It's Hibernation Season 3

Recommended Reading from Glenwood’s Book Train

Winter. While many in the valley look upon this season as one for the slopes, sleds and ice skates, others revere it as a quiet time for reflection and solitude. Welcome to January: the holidays are over, springtime is a distant dream, and evenings are still long and dark. What to do? Crank up the wood stove and settle in with a book. When paired with your favorite spot on the couch and the warmest wool socks in the house, nothing beats a good page-turner on the coldest nights of the year.

If you’re wondering what titles to pick up, the Book Train in Glenwood Springs is always bursting with ideas. A fixture of the downtown small business community since 1976, the independent bookseller has weathered a myriad of challenges over the years—from economic recessions to the rise of e-readers and Amazon.com. The Book Train remains a beloved favorite of tourists and locals alike.

“I think that an independent bookstore is really important, especially in a small town,” says Book Train Manager Carole O’Brien, who has overseen the shop’s day-to-day operations for 12 years. “Our job here is to provide a wide variety of information and entertainment. If we don’t have a well-educated and well-read community, the community suffers.”

From children’s books to independent releases, award winners and regional non-fiction works by local authors, O’Brien says the Book Train seeks to fill its small space with as many diverse genres and topics as possible. What can’t be found on the shelves can be ordered, and all eight Book Train staff members happily offer tailored suggestions and recommendations.

“We have one staff member who loves memoirs, another who loves history and another who loves all things outdoor-related,” O’Brien says. “And I read pretty much anything I can get my hands on. But my downfall is science fiction and mystery. Our staff has an amazing depth of knowledge, and we’re here to help you find that perfect book—one specially recommended for you. Amazon.com can’t offer that personal connection.”

For magazine fanatics and notecard lovers, the Book Train has that ground covered, too. They also have a cat.

“That would be Sammy,” O’Brien laughs. “Everyone loves him.”

As times change and evolve, O’Brien hopes that the Book Train will remain a safe haven for information and ideas—a community gathering place where our varied cultures and opinions can be fed by the literary, the challenging and the thought-provoking.

“I think a free exchange of different opinions and ideas is really important,” she says. “A bookstore is so much about the First Amendment—and we hope to keep it that way.”