A Visit to Vromans, Plus Adding to the Wish List

The other day I was meeting a friend near Pasadena for lunch and decided I'd use the occasion to finally visit Vroman's, a popular LA-area independent bookstore. I've been to Skylight, Book Soup, and The Last Bookstore, but whenever I'm near Pasadena it's for something super specific and doesn't lend itself to bookstore browsing. This seems pretty tragic now that I've been- it was definitely a "why have I waited so long?" moment. Needless to say, I was completely won over by the place and quickly deemed it the best bookstore I've been to (besides the ones listed above, in terms of "famous" bookstores, I've been to The Strand, but not yet to Powells). 

I think what I liked about it most was the size- it was large, but not daunting (like The Strand). Quality literature was clearly the focus- there weren't tables and displays devoted to mass-market writers, which I actually don't even remember seeing any of. My favorite feature was their staff recommendation wall, which was impressively large, as opposed to the few shelves you'd see somewhere like Barnes and Noble. There were sections for basically every category you could think of, plus half of the upstairs section was devoted to children's books, along with a space for story time and readings. 

You could tell the sales people were incredibly knowledgable and EVERY time I heard someone ask them a question the associate would walk them to where the answer was, as opposed to just sort of pointing in the general direction. I could feel the literary love, that's for sure. At one point I texted my friend that I was moving in (to which she instructed me to set up a homestead in the fiction section, where she'd join me). It just felt like what a bookstore should feel like- comfortable, inviting, and fascinating. 

I of course instantly started a list of books to look into later as soon as I walked in (I did leave with buying a book for myself and one of Sawyer, of course... I felt happily obligated). Here's some of the titles that Vroman's inspired:

The Ballad of Huck and Miguel by Tim DeRoche

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai 

Little Culinary Triumphs by Pascale Pujol

When Death Becomes Life: Notes from a Transplant Surgeon by Joshua Mezrich

Such Good Work by Johannes Lichtman 

The Spirit of Science Fiction by Roberto Bolano

Putney by Sofka Zinovieff

If You See Me, Don't Say Hi by Neel Patel 

The Lonesome Bodybuilder by Yukiko Motoya

I can't wait to go back! 

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