Colorado Reading

I don’t know about you, but I find I hardly ever get as much reading done on vacation as I think I will. And that’s okay; usually it means there’s been sightseeing and visiting and talking late at night and eating and museum-going aplenty.

As I mentioned not too long ago, recently we visited family and friends in Denver, which was delightful. I brought along War of the Encyclopaedists, which I started and finished on the trip, as well as Annie Proulx’s Close Range: Wyoming Stories. I figured something with a Western vibe that I could read in short chunks would be a good choice, and it was, if grimmer than expected. Close Range includes Brokeback Mountain, the basis of the movie of the same name, and all things considered it’s one of the brighter stories in the collection. Close Range is visceral reading—Ms. Proulx has an extraordinary gift for rendering place, and her characters are both strange and real.

photo (46)That’s two books, and extraordinary restraint in book-packing on my part, I must say. There’s a reason for that: I had a list of about a dozen bookstores I wanted to visit in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Boulder, but I only made it to two (guess I’ll just have to go back, darn).

First up was the Tattered Cover, Denver’s largest and most famous independent bookstore. It has several outposts, and I visited the store on Colfax, where I picked up Gregory Pardlo‘s Pulitzer-Prize winning Digest. I read it over the next few days and finished it on the plane, and I highly recommend it. The poems are about origins and identity, fatherhood and what it means to be American. They’re very, very good, and packed with intellectual energy; I want to re-read them all again.

Next I went to one of my uncle’s favorite bookstores, Colorado’s Used Bookstore in Englewood. It’s an unassuming store, with a huge selection of genre paperbacks, an eclectic poetry section, and a huge set of back rooms for nonfiction and trade paperbacks. The woman I met, who I believe owns the store, was very friendly and helpful, and pointed out that they sell books online, including hard-to-find books.

At Colorado’s Used Bookstore I found Ghost Ship by Mary Kinzie and On the Bus with Rosa Parks, by Rita Dove (both poetry), Moral Disorder (a collection of Margaret Atwood stories), Joseph Boyden’s Through Black Spruce (I loved The Orenda and Three-day Road) and Louise Erdrich’s Tracks (still can’t stop thinking about The Round House). I can’t wait to dive into these.

Next time in Colorado, I’ll be trying for those other ten bookstores, and I’d like to look up some Colorado writers before I go, to find their work in its native habitat.

And what about you, Dear Readers? Do you race through books on vacation, or pack more than you can read?

15 thoughts on “Colorado Reading

  1. What a wonderful bookshop adventure!

    I definitely pack more than I can read, but it depends on who I am with as to how much I get through. Sometimes I read more when I feel I have less time to do so.

  2. I always pack more than I can read… just in case. I also always plan for more book stores than I get to.
    It sounds like you had a great trip! And, it’s the best feeling to come home with a few new books. 🙂

  3. If it is a beach vacation, I can read everything I bring with me, especially if we are sans kids. If it is more of a sightseeing vacation, then I never get through the pile I lug with me. And I take actual, physical books. I tried the e-reader for a while and just didn’t like it as much, even for travel.

    • A vacation sans kids! How delightful! I think we’re a few years off from that.

      I take physical books too– the e-reader was great when I was nursing, or for commuting, but I don’t like it for regular reading. Too hard on the eyes when I work at a computer all day anyway.

  4. Hah! You sound like me when I went to Seattle, WA and Portland, OR last year! I only packed two books. Hardly read anything in either one! 🙂 Having too much fun visiting with friends and sight-seeing. Actually, the night before I flew out I went to FedEx and had them package and ship all the souvenirs and books (Okay, the souvenirs were mainly books!). It was quite convenient and I felt it was a bargain for $50. Love visiting the bookstores! Sounds like you had fun! Always nice to get away from the humdrum!

  5. It does depend on the holiday and how much we visit places like art galleries. Usually I manage to squeeze an hour or so at the end pf the afternoon to indulge

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