Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Bookstore of the Month: Bookworks in Albuquerque, New Mexico

4022 Rio Grande Blvd NW
Albuquerque, NM
(505) 344-8139
Bookworks on Facebook
Bookworks on Twitter
Bookworks on Instagram

In 1984, Apple introduced the first MacIntosh PC, Michael Jackson's hair caught on fire while filming a Pepsi commercial, the Soviets boycotted the Summer Olympics, stonewashed jeans went on the market, and thousands of people went to their local bookstore to pick up a copy of George Orwell's forward-looking novel.

One of those bookstores might have been the newborn Bookworks in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, Bookworks has always been, as its motto proclaims, local and independent.  They are also dog-friendly, as Marketing and Events manager Amanda Sutton noted in her Bookstore of the Month questionnaire: “Bring in your pooch and get a complimentary doggie biscuit.”

Bookworks is friendly to all types of beasts--from owls (found on the store's logo) to the two-legged species.  Even those, Sutton said, who come in and ask the booksellers to order something for their Kindle.

“We are a neighborhood-rooted ‘third place’ and love our long-time, loyal regular customers and all the new customers we attract to the store selling books in our community and at the 400 events we host each year,” Sutton said.  “Matching a customer with his or her perfect read is the most rewarding thing about being a bookseller.”

The store's website emphasizes the importance of partnering with local organizations, which is perhaps the secret sauce of its recipe for longevity:
Our recent event partners include ABC Library, the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation, the University of New Mexico English department, UNM's Women's Resource Center, Albuquerque Academy, the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, Slate Street Cafe, Tractor Brewing Company, Flying Star, the Center for Spiritual Living, Planned Parenthood, and the Rio Grande Nature Center. Bookworks has been a literary meeting place in Albuquerque since 1984, from its original home in Albuquerque's Rio Grande Valley in the Dietz Farm Plaza where it was founded by Nancy Rutland, up to its present location owned by Danielle Foster and Wyatt Wegrzyn next to Flying Star Cafe in the Shops on Rio Grande. As a locally-owned small business, Bookworks pays taxes that support our community, pays wages and provides benefits to its Albuquerque employees, donates gift certificates and books to local nonprofit organizations, supports local libraries, and gives back to our community however we can, whenever we can.
Some of the store's bestselling titles include: Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya, Great Tales and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

Bookworks' main webpage is dominated by staff picks, like The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham, recommended by Pat: “Cunningham is a master of digging deeply into the may layers of creative angst.  In all four of these characters, he shows us the delight, despair, illusion and clarity of the creative process.  Whether it is dealing with art, fashion, or dying, his writing is profound, thoughtful and beautiful.”  Or, this one recommended by Emma, age 12: “Anton and Cecil: Cats at Sea by Lisa and Valerie Martin is about two cat brothers lost at sea.  As they try to find each other a prophecy becomes their only hope.  A hair-raising adventure, this is a great book for animal lovers and people who love adventures alike!”

So, the next time you're in Albuquerque, whether it's for the annual hot air balloon festival or just to sample some chili verde, be sure to stop in Bookworks and find an adventure of your own.  In the meantime, please visit the store's website and do your book shopping there instead of Amazon.  Bookworks can even help you figure out how to get the best stonewash for your jeans.

Bookworks is the featured bookstore all this month at The Quivering Pen.  By clicking on the links to books mentioned in this month's blog posts, you'll be taken to the store's website where you can purchase the book (or, better yet, several books).  The Quivering Pen is dedicated to supporting independent bookstores.

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