Yet another bookstore that hooks you. Red letter books in Boulder. The collection is impressive and the condition is great. Dont expect the storekeeper to help you find any book because organisation is their forte only to the extent that most books are organised section wise but they may not have a good track of which particular book maybe kept where. But that is the point where it attracts someone with my sensibilities. You may find books stacked on the ground too. The entire setting is a charm. Simple store where the only thought that has gone into the decorator’s mind is to surround you with enough books to make you want to live there. Now in a book store what would you want to see more than books? They sell second hand books which to me adds more character and depth to the books (The books are in exceptional condition). It is as though every book has a story to tell apart from the one the words within narrate.
Walking past the aisles staring at the books with a longing. And then a book tugs at your heart. You pull it out to read few passages. Then another book tugs at your heart too. And then another. Finally I literally sat on the ground (yes the store does not have stools for you to sit on while you choose your books but trust me you wont complain) and read through my shortlisted books and chose one.
Sitting on the ground to read my book redefined my connection with the book store. I felt at home. A sense of liberation every book lover or book writer yearns for. The same sense of good preclusion a great book takes you into. I hardly looked around me. I sat right there on the floor letting my intuition reach out to my hands to pick the pages to read from and to pick some more books to choose from.
Red Letter book store has history. Someone who frequented the store 10 years ago took me there. Its been there for much longer than that. It makes you wish someone would pay you for reading books and that too read it while you are IN the shop. Sitting on the floor.
Sometimes when you walk past an aisle, you feel the urge to instantly experience all the worlds that all the books on that aisle have hidden within its pages. Impatience to “feel” the contents of the books will rise. Till you find that one book which calls out to you TODAY. It works this way for me.
Today, I chose Ramayana by R.K.Narayanan. (Also, my next buy from Red Letter has been chosen)
I went into the Tattered Book Cover, a lovely book store in Downtown Denver. I have been here before but did not spend too much time in there during the first visit. Today i did what I love to do in a book store.
Keep the mind open. Empty the mind of any expectations or thoughts. Let the books around you call out to me. The book calls out to me. Sometimes few books call out to me. Then dutybound, I spend sometime reading few pages (randomly picked) from each of these books. I close the books and I know (my mind tells me) which book to pick. Its always the right choice. Another book buying habit of mine is that I never buy more than one book at a time. It somehow beats my loyalty to a book if I buy more than one. Having a single book to shower my attention on lets me drown myself in it more deeply.
The classics section lured me today. I had two russian novels set in 1800s and Romeo and Juliet with me. See when books call out to you, they usually also carry the same undertone. Today’s was classics.
Tattered Book Cover is a delight for any book reader. More so for a lover of book shopping like me. I enjoy the process of picking a book as much as reading a great book. Its an indulgent experience for me and always been very fulfilling. Tattered Book Cover is a huge book store (two floors) with a vintage feel to it. Its a massive space which gives ample privacy and space for each section of books. Each section is almost like a small enclosure cordoned off from the rest. Many inviting old world seating is made available throughout the book store. Most common are those huge leather chairs which you associate with old rich English households. There is also a huge spread out table with chairs around it. Here you can meet other people and chat while you browse through your selections. There is a lovely cafe inside the books store as well. My favourite sight from today’s visit was that of this old man sitting by himself in a small balcony sort of extension built inside the store (refer the first picture, above the stairs). He picked the cozy spot with a drink in his hands and was seen reading his newspapers. Speaks peace.
Such book stores make you want to read all day long. It makes you want to believe that the only reality in the world are the stories it tells through its books. It stimulates your mind. Today, I read passages from heavy duty emotional fiction to a Tibetan book on death to few translated poems by two chinese authors which has great pose, love for the nature and a hidden message about life, to Romeo and Juliet. Your mind wanders for few minutes into the many worlds that the books lure you into. Then you make the choice. You cannot explain the choice, you just pick.
I picked Nokolai Gogol’s Dead Souls.