Miscellany Posted Jun 07, 2020

The shop is OPEN!

We are thrilled to have re-opened the shop on Friday, June 12th!

We are open Tuesday-Sunday (11am-7pm) .
Thank you for your on-going support during these wild times!
*Photo by Rinko Kawauchi.
Miscellany Posted May 08, 2020


What qualifies as a great gift for a mother? It’s a loaded question, given the millions of different humans that mothers are. And this year – now – you might even see more strength, beauty, intelligence, and generosity in the mothers you know than you ever have. So what to give to a mother? The answer is the book *she* in particular will love. The usual tropes relate to themes of beauty, nurture, creativity, feminine grit, fortitude, and love are all wonderful things to be celebrated and expressed through art. So here are some books that reflect some of those themes in a way that might seem less than obvious (For a bunch of books on flowers and plants, see Tuesday’s post). These, and thousands of others, are in shop and available while supplies last! And if you don’t see what’s right for your radical mom here, let us know something about her and we’ll try find the perfect token of your gratitude and love. Call (310-458-1499), write (books@arcanabooks.com), or send/write a message here to purchase. We’re open for pickup today until 7 and can arrange delivery (in LA) or overnight shipping (in the US), wrapped and ready for the mom you love.
Day Sleeper Dorothea Lange / @SamContis - @mack_books  ($ 35.00)
Always Home: A Daughter's Recipes & Stories: Foreword by @AliceLouiseWaters @fannysinger  ($ 35.00)
Ruth Adler Schnee: Modern Designs for Living @cranbrookartmuseum @artbook ($ 50.00)
Bibliostyle: How We Live at Home with Books @bibliotstylefile @ninafreudenberger ($ 35.00)
I Was A Teenage Banshee by Susan Webster @rizzolibooks @myblackbaby ($ 50.00)
Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African-American Cooking $ 35.00
World Receivers: Georgiana Houghton - Hilma af Klint - Emma Kunz $ 49.95
Home Stories: 100 Years, 20 Visionary Interiors @ vitradesignmuseum ($ 90.00)
Cash and Carter Family Cookbook: Recipes and Recollections from Johnny and June's Table $ 29.99
Richard Avedon: Woman in the Mirror ($ 120.00)
Justine Kurland: Girl Pictures @justine4good @aperturefnd ($ 50.00)
Georgia O'Keeffe: Living Modern $ 60.00
Diana Vreeland: Bon Mots @rizzolibooks ($ 35.00)
Before Easter After: Lynn Goldsmith and Patti Smith @ thisispattismith @taschen ($ 700.00)
Ana Ros (@phaidonsps) $ 59.95
Cannelle et Vanille: Nourishing, Gluten-Free Recipes for Every Meal and Mood $ 35.00


Miscellany Posted May 06, 2020

Nothing but flowers🌷

Photo By WilliamEggleston. Give the gift that will keep on giving long after Sunday. Here is a handful of great books relating to flowers, plants, and botany - all symbols of beauty, growth, and nurture, which is why they are excellent choices as gifts for mothers. These, and thousands of others, are in shop and available while supplies last - act fast ! And if you don't see what's right for your radical mom here, let us know something about her and we'll try find the perfect token of your gratitude and love. Call (310-458-1499), write (books@arcanabooks.com), or send/write a message here to purchase. We can arrange for pickup, delivery, or expedited shipping to reach you (or your mom), gift-wrapped, by Sunday.⁣ 💐📚 ⁣
William Eggleston: Flowers/ @steidlverlag ($ 80.00)⁣
Flora Magnifica: The Art of Flowers in Four Seasons/ @thamesandhudson ($ 50.00)⁣
The Gardener's Garden/ @phaidonsnaps ($ 49.95)⁣
Akiko Tsuji: Vase and Flower/ @famousaspectmag ($ 30.00)⁣
CHANEL: The Art of Creating Fragrance: Flowers of the French Riviera/ @abramsbooks ( $ 200.00)⁣
Thomas Demand: Blossom / @mackbooks ($ 80.00)⁣
A Garden Can Be Anywhere: A Guide to Growing Bountiful and Beautiful Edible Gardens @ ediblegardensla / @abramsbooks ($ 40.00)⁣
Jean-Michel Othoniel: The Secret Language of Flowers/ @actessud @artbook ($ 35.00)⁣
Mapplethorpe Flora: The Complete Flowers/ @phaidonsnaps ($175.00)⁣
Edward Steichen: Gardens in Color ($ 45.00)⁣
Botanical Baking: Contemporary Baking and Cake Decorating with Edible Flowers and Herbs ($ 24.99)⁣
Everyday Flowers Arrangement In Kyoto ($35.50)⁣
Dream Plants for the Natural Garden by @PietOudolf ($ 29.95)⁣
After the Flower Market/ @ hoxtonminipress $ 16.95)⁣
Encyclopedia Of Flowers Makoto Azuma | Shunsuke Shiinoke Part 1 ($ 46.00) and Part 2/ @seigensha ($ 46.00)⁣
Cats & Plants/ @zioxla @stepheneichhorn ($ 55.00)
Miscellany Posted Apr 27, 2020

Salaams and Farewell to Peter Beard

Twenty-six years ago we were fortunate enough to be approached by our friend and colleague David Fahey to see if we would have an interest in having a book signing with one of his photographers while they were in Los Angeles. David's estimable gallery, Fahey-Klein, represented Peter Beard, and had assisted in organizing an ambitious installation and sale of his work in a vacant storefront in the rather incongruous locale of Two Rodeo Drive to benefit an African wildlife preservation fund. Having been a fan since the moment I first laid eyes on a copy of "The End of the Game: The Last Word From Paradise", there was nothing to say on our part but "yes, please!"  And so the adventure began.
Peter's reputation as both an endlessly inventive artist and a ladies' man preceded him. The initial plan was to have an Arcana table in the space during the gala opening evening selling books and facilitating their signing, for which a portion of the proceeds would go to the charity. I came to learn as the date approached that this would not simply be the photographer taking a pen and placing a signature on the title page. Instead Peter "signing" entailed an elaborate ritual of adornment usually combining a finger, hand, or footprint with watercolor washes, perhaps a small drawing or two, and concluding with a charming personalized greeting or "Salaams" accompanied by the number of his P.O. Box in either Montauk or Nairobi. Rather than taking the typical one minute-or-less per encounter, it became clear that each book receiving the artist's unique ink and watercolor-laden treatment could take ten to fifteen minutes to inscribe, and that much time again to dry properly before they could be safely closed! As the opening only lasted a few hours, the organizers justifiably realized that selling the prints on the walls to support the cause that was so central to Mr. Beard required his attention in charming potential benefactors throughout the evening, and that would be entirely derailed if he gave all his time and energy to personalizing books with his hands covered in ink. So, after we had ordered and pre-sold scores of "The End of the Game", "Eyelids of Morning", "Longing for Darkness", and the exquisite "Diary: Pictures From a Dead Man's Wallet" from Japan, there was suddenly no book signing. On top of this, as soon Peter hit town, the exhibition became more and more elaborate in scope, and the time allotted for his installation supervision became focused on how shall I say, renewing old, and making new acquaintances.
In an attempt to salvage our reputation and finances, David and Peter came to the rescue by prevailing upon the organizers to allow us to make sales at the event, which would be signed by Mr. Beard after the fact over the next week when he set up shop to embellish dozens of prints waiting for him in the back room at the gallery on La Brea. This was the best possible solution under the circumstances, and as I hazily recall the exhibition was ultimately installed by the time the doors opened, packed wall-to-wall with beautiful people, and financially successful.
And for the next several days I was the grateful recipient of the unforgettable experience of hanging out with and assisting the tireless Mr. Beard. Peter was well educated, well read, opinionated, funny, and thoughtful. He told me with a smile that he would have been far happier just personalizing books instead of having to schmooze at the opening, and we had many lively discussions as he alternated between finishing up the stacks of photographs strewn wherever there was a flat surface, and the contents of the many boxes we had brought along. Whether it was a photograph or book, each and every inscription was given his lengthy and undivided attention. On the first day of my apprenticeship, which consisted mostly of opening a book up to the proper page and then getting out of the way until it was time to take it away to let it dry for at least a half-hour, I made the mistake of trying to dress to impress. I wore my most expensive pair of pants - brand new light grey wool crepe Armani trousers - which promptly received a spatter of indelible cobalt blue watercolor all the way up the left leg from fifteen feet across the room as the collateral damage from one of Peter's enthusiastic flourishes on one of the really large photographs. While both my pants and shirt along with the gallery carpet were doomed, it was well worth it for the story all these years later.
Over the next several days, his schedule for showing up at the gallery became more and more diffuse as the late nights impacted the mornings, and more and more lady-friends seemed to require more of his "attention" during the afternoons. On his last day in town, after having finally graciously - and beautifully - personalized what must have been a hundred books for us, I brought out the box of my own copies of first editions of everything he had published and asked sheepishly if he wouldn't mind signing those as well. He apologized saying he was late for a date, and since he wanted to "take his time" with them, if I wouldn't mind dropping them off with the concierge at the Chateau Marmont, he would take care of it later that evening and leave the box at the desk when he checked out the next morning. When I returned to the Chateau several days later, I was touched to see Peter had not only kept his word, but had gone to great lengths to personalize each and every copy differently with collaged photographs of his fabled Rhinoceros goring, snake skin appliques, elaborate drawings and inscriptions, etc. He was an artist, a gentleman, and a man of honor.
Two years after that Peter had his infamous run-in with an elephant that nearly cost him his life. Again. And in 2006, Taschen released their spectacular magnum opus on his work - edited by David Fahey - which magnificently put in perspective the true breadth, artistry, and humanity of his career. While we only had sporadic contact in the intervening years, being the character that he was, one couldn't help reading or hearing about his rakish exploits, even into his old age. The uncertainty of the events of Peter's passing were certainly sad, and he leaves behind a grieving family, studio, and so many friends. But he also has left a legacy of remarkable work, and a commitment to the preservation of the East African land and wildlife that he felt so privileged to discover and tirelessly advocate for.

We don't usually try to feature things for sale in the wake of an artist or photographer's passing but there has been such a demonstrable outpouring of interest in Peter Beard's life and work in the past week, we felt we would take this moment to catalogue all of our remaining titles and make them available on our website. If you are so inclined, these include a number of beautiful hand-inscribed and decorated items - some that we squirreled away in 1994, others we've bought back since then, and even a couple of my own copies that I've decided to part with for the greater good. There is even an amazing one-of-a-kind framed 1977 "The End of The Game" poster inscribed by Peter to his pal Elaine Kaufman that hung on the walls of "Elaine's" in Manhattan for decades until its closing!

And please continue to enjoy our featured Book of the Day and let us know what you are looking for, as our  website represents a tiny fraction of our inventory. New releases are arriving daily and we can get them in your hands via shipping, delivery, or no-contact pick-up. Gift certificates and perennially practical zippered tote bags are also available on the site, by email, and by phone.

Wishing you all safety, sanity, wellness and future adventure.

With Immense Gratitude,
Lee (+ Whitney)

Miscellany Posted Mar 18, 2020

Regular Hours Suspended as of 3/19/20

Dear Friends,

We are closed for in-store shopping. But we are here - working behind closed doors - ready to help you! 

Pick-up, delivery, and shipping are all available and welcomed! We are here if you need something though we are required to limit visitation for the safety of our staff and to comply with local ordinances.


You can order from amongst the listings on this site (our recent Books of the Days are here), give us a ring or send us a message and we will be happy to satisfy your bibliographic cravings. You can also buy a gift certificate!

Our website has only a few thousand listings and is by no means representative of the entirety of our stock - so let us know what you're looking for and we will check our shelves:  310-458-1499 / books@arcanabooks.com.





photo by Yoshihiro Makino

Miscellany Posted Mar 15, 2020

Closing For Today (Sunday, 3/15)

We're going to close for the day. We apologize for any disappointment but we're looking out for our staff.

Here for you always via email and back in some capacity on Tuesday,

Your pals at Arcana.


PS: Snoozy Animals available for purchase here!

Miscellany Posted Jan 15, 2020


Our friend Steve Kilfoy - and 20-year Arcana veteran - has passed away. The last three years have been fraught for him and his body succumbed to leukemia last night. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who supported him through his life and through his illness, supported his Go Fund Me campaign, sent him books, brought him food, thought a good thought for him. We love him and we will miss him. Lee + Whitney + all of the Arcana family
Miscellany Posted Jan 08, 2020

Thank you, Jess!

We have been blessed - truly - to have had Jess at Arcana for 10 of the last 17 years. It’s a bittersweet day for us as she sashays out the door today to devote herself full-time to her primary careers of making exquisite jewelry, making exquisite spaces (along with her husband with their company, Landlocd ), and raising her wonderful son. Jess’s glamour, elan, and flair are foils for her deep intellect and massive knowledge. She is a pure delight and her sparkling presence, her passion, and her solidarity have been priceless gifts to us.
Miscellany Posted Nov 26, 2019

Thanksgiving Prep.

We’ve got you covered for Thanksgiving. Drop in tomorrow ( until 7 Wednesday - closed on Thursday) for recipes, gifts for your hosts, conversation fodder, pre-emptive stress relief, or all of the above. We’re thankful for you. (And here are some fail-safe-fantastic suggestions for all of the above).
Miscellany Posted Dec 24, 2018

Joy, Love, and Peace to you all

Photos by Gerry Johansson from "American Winter" published by Mack Books.