I’ve been dying to visit Culver City, California’s romance-only book store, The Ripped Bodice, since it opened in 2016. Since I live in Birmingham, Alabama, though, it might be a while before I can make it out there. In lieu of an expensive trip, I stalk the store on Instagram, follow it on Twitter, and read everything Bea and Leah Koch, the store’s owners, recommend. Up until recently, this has been enough. However, each time they showcase a new window display or host an enviable event, I imagine myself there. That’s why I decided to live vicariously through my friend Eric, a resident of Pasadena, and send him to the store as my proxy.
Eric isn’t a romance reader, but he was totally up for the visit when I told him about the beautiful, feminist space the Koch sisters have cultivated. He visited on a Saturday morning to look around and purchase a few recommended books, and afterward he called me to talk about what the store is like IRL.
One of the things Eric mentioned was how beautifully decorated the space is. I can tell through Instagram that the displays are changed frequently, and the beautiful aesthetic was one thing Eric was struck by. He also talked about how helpful the staff was. He told them he enjoys historicals, doesn’t like cheating in books, and gave them a few non-romance books he likes, and they were able to point him in the direction of a few titles.
Eric walked away with two books (pictured below, next to his handsome mug) and has promised he will get back to me with his thoughts. I love that my friend got to visit a place on my bucket list, and that we will now be able to discuss at least two romance novels. Maybe I’ve made a romance reader out of him (or, more accurately, maybe The Ripped Bodice has)!
So guys, if you can make it out to The Ripped Bodice, make sure to visit it! You might learn something new and find a genre you like.