Tag Archives: Traveling Bookworm

Book Gems in Atlanta, GA for the Traveling Bookworm

20 Aug


It was time for my bi-annual trip with my college friends and this time we headed to Atlanta! I can’t understand why we get two Southern states in a row (it was New Orleans in 2017) because August is NOT the best time to travel in the Southern US. But we get Cleveland in 2021 so I’ll look forward to that.

Atlanta is not known for being a book-centric city like some of the places I’ve been visiting so I went in with no expectations. I found a lot of book stores but many of them were far away from the downtown area we are staying and over an hour on a bus to get there. I opted for three that were moderately walkable from my hotel.

The first one I tried was For Keeps Bookstore. This was poor planning on my behalf because it was closed when I got there! I tried opening the door about 10:40 and they opened at 11:00. I decided not to wait because I was on a tight time schedule so I, unfortunately, do not have anything good or bad to say about this place. I had a great walk through the Georgia State campus to get there, though!

Next, I jumped on the train and wandered into A Capella Books. This was listed on two different ‘Best of’ lists that I looked into. I have to be honest, it wasn’t what I was expecting. I guess I had some ideas of amazing small Indy bookstores and this was just physically smaller than I’d hoped for. It was two rooms and to get to the second you had to walk behind the register. There was a mix of new and used books and most books only had one copy. There were a few that were outward-facing with multiple copies and I looked at those options more extensively. What eventually drew me in was their book club display. There seem to be at least fifteen book clubs that meet at the store and their current and past selections were on display. I grabbed one of these, The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai, which is part of their Best Lit Book Club. The cashier said she’d heard great things about it.

The second backroom held mostly poetry and some second-hand fiction. There was a group of three employees (I’m assuming) talking about books and I believe they were picking new orders. I poked around and was excited to find a signed first edition of Gone With the Wind! It was a ‘look but don’t touch’ situation, but it was still really cool to see.

I took a long walk along the Beltway to the next store, stopping for lunch along the way. It was HOT! I got a bit lost, too. I was heading to Posman Books which is located in Ponce City Market. This is an outdoor mall setting with multiple levels and access points. When I eventually made it, I was unfortunately short on time! This store was more what I was looking for. There are five locations for Posman, two in New York, one in Boston, and another in an Atlanta suburb. It was a good-sized store with good fiction selection and some kids interactive toys as well. There was a really friendly employee who was walking around and answering questions. I found a small foreign language section and was BEYOND EXCITED to find the Spanish translation of John Green’s Turtles All The Way Down, Mil veces hasta siempre. YA is a great reading level for me in Spanish and after the success of Will Grayson, Will Grayson earlier this year, I’m excited to have another translated Green for future Spanish reading. I grabbed an Atlanta postcard to go with my purchase and had to rush to catch a bus back to the hotel. I got to my meeting with one minute to spare! Go me.

I’m not sure when I’ll be traveling again but I’ll be sure to take tons of pictures and let you all know what I find. Until next time, write on.

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!

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!