Tag Archives: Portland

Book Gem in Portland, OR for the Traveling Bookworm

14 Aug

I can’t even pretend I stumbled across this one. I practically planned my vacation around this. Guys, I WENT TO POWELL’S!

If you’re not familiar with Powell’s, it’s the largest independent bookstore in the world. It takes up an entire city block in downtown Portland and has three floors of books. It sells new and used books and I can’t tell you how close to crying I was when I finally walked in.

I wanted to see EVERYTHING and I think I was pretty darn close! We started in the lobby which featured a ton of well-curated tables and best-seller walls. There was a bunch of souvenirs as well and I picked up a postcard to add to my collection. From there, we hit the fiction shelves. Eek! I’m a total sucker for staff recommendations so while I looked through many of the books there, I knew I’d end up getting a staff recommendation and I did. I picked up Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. It sounds like a cross between Station Eleven and The Martian and honestly, that sounds too amazing for words. It might be a while before I get to this on my TBR, but it will be a good time when I do.

Because I’m an Instagram nerd, I knew Powell’s had an autograph pillar and we found it! I saw Neil Gaiman’s autograph and got really excited. A lot of the names I didn’t recognize but this one sure stood out!

We spent some time in SciFi looking at the games collection but my husband wouldn’t bite and buy one. We kind of skipped through a lot of non-fiction and children’s, too. I know myself and I know I’m going to buy fiction, but it was still fun to explore.

I did stop myself in the language section. One advantage of a lot of floor space is having a great collection of foreign language books! I know I’m running low on books in Spanish and my husband recommended picking another one up here. I still have the 7th Harry Potter book to read next year, but nothing after that. Powell’s to the rescue! I picked up Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. YA is a good reading level for my Spanish skills and I’m super excited knowing that I’ll get to this one in 2019.

An awesome addition to this store is the Espresso Book Machine. I’ve read about these machines before but this was the first time I saw one. These machines can print books, either hard-to-find books or copies for aspiring writers. Powell’s sells a few by local authors in the store. We wandered around for a while, hoping they would print one while we were there. Luckily, I found the world’s best Nalgene while we waited. This is my new favorite thing in the world. And we did wander around long enough! It was great to see the machine in action, printing a local author’s book (I believe it was on bike routes but I was too focused on watching the process). It printed, bound, and trimmed the book before it slid out the slot on the bottom center you can see in the picture. I thought this would be great for anyone printing out a proof copy for Beta readers. I wonder if there’s one near me…

The last stop was something we were told not to miss, the Rare Book Room! There were some signed first-editions, most notably the A Song of Ice and Fire series (aka Game of Thrones) and some Dan Browns. There were also some old books from the settlement of the US and some presidential books, too. My favorite was a few large illustrated editions of classics. I was allowed to touch them which made me really excited to look through the pages.

Me in the Rare Book Room with my Rare Book Room pass.

My husband talked me into leaving due to hunger. He did agree to let me come back for a while later that day and I found a book for him! It’s called DC Trip by Sara Benincasa and is about a teacher chaperoning the annual Washington DC trip at her school. My husband has done this two years in a row now for the middle school where he teaches so it seemed too perfect. I hope he laughs when he reads it.

So that was my trip to the amazing Powell’s. I’ll leave you with a picture of the pillar out front. There are four sides that have the Latin phrases “buy the book, read the book, enjoy the book, sell the book.” I didn’t plan it, but this is the “read the book” side.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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