To say that I love book stores would be an understatement. I love books. Old books, new books, everything about books. I love the way they smell, the way they feel. Through books you can learn new things, be transported back in time, become friends with fictional characters, step into someone else’s world. The Bodhi Tree bookstore has a story for me.
In the mid-80’s I was reading Shirley MacLaine’s books, like; Out on a Limb. She was doing some self-discovery and exploring the world and world religions. I was fascinated by it all. One day in the first year I moved to California (1986), I was at the library perusing books on Hinduism and as I flipped through one of the books a bookmark fell out. It was a bookmark from the Bodhi Tree. Until that moment I had thought the narrative in MacLaine’s books about the Bodhi Tree Bookstore were fiction. I never dreamed that the store was really there and named the Bodhi Tree. I took it as a sign. I would have to check it out. I was living in Hancock Park – in Los Angeles, so the trek over to Melrose was not far.
I can’t even begin to describe how amazing the store was…it was like a little house – with tiny rooms all packed full of books. There was incense burning and tea brewing. There were plants on high shelves and corners of little trinkets from all over the world. It was like being transported into a sanctuary of discovery. There were books on every religious and spiritual topic available.
I read books on Hinduism, monasteries, atheism, Islamic, crystals, and astrology. I would spend hours in the book store soaking up what I would never have found in the mid-west on the edge of the Bible Belt.
The bookstore has since been closed – but there is an online presence where you can get some of the same material.