Goodbye Dutton's: Thanks Beverly Hills!
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.
After hearing the bad news, I headed over to Dutton's. The place was already looking picked over...