“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore it knows it’s not fooling a soul.”-Neil Gaiman
I wholeheartedly support the above quote, so it breaks my heart to deliver the very sad news that my town’s only independent bookshop will be closing its doors on June 15th. Sure, I have a Barnes and Nobles, but where is the fun in shopping there?
If you are a L.A. book lover specifically a South Bay resident, then you may have stumbled upon Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore. Mysterious Galaxy (MSG) is located in Redondo Beach on Artesia Blvd right behind the South Bay Galleria. It’s a quirky little bookstore that caters to Fantasy and Sci-Fi lovers, but they curate all sorts of books from all genres. For instance, I purchased my enormous copy of Haruki Murakami’s 1984, YA Sci-FI thriller The FIfth Wave by Rick Yancey , and a few contemporaries such as The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler. They always have great author events, which I now wish I would have attended more of, as well as some really great literacy groups. Overall, it was a little gem in the heart of my city, and I’ll be very sad to see it go.
The news was delivered just last week by the owner of the shop Terry. I had the pleasure of finally meeting Terry last week, and although I’d always seen her in my visits to the shop, I was always intimated to talk to her. (I’m a bit awkward)This may be the end of a store, but this isn’t the end for Terry. MSG in Redondo is her second location the first being in San Diego. I don’t know her very well, but I know just from hearing her talk that she’s passionate about books and stories. She’s worked really hard to keep the bookstore open and to make it a great place for the community. She brings in great authors and amazing books, and her love for what she does is obvious to anyone who spends two seconds with her.
Bookstores owned by passionate book-lovers is what we’re going to miss if things continue the way they are going. I can walk into a chain bookstore and buy a book, but it will never be the same as walking into an indie shop where the person ringing me up might be the owner, and they will not only talk to you about your book, but will have author information and more book recommendations for you. Author, reader, bookseller relationships are incredible and we need to cultivate them.
I found the shop online last year. One day out of curiosity I googled Independent bookstores in my area and I found MSG. I can’t tell you how shocked I was to see this place right on one of the busiest streets in the South Bay. I must have driven by it tons of times, but well I’m a scatterbrained driver whose eyes usually never stray from far from the impending doom of the yellow light so it’s not that surprising. From the moment I found the store I tried my best to go at least once a month, but new books are a bit pricy for a college student’s budget, and I always felt bad just going in there and not buying anything. I regret now that I was always hesitant to just wander the store and start conversations with the booksellers. Which goes to show that I need to stop getting in my own way and just go for things. However, every time I did manage to go spend my extra cash there, it was always a pleasant experience. I remember when I bought my copy of The Wise Man’s Fear I spent about 5 mins maybe a bit more talking about epic fantasy to one of the booksellers. It wasn’t much but that sure wouldn’t happen at Barnes and Nobles.
Even if I didn’t buy anything, it was always just a comfort to know that a bookstore existed within a fifteen mile radius from me. Books always make my days better, and more than a few times I would seek solace in MSG on particularly bad days. Now I feel all alone and lost again.
So the moral of the story folks is SUPPORT YOUR INDIES! I honestly don’t think I’ve done a good job in conveying how extremely sad this makes me. I believe bookstore are solely needed in every town and city, and while I’ll still have access to books, it simply is not the same. I know I speak for many when I say it’s a terrible loss to our community.
However, it’s not too late to show your support.
From the Mysterious Galaxy Facebook page
Another reason I decided to make this post (aside from my mopping) is that the store is doing a closing sale! Everything is 30% off, so if you live in the area stop by and satisfy you book shopping fix. Don’t forget to tell everyone in the store how sad we all are to see them go. Maybe with all the love thrown their way they’ll decide to stay!
I was not asked by Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore to write this post. This is just me showing my support.