CVN COLUMN: BOSSES BY BOSTROM
Article used with permission by Coastal View News. For the original article click here: https://www.coastalview.com/business/fall-in-love-with-reading-at-lantern-tree-books/article_14c62094-8f19-11ee-bb23-5745533c77ac.html
Louis Force Torres, owner of Carpinteria’s Lantern Tree Books, recently met up with CVN to discuss his life and dreams for his new shop at 892 Linden Ave. During the winter, the store is open Tuesday–Friday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; and closed Monday.
CVN: Please describe a few bullet points from your life that led to opening Lantern Tree Books in Carpinteria.
Louis Force Torres: My whole family was full of wonderful and encouraging readers. As a teacher, my father would correct papers with a single light on. I could read anything in his office, as long as I was quiet and respectful of the books. It led me to learn and develop a respect for reading at a very early age.
I grew up in Solvang – it was life in a fantasy village – and I used to ride my bike to the Book Loft to buy books with my lawn-mowing money. And I loved the journey, and the reward of working, saving and then getting to read the next Redwall book, Mechwarrior or Star Wars novel.
I excelled in yearbook and leadership courses. I wrote my own comics and concepts for books. Everything was a story. So publishing, and then a bookstore space, were all sort of the natural flow of things. Stories need to be familiar enough to appeal to us on a human level, but unpredictable enough to be original and new. That is this story!
What is your vision for this space and its connection with the community?
I like to call Lantern Tree Books a literary community center. (It’s actually why I left the word store out of the name.)
It’s a space where stories can be found, and storytellers are welcome. Yes, we sell new books. We also sell rare and old books. We also encourage art, consult for publishing clients, curate and donate book boxes through my non-religious, non-profit, Bookchurch.org and encourage people to read. I like that people can learn about bookmaking and publishing simply by coming in and showing interest. I like that my authors, artists, proofers and designers can come to do their work for Polyverse Publishing in an active bookstore!
My vision is to listen to the community – to understand what we all want to read, what we need to read and serve all the little nuanced interests that exist here.
Like a tide, we get visitors, we get families, we have seasons. I want Lantern Tree Books to change and provide books that interest people as the tide changes. Beach reads for campers during the summer, of course, but also a solid foundation of titles that I know Carpinteria likes, needs and wants all year round.
What is your take on banned and challenged books? Do you/will you carry them?
No book should be banned. Period.
Books don’t leap off a shelf and scream their message at you. (That is reserved for the screens at the gas station.) The person who picks the book up and reads it chooses to do so. If parents are worried their child is reading something they don’t approve of, then the fault lies in the parent… in not communicating with their child enough to know what they are reading in the first place.
Ultimately, you are responsible for what you read. You can learn from it or reject it. But reading materials should be available for all to read or not read. No book should be banned based on content.
We actually plan to have a banned books section, but that will come later. For now, we carry books of all kinds, and our research section offers opportunities to explore old and rare books as well.
Tough question: what’s your pick for the most impactful book?
Haha! I grew up being able to read very fast. And retain what I had read, so I have read (and re-read) thousands of books over my lifetime. Scenes and chapters have become almost undefinable between my years of growth as a reader and a person, and between the many stories and lives I have experienced through the pages.
I have never had this conversation with another person – or even really myself – but to me, what I have read are like moments. Moments where I learned something about myself, moments where I was introduced to a new concept, moments where I was afraid, moments where I was elated… There are moments that feel like old friends, and moments of surprise, though I may have read them over and over again.
There are many, many moments and I cannot choose one or even a few. But if someone wants to share their special book moments with me, I would love to hear them and tell them some of mine. And they know where to find me.
Enough about books… What else would you like to share about yourself and your interests?
Many things! To live in such a wonderful area – with so many opportunities for adventures, exploration, encounters with nature and things to show my wife and new son – makes me very happy.
I definitely want to help preserve the balance here in Carpinteria by encouraging independent ventures, such as restaurants and shops and places of learning and art like the Chrisman Center and the Alcazar. We want to help prevent being overrun by outside developers and corporations who simply seek to monetize the community (as they are often not a part of it in the first place).
All in all, Carpinteria has many stories, and many more to be told. We are very happy to be living here and finding new interests, groups and friends.
Written by Ingrid Bostrom