Lancaster, California: A City without a Bookstore

Lancaster, California’s only general purpose bookstore—serving a city of close to 200,000 people—closed a couple of weeks ago. It was a Waldenbooks, and, ironically, it shut down within about a week of the city’s mayor—R. Rex Parris—making this comment to a gathering of 160 people: 

We’re growing a Christian community, and don’t let anybody shy away from that…I need (Lancaster community) standing up and saying we’re a Christian community, and we’re proud of that.

Mercifully, the mayor walked back his channeling of John Calvin and sectarianism (see here), and that means that maybe now he can move his focus from the lofty goal of making Lancaster a city set upon a hill to the more modest goal of making it a city with a bookstore. Here’s what the old one looked like yesterday morning. I bought a lot of books there. And it was nice to have someplace in the city that offered an allusive nod to Henry David Thoreau:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 .

And below is another image. The shadow being cast on the sidewalk is from a palm tree (a bit of which you can see reflected in the window). Thoreau would have noticed the palm tree and its shadow. And I can’t help but think of the poet Wallace Stevens’s line, “The palm at the end of the mind.” 

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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8 Responses to Lancaster, California: A City without a Bookstore

  1. Pingback: Mayor R. Rex Parris of Lancaster, California: “A true Christian community is one that will welcome anyone of faith.” « Prometheus Unbound

  2. Pingback: The City of Lancaster, in California, is sued for offering sectarian prayers to Jesus before council meetings « Prometheus Unbound

  3. Galifany Used Books has been in operation since October 2010. We are located at 44236 10th Street West inside the Lancaster Mini Mall in the Rite-Aid shopping center. With the help of the community we plan to grow to service the Antelope Valley. We are celebrating our one year mark and offering half price sales on different genres daily throughout the month of October.

    • santitafarella says:

      Wow, that’s great! A used book store anywhere is a sign of life. When I wrote the above post, it was several months prior to when you opened. Curiously, I’ve never heard of it. I’ll definitely check it out.

      —Santi

  4. Tell all of your friends and we will be able to stay open! Black Friday, November 25th, all books will be half price. (Sale prices not valid with any other credit or discounts) Thank you! JG

  5. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think the mayor’s comments were why that store closed. That is ridiculous!

    • Anonymous says:

      Dear Anonymous: The reason you don’t get Santi’s point is perhaps exactly his point: What in god’s name “is” a Christian community? Or, a Muslim community? It is a community where someone has an idea about what Christian means—and it certainly isn’t Muslim, or Jewish, whatever those are. And because it thinks it has an “identity”, it certainly doesn’t need other perspectives, the kind you’d find in a bookstore.
      Cheers, emburke, Portland, Maine

  6. Galifany Used Books is still open. I don’t know what was said but we have a little of everything. Hopefully we are representing every perspective.
    Cheers,
    JG

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