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For the love of books

Castle Pines residents Anna Mallinson (left) and Anne Necker (right) were among hundreds of neighbors who found treasures at the annual community book swap.

Article and photos by Daniel Williams

I have to admit something – I love the Castle Pines book swap. When April comes around, my heart skips a beat when I see signs posted around the community announcing the event because I know that means an excuse to browse for books.

I love books in general, and my internet browser opens to Amazon.com, but there’s something missing when I click on a selection from the safety of my home and wait by the door until the package is delivered. I want to encounter books on the shelves, on display tables or stacked, precariously, all the way to the ceiling. I want to crack the spine of a book that’s never been opened. I want to find a letter, a grocery list or a faded photograph between the pages of a used book that tells me something about its previous owner.

Basically, I love to wander around lost in a bookstore and stumble across the unexpected. That’s the feeling I get whenever attending the Castle Pines book swap. This year’s event, held in the Community Center on Yorkshire Drive, was particularly special because I got to cover it for The Connection, giving me an opportunity to ask volunteers and attendees about their favorite books and what they hoped to find.

“I’ve been coming here for years,” said Anne Necker of Castle Pines. “I always bring a big stack of books and try to leave with three or four.” Necker said she loves nonfiction titles and had just finished reading “The Righteous Mind” by Johnathan Haidt. She said she needed something lighter as a follow up. “I also have a thing for beach reads and love the Sue Grafton mysteries,” she said and proudly held up a beloved find, Grafton’s “P is for Peril.”

Anna Mallinson, president of the Castle Pines North Master Association and organizer of the event, said this year’s swap took in significantly more books than in the past. As she spoke, a family, carrying bags and boxes of books, stomped their feet free of snow on a welcome mat at the Community Center entrance. “The bad weather really helps,” Mallinson said. “If it were nice, people would be outside, but the book swap gives them something to do.”

Mallinson stepped away for a moment to help a customer, and when she returned, she held a memento plucked from between the pages of a donated book. Fittingly, it was an anniversary card that sang a song of eternal love.

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