It’s hard to choose one favorite bookstore because I’ve loved so many. But I thought I’d say a few things about a lovely little store on West San Francisco Street in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico, called Collected Works. I wrote a lot of the first draft of In Hovering Flight in Santa Fe, in the winter and spring of 2005. My husband Jim and I were both on sabbaticals from our teaching jobs, and we decided to spend four months living in Santa Fe, along with our daughter Anna, who was three at the time.
Though I did most of my writing in our house or at the Santa Fe Public Library, I loved walking over to the beautiful streets around the Governor’s Palace and the Plaza. One favorite stopping-off point-on one of my many walks, or before a show at the Lensic Theatre, or maybe after breakfast at the Plaza Diner-was Collected Works. The store specializes in works on New Mexico and Indian history and culture, which of course are such a rich part of life in Santa Fe. But what I remember best is buying cookbooks by well-known vegetarian cookbook writer (and Santa Fe resident) Deborah Madison. We’d been enjoying the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market each weekend for several weeks by the time we left, in June, and so I went home with several copies of Madison’s new book at that point, the gorgeous Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets.
I also have a vivid memory of walking into Collected Works with Jim and Anna one cold March evening before a performance by the Aspen-Santa Fe Ballet at the Lensic. Anna was all dressed up in her sparkly shoes and pretty little red coat, and I remember the quiet smiles from both customers and employees in the store when we explained that she was to see her first professional ballet performance that night. The store was like that: warm, local, comfortable-and filled with books you wanted to curl up with beside one of those lovely-smelling piñon fires.
Collected Works has been around since 1978. You really do have to love a store with all that history and warmth, and especially one whose resident cat is named Kitty Carson (click here for more photos of Kitty Carson).
Thank you, Joyce, for sharing your love of Collected Works with us! The entire Santa Fe area sounds lovely, with all the activities and attractions you mention … and the idea of going on sabbatical, well, that sounds divine!
Readers, I have a question for you – none of our local shops or businesses have a 4-legged resident (the fish tank at our dentist just doesn’t cut it!) … are there any furry friends in stores near you?