Bookshop Spotlight: Salida, CO; The Book Haven

July 2021 is the month of traveling for me, so of course I had to make a stop at an independent bookstore along the way.

The Book Haven in Salida, Colorado did not disappoint!

*If you happen to stop in Salida and want to visit The Book Haven, make sure to pay attention to their hours. They are truly a small town bookshop that have particular hours (typically shorter) and sometimes the hours must accommodate needs of the owners.


The Book Haven is nestled between shops along Salida’s small, charming downtown filled with restaurants and locally owned stores with goodies and ski/snowboarding gear. Naturally, I am drawn to anything that remotely relates to books, so my eyes spotted this store immediately during our search for a dinner spot.

Inside, The Book Haven is relatively small, but there is a bit of depth in the shop. It is cozy and inviting, yet incites an eagerness in readers to scour its crowded shelves to see what treasures hide there.

Organization / Book-Finding Experience

The Book Haven is pretty straightforward in its organization by genre; each section is labeled. This bookstore sells both used and new books, which tend to be in their own sections. However, The Book Haven understands the importance of buying used books; they don’t just showcase their new options in the window and wall displays! If you are someone that prefers buying used books over new, then this store has great, reasonably priced options for you!

My Haul

Perhaps I’m biased as the new owner of these books, but this is the part I am most excited to share – my book haul! I haven’t heard of these books before, but the synopses and beautiful covers totally gave me Colorado / adventure vibes. Check out the Goodreads synopses of each book below!

The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel (2018)

“This entertaining and assured debut novel about a utopian summer camp and its charismatic leader asks smart questions about good intentions gone terribly wrong. Framed by the oil shale bust and the real estate boom, by protests against Reagan and against the Gulf War, The Optimistic Decade takes us into the lives of five unforgettable characters and is a sweeping novel about idealism, love, class, and a piece of land that changes everyone who lives on it.

There is Caleb Silver, the beloved founder of the back-to-the-land camp Llamalo, who is determined to teach others to live simply. There are the ranchers, Don and his son, Donnie, who gave up their land to Caleb and who now want it back. There is Rebecca Silver, determined to become an activist like her father and undone by the spell of both Llamalo and new love; and there is David, a teenager who has turned Llamalo into his personal religion. Heather Abel’s novel is a brilliant exploration of the bloom and fade of idealism and how it forever changes one’s life.”

Rock With Wings by Anne Hillerman (2015)

“Navajo Tribal cops Jim Chee and Bernadette Manuelito, and their mentor, the legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, investigate two perplexing cases in this exciting Southwestern mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Spider Woman’s Daughter

Doing a good deed for a relative offers the perfect opportunity for Sergeant Jim Chee and his wife, Officer Bernie Manuelito, to get away from the daily grind of police work. But two cases will call them back from their short vacation and separate them—one near Shiprock, and the other at iconic Monument Valley.

Chee follows a series of seemingly random and cryptic clues that lead to a missing woman, a coldblooded thug, and a mysterious mound of dirt and rocks that could be a gravesite. Bernie has her hands full managing the fallout from a drug bust gone wrong, uncovering the origins of a fire in the middle of nowhere, and looking into an ambitious solar energy development with long-ranging consequences for Navajo land.

Under the guidance of their mentor, retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, Bernie and Chee will navigate unexpected obstacles and confront the greatest challenge yet to their skills, commitment, and courage.”

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky (2019)

“A sweeping tale of clashing cultures, warring gods, and forbidden love: In 1000 AD, a young Inuit shaman and a Viking warrior become unwilling allies as war breaks out between their peoples and their gods-one that will determine the fate of them all. ‘There is a very old story, rarely told, of a wolf that runs into the ocean and becomes a whale.’ Born with the soul of a hunter and the spirit of the Wolf, Omat is destined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps-invoking the spirits of the land, sea, and sky to protect her people. But the gods have stopped listening and Omat’s family is starving. Alone at the edge of the world, hope is all they have left.

Desperate to save them, Omat journeys across the icy wastes, fighting for survival with every step. When she meets a Viking warrior and his strange new gods, they set in motion a conflict that could shatter her world…or save it.”

West by Carys Davies (2018)

“When Cy Bellman, American settler and widowed father of Bess, reads in the newspaper that huge ancient bones have been discovered in a Kentucky swamp, he leaves his small Pennsylvania farm and young daughter to find out if the rumours are true: that the giant monsters are still alive, and roam the uncharted wilderness beyond the Mississippi River.

West is the story of Bellman’s journey and of Bess, waiting at home for her father to return. Written with compassionate tenderness and magical thinking, it explores the courage of conviction, the transformative power of grief, the desire for knowledge and the pull of home, from an exceptionally talented and original British writer. It is a radiant and timeless epic-in-miniature, an eerie, electric monument to possibility.”

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