I'm heading out to California tomorrow for a week at the beach at the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica. The hubby is working down there next week so I get to take advantage of his all expenses paid hotel room! One of my favorite things about Santa Monica is that it is the location of two of the best Art & Architecture book stores in the world.
The first is Arcana: Books of the Arts located on the Third Street Promenade
They specialize in rare and out of print books on 20th century art, architecture, design, & photography. They have an inventory of over 100,000 books which they are currently beginning to list on their website. They have many items that are one-of-a-kind, signed, limited or deluxe editions and extremely scarce.
This not a bookstore in which to sit and have a latte whilst paging through a new release. They are very serious about their product as you can see in this photo showing many of the volumes which are encased in plastic sleeves for protection. You can practically feel your IQ increasing just by walking across the threshold.
If Arcana is a bit to intellectual or intimidating for your taste you can walk about one block west to 214 Wilshire Blvd - the home of Hennessey & Ingalls Art & Architecture Books
In operation since 1963, this store is the largest art and architecture bookstore in the country. It is a landmark for the design community and a magnet for designers, architects, students, art directors, and anyone interested in the visual arts.
I can spend hours in here looking through the immense assortment of books and manuals. It is a cheerful, quiet, store staffed with knowledgeable employees who all seem to have a genuine interest in the books they are selling.
If you are looking for a book that's written about a subject that has anything to do with the arts or architecture and it's in print, it will be on the shelves of this store. If you are ever in Santa Monica you must treat yourself to a visit to these two establishments. You will never want to go to Barnes & Noble again!