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National Independent Bookstore Day: The Audacious Ones

May 2, 2015
Out West Books. Grand Junction, Colorado
Out West Books. Grand Junction, Colorado

Happy Independent Bookstore Day! It was one year ago this month that my memoir Grizzlies On My Mind was released. The legendary indie bookstore Tattered Cover in downtown Denver was the release site and they had awarded me the tremendous honor of speaking at their Lo-Do location for the prestigious Rocky Mountain Land Series. Sixty plus people packed the room and for the first time, I signed dozens of books. It was a day I won’t forget.

Over the course of the last calendar year I’ve had the privilege of speaking at numerous amazing venues for varying causes, but I must say there is a certain mystique, a romantic validation as an author to be hosted by an indie bookstore. Over the last twelve months I’ve had the honor of speaking/reading/signing at some of the best indie bookstores in the West. I’ve met amazing and audacious individuals, defying the odds by living their dream. It’s been an inspiring journey to say the least.

Me and my little shadow gearing up to present at Fact and Fiction in Missoula, Montana.
Me and my little shadow gearing up to present at Fact and Fiction in Missoula, Montana.

One of the first things I do when exploring a new town is check out their indie bookstore scene. I’ve always believed the quality of a town’s independent bookstores is a reflection of the vivacity of the town itself. On my recent book tour of Colorado/Utah I had the privilege of experiencing some of the best indie bookstores in the west, some I had known, others were new to me. In honor of Independent Book Store Day I want to give a shout out to Marya at Out West Books in Grand Junction, Colorado, one of the best kept secrets in the Four Corners region. Out West Books is one of our new all time favorites.

To hell with trends. I always hear that bookstores represent a dying market. Try telling that to the likes of Out West Books, Boulder Book Store or Back of Beyond, where I presented last week in front of packed houses bustling with vibrancy and literary wisdom. People like Marya at Out West Books represent the audacious ones, breaking out of the box, ignoring the boundaries, and defying the odds by pursuing their dream to inspire a legacy and live a life that matters. On this day that celebrates the indie bookstores of the world, let us also honor the audacious individuals who keep the spirit of stories thriving, alive and well.

I want to thank the following bookstores for being such a big part of the Grizzlies On My Mind book tour:

Tattered Cover (Denver), Valley Book Store (Jackson Hole, Wyoming), Country Bookshelf (Bozeman), Fact and Fiction (Missoula), Tumbleweed (Gardiner, Montana), Elk River Books (Livingston, Montana), King’s English (Salt Lake City), Boulder Book Store (Boulder, Colorado), Out West Books (Grand Junction), Back of Beyond (Moab, Utah).

~Michael W. Leach

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