Dharma bums

Cheron Taylor and Tony Hall

Cheron Taylor, 25, and Tony Hall, 30, just opened a used and collectible bookstore on West First Street, Dharma Books. The business partners officially unlocked the doors on June 1, although they’d been lugging books in for several weeks. In 1997, the pair began collecting books, which they sold on the Internet. In September 2001, they opened Dharma Books on Victoria Avenue in Sparks, where they stayed for under two years. They are both college students at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Describe your collection.

TH: It’s eclectic. We don’t deal with any of the little mass-market paperbacks but other than that, we’ve got a pretty wide range of books. We tend to be pretty selective, so even though we don’t have a huge amount of books, we have quality stock. We have some signed editions, first editions, hard-to-find stuff, older editions of books with different neat covers and stuff like that.

CT: We also have a lot of general art and history and stuff like that.

TH: Our big sections are like art, photography, Nevada and the West, classic literature, history, military, a biography section. We have a lot of music [books], too.

What prompted the move to downtown Reno ?

CT: We just outgrew that store. When this space came open, it was a better fit for us. That whole street, Victorian, is real nice, but there wasn’t a whole lot of draw for our type of business. It seems like we fit in well with Java Jungle, Esoteric and the movie theater. The events that Reno has draw people who would tend to come to our store.

What kind of people are coming in for books?

TH: Not a lot of tourists. I think a lot of the people are just downtown going to the movies, visiting the shops, the art galleries, the coffee shops. We brought some of our clientele from Sparks. In some cases, it’s nice for them because they come in and they go, “I’m glad you’re here, now. You’re so much closer.”

CT: Some students as well.

Who are your favorite authors?

CT: I like Somerset Maugham. [Yukio] Mishima is one of my favorites. I like [Ernest] Hemingway, Henry Miller.

TH: Well, we named our store after The Dharma Bums by [Jack] Kerouac. So we both kind like him, but it’s not something I’ve read lately. We both really like Milan Kundera. I do philosophy, so [Friedrich Wilhelm] Nietzsche is a favorite.

What book translated best into a movie?

TH: One that always sticks in my mind, that I read the book and saw the movie, is The Silence of the Lambs. They did a great job.

CT: Kiss of the Spider Woman.

What’s the dumbest question people ask when they come in?

CT: “Are you a library?”

TH: “Have you read all these?”

I knew it.

TH: We got a lot of that in Sparks. Maybe that’s when we knew that we’d better move to Reno.