One Bookstore in Aspen

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On the road to AspenIt’s time for another five things post! Unfortunately in Aspen, there’s only one. (Okay, there are two, but I only found one of them. )Being in Aspen just might allow me to let that go.

Two days ago, I walked into Aspen village with a friend. The snow hasn’t been great, and I don’t ski anyway, so I was looking forward to a day of exploring.

Exploring, you say? What a coincidence!

Explore Booksellers does not allow any photos inside. Nor do they allow cellphones. They don’t allow much of anything, in fact, except wandering and appreciating the old Victorian home that hosts a small but tidy collection. The rooms are relatively small, and there’s not a lot of seating. There is a room at the back for author events (and they do have quite a few!) with a single overstuffed chair that I took advantage of. There is a small rare books section that is priced for the Aspen crowd, but adds nicely to the atmosphere for the less economically advantaged.

With only a few days left till Christmas, I found it a bit overcrowded and hot. There was a children’s section that had an overly large toy/game/novelty section (a pet peeve of mine). I  also found the layout illogical. There was a “fiction” section and a “literature” section. The owners reveal their bias in the division- Murakami’s IQ84 was in literature, for example, making it that much tougher to find what you’re looking for. Young adult literature and science fiction, two of the most likely candidates for a visit to the overstuffed chair, are crammed in the hallway leading to the event room at the back. The upstairs area leading to the restaurant would have been a more logical place for those sections where people are more inclined to linger, rather than cookbooks, art history, and wedding planning.

Enough complaints. I enjoyed the place, just didn’t find it convenient. They have a bistro with ample vegetarian options on the top floor, always a plus. Alas, I had already enjoyed a delicious and complaint-free lunch at Main Street Bakery & Cafe. The overall feel of the place is lovely- the staff were cheery and friendly (although we are in Colorado, people). I had a chance to recommend Percy Jackson to a woman looking for a present for a twelve year old. I got to sit down and read a Death anthology from Sandman (though what, I ask you, is the point of having a book about Death without ANY OF THE OTHER BOOKS), and in the end, I bought an absolutely lovely set of notecards:

by beth van hoesen

Conclusion: Worth a visit. Absolutely. Not the best place to collapse in exhaustion and recover from your day, but hey, not every bookstore should have a Starbucks anyway. Is it in my top five? Nope. Top ten? Um… maybe.

All this begs the question- what am I really looking for in a bookstore, any way? A question for another post.

Merry Christmas Eve to those of you on the New Calendar! To my old calendar friends- Merry Two More Weeks of Fasting, and happy vacation!

****UPDATE:all gift wrapped!

I returned for a book I had considered buying today, and this beautiful complimentary gift wrapping made them jump a few places in my book. Go Explore!

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