Owned by Claudia Colodro and Liz Garo, occupying the spot of the former Sea Level Records since last November, Stories Books & Cafe is a funny little bookspace, which may provide you at once with pleasure, discomfort and reading material. A book embodied, really.

The shop is gentrified chic, open brick and beams, Friday night knitting classes, a fair portion of the place dedicated to Los Angeles. Select employees appear to hate their jobs, or their lives, or both; you may buy your books from a handsome Englishman who mutters as though he’s not sure whether he wants your business or not, and you may head back to the café, only to buy your sandwich from someone who looks all but disappointed – at anything, really.

But then, you have a look at the store’s shelves and realize they’ve got all sorts of books you both wanted and didn’t know you wanted, from the relatively recent Charles Schulz biography to a beautifully aged hardcover copy of Bonjour Tristesse, and you take a look at the sandwich your disgruntled employee’s put together, only to realize that it contains the most beautifully red, perfectly ripe Roma tomatoes you’ve ever seen this side of Whole Foods, and suddenly, you’ve found your new spot.

For all this, Stories is charming, and though small, they’ve got a top-notch selection of books, stationery, postcards, even food. Books are mostly new, though you’re welcome to sell or trade when the front-counter clerk is up for it, and though the fiction and children’s areas are most bountiful, you’ll find selections on film, music, graphic novels, philosophy, biography, yadda yadda. Not to mention some beautiful stationery with those good French looks that we ladies adore so dearly.

For more information, call (213) 413-3733 or visit storiesla.com.