Controversial Bookstore

    Controversial Bookstore, located in the newly renovated
    heart of Hillcrest, is ideal for anyone seeking spiritual guidance and
    enlightenment. The store is a “new-age” incarnate from the moment one sets foot
    in the door — both tranquil melodies and the faint scent of candles and incense
    lure customers to wander past the many bookshelves. Long storefront windows
    bring in streams of light that illuminate every corner of the store, creating
    an aura of warmth. This feeling is nurtured by shop caretakers Claudia and
    Doug, who make sure to greet customers with “Hi there!” before helping them
    peruse the wall-to-wall bookshelves.

    With more than 25,000 titles in circulation related to the
    mystic arts, the store’s book collection has something for both those curious
    about the supernatural and the spiritually seasoned. Sections range from eerie
    topics like UFO studies and witchcraft to American Indian Shamanism. If you are
    interested in the magical prowess of the homosexual community, there is a book
    on gay witchcraft. If you have the bizarre urge to know which planets influence
    your pet’s moods, there is a book about cat astrology. And if in the off-chance
    you can’t find the particular book you are looking for, the store owners are
    happy to place a special order for you.

    Idol statues stand out from the rows of mystic arts and spiritual guidance books at Controversial Bookstore. (Andrew Ruiz/Guardian)

    But this shop is more than a bookstore. In addition to an
    eclectic selection of magazines and greeting cards, Controversial Bookstore
    sells an array of hand-crafted trinkets like sari bags, leather medicine
    pouches, silver jewelry, various miniature idol statues and gems and crystals.
    These knickknacks make their way to Controversial Bookstore from all over the
    country, peddled by nomadic merchants who sometimes visit only once or twice a
    year. True spiritual guidance beyond the tangible comes in the form of daily
    psychic readings, held in a cozy room at the back of the store. Controversial
    Bookstore also hosts specialized weekend events like book signings and craft
    workshops that teach you how to create your own sacred altar or life treasure
    map inspired by one mentioned in the book “The Secret.”

    If the price of new books seems too steep, the store carries
    a decent selection of used books starting as low as $6.95. It also offers a
    rewards program where you save $10 when you accumulate $100 in purchases before
    tax. Behind the store there is a convenient parking lot, which will save you
    the trouble of looking for a spot on the very crowded University

    Still as quirky as when it started in 1963, Controversial
    Bookstore is an uncensored literary experience worth trying.

    — Joanna Cardenas

    Contributing Writer

    Controversial Bookstore

    3063 University Ave.

    San Diego, CA

    (619) 296-1560

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