The Lucky Tour: Tattered Cover Book Store

LuckyIntrepid former Algonquin intern David Bradley and his trusty sidekick, Lucky the Leprechaun, hit the road last summer for a tour of (almost all) the coolest, hippest, greatest indie bookstores in the United States. Join us for the journey…

DENVER — It’s pretty easy to see the appeal of Denver. A laid-back but bustling city tucked straight into mountains that, I’m pretty sure, serve as the basis of every child’s first landscape drawing. Most cities make you choose. You can live in an expansive arts community filled with Tattered9night life and a never-ending list of things to do, or you can live in an alluring, elegant home near natural landscapes and beautiful environment. You’re not supposed to be able to do both. Unless you live in Denver. Then you get the best of city life and right next to some of the best hiking trails in the country.

The only way it could get any better is if one of the nation’s greatest bookstores was in the vicinity. A bookstore like Tattered Cover. Spread across a former theater, Tattered Cover is open and inviting but still has the hideaways and overlooks that are so crucial to a great book buying experience. You can be part of the audience or you can be up on the stage, but you’ll always be surrounded by great Tattered3books and better people when you’re in Tattered Cover. I figured the city of Denver would overshadow anything Tattered Cover could bring to the table, but the store is at least as good as the city—and probably better.

Cathy Langer, Lead Buyer at Tattered Cover, answered our Algonquin Questionnaire.

What was in this location before Tattered Cover?

This was one of the main theaters for Denver from the 1950’s all the way to the 1980’s. Then the Denver Center for Performing Arts opened up and stole the limelight a little bit, which gave us an opportunity to move in just a few years ago.

Tattered5What is the oddest non-book item you sell here?

I like these clever lunchboxes we have. They’re white with a red cross on them and look vaguely like the organ donor cases. Using that lunchbox basically guarantees that nobody will touch your lunch.

What is your favorite Algonquin book and your favorite recommendation from this summer?

Oh, how can I pick only one Algonquin title!? I’ll have to give you three. Two recent releases come to mind, The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro and Is This Tomorrow by Caroline Leavitt. But I can’t leave out Mudbound from Hillary Jordan, which was just phenomenal. This summer I [recommended] Anton DiSclafani’s The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls.

Tattered8Is there an area of the store that people seem to flock to?

The new paperback fiction and new arrivals definitely attract the most attention and a lot of great customer conversation.

What is the strangest thing that has happened at Tattered Cover?

Back in the day, when Michael Jackson was at the height of his fame, he wanted to come to the store but was worried about attracting attention and causing a distraction. So we stayed open late and pretended not to be star-struck with the most popular man in the world roaming around our store.

Lucky found some close friends!

Lucky found some dear friends!

Next stop: Rainy Day Books in Kansas City, Kansas.

*Note: The Lucky Tour posts are not in real time. David and Lucky have returned from their travels with great tales and many, many books. Stay tuned for more road stories…

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