Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Between the Covers

"Book lovers are thought by unbookish people to be gentle and unworldly, and perhaps a few of them are so. But there are those who need books as wildly as the dope-taker in pursuit of his drug. They may not want the book to read immediately, or at all; they want them to possess, to arrange on their shelves, to place by their bedside." Robertson Davies

I can't imagine a better vacation! We stayed down the street from The Tattered Cover in LoDo and spent four or five hours there each day. Dixon's, the awesome restaurant next door, served us Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding with Anglaise Sauce for dessert, and custard soaked French Toast with pure maple syrup for breakfast (almost the same, but since it was served as the meal, I'm sure it was healthier.) While other people ski, snowshoe and sleigh ride, my heaven is a cozy barn that smells like cherry pie and features plump, soft chairs, oak library tables, and thousands of books.

Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver

"When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes." Erasmus

"Like the faces of people, books develop character as they age. Is there a more pleasant place than a room full of books?" Erik Christian Haugaard

"The great gift is the passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites. It gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind...I like being around books. It makes me feel civilized. The only way to do all the things you'd like to do is to read." Tom Clancy

From our earliest days together Dee and I have haunted bookstores...actually some of them are haunted, they say! Where else are there real ghosts from the past, telling their stories and inviting us into their lives?

When we go out, we usually have a fabulous meal somewhere, with the idea of going to a movie after. Most of the time we skip the movie, and visit a bookstore instead, and go home early to read our new purchases. There have been many nights that one of us has started a book, and found the other in the middle of it the next morning. Helen MacInnes was one of the first favorite authors we shared, then Robert Ludlum, and Frederick Forsythe.

Searching out bookstores in faraway places and spending hours in little cubby holes, between the covers of old books, is our favorite pastime when we travel, too. A few of our discoveries are:
  1. The Mysterious Bookstore, NYC
  2. Chapters Bookstore, Toronto
  3. Indigo Bookstore, Ottawa
  4. Mystery Books, Washington, DC
  5. Get Lost Travel Books, San Francisco
  6. Howell's Bookstore, San Francisco
  7. Shakespeare and Company, Paris
  8. Galignani, Paris
  9. Books of Wonder, NYC
  10. Hatchards, London
  11. The Tattered Cover, Denver
  12. The Bookbarn, West Chester, PA
  13. Banff Avenue Bookstore, Banff
  14. White Rose Books, Thirsk, Yorkshire
  15. Waterstone's Bookstore, York England
Our itineraries are often arranged around visits to bookstores, and I try to choose a hotel within walking distance of a great bookstore. Do you have any suggestions? Kris told me that Powells in Portland is fabulous, so when I'm going that direction, I'm anxious to visit. Look for me. I'll be next to this guy!

The Bookworm, by Carl Spitzweg

Logan Pearsall Smith summed it up this way: "People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading."


Nancy said...


As I read your comments about books and bookstores, and knowing how well you write yourself, I am reminded of something Toni Morrison said in an interview once.

"If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet,then you must write it."

The other night I watched an old movie that I just loved about a book lover. It was "84 Charing Cross Road". I had seen it before many years ago, but enjoyed it more this time.

It is closed now, but we had Leary's Wonderful Book Store in Philadelphia for many years. You would have loved it. Tables full of books, and stacks of books to leaf through at your leisure. I miss Leary's. It's just not the same at Amazon.....

Lori said...

Marty, if you're intending to come to West Chester, PA, you must visit one of my favorite places... in Phoenixville, PA (not far, honest!). It's called Wolfgang Books, and it's a used bookstore that's crammed full of fantastic books of all genres and ages. It's become my addiction, and I swear I can't keep up with all I've bought!

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love yours! Anyone who reads is someone I must know. :))

gab said...

I love all your PA commenters! I think I inherited your love of books but not bookstores. Or maybe I just don't have time for bookstores. I love the idea of them, but in the meantime, Amazon is the best thing that ever happened to me.

care020 said...

Bart's Books in Ojai, CA is an absolutely wonderful outdoor (Yes, outdoor!) bookstore.I was there once for the Fourth of July. Everyone was so friendly, and the parade was hoot.

care020 said...

Here's the URL for Bart's Books:

Betty said...

If you like mysteries, you might enjoy browsing in "Remember the Alibi" in San Antonio, if you ever visit there. Of course, I love because there just aren't any good book stores here. So, it has become my favorite website.

mama jo said...

books and bookstores are one of my favorite used to drive my kids crazy as i went from one store to another in the same day...but, who knows? they might have different books! i will have to try some out...we found a darling little "english" bookstore in Oia, Santorini where everyone immediately bought "harry Potter"...

mama jo said...

i need to go to the store in's so close..

Marty said...

Thanks for all the great bookstore suggestions!

"84 Charing Cross Road" is one of my favorite movies, too. The book is good, as well. It's just a collection of the letters they wrote back and forth. Did you know it's a true story?

Polly said...

Nick tells his students that the best education costs $1.00. It's a library card.

MissKris said...

If you ever make it to Portland you'll have to check out our famous Powell Books. It is the BEST place in the world to spend one of our many dreary Saturday mornings or afternoons.

Nancy G said...

If you ever come back through Denver, I would love to meet you at one of the Tattered Cover locations!

Marty said...

Thanks, Nancy G! I've only visited one location. I hope to come back!

Miggs said...

I'm so lucky. I can have lunch at the Tattered Cover everyday. Maybe I'll run into Oma and Opa there again and surprise them.

It was fun to see you guys in your element.

Rebecca said...

I believe there is a Shakespeare & Co bookseller in NYC as well. Not too many independents left here in the city, except for in the Village. OH, and of course, there is the Strand.

I love bookstores, as does my husband and son. We enter together, go to our favorite sections, wander, browse, read, then meet up to leave. Bliss :)