Sunday, November 22, 2015

Books Across America: DAY 3

Another great day on the road, traveling through New Mexico and Arizona after a long day crossing the Texas Panhandle on Friday.  Today, I visited Bookworks in Albuquerque, NM.  Bookworks is one of Albuquerque's last remaining independent bookstores, in operation for 31 years, first in the Rio Grande Valley and later moved to its current location on Rio Grande next door to Flying Star Cafe (which by the way, has the yummiest turkey sandwiches and cookies -- really good cookies!).

Bookworks is committed to providing a wealth of literary events for the community, hosting 400-500 adult, young adult and children's events annually, for both nationally touring authors, best-selling authors and local authors.  Amazing.  They actively support local authors and provide a wide variety of genres, including both used and new titles.  They are also active in the community, donating books and gift certificates to local nonprofits.  I found a wonderful section highlighting local authors and even several shelves dedicated to local book clubs.

When I stepped inside this unassuming shop, I realized instantly that this was not the average bookstore.  A fire burned in a southwest style fireplace, and customers were browsing books and checking fliers for upcoming events.  Book sellers were buzzing at the counter, helping customers remember titles, taking orders over the phone and cheerfully helping anybody who had a question.  A really nice group.  I was also impressed by the casual vibe, the almost cozy living room feel to the place.  This store was inviting, in a regular neighborhood kind of way, welcoming all ages, providing a wide variety of genres and interests.  An absolutely charming and helpful staff, a warm and creative environment, and an obvious diverse reading community.  So many wonderful, unique and sometimes obscure titles right alongside best-selling, highly commercial titles.  I had the feeling, all literature was important to this staff and their customers, books from famous authors and emerging authors filled the shelves, juxtaposed together, sharing the same shelf space, which gave the place a strong sense of community and a commitment to the interests of their readers, with deep love for literature.  I loved this bookstore and even more so, what they seem to be doing for the promotion of literature in Albuquerque.  Bravo.

My life on the lane is filled with long days on the road, wonderfully colorful bookstores, and best of all, this trip has shown me how dedicated independent bookstores are to their communities of readers.
We will be crossing the border into Arizona, where THE LIES WE KEEP is primarily set, where I will continue to visit more bookstores after Thanksgiving.  My wish to you, dear reader, is that you will be surrounded by who you love or what you love during the holiday, and that your life is blessed with beautiful stories, a love for reading and time to sit back, relax and enjoy a few chapters or maybe even more of something you've really wanted to read lately.  Cheers!

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