The Books That Came Home With Me: Celebrate #celebratelu

celebrate link up

Ruth Ayres hosts a weekly celebration at her blog. I appreciate this invitation to reflect on the positives of my week.

tattered cover

I spent a couple of very happy hours at two different branches of The Tattered Cover in Denver this week. I can never decide if I love the Colfax or the Lodo location best, but luckily, I can have them both. (Lodo will probably always win because it opens at 6:30 a.m.! I LOVE book shopping at 7 in the morning.) I never really intend to buy anything, but you know how that goes, right? I always leave with a bag (or two) of books.

What I love about bookstores is the serendipity of discovery. When I’m shopping online–where I do the majority of my book shopping, and you would too if you lived in Western South Dakota, where books are scarce–I’m very intentional about my purchases. I visit a book shopping website with a list of titles to purchase. There is a lot of book love but very little serendipity.

At a bookstore, I never know what I might find. I browse sections that I never visit online–music, gardening, poetry, cooking, literary criticism. I find that I rarely purchase the types of books that I primarily purchase online–picture books, middle-grade, young adult. Instead, I’m drawn to the books that I ordinarily wouldn’t discover through online shopping or my PLN. I buy mostly nonfiction, and I have a particular fondness for books about books. And since The Tattered Cover stocks new and used books as well as bargain remainders, it a wonderful store for serendipitous shopping and unexpected discoveries.

Much as I love buying books, my favorite thing to do at a bookstore is read. I can’t even express the excitement I feel stepping into the children’s section at a big bookstore, knowing it’s filled with all the picture books I’ve been reading about in everyone’s Monday posts. Books my libraries will never purchase. Books my tiny local independent bookstore will never stock. Books I would never have a chance to see if it weren’t for bookstores.


Here’s my bookstore confession: although I purchase hundreds of picture books every year, I almost never buy a single one at a bookstore. I have an aversion to paying full price for picture books. Those online discounts are just too steep: for the savings on two picture books, I can get a third one free.

But two picture books just wouldn’t be left in the store. Kate Beaton’s goofy The Princess and the Pony and Troy Andrews and Bryan Collier’s incredible Trombone Shorty.

trombone shortyprincess and pony

Sometimes I feel a little bit guilty about spending money on books when we cut corners elsewhere to be able to pay the bills. But books feel like necessities, and I’m thankful to Donalyn Miller for giving me a new way to position my book spending: I’m a patron of the arts. And this week, I celebrate that I got to patronize in person and support a great local independent bookstore at the same time.





19 responses to “The Books That Came Home With Me: Celebrate #celebratelu”

  1. carriegelson Avatar

    Love everything about this post. A bookstore that opens at 6:30 a.m. OMG Sounds like absolutes heaven! Coffee, books, morning air. Wow. I also love your perspective – thank you Donalyn! I think of this post too when I think about buying books for my room when I should be doing all kinds of other things with it. But I do want my students to have the best of the best and I believe big time in ACCESS. So often the kids tell me “I am getting better at being a reader because there are books everywhere here.” And every time I hear a comment like this, it gives me the push to purchase a wish list! Sounds like a lovely bookstore time for you!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      And there’s a lovely coffee shop in the bookstore to boot! All possible best worlds collide for me. Access is so important. When I was a classroom teacher, my students couldn’t help but read because books were often literally falling on their heads. And now I want my pre-service teachers to have access to the newest and best books. I think part of what keeps readers hooked on reading is always discovering some new book we have to have/read, so I want them to have that feeling too.

  2. Carol Avatar

    Yep! Totally agree with you! I read THE PRINCESS AND THE PONY yesterday at the library. It’s definitely one I have to own! And I loved that your trip to the bookstore coincided with us getting to meet up! I don’t usually go to the LoDo one, because it’s so stinking hard to park down there, but now that I know it opens at 6:30…

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I am extremely fond of the Lodo location, even though it’s not nearly as big as the Colfax store. There’s always parking at 6:30 a.m. too! I’m almost always up early when I’m in Denver and book shopping is the best possible use of that early morning time. More bookstores should open absurdly early! So glad you enjoyed Princess and Pony–it’s got something for everyone!

  3. Earl @ The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer Avatar

    Denver is one of the places I want to visit and the fact that it has a bookstore that’s open before I’m even awake is a plus!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Denver is one of my favorite cities. I’m lucky that it’s (relatively) close. And you never know when you’ll have a 6:30 a.m. emergency book need!

  4. Leigh Anne Avatar

    I am so envious of local book stores because the closest one to me is an hour away. I don’t get there too often, so I usually purchase online as well. Happy reading!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Yep, I’m envious too! I have a local an hour away, but it’s TINY. I love my periodic trips to Denver and usually spend a big chunk of time there at the bookstores.

  5. Linda Baie Avatar

    It’s hard to beat either Tattered Cover location, and although it’s tiny, they’ve opened a store in the newly opened and designed Union Station, right near the Lodo store. Maybe you can take a peek at this new place to eat, shop and hang out next time, Elisabeth?

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I will most definitely have to take a peek next time I’m in Denver. Also hoping to get to meet you next time I’m in Denver!

  6. margaretsmn Avatar

    I love to take my students into a bookstore with this writing prompt, “Open a book. Steal a line. Write.” So next time you go to a bookstore at 7 AM, take your notebook with you. I love those small bookstores with corners to hide in and read.

    1. daywells Avatar

      I love this idea! Stealing a line – or “write like this” as Kelly Gallagher puts it is such a revelation as a writer! Mentors mentors everywhere!

    2. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Great writing prompt! I’m definitely borrowing that idea. Thank you!

  7. claireannette1 Avatar

    I love bookstores! I’ve been trying to use the library more this summer because I just don’t have any self control in a bookstore.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I also love libraries, but bookstores are special treats. I hear you on the self-control. So hard! I want everything!

  8. daywells Avatar

    We have so few independent bookstores left where I live – they are one of my favorite parts of traveling. I don’t know the two books you brought home. They look fantastic though. Thank you for sharing your celebration!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Indie bookstores are one of my favorite parts of traveling too. Local coffee and indie bookstores! If you like picture books, these are two must-reads!

  9. Ramona Avatar

    Your title of this post lured me in. I love the Tattered Cover in Denver. It was a favorite stop after our vacations at YMCA of the Rockies when our kids were young. A bookstore that opens at 6:30 – that is something worth celebrating!

  10. […] celebration of independent bookstores and shopping […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: