Happy Mother’s Day! I had a lovely day. The Hub and kids took me out for a Mexican feast and then we headed to Ojai, California which is only about 45 minutes from where we live. We visit often but we’ve never been able to find a decent bookstore there. However, a co-worker of mine reminded me of Bart’s Books. I went looking for this store once before but I never found it. Well, I found it today!
This store is very unique. Can you see why? Most of the collection is housed out in the open! Doesn’t that blow your mind? Apparently, Richard Bartinsdale’s book collection was getting out of hand so he installed bookshelves outside and asked people to drop money into a coffee can if they saw a title that caught their eye. It’s been around since the 60’s and is actually quite large. It was a house at one point, complete with kitchen and living space. They carry a large selection of used titles but I do believe they had some new books as well. If they weren’t new, they were in very good condition.
If you look carefully, you can see the Hub and kids standing on the corner. We thought that was pretty much it for the collection but we were wrong! There is quite a bit to look at inside.
Check out the History section above. Notice the corrugated roof? This is actually in part of a courtyard. I was amazed at the number of books available.
The picture above shows part of the open courtyard, complete with fireplace! This is part of the Fiction section and only a sampling of what they have to offer in the way of Fiction.
This is the other side of the courtyard. There are wrought iron tables and umbrellas all around. Makes it a nice place to spend some time. I wonder if they hold book group meetings there. That would be a nice place to meet, gathered around the fireplace, sipping a favorite beverage.
Check out the kitchen! Guess what was housed in the kitchen? Cookbooks! How completely appropriate! As I walked around, the wooden floors creaked and it really felt as if I was walking around in someone’s personal library.
My kids and Hub were great. They hung out in the children’s section and allowed me to wander aimlessly. It was wonderful! The only downside is that I left my book list at home so I had a hard time remembering the titles on my TBR list. Note to self, need a Blackberry :) Actually I would love an iPhone but I detest AT&T. I digress…
Here I am at the cash register. When the store is closed, they ask that you buy on the honor system and just place your money through a slot in the door. Isn’t that wild? See that tree in the background? Another reminder that I am outside! They also sell soft drinks and coffee for those that want to linger awhile. Special note: the restroom is not a public restroom so be sure to stop at a local convenience store beforehand or you might find yourself hopping from one foot to the other after drinking about 50 ounces of iced tea at lunch. Trust me, it’s not comfortable!
Since I didn’t have my list I ended up with The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff. This is a book club pick for later in the year so that one was easy to remember. I also picked up a copy of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. I read it a long time ago and loved it but did not own a copy. On top of my small stack, is a Brighton bookmark that I bought at a different store. I lost my other one last week so I decided to replace it.
All in all it was a fabulous day and I am so excited to have found this store. If you ever visit Ojai be sure to check it out. It’s at the corner of Matalija and Canada. Click here to check out their website.