The best thing to come to downtown Fullerton since the city council redistricting plan pushed through last year by a few bar owners in order to ensure that the people who live downtown don’t actually get to vote
for candidates who truly represent downtown (just kidding: that thing SUCKS) is Half Off Books, a bookstore that held court in Whittier for some 10 years before moving to the Paris of North Orange County last month.
The store, all 3,000-square-feet of it, is open now and will offer about 100,000 used and new books, comics, graphic novels, LPs, DVDS and other and assorted sundries once it fully moves in, removes the false ceiling and installs 12-foot bookshelves that can be accessed by really cool ladders that used to be owned by the Los Angeles Public Library.
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It’s a welcome addition to a downtown that, in the early 1990s, had as many as six independent bookstores (or at least pawn shops and assorted antique shops with large print offerings). But then some Brainiac realized that thar’s gold in that alcohol, and the bars and restaurants (most of which are really just bars, at least after 9 p.m.) moved in, and the really interesting stuff moved out. With the exception of a bookstore that was located in the space next to Half Off Book’s current space that specialized mostly in rare and children’s books, Half Off is the first legit first brick-and-mortar indy book store in downtown area for 20 years. Though still moving in, the store is open seven days a week (see below) and You Should Go There Now. Cuz, yanno, it’s like a library except you OWN anything you buy. A casual stop last night and a random, eyes-wide-shut, plucking of books from the shelves (yes, the only kind of empirical scientific study of any bookstore, anywhere, that means anything) resulted in the following discoveries: A Thousand Acres. 1992 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Jamie Smiley, an updating of Shakespeare’s King Lear that, according to the back cover, is an “epic masterpiece…brilliantly alive…an historical novel with the
nearness of contemporary fiction.” Hardback. $7.97.
Gonzalez & Daughter Trucking Co. Mexican-American Maria Amparo Escandon’s book was published in 2005. According to the ACTUAL BOOK ITSELF (well, the front cover anyway) it is a “road novel with literary license.” Don’t know what that means? That’s OK. You probably haven’t wroted shit your entire life. Hardback. Didn’t catch the price. Oops. Command and Control. A deeply probing look into the S&M industry in Irvine, oh, wait. It’s sub-titled “Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Incident and the Illusion of Safety,” and was written by Eric Schlosser, who also penned Fast Food Nation. Sounds way legit. Hardback. $8. Truman. Photo on the cover looked familiar. Reminded us of a time when U.S. Presidents were considered
kind of dumb because of their hayseed nature, not because they were loud, bellicose, embarrassing cunts. It was also written by David McCullough, who won a Pulitzer Prize for this biography of Give ‘Em Hell Harry,
a president who wasn’t a loud, bellicose,embarrassing cunt. Just dumb. Because he was born in Missouri. Where both my parents died. So fuck off. I have issues. Hardback, $6.97. And lots of other stuff, including: a $5 LP of the Moody Blues’ Octave, a 1978 album that most likely
doesn’t have Ride My See-Saw on it,so eff it; a DVD of the Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt film The Devil’s Own, which might be worth the $1 price tag; expensive-looking art books with names like Kahlo, Warhol, Basquiat, and Dali, which I did not touch for my fingers felt grubby; X-Factor 99, for $3; a new copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle for $15; and the second collection of Art Spiegelman’s Maus strips, A Survivor’s Tale, for $5. And when is the last time YOU received THAT much intellectual stimulation without smoking a pipe? It's a BOOKSTORE IN DOWNTOWN FULLERTON! If you don't love that, than you are surely incapable of love, for you are too busy hating apple pie, baby Jesus and your own mother.
Half Off Books, 141 W. Wilshire Ave., Fullerton, (562) 945-6708. Fullerton. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun-Thurs; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri-Sat. https://www.pointy.com/shops/usa/california/whittier/half-off-books