For the third installment of our series 7 Questions for a Bookseller, we talked to Josh Spencer, owner of The Last Bookstore in a historic bank building in downtown Los Angeles. The Last Bookstore opened in 2009, a time when the neighborhood bookstore seemed to be going extinct, but it defied the odds and has become California’s largest used and new book and record store, internationally famed as a work of art in its own right, with a book tunnel, Grecian columns, and vinyl sculptures hanging from the high ceilings. Josh Spencer began The Last Bookstore in his loft and grew into the successful independent business and community space that it is today. He took some time out of his always-busy life to answer our seven questions.
1. In an interview with KCRW, you mentioned that The Last Bookstore was similar to a creative narrative. If your bookstore was a book genre, what would it be?
The “new weird.” The sort of stuff China Mieville, Jeff Vandermeer, and maybe Neil Gaiman have sometimes written.
2. The Last Bookstore is like an art installation that you can live and read in. If you only had to describe your bookstore in three words, what would they be?
portal, refuge, explosion
3. What is your favorite word and why?
“Sword.” Because I like the way it sounds and feels, which I probably like because of a childhood steeped in fantasy novels and biblical stories and imagery revolving around swords. And I’m really into any movie or cartoon with swords, from Samurai Jack to Ichi the Killer to Star Wars to Lord of the Rings. Read more →