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Goodbye Dutton's: Thanks Beverly Hills!

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My first memory of Dutton's is of the one in the valley, hot on those unairconditioned summer afternoons, the faintly sour smell of the paper. It was crowded, a little uncomfortable, and yet it was a place that was full of treasures. A place where a kid could wander -- completely by accident, into the Literature section and discover something magical.

After my family moved to the Westside in the early nineties, Dutton's became a must. With its sunny courtyard, its three disconnected stores, and its coffee shop, it's a bastion of normalcy in fancy-boutique oriented Brentwood. My mom still raves about how great their mystery section used to be (and how once it stopped being so good, she knew there was a problem.)

Though they have a solid, varied collection, and they could order anything you needed, Dutton's isn't a place you went because of their encyclopedic selection. It is a place you go to look around, to find something -- you're not even sure what you're looking for. You go because it's a place where people really care about books, and it's not just stocked, it's curated.

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After hearing the bad news, I headed over to Dutton's. The place was already looking picked over...