As much as I enjoy going out and seeing the sights, I’ve learned something about myself – I enjoy a new city so much more when I’m able to experience it, to savor it. I like being able to linger over a good meal (like we did at Tamayo in Lower Downtown, or Lodo) or wander through the streets looking at street art and architecture. Denver had some beautiful architecture – brick buildings framed with the snow-capped Rockies in the background. We visited the recently remodeled Union Station, where I wished for such elegant train terminals in my area. The train station had loveseats and desks and glass lamps. I could not believe how peaceful and relaxing it looked!
Alas, we did not stop to enjoy the scenery, but instead headed to The Tattered Cover, a large independent bookstore in LoDo. My hubby looked like he wanted to roll his eyes at me when I notified him about our destination, but it didn’t take any real convincing to get him to stop. I was smitten with the place as soon as I walked in. I was immediately struck by the smell of books – which I rarely find anymore – and the worn wooden shelves, arranged in 90-degree angles rather than straight rows. I could have stayed in there for hours, but I would have come home with more books than my suitcases could handle.
As my hubby and I sat having a cup of coffee, me thumbing the pages of my purchases (two books for me, one for my daughter, and a baby shower gift), we discussed the fate of bookstores in general. My hubby wanted a graphic novel, but told me that it was $10 (about 30%) cheaper on Amazon. While I’m all about shopping around, books are one of the things I’m more than willing to spend money on, especially at brick-and-morter bookstore. Doubly so at an independent bookstore. It makes me sad that so many bookstores are struggling to stay open. I love being able to go, browse the shelves, read the book jackets, sit with a cup of coffee and enjoy a new purchase. That’s something that no online retailer (or e-reader) can give me. (And I feel this way, despite reading about half of my books each year on an ereader.)
Does anyone else share my sentiment on the fate of bookstores today?
And now for a review of one of my purchases from The Tattered Cover.
The Intern’s Handbook
By Shane Kuhn
John Lago is one of the best interns Human Resources, Inc. employees. But he’s not just an intern, Lago, like other interns HR, Inc. places into large corporations, is an assassin.
It’s a pretty brilliant set up. You see, interns work long, thankless hours doing grunt work in order to succeed. They are pretty much invisible to the corporate executives who come to rely on them to do everything from getting coffee to doing work that results in hundreds of thousands of dollars in billable hours. A a result, these interns gain easy access to the company’s executives, their targets, while largely being ignored. And then they move in for the kill, literally.
The Intern’s Handbook is Lago’s unofficial guide for new HR, Inc. recruits who are still in training. It tells of the lessons he’s learned in his decade at the company, through the story of his last assignment – the assassination of a partners of a top Manhattan law firm. The assignment is far from ordinary. Not only must Lago figure out which of the partners to kill (the one that is selling the FBI’s witness protection list) but during the course of his investigation, he learns that his primary asset, Alice, is actually an undercover FBI agent working on the same case that he is. What an assignment!
Review/Recommendation: Author Shane Kuhn’s debut novel was a good, quick read. The cover of the book calls it a thriller, but I’m not sure I’d categorize it so. It was more of an action-packed fiction novel that was heavy on the deception. It’s written in Lago’s blunt, sarcastic voice which is part wit, part dark humor. (If you’re sensitive or easily offended, then this isn’t for you.)
Kudos to Kuhn for taking some twists and turns I didn’t expect. Because everything is based on multiple deceptions, I found myself questioning which threads were complete fabrication and which had some basis on reality. As I was reading the book, I wondered how Kuhn was going to tie everything together. I can honestly say that the ending was something I never saw coming – couldn’t have guessed it in a million years – which is part of the reason that I rated this book so high. You just don’t find that any more.
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