Today's book adventure has led me to Lhooq Books in Carlsbad, CA. I've passed this spot numerous times before and am always gluing my face to the window (no worries, not driving). My dream came true today.
Lhooq Books Background
Lhooq Books/Exrealism was founded by Sean Christopher in 2015 and envisioned as a "community meeting space that offers learning workshops and possibly hosting an artist residency program." It is a nonprofit and for-profit store. Lahooq bookstore was named after a famous Marcel Duchamp art piece"L.H.O.O.Q." which is a postcard with Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa printed on it. Duchamp drew a mustache and beard on it and called it a day.
Duchamp once said,
“The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.”
Today, I'm a spectator to the wonderful world of books and contributing this video so that you can see and interpret the wonder of this creative space.
Thoughts on Lahooq Books
Lahooq Books is hidden behind a fast food chain and other businesses, you'll know when you're there when you see the big red umbrellas. The exterior building is lined with books, bookshelves, and graffiti. The books outside are on an honorary system in which you can take a book if you donate one. It looks like a large shed in someone's front yard and in fact it is, it's the owner's front yard.
When you first walk into the building, you see a beautiful arrangement of books that circles an old gold bulky clock.
It smells like a combination of wood mixed with coffee (there is coffee for sale on the very corner of the store). On one end, there is an automated fortune teller that is pristinely encased in plastic and in the other end, there is an outdoor patio where you can play chess and watch a film on a white screen. If you keep walking around, you'll also notice a big fish tank and sprinkles of used and vintage books mounted on unidentical bookshelves.
It's not what you expect when you walk in, the shop feels out of place in the area because of it's unstructured shelves and cobweb-covered edges. But that's what I loved about it, its raw and creaky floors transport you to what you might imagine a used bookstore to look like.
I am looking forward to visiting again.