Thursday, 21 December 2006

Metropolis Books, a new independent store in downtown LA, first came to my attention via a post on the Counterbalance blog. Then today I came across a great piece written by Scott Timberg for the Los Angeles Times.

It's really worth reading, just so you get a feel for the environment of this part of the city. Gentrification, apparently, is predominant and the bookstore's appearance seems to be part of this process.

I've never been outside the airport of Los Angeles, and this piece provides a welcome glimpse into the workings of a major metropolis. The bookshop is well-named.

"Ultimately, what it comes down to is reclaiming these blighted areas," said Andre Coleman, a science-fiction writer. "You have to put culture back — you can't just put in a Subway or a Starbucks. I know we're close to an area called skid row, but a bookstore gives people hope."

What is happening in LA sounds a lot like what happened in Sydney. Much of Glebe, for example, where Gleebooks has prospered for decades, was until the mid-nineties pretty run-down. Newtown was even worse, but now offers readers many opportunities for choice and bargains in numerous bookstores.

It's interesting how cities work.

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