Great Books, Great Minds Bookstore Tour: 2020 By 2030 Visit #1 – Boulder Bookstore

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Saturday 22, 2020 was the kickoff of my global quest to visit 2020 bookstores by the year 2030. And the day certainly didn’t disappoint. 

For the inaugural stop on my 10-year journey, I chose Boulder Bookstore located in Boulder, Colorado, just northwest of Denver. Despite having not visited this store in several years, I was immediately reminded upon walking through the doors why it remains among my all-time favorites. 

But first about Boulder, the city where the store is nestled in. Home of the University of Colorado-Boulder, this college town of 107,000 residents has, to me, always had a rather odd feel to it. In one sense it smacks of privileged neo-liberalism with its surprisingly high cost of living and real estate growth restrictions. At the same time, a free-spirited vibe permeates throughout,  bolstered by a young, rebellious activism minded community

Boulder Bookstore is located on Pearl Street, the main arterial through the center-city district. It’s a store whose aesthetic feel aligns well with the local people and culture. 

At the front door, I was greeted with a friendly but strict reminder “to wear my mask at all times while in the store, and refrain from too much book touching.” For me, the latter admonition was akin to being with a lover that you never kiss or hold hands with. For over the course of my 90-minutes in the store, I realized I had touched, perused, (and in a couple of cases smelled) in excess of 30 books. 

It wasn’t until towards the end of my stay, I realized that they had a receptacle for store patrons to place books and magazines in that we’d touched. Oh, well

Boulder Bookstore has a wide selection of books, including a used section where one can uncover some very interesting finds. 

Me, I  have a particular affinity for the store’s second floor which has a section of spirituality books that is unmatched anywhere. Books on Buddhism, Taoism, Sufism, and Mysticism among others dot the bookshelves. And in what may appear strange to some, the store also has a fine collection of meditation cushions for those inclined to pursue this spiritual practice.

The store’s booksellers a reputation for being very knowledgeable, although I must say that on this most recent visit a number of them seemed a bit gruff. My guess is that the pandemic doldrums and mandatory mask-wearing may have something to do with this.

One of my greatest joys in visiting a bookstore is stumbling upon books by authors I’ve interviewed on “Great Books, Great Minds.” I had the pleasure of seeing Stephanie Land’s great work “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will To Survive” prominently displayed on one of the shelves during this store visit. The same with Antonia Malchik’s  book “A Walking Life: Reclaiming Our Health and Our Freedom, One Step At A Time” 

As a part of my tour, I have committed myself to purchase at least one book at each store. So my selection at Boulder Bookstore is Afro-Pessimism by Frank B. Wilderson III. Look for a review from me of what appears to be an interesting read in an upcoming issue of my “Great Books, Great Minds” digital newsletter.

In the meantime, stay tuned for regular updates on my upcoming bookstore visits. 

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About Michael Scott

Independent Journalist and Global Book Ambassador, Great Books, Great Minds