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A Wordly Christmas

Paul E. Anna

‘Tis the night before Christmas. Well, actually, it’s the day before Christmas, and like many of us, there are still people on your list for whom you have yet to buy presents. Well, if you’ve got the money, honey, you’re in the right place because you can get just about anything you or yours might want here in Aspen.Ah, but therein lies the problem. Too much choice. How can you decide which is the perfect gift? Do you know the right size? What color goes with your loved one’s eyes? So many questions, so little time. What to do?A suggestion. The best gift of all is a gift of words. Yes, a simple “I love you” says it all, but it’s so ephemeral. Like love itself, here today and gone tomorrow. No, the perfect gift of words is a book. Yes, as old-fashioned as that might seem in this digital age, the gift of words on paper, bound between covers, is the gift that will keep on giving into, well, into next year.While we don’t have a mega Borders or a super Barnes and Noble within a hundred miles, we do have a pair of the most eclectic and capable booksellers right here within a few blocks of each other. The personal favorite of this column is found on the ground floor of The Little Nell hotel just the other side of the fur shop and the jewelry store. It’s officially called the Aspen Book Store, but it’s known locally as John’s, as in the name of the guy who lovingly stocks its nooks and crannies with the entire world in books. He opens this morning at 8:30 a.m. and should be available for your gift-giving pleasure until right ’round 9 p.m. this evening, by which time your sleigh should already be full and airborne.For those of you over on the Main Street side of town, you’re just a short walk on a cold day away from the renowned Explore Booksellers. This place is the poster child for independent bookstores. An old Victorian with room after room of treasures. It has nooks and crannies that are bigger than John’s whole store.That’s not to say that it is better (in the bookstore business, size isn’t everything, or have Amazon and Barnes and Noble brainwashed you, too?). It is just … different. Oh you’ll find many of the same books in both stores, but the experience of buying a book will be as unique as each shop. Going to an independent bookstore and browsing for a present is as enriching for the giver as it is for those on the receiving end.Buy a book for Christmas. It’ll be fun.


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