The Iliad Bookshop fire and its aftermath – Daily Bulletin

On November 3, the Iliad Bookshop in North Hollywood was set on fire in what appeared to be an act of arson. Boxes of books were dumped in front of the back door and burned, and a manifesto was posted on the wall. Two shopkeepers were inside as smoke began to fill the interior.

“If the fire department hadn’t come here when they said they would, the whole building would have burned down in minutes,” said Dan Weinstein, owner of Eliade.

“A neighbor was leaving,” says Weinstein. “They saw the fire and accidentally targeted a passing fire truck. Luck was really on my side.

Eliade Bookshop in North Hollywood after a fire on Nov. 3, which was gutted by fire.  (Courtesy of Iliad Bookshop)
Eliade Bookshop in North Hollywood after a fire on Nov. 3, which was gutted by fire. (Courtesy of Iliad Bookshop)

Fortunately, the fire did not make it inside. Weinstein, which closed the store for a day to clear the smoke, has reopened and is working on repairs. “The fire department stayed for a good hour after the fire, putting their blowers over our doors so they got a lot of smoke out. If they didn’t, I think I’d be toast,” he says. “I can’t say enough good things about the fire department.”

Initial reports suggested the fire may have been a hate crime. Weinstein says he suspects it wasn’t. “[The suspect] Made some kind of flyer with some kind of political agenda, but I don’t think it was hate-based. It was just crazy,” he says.

Since the fire was reported and the story covered on local TV, he says he has been overwhelmed with support from customers, locals and others who want to help.

“We’ve had amazing support; we’ve had people calling from the back east who have heard about it and just wanted to order a book to help. The customers are coming in,” he says, adding that The day they reopened “our store was filled with people wanting to help us.

The store set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for repairs; With an initial goal of $5000, the fund has already exceeded 700 donations and as of this writing more than $32,500.

“We had such a surplus that I decided to use the money for actual repairs and upgrades. Because my insurance policy was literally three days old when it happened; I just changed it. And I really don’t want to file a claim after three days and cancel it.

Eliade Bookshop in North Hollywood on Thursday, May 7, 2020.
Eliade Bookshop in North Hollywood on Thursday, May 7, 2020.

In fact, Weinstein, who comes from a line of booksellers, said he considered closing the store but couldn’t after seeing the response, including people volunteering for labor and services and local restaurants sending them free food. have been “My heart felt good. I mean, I was actually thinking of closing the store, but I can’t do it with that kind of support,” he says.

“I come from a bookish family,” says Weinstein, who has run Elias for 35 years. “My family owns several bookstores in and around Southern California, including Heritage Bookshop and Book City, Valley Book City, Book Baron – some of the biggest names in the LA book world. I’m under the next generation, but I worked for them for about 10 years and then decided, OK, it’s my turn.

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If you’ve ever been to a bookstore, you know it’s a good one. I’ve shopped at The Iliad many times over the years, and I’ve always left interesting books I didn’t expect to find – “The Savage Continent” by Keith Lowe and “The Knight of the Swords” by Michael Moorcock. There are two Purchases that come to mind. It’s a used book treasure, so I don’t want to just talk about fire. I wanted to talk about books, so we did.

Who is your favorite book or author? “Wow, that’s a loaded question. One of my favorite authors is Charles Bukowski. But much like licorice, you either love it or you hate it.

And what are some popular titles or authors of the store? “Let’s see, Philip K. Dick.” Octavia Butler, Ursula K. Le Guin: These are writers that if I put something on the shelf, it’s usually gone by the end of the day,” he says. “Haruki Murakami is another one to put on the shelf. It’s hard to keep up. . James Baldwin, Toni Morrison. Here’s a whole list of authors we can’t get enough of.

At the Iliad Bookshop, Apollo takes more than a can.  (Photo by David Allen)
At the Iliad Bookshop, Apollo takes more than a can. (Photo by David Allen)

While I could ask these kinds of questions all day, I thought it was time to let Weinstein get back to business, which currently involves trying to find an ozone generator to deal with the smell of the smoke.

“It’s been a long week, let me tell you,” Weinstein says, keeping things positive. “The cats survived; They are fine. When I went into the room it was full of smoke and they were a little worried, but we got them out immediately. Currently, they are at home with me.

Weinstein, who says he plans to go to the station to thank the firefighters, said he is grateful to be able to return to work.

“It was touch and go for a while when I first opened the door and saw the smoke I thought for sure the end was here,” he says.

“But I think we’re going to survive.”



Jason is the author of Grail "On browsing." (courtesy of biblivas)
Jason Grell is the author of “On Browsing.” (courtesy of biblivas)

‘On Debt’ author Jason Grell takes readers on a journey through the past

Jason Grell is the author of several books including “Forgotten Work” a speculative novel published in 2020. A cultural critic whose work has appeared in outlets such as Slate, Lithub, The Atlantic and The Walrus, Greil has a new book. of articles, “On Browsing,” which will be published on November 15. Part of Biblioasis’ Field Notes series, the collection explores the now-defunct practice of scouring bookstores and record stores, instead scrolling through online retailers for unexpected finds. you are looking for Greil lives in Toronto with his family.

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question Is there a book you always recommend to other readers?

One book I have recommended to many people is by the American poet and essayist Kay Ryan. She is a wonderful poet from California who occasionally writes articles for poetry magazines and literary magazines. They were just wonderfully philosophical, charming, funny, poetic and meditative at times. I would say that if someone ever gets around to putting them together, it will be a monumental work like American Criticism. And just at the beginning of the pandemic, a brilliant collection of these essays was published, “Synthesizing Gravity.” This is a book that I have recommended to many people.

question How do you decide what to study next?

Inevitably, I buy more than I have time to read, especially with young children at home. I find things the old fashioned way. I love a good review – newspapers used to have great book sections, but they’ve really dwindled down quite a bit. I stumble upon things in bookstores. I go down a particular author’s rabbit hole for a while, but I’ve never clicked on the ‘you might like this’ box on Amazon or anything.

With music, I love the British music magazine Mojo; I still buy it and the reviews are great. They are authentic. It’s a bit like having this charmingly snobby record store in your hand every month. This is my source of information.

I don’t follow many people on Twitter. It’s a critic, it’s a book review. This is the kind of thing. Not scrolling through Amazon, that’s for sure.

question Have a memorable book experience you’d like to share?

I am re-reading “Moby-Duck”. It was a book I read in university 20 years ago and I didn’t really remember it. It sounds like a silly thing to say but it is an amazing book. I am amazed at how amazing it is. It’s probably old news to a lot of people, but I think there’s a public perception of what the book is, and when you read it, it’s very wacky, weird, fun, and bright. And through the phrase. It is constantly moving towards the state of poetry. I’m completely blown away by how strange this book is and how wonderful it is – it’s like Thomas Pynchon in the 19th century. It’s not the great American horror classic it’s made out to be. There are definitely, like, 200 pages on whaling or whatever, but that’s like the best 200 pages you’ll read about it. So that’s my most memorable experience of late.

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question Is there someone who has influenced your reading life – a teacher, parent, librarian or someone else?

I had really good English teachers in high school and I think that made a difference. I had some great teachers at university too, but there was something about those high school English teachers.

I remember a teacher in 12th grade, Miss Pantry, an English teacher, and she was writing something about TS Eliot’s “The Hollow Man” on the blackboard. And he said something like, “TS Eliot could only spend a month writing this.” I just remember being blown away by the idea that you could devote so much time to polishing and perfecting a piece of poetry. Little moments like that, almost thrown away, that completely expanded my sense of what writing is and what it can be.

Q: What is there in your book that no one knows about?

I’m not sure how to answer this in a way that doesn’t sound lame because, on the one hand, I love this book so much, but I really didn’t set out to write this. I think there is some sense that I am an expert in the subject of browsing. And it was a topic that I didn’t know was important to me until I started writing about it. I found myself quite emotional that some of the stores that meant so much to me had disappeared.

It has been a wonderful experience to be asked to write this little book and to discover that it means something to me.


That’s it for this edition, folks. I hope you enjoy the weekend; I’m planning a trip to the Iliad and also catching the start of “Rogue Heroes,” the Apex series based on Ben McIntyre’s excellent book of the same name.

Tell me what books you enjoy, and your recommendations may appear in the column. Please send them to [email protected]

Thanks, as always, for reading.


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