The Bookseller

To Shana Kelly, who pointed me in the right direction, and in the process became not only a mentor but also a friend, I offer thanks. To everyone at Lighthouse Writers Workshop, thank you for providing inspiration, thought-provoking workshops and conferences, and an outstanding writers’ community. Gary Schanbacher and Rose Fredrick contributed literary discourse, coffee, and handouts. Susan Wright, Mary Elliott, and Jocelyn Scheirer read early drafts and gave me both suggestions and cheerleading; I am fortunate to call them sister and virtual sisters. I am blessed to have Mary Hauser and Sandra Theunick in my life; to both of them, I am grateful. To my “friends who live in my computer”—thank you and M4L. The Book Club That Changed the World has done more than that—its members have changed my life, always for the better and always with my gratitude.

The staff of the Western History Department at the Denver Public Library provided maps, old newspapers and phone books, and friendly assistance. Phil Goodstein’s volumes on the history of South Denver supplied considerable background and historical data. Joyce Meskis, owner of the Tattered Cover Bookstore, and Sonya Ellingboe, former owner of the Book House, provided marvelous details about working in and owning a small bookshop in the 1960s. Many clinical volumes about autism offered context on the condition, but Michael Blastland’s heartfelt memoir The Only Boy in the World: A Father Explores the Mysteries of Autism helped me truly appreciate the challenges faced by parents of an autistic child. The First Universalist Church of Denver Women’s Book Club shared their memories to help me visualize life as a young woman in the early 1960s; to them, I am grateful.

A note on historical accuracy: although many newspapers in the 1950s published “lonely hearts” advertisements in their classifieds sections, the Denver Post was not one of them. I hope readers will grant me poetic license in creating a fictional personals section in the 1954 Denver Post.

This book would not have come to fruition if not for the encouragement and devotion of four remarkable people. Thank you, Charlie, Dennis, and Jane, for being my inspiration and the loves of my life. And to Sammy, for absolutely everything; I am so, so glad we met.





About the Author


CYNTHIA SWANSON is a writer and a designer of the midcentury modern style. She has published short fiction in 13th Moon, Kalliope, Sojourner, and other periodicals; her story in 13th Moon was a Pushcart Prize nominee. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband and three children. The Bookseller is her first novel.


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