Collected Works Bookstore has survived the corporate giants and handheld e-readers across this great nation. The place has a family charm that separates the independent shop from its steel-faced competitors. And the last time I checked, Amazon.com doesn't have French doors.
The inside smells like books, air conditioning and java. Dorothy Massey wears a silver bob and walks in quick strides. "Hello, hello," she says to customers.
An owner/founder of this quaint little shop, Massey is super-busy when I visit her to get the rundown on summer events. May is filled with book releases, readings and meet-and-greets—basically putting "works" into Collected Works. And as summer progresses, even bigger events are to come.
Massey stresses community involvement. She says that exact phrase—"community involvement"—about 10 times on my visit. Collected Works devotes its walls to local artists, and the shop participates in local events, donating a portion of profits "back to the community."
"In that regard," Massey says, "we have the [International] Folk Art Market, and we have the Indian Market." And that's just to name a couple.
A week before the fairs, the bookstore reinforces its commitment to the markets by adorning its walls with relevant art.
Massey calls over her "right hand" and former public relations person, Shannon Azzato Stephens, who stands by with a black ballpoint pen and a calendar of events while Massey narrates.
“First thing is major, major,” Dorothy says. On May 11, Michael McGarrity released his newest book, Hard Country. “Do you know who McGarrity is?” Stephens asks. I don’t. I just moved here, and I haven’t an ounce of Santa Fe culture, though his name sure is impressive. “He writes Westerns. You can find them in supermarkets and bookstores.” Got it. Westerns in supermarkets.
How about Jeff Clements? Stephens doesn’t ask me if I know him. “He’s the founder of Free Speech for People,” she says. Clements speaks with Craig Barnes (“He has a radio show,” Stephens says) and reads from his new book, Corporations Are Not People: Why They Have More Rights Than You Do and What You Can Do About It on May 23.
Yes, I lie. Stephens isn't convinced: "Yeah, you probably know her as Tony Hillerman's daughter."
Oh, yes. Yes, of course (sense the irony). Well, Hillerman and her photographer husband, Don Strell, are re-releasing Tony Hillerman’s book The Great Taos Bank Robbery and Other True Stories. They’re at Collected Works on May 25 with a slideshow presentation.
Stephens says the bookstore receives 20-30 event requests per week. They narrow down the contestants based on "whether there is community interest…or community relevance." And then Stephens says, "For instance, clam-baking in Maine…" and she trails off. But it sounds pretty relevant.
EVENTS TO BOOKMARK:
The Great Taos Bank Robbery and Other True Stories with Anne Hillerman and Don Strell: 6 pm Friday, May 25
As the Crow Flies with Craig Johnson: 6 pm Saturday, June 2
A Route 66 Companion with David King Dunaway: 6 pm Wednesday, June 6
Dust to Dust with Benjamin Busch: 6 pm Tuesday, June 12
From Animal House to Our House: A Love Story with Ron Tanner: 6 pm Thursday, June 21