Happy Friday, friends! I have journeyed from New York City to Ojai, California for family holiday celebrations. It is warm during the day, dark at night, and always quiet and beautiful. Basically, I’m in love with Ojai. I’m even more in love with the local bookstore: Bart’s Books. I’ve been hearing about this bookstore for years from my sister and soon-to-be Brother-in-Law, but I didn’t expect to love this store as much as I did. We visited yesterday afternoon, and it was magical.
From the moment I saw this sign at the front of the store, I knew it would be love. Closing at sunset? Having bookshelves line the outside walls of the store? Just throw in some coins after hours?
I was utterly and completely charmed. And I hadn’t even been inside yet!
The majority of the store is used books and outside. We browsed through the books for over an hour, and I easily could have stayed all afternoon. Aside from basic categories like fiction, there were hyper-specific sections. For example, there was a section on animals and within that section specifications for birds, mammals, etc. The staff was incredibly knowledgable, both about books in general and the books that were currently on the shelves. I went to ask where Bell Hooks would be shelved (correction: I made my little sister go ask because I’m a big wuss) and they replied, “Depending on what she’s writing about, she could end up in so many different sections here.” Again, utterly charmed!
The inside portion of the store is a little house filled with new books and rare books. They had a beautiful first edition of Slaughter House Five and a signed copy of Valley of the Dolls that caught my eye. The kitchen of the house (picture above with my beautiful sister) is filled with cookbooks.
The women’s studies and gender studies sections of the store were right next to the dating and relationships section, which I found hilarious. When Sarah and I found this book, we knew I needed to take a picture with it. Less than 24 hours in California, but don’t I look totally calm and blissed out?
The “living room” of the house had this beautiful Christmas tree made totally out of books!
After we picked out our books, we drove up to Meditation Mount and read in the grass while looking at this view. It was basically a perfect day. I’m already thinking that I’ll need one more trip to Bart’s Books before our vacation is over.