Greetings from Denver, dear readers! I’ve just finished my first week of the Denver Publishing Institute, which has been enlightening, fun, and exhausting. Because the program is only a month, it’s very intense. The first day was the longest; on top of the usual eight hours of class, there was an opening breakfast and an evening visit to the landmark Tattered Cover Book Store. Being an East Coast kid what was raised by French wolves, I’d never heard of it, which is an absolute shame. Here’s a post so that others may not follow in my footsteps. (I mean, you should follow my footsteps to the store. Just not the footsteps where you don’t know about it.)
The Tattered Cover Book Store began life in 1971, in a small bookshop in the Cherry Creek district of Denver. It grew modestly, but under the guidance of new owner Joyce Meskis in 1974, it blossomed. The retail space expanded seven times between 1975 and 1983. In January 1983, a new location opened a block east of the original store. By the November of 1986, the whole operation was moved into the newer location. This location was massive, eventually hosting four floors and the Fourth Story Restaurant and Bar. (How wonderful is that? A restaurant in a book store!) Unfortunately, the restaurant closed for good when that location moved to a former theater on Colfax in 2006.
While there is a third location in Highlands Ranch and plans for a fourth location at the Denver International Airport, the current heart of the operation is the Tattered Cover Book Store in lower downtown Denver, which opened in 1994. Of course, the literal beating heart of the Tattered Cover is Joyce Meskis, who is an incredible advocate for readers and free speech. She’s won tons of awards for her work, and she’s also the director of the Denver Publishing Institute. Selling the books of today (and yesterday; Tattered Cover added used books to their inventory in 2010) and teaching the publishers of tomorrow—no wonder the Tattered Cover is one of the major epicenters of independent book selling in the United States.
At the lower downtown location, these placards greet you at check out, outlining all the reasons it’s important to not only shop local, but shop independent booksellers.
The store is really a fantastic space—bookshelves are strategically located to create open and closed spaces, allowing customers to pick their way through the store at will. Nooks and crannies are important for book stores, as are tables, coffee, and, of course, free Wi-Fi. (Sometimes Panera just isn’t going to cut it.)
The bibliophile’s manifesto is displayed in store, letting you know you’re in the right place.
This completely startled me when I ventured upstairs. While Charles “Charlie” Shugarts was a friend of the Tattered Cover, as the placard below him states, this sculpture was actually acquired by the store in 1990. Before that, he was part of an initiation to put art all along the 16th Street Mall in lower downtown Denver, but he didn’t age too well in the sun. He’s kept safely behind bars now, but it looks like he used to be out on the floor.
And upstairs, there was a little taste of home for me. I plan on going back and doing a proper raid one of these precious weekends (only three left! Holy crow!), but this was a lovely and heartening sight to see.
As I said, it’s been publishing all day, every day, for the past week, so there’s little to report besides happiness and absurdly tight hamstrings from sitting down for so long. I did see Pacific Rim last Sunday evening, which was amazing, and I recommend you see it before it leaves theaters. I have half a mind to march down to the IMAX down the street and see it again…
This week’s links:
- Adulting tells us what to do about the outcome of the Trayvon Martin case.
- Queen of the universe Gavia Baker-Whitelaw lays down the law when it comes to people calling Pacific Rim sexist because Mako Mori’s character dared to have emotions and look at Raleigh Becket’s impressive abs. Pro-tip: the movie is her hero’s journey.
- tumblr user ninjaruski puts Mako’s relationship with Stacker Pentecost in the context of a sensei and his student.
- Kyle Buchanan at The Vulture, however, has a valid point when he asks why there are few to no ladies in the background in Pacific Rim. Since gender isn’t an issue in the story, it would be the easiest thing in the world to flip some male parts. Excuse me while I daydream about rockabilly Lady Choi…
- There’s going to be a Shire Cookbook from one of the ladies who brought you A Feast of Ice and Fire! Chelsea assures me that the lembas recipe will be “weird shortbread“, which delights me. Lembas shouldn’t be a cookie.
- There’s going to be a new Harley Quinn comic. I haven’t been too crazy about how the new 52 is treating my beloved Harley, but writer and artist Amanda Conner promises that this Harley will be influenced by roller derby. I may investigate.
- A managing consultant named Kim gets more job offers once he appends “Mr.” to his name on his resume.
- The Real Tooth Fairies is an actual brand trying to cash in on the tooth fairy so baldly it’s kind of offensive. It is beyond ridiculous, and this Huffington Post piece rips it apart.
- Alan Kistler lays out why a Wonder Woman movie is, in fact, a snap. Pro-tip: if you can do Thor, you can do Wonder Woman.
- In the aftermath of Star Trek Into Darkness, I heard some people defending it by saying that it’s better that a person of color isn’t in a villainous role. Tamar Altebarmakian tackles the same argument for women, arguing that a variety of well-written female villains is part of good representation.
- Whose Line Is It Anyway? is back, with Aisha Tyler hosting! It’s wonderful.
- flickr user birdofthegalaxy remasters rare behind-the-scene photos from Star Trek: The Original Series.
- Qui-Gon Jinn is the Bad Idea Jedi; Emily Asher-Perrin reminds us that he could have saved Anakin from the Dark Side if he’d just, you know, freed his mother from slavery. Other horrors of the Star Wars universe await you at the link.
- Laurie Penny’s “I Was a Manic Pixie Dream Girl” at New Statesman talks about, among other things, how important it is to hear stories where people like you are the agent, because if you don’t, it can really mess you up.
- Ross Gay’s “Some Thoughts on Mercy” at The Sun is a brutal, touching reflection on how the smallest microaggression can add up to the most soul-crushing systems.
- Laura Bogart’s “Rage” at The Rumpus is about fear, anger, and power. A short, complex piece.
- SnagFilms is a service in beta (so beta it won’t work on my Chrome, for some reason!) that features ad-supported documentaries and other films. Think a particularly curated version of Hulu. I found it looking for a streaming version of Prom Night in Mississippi. Once I can get to work, I think it’ll be quite useful.
- This graphic discusses female representation in J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek films. Spoiler: it’s not that great.
- Trans punk rocker Laura Joy Grace is featured on MTV’s House of Style, discussing her personal style and why it’s important for her to do something as fluffy as House of Style. It features her adorable family and a pair of Steve Maddens that makes me writhe on the floor with jealousy.
- I’m just going to collect all the news out of Comic-Con in this bullet, okay? So my sadness at not being there won’t infect the rest of the post.
- There’s a trailer for The Legend of Korra season two! It’s brilliantly scored and promises so, so much, including the first Avatar. Feed me lore!
- Zack Synder will be overseeing a Batman/Superman film. What’s the opposite of excited? Because I’m that.
- Our first look at Once Upon a Time‘s Ariel is just as slapdash as the show itself, bless.
- Once Upon a Time In Wonderland looks like it’s going to be everything I ever dreamed, plus it dips into Aladdin with the addition of Naveen Andrews as Jafar. I just want Jasmine to show up, y’all, she’s my favorite princess. (Favorite heroine: Esmeralda.)
- X-Men: Days of Future Past might be good, if the Comic-Con footage is as reported. Yeah, that’s blowing my mind too.
- Tom Hiddleston introduces the Thor 2 footage as Loki. Everybody flips out, including a dear woman who yells “YOU BETTER LOOK OUT, LOKI!” right next to the camera. Bless everything.
This week’s acquisitions:
Purchased: Roverandom by J. R. R. Tolkien (thrift store)
Added: A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres (via Guernica), Casanova: Luxuria by Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba (via The A.V. Club), Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres (via Guernica), The Good Girls Revolt by Lynn Povich (via class), Seal Woman by Solveig Eggerz (via class), Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (via class), ABC of Reading by Ezra Pound (via class), On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt (via class), Mona Lisa in Camelot by Margaret Leslie Davis (via class), The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt (via class), America: A Narrative History by George Brown Tindall and David E. Shi (via class), Words Like Loaded Pistols by Sam Leith (via class), The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee (via class), The Story of Webster’s Third by Herbert C. Morton (via class)
What’s the biggest independent bookstore you’ve ever been to?