Open you as you open the book

mindfulconcerned

understand

understood

wonder

wonderfilled wonderful

awestruck

awesome

awful

live

- Keith Clawson

Anyone who opens an independent bookstore in Salt Lake City in 1991 either has a personal vision or a death wish.

Keith Clawson has a vision.

"If I'm nothing else, I'm nervy," he says, opening the door to Experienced Books, 1390 S. 1100 East.

"I think of this as a store for people who want to read in depth and in breadth," he says, "a place where people can get together and say `let's talk.' I hope to have some readings here, get some local poets involved. I try not to be so organized that people can't have a good browse. And where I can, I stress the classics."

Clawson also likes to boost people up a notch in their reading where he can. If they're reading Barbara Cartland, he raises them a level to Daphne Du Maurier.

In short, he's the type of person people like to buy books from. Or - as he'd say - from whom people like to buy books. He's enthusiastic and committed; well-rounded and well-read. Day to day he's a teacher at Judge Memorial High School who counsels troubled teens on the side; a poet who works evenings at 7-Eleven.

But at heart, he's a bookstore manager.

"I gave up being a collector the day I opened the store," he says, "so many of these books come from my personal library. I want to keep prices low, so I'm concentrating on getting used books. My goal is to get a larger store, but for now things are moving along pretty good here."

He calls the place a "destination shop."

"You have to seek it out," he says.

With a little luck and time, people will.