Note: Many businesses are struggling during the COVID19 pandemic and if you can support them, please consider doing so. Many book stores are currently closed and but some offer pick-up and delivery — and during our shelter-in-place order, now seems like an especially great time to read. Public libraries are all closed but if you haven’t yet, you should check out their websites. Most allow you to read ebooks, stream films, access photo archives, ask questions of librarians and take advantage of many other services.
In the US, it seems like every month has some sort of literary observance. January is home to National Science Fiction, National Thesaurus Day, and Library Shelfie Day. February is National Library Lovers Month and includes Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week, Library Lovers Day, and Freelance Writers Appreciation Week. The cavalcade continues all the way to December — also known as New Book Month, a month which attempts to compete with holiday heavyweights like St. Nicholas Day, Christmas, the Winter Solstice, and New Year’s Eve with less eagerly anticipated observances like Letter Writing Day, Dewey Decimal System Day, Crossword Puzzle Day, Jolabokaflod, and A’phabet Day.
For whatever reason — however, April (aka National Poetry Month) is positively packed with such holidays. There’s Children’s Book Day (the 2nd), National School Librarian Day (the 4th), National Library Week (the second week of the month), National Library Workers Day (Tuesday of National Library Week), Encourage a Young Writer Day (the 10th), National Bookmobile Day (Wednesday of National Library Week), D.E.A.R. Drop Everything And Read Day (the 12th), National Librarian Day (the 16th), National Haiku Poetry Day (the 17th), National Columnists’ Day (the 18th), and National Tell A Story Day (the 27th). There’s also a moveable feast of sorts, National Poem In Your Pocket Day, and on the last Saturday of the month, Independent Bookstore Day.
Not that I actually celebrate any of those April holidays, mind you. They’re the sorts of observances, really, that I think deserve some designation other than “holiday.” I mean, World Book and Copyright Day (the 23rd) and National Great Poetry Reading Day (the 28th) — however worthy — aren’t exactly in the same league as competing festivities like April Fool’s Day, South Asian New Year, and Beltane. That said, I figured it would be a nice enough excuse to make a map of Literary Los Angeles, featuring libraries (both public and private), book stores (independent and chain), and a few homes of Los Angeles writers.
If you know the addresses of any of the following — or any other Los Angeles authors (provided they’re no longer alive or at the very least, living there, out of respect to their privacy) — please let me have them: Bebe Moore Campbell, Chester Himes, Helen Hunt Jackson, Horace McCoy, Iceberg Slim, Irving and Sylvia Wallace (somewhere in Brentwood), Kate Coscarelli, L. Ron Hubbard (Newport Beach and elsewhere), Louis L’Amour, Octavia E. Butler (Pasadena), Paul Monette, Raymond Chandler (with some confirmed 36 addresses, I’ll add these later), Reyner Banham, Robert Bloch, Sidney Sheldon, Theodore Dreiser, and Truman Capote (had his own room in Joanne Carson‘s home, where he died.
Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, essayist, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking paid writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities. He is not interested in generating advertorials, cranking out clickbait, or laboring away in a listicle mill “for exposure.”
Brightwell has written for Angels Walk LA, Amoeblog, Boom: A Journal of California, diaCRITICS, Hidden Los Angeles, and KCET Departures. His art has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft Contemporary, Form Follows Function, Los Angeles County Store, the book Sidewalking, Skid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured as subject in The Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Magazine, LAist, CurbedLA, Eastsider LA, Boing Boing, Los Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRW‘s Which Way, LA?, at Emerson College, and the University of Southern California.
Brightwell is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on Ameba, Duolingo, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Mubi, and Twitter.