It’s a great idea to support your local, independently owned bookstore, and that notion turned into a reality several weeks ago. Thanks to my brother-in-law’s Angels in Seven reading, I actually left the house for a bit of socialization and fresh air. The gathering took place at Next Chapter Books, and I was immediately hooked.
The owner is Boyd T. Davis, a U.S. Navy veteran (20 years in the service in active and reserve duty) who also spent 38 years in the public accounting field before opening up his bookstore 11 years ago in Canoga Park. After the reading ended I spent another hour perusing the various titles Davis housed in his shop (his backroom is also filled with a ton of books which haven’t hit the floor).
I also chatted up Davis for a spell, and he had an interesting story to tell about author Tom Wolfe (The Right Stuff, Bonfire of the Vanities) and the spillover foot traffic he’s received over the years (Tacos Way, which serves a pretty solid vegetarian burrito, is a few doors down).
Having been a lifelong fan of the movies Double Indemnity and Mildred Pierce, I’ve also had the goal of reading James M. Cain’s best works (I’ve only read the posthumously released Cloud Nine which, though flawed, had its moments).
Sitting on Boyd’s counter was the recent arrival of Cain X3 which, along with Postman and Mildred, also featured The Postman Always Rings Twice (a noir I still haven’t seen!). I immediately purchased Cain X3 along with two other titles (Dodsworth and The Best Tales of Hoffman). Tom Wolfe provides the intro to Cain X3, and my discovery of that tidbit led to Davis’ aforementioned Wolfe story.
Though the book’s cover was slightly worse for wear, I didn’t bring Cain’s stories home sans protection. Without prompting Davis affixed Cain X3 with a Brodard Book Jacket cover – and if I ever become a serious book collector, this is the starting point. Witnessing people who are passionate about what they do (Davis, who’s in his 70s, is an avid book lover) is always a good thing. Maybe someday I’ll actually do some labor on my own “labor of love” but ’til then I’ll draw inspiration from others (Boyd works six days a week in the store, and it’s obvious he puts a ton of care and attention to the place).
The bottom line is there’s a solid selection of books, and Boyd’s a friendly guy who’s always open for conversation. He was also gracious during my brother-in-law’s reading, and if you’re looking to promote your own work, Next Chapter Books is a good way to go (the bookstore has a couple of chairs at the end of selected aisles for some light reading as well as a comfy couch towards the storefront). Parking is available via a lot on the back (located off Remmet street) or you can also park on Sherman Way (metered parking).
I’ve always fashioned myself a true book lover, but unfortunately that’s more fact than fiction. Over the years I’ve made a horrible habit of borrowing books I’ll never read but maybe it’s time to really read between the lines. Time’s slipping away, and burying myself in a stream of pulp fiction novels is at the top of my agenda. Next Chapter Books will be my go to place for these book purchases, and I’m hoping Boyd has a few more stories up his sleeve. I know I do.
Update: I visited Next Chapter Books once again after checking out Blade Runner 2049 (a movie which, though excellent, isn’t as memorable as the first flick). This time out, I was on the hunt for some Cornell Woolrich (Rear Window, The Night Has a Thousand Eyes) novels, but unfortunately Boyd didn’t have his novels in stock.
Synchronicity came calling as a Woolrich story appears in this Alfred Hitchcock anthology that was sitting atop a pile of books on the counter, so I picked that up along with a paperback copy of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (aka Blade Runner). As usual, it was a pleasurable convo with Boyd that was capped off by two excellent additions to my growing book collection:
For more info on Next Chapter Books, go to www.nextchapterbooks.com
To hear the latest episode of CinemAddicts as I discuss my obsession for The Tales of Hoffman (Anderson Cowan & I also discuss Blade Runner 2049), click below: