dazed and confused in Powell’s–Portland, OR

Yes, I’ve finally made the pilgrimage to a book readers holy mecca.  (of course there are other book-reading mecca-sites around the world but for today, this one would do . . .)


Powells, Portland, OR

Powell's, Portland, OR

There’s J in the photo trudging ahead of me.  He’s a book fan, too, so it didn’t take much persuading to make the trek, but he is more restrained than me.  He’s more of a music buyer than a book buyer.  

In a word, WOW.  I’ve shopped online with Powell’s before, as have most serious readers, but was totally overwhelmed when I started wandering the shop.  I picked up a map of the store when I first entered and that helped some but still–with little in mind beyond browsing, it was overwhelming.  

For example, I was a little ho-hummed in the cookbooks sections thinking–yeah, what’s so special about this when I rounded the corner for row 2, then row 3, then row 4–and this for a store that has a SEPARATE cookbook store at a different location.  I’ve never seen that many cookbooks before in one place–I’m not sure either of the shops I’ve been to that are dedicated entirely to cookbooks (London/New York) had that kind of selection.  It was really great.  But the most bizarre thing was that I’d actually seen/browsed most of these books before.  I’m such a cookbook whore that I get my fix from libraries, interlibrary loan, etc.  Plus I’ve been collecting for more than 20 years so that means a lot of exposure.  

a glance down the stack at Powells

a glance down the stack at Powell's



Then I was off to the mystery section, of course.  Lots of browsing there and I did find one new author that I am interested in–Morag Joss.  I’ve not seen this author’s work before but I read a few pages standing there and thought I’d give it a try.  I’ll update you–and if you have read some of her before, let me know.  A quick browse online puts her as Scottish.  I love a good British mystery so this will be new territory.  

Browsing through the rest of the store, I stopped longest at the green/sustainable living section, picking up a couple of things and taking photos of the covers of a dozen more books that I want to interlibrary loan when I get back home.  I’m not sure if others are doing this or not but I’ve gotten too darn lazy now to write down the titles/authors of books I want to get from the library and instead, I just take a quick snap of them with my iphone.  Anyone else using their iphones this way?  

Afterward, we ducked into the Thai Peacock for dinner.  It’s a block down from Powell’s on Oak Street and was recommended by the clerk at Powell’s.  Then we went back up the street and had a beer at Henry’s Tavern.  Henry’s has more than a 100 speciality beers on tap.  J had something called Rogue Dead Man (or something strange like that) and I had a hard cider made in Canada that had been laced with raspberries.  Very interesting and a great way to cap off an afternoon spent book-browsing. 

If you can’t get to Portland anytime soon, then shop Powell’s online.  You’ll find all kinds of used/new books.  It’s not quite as good as browsing the book in your hand but it’s a whole lot less overwhelming!

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