The tiny Seite bookstore sits near the corner of Rowan and Cesar Chavez Avenues in East Los Angeles. / Photo: Jessica Perez

Originally published in Misneighbors.com

The tiny Seite bookstore sits near the corner of Rowan and Cesar Chavez Avenues in East Los Angeles. / Photo: Jessica Perez

Two years ago, Denice Diaz, 25, and her boyfriend Adam Bernales, 28, traveled cross-country from Chicago to East L.A. picking up books along the way.

Copies of “Quite Early One Morning” by Dylan Thomas and Isabel Allende’s “The House of the Spirits”””mostly books reflecting their personal interests””were stuffed in the back seat and trunk of the couple’s car.

They never planned for those books to sit on shelves at the small clothing store Diaz’s mother had just opened off Rowan and Cesar Chavez Avenues. But after six months of helping with the store where they had been selling books in small quantities, the idea to open a bookstore emerged.

“My mom thought it was kind of crazy that we wanted to sell books because there isn’t really a culture of reading here,“ said Diaz who was born and raised in East L.A.

Bernales’ mother was a schoolteacher back in Chicago, where he grew up around books. But here, he quickly noticed the lack of bookstores in the area. “We had to drive to Pasadena or Long Beach or to the Westside to look for books,” he said.

Diaz and Bernales started with one shelf of about 40-50 books, crammed next to women’s clothing, make up, reusable shopping bags, and other knick-knacks. Soon, shelves took over nearly half the store for the growing collection.

Read the full story at Misneighbors.com

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