This week, we tracked down Darryl Holter, one of the new owners of Chevalier’s Books, a 76-year-old literary haven on Larchmont in Los Angeles, to learn a little more about him and the bookstore. The CEO of the Shammas Group, an LA real-estate investment firm, Darryl is also a musician, a music historian, and an expert on Woody Guthrie who has a new book on Guthrie’s time in LA. We had seven questions for him:
What is your favorite word, and why? Solidarity. I like the notion that things happen when people get other people to make them happen.
What motivated you to give Chevalier’s a new lease on life? It was clear that the store was going under. There was no inventory—you could order books but they might not come. The place looked tired and worn, and the employees seemed unhappy. My favorite bookseller had left the store in disgust. Bert Deixler, in regards to this situation, commented one day, “Yeah, maybe we should buy it.” And I said, dismissively, “Right.” But then I thought about it and said, “Right. Maybe we should buy it.”
Describe Chevalier’s in three words. Community. Intellectual. Infrastructure. The store is part of the intellectual infrastructure of LA.
Which book do not enough people know about? Michael Pye, The Edge of the World: A Cultural History of the North Sea and the Transformation of Europe. We tend to locate the origins of modern Europe in the Mediterranean, but, as this book suggests, we should look instead to the north. Read more →