Colonia Ladron de Guevara in Guadalajara.

***DEMAC Documentacion y Estudios de Mujeres, A.C. A 20-year old non-profit for the empowerment of women with offices in Chichuahua, Puebla, Queretaro, and Veracruz (Xalapa). See  With an understanding that writing can be healing, they run a yearly writing contest throughout the country, as well as writing classes, and seminars where women share their compelling and moving stories. (see diary cover at top of this post).

Grupo Planeta from Spain, especially its PAIDOS booth with offerings on cinema, climate change, narcotics traffic, psychoanalysis, and science. Current best sellers are Melissa Muller’s Ana Frank (Ann Frank), Keri Smith’s Destroza este Diario en Cualquier Sito (no.1 best-seller now, especially with young people, encouraging diary entrees traveling, in school, on bike outings, in the airplane, next to a lake, walking through a neighborhood, etc.). Works of Harvard professor/director of Harvard’s Project Zero Howard Gardner were also promoted. I purchased The Mindfulness Coloring Book a fine gift for anyone of any age.


See the Planeta Group’s Mexican web site at

Ecuador.  Stopped by out of curiosity as I attended Ecuador’s 5th annual book fair in Quito exactly two years ago. The Quito fair had 56 stands, the one from Iran, set up by the Embassy, turned out to be the most enticing with a display of photos, paintings, oriental carpets, and of course, books. There were not a lot of events. The next Quito book fair, sponsored by Ecuador’s Ministry of Culture, will be in November 2016, and promises many worthy events and activities. It will be supported by the House of Culture, the Association of Independent Authors, and publishers El Angel, El Conejo, and others. The fair in 2013 was small and not well-attended by locals. Ecuador, as I have observed, is not yet a country with many authors of note (there are some), or readers. But if you research Ecuadorians at the time of the revolution, you will discover, among others, well-educated country heroine Manuela Saenz who was a prolific and articulate diarist as well as a woman ahead of her time. The Ecuadorian Chamber of Books (Camara Ecuatoriano del Libro) publishes a handsome magazine, Leo (I Read), with the motto mas libros, mas libres – more books, more liberty. See also, Fabian Luzuriaga T. is the president. Or see .  Mr. Books (, a book chain with stores in Quito and Guayaquil and a bookstore on-line), is a sponsor of the book fair.

El Colegio Mexiquiense. Photo of yours truly below with Margarita Vazquez, Head of Distribution and Marketing for El Colegio Mexiquiense, located in San Miguel Zinacantepec, west of Toluca, a social sciences university offering M.A.’s and PhDs. They produce a prolific number of publications. .The gentleman is a visting psychologist.


Gandhi Books. Popular Mexican chain with 20 bookstores (including one at the Mexico City Airport) also selling music, videos, and offering refreshments at its cafes. See Gandhi’s promo for the event was a smart take on God Save the Queen, Dios Salve a los Libros, May God Save Books!!

Latin American Book Source, Inc.  A Chula Vista, CA (San Diego) based distributor of Spanish language books in North America with a plethora of hard cover and paperback titles you can order on-line.  Also see America Reads Spanish at , an organization that promotes Spanish-language books in North America.

Letras Libres. A monthly book review publication (arts, literature, interviews).

Libreria del Fondo Jose Luis Martinez.  A GDL bookstore at Av. Chapultapec Sur 198 which features books on ecology, economics, health, and science. A good number of patrician looking visitors at the impressive booth (not just its size but its titles). On Thursday night authors David Brading and Alan Knight presented a History of Mexico lecture from the point of view of Britain. The bookstore also features publications from Mexico’s Secretary of Public Education and CFE, Fondo de Cultura Economica, “la ciencia para todos”, science for everyone.

Luvina.  Luvina is a small, Guadalajara-based imprint of noteworthy educational books, usually a collection of writings in one book dedicated to one subject. Luvina publishes with the University of Guadalajara, the founder of the Guadalajara Book Fair. I bought Enfermedad (Illness) with poetry, photos, surrealistic art work, and 14 stories by different authors. See .

***Mexican Institute of Water Technology. “Our mission is to produce, instill, and disseminate knowledge and technology for the sustainable management of water.” IMTA produces world water forums. Tiny booth, important work. Book title of note, Healthy Water, Healthy People.  See

Healthy Water, Healthy People

***Nirvana Libros, S.A of Mexico City featuring body/mind/spirit/philosophy books which are sold at Gonville in Guadalajara’s El Centro (Av. 16 de Septiembre y Avenida Juarez).  Aside from books we know well such as Mexican-American Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements (and his other titles), Nirvana bravely put forth a large display of Swiss academic Tariq Ramadan’s Mi Vision del Islam Occidental (My Vision of Western Islam) which discusses the great confusion in themes of identity, religion and culture among Muslims. His book Muhammad which offers up a portrait of Muhammad as a mediator and a man of light, was also displayed with two titles by Abdelmunim Aya, most notably Islam sin Dios (Islam without God), an effort to diminish current stereotypes of Islam as presented in Western media.

Quartoscuro.  Six editions/year of fine photography and documentation of the world. I went home with the February-March 2013 edition containing extraordinary photos of the Syrian catastrophe by Latino photographers Javier Manzano and Narciso Contreras. Wow. Prayers for all Syrians caught in the fray and prayers for all other refugees.

Argentinian author, literature professor, and Guggenheim fellow Perla Suez received Mexico’s prestigious Premio Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (Sister Jane Prize) from the Guadalajara Book Fair for El Pais del Diablo, (The Devil’s Country) about the extermination of the “los mapuches” in Argentina’s and Chile’s extreme south. See link for history of the los mapuches at .

Gabriel Retes, an alternative lifestyle movie and theater director whom I briefly hosted at a film festival in LA and saw later in Mexico City with a group of other directors, mounted a theatrical production of the book/movie Trainspotting Thursday night. I missed it. A photo of Retes in the festival’s daily shows him with shoulder length red hair and a white beard slightly telegraphing the broken love subject that captivates him.

For those attending daily, there were a plethora of worthy speakers and subjects to select from. I would have liked to have heard Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, talk about the future of publishing or attend several seminars on what’s happening inside Mexico.

I totally missed the American Library Association booth, wish I had thought to visit, and, the Sharjah Book Authority. I have always wanted to attend the Sharjah Book Fair, maybe next year?!

I’ve attended several Book Expo America’s in NY and LA, and other book fairs in the U.S., on behalf of clients. I’ve always enjoyed them but I especially enjoyed attending this year’s Guadalajara Book Fair. Discovering books to love in other countries offers an added dynamic to the experience.