I was halfway through a second helping of pumpkin ice cream at my sister’s pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving party this weekend when it occurred to me: The holidays have begun. Eating season has begun. (For me, eating, like sunshine in Southern California, is perennial, but sometimes the sun is extra bright, you know?)
This week I will attempt to bake sweet potato pie, which might sound like a respectably heady undertaking if I were going to make the crust. But Vons already took care of that for me, so I just have the filling to worry about. And I’m still worried.
But not worried enough to actually make a practice pie before inflicting it on AK’s family. This way I’ll know for sure that they like me for me, not just for my baking skills. Also, there’s a reason that grocery stores are open and stocked with pre-made pies on Thursday morning, right?
While we’re on the subject of American holiday pastimes: It’s not just eating season but shopping season. Apparently I am into practice shopping, because Sara, Dave, AK and I hit up a few stores in Burbank on Saturday, but I only bought one tiny present. At this rate, I should have my shopping done by March.
Or I could make a single stop at one of Greater L.A.’s awesome independent bookstores, and buy the peeps on my list some books by one of Greater L.A.’s awesome indie presses.
I hope you’ll do the same. My theory is that karma is extra intense around the holidays, and if your sweet potatoes were grown without pesticides and your reading material doesn’t come from a store that is actively trying to drive others out of business—well, Karma Santa is going to put you on his good list, don’t you think?
For SoCal locales, see below.* For other ideas, check out the Bookstore People blog.
Southern California-based Presses:
• Ammo Books: one-of-a-kind titles featuring amazing design, thoughtful writing, and exquisite printing
• Angel City Press: nostalgic yet cool illustrated books
• Arktoi Books: poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction that give lesbian writers access to “the conversation”
• Cahuenga Press: poetry that honors creative freedom and cooperation
• Cloverfield Press: books as visually beautiful as they are intellectually and emotionally stimulating
• Dzanc Books: literary fiction that falls outside the mainstream
• Gorsky Press: risk-taking books that encourage readers to re-examine society
• Green Integer: essays, manifestos, speeches, epistles, narratives, and more
• Les Figues Press: aesthetic conversations between readers, writers, and artists, with an avant-garde emphasis
• Make Now Press: contemporary works of constraint and conceptual literature
• Otis Books/Seismicity: contemporary fiction, poetry, essays, creative non-fiction and translation
• Perceval Press: art, critical writing, and poetry
• P S Books: micro-press that publishes conceptually motivated series on a project by project basis
• Red Hen Press: works of literary excellence that have been overlooked by mainstream presses
• San Diego City Works Press: local, ethnic, political, and border writing
• Santa Monica Press: offbeat looks at pop culture, lively how-to books, film history, travel, and humor
• Tsehai Publishers: literary fiction and serious nonfiction, with an emphasis on first-time authors and writers from under-served communities
• What Books Press: books by L.A.-based writers whose work spans the full scope of the past quarter century
Book Soup, West Hollywood
Chevalier’s Books, Larchmont Village
Diesel, Brentwood and Malibu
Equator Books, Venice
Eso Won Books, Leimert Park
Family, Fairfax District
Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse, La Cañada
IMIX Bookstore, Eagle Rock
Metropolis Books, Downtown
Portrait of a Bookstore, Studio City
Sierra Madre Books, Sierra Madre
Skylight Books, Los Feliz
Small World Books, Venice
Stories, Echo Park
Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore
Village Books, Pacific Palisades
Village Bookshop, Glendora
Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena
*List brought to you by FOPTT. Funny-tasting pie brought to you by Cheryl and Cheryl only.