Best place to fall off a ladder - 2006
To fall off a ladder while, say, screwing in a lightbulb is sad. But to fall off a ladder while in hot pursuit of a first edition of The Sun Also Rises is kind of romantic. Finding a volume at Westsider Books can be a seriously perilous journey, with thousands of paperbacks and hardbacks crammed into every nook and cranny of the narrow 20-by-70-foot space, teetering in piles all the way to the ceiling. Two rickety 20-foot wooden ladders roll along the shelves, but only the most daring bibliophile will climb to the top. According to co-owner Brian Gonzalez, only one person has ever fallen off the ladder. "He was a bit tipsy from drinking, but he's still a customer." On a recent visit, we saw a man go about halfway up before the ladder began to tremble and shake. It seemed as though he wanted to browse higher than the letter J, but he just fingered a couple of copies of James Joyce's Ulysses, and then slowly backed his way down.