Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A City of Books

Portland, Oregon's Pearl District holds one of the greatest treasures of all;  a city of books contained in a building that takes up one full city block.  Powell Books is the largest independant book store in the world, full of new, used and rare editions of almost anything you could be in search of, book wise.

A pillar of books greets you right outside the front door, hinting at all the wonderful things to come when you pop open those double doors and walk inside.
Shilo and I have made a deal.  A sweet deal, actually, for both of us.  She has a doctor appointment just about once a month at OHSU in Portland, so after each appointment, as a treat, we take ourselves to Powell Books.  Because of this deal, Shilo and I have been popping open those front doors to enter the City of Books on a regular basis.  You walk in, breathe deeply the smell of books, old and new.  You are immediately surrounded by a mass of fellow book-lovers.  You find your favorite room, (yes, each genre actually has a room), your favorite shelf, your favorite author.  If the section that is your favorite today is on a lower shelf, you sink to the floor and begin the search for the book that is on your must-get list for today.  New editions are stacked right next to used editions as well as collectors editions.  Powell Books is truly a book-lovers paradise.   Whatever your looking for, whatever your book-reading heart desires, you can find it at Powells.  And when you find it, you can take it to the attached coffee shop, order a latte and sit and read.  Incredible!


Where else could you hold an old copy of Alice in Wonderland, written in caligraphy by the author?  This is not an original, but an old, 1800's, copy of the authors notes. 
Up a flight of stairs and up a flight of stairs, on the 3rd floor, is the Rare Book Room.  I have been in Powell Books more than a handful of times and didn't realize until this weeks trip that this wonderful, intriguing room was here.  Leaving any books and parcels outside on the shelf provided, you crack open the door to the Rare Book Room and the smell of antique books draws you in.  Behind glass cases resides an incredible array of leather bound books that stretch your imagination. 

The oldest book in this collection is De Bello Judaica, printed in 1480.  Modern printing was only approximately 30 years old when this book was printed.  Imagine.

In this very room, you are in the presence of a two-volume first edition of the Journals of Lewis and Clark, published in 1814.  Originally, there were 1,417 copies of the Journals printed, but now only 23 remain.  This particular copy is still in its original binding with the included folding map intact.  For a mere $350,000.00 you may take these volumes home to add to your private collection.  Again, Imagine.

If you ever find yourself in the beautiful city of Portland, book-lover or not, find the Pearl District and take yourself on an excursion to Powell Books.  It is an adventure in itself.  A delightful, book filled adventure.

13 comments:

Brittany said...

i hope you understand that we have to go there after dress shopping (if there's time of course)

Paula said...

Go to Powell Books three weeks in a row! No, say it ain't so!

Mary said...

Paula, If I ever get out to see you, we will have to go to Powell Books. It looks like a wonderful experience.

So glad to be in touch again.

Blessings,
Mary

jojo said...

Well, I am likely to move right in there and never come out...books are my passion, old and new. Sounds like a great place and a good excuse to visit the city!

Susan said...

What a wonderful place to become lost in and never come out!!!

Paula said...

*WOW* That is an awesome place! I could get lost in there for days!

Adrienne said...

I love Powell's Books. Haven't been there in a long time so I think I'd better stop by some time soon!
~Adrienne~

Sarah said...

This sounds like an amazing place!

Stacey's Treasures said...

Incredible!!!
Powell books is one of my very favorite stores!

Splendid Little Stars said...

Oh! the wonder of it! I've been in Portland a couple times--mostly passing through to other places. Let's see--I've been to the Rose Garden (magnificent) and gone blueberry picking.
I love Oregon and hope to visit again someday.

Adrienne said...

What an awesome place! Even though I have a kindle I would go crazy in a store like that! Good thing I live on the east coast far, far away - ha ha!

Jenny said...

I love Powell's! Gosh. This makes me heart-sick to visit Oregon!

Run Lori Run said...

We were just talking about this place yesterday! Being that we live in Portland we have to actually keep ourselves AWAY from this place or else we'd go broke!