1407 Ocean Front Walk, Venice 310-399-2360
I rarely, if ever, buy books online, and the purchase of an e-reader is most definitely not in my future. I simply love the experience of walking into a bookstore and perusing the treasures to be found on its shelves too much. There are quite a few excellent shops in Los Angeles, but my favorite place to find new gems for my collection is Small World Books.
For years, my best friend and boyfriend lived within walking distance to the store owned by Mary Goodfader, and I fondly recall many afternoons spent getting lost in its sea of titles. Most of the books lining my shelves at home were purchased at Small World Books, and I still make it a point to visit the bookstore whenever I'm in Venice.
Goodfader first set up shop in Marina del Rey, but moved Small World Books to its current location on the Venice Boardwalk in 1976 when she and her late husband, Robert, came across the space for the bookshop and its neighboring restaurant, the Sidewalk Café. As you're walking down the boardwalk it's impossible to miss the red-and-white canopy covering the café's patio, and if you go all the way to its south end you can find the entrance to Small World Books. If you're a fan of Richard Kelly films, you might recognize the store from 2006's Southland Tales.
I always look forward to a friendly greeting from whomever is seated at the cashier – even if it is a simple nonchalant glance from the shop's resident feline, Conan the Librarian. Besides its large selection of contemporary bestsellers and literary classics, there are mystery, science-fiction, art, travel and poetry sections to explore. If you're unsure about what to get, take some time to peruse their staff-recommended books or simply ask a staff member. If they don't have exactly what you need, they won't hesitate to order it for you.