Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

3.09.2010

Biblio Files

This weekend involved many highlights, from scrapbooking to gardening classes with Mama to the premier of a song by a new composer (and friend) to spending a lovely few days with our friend, Sarah. Sadly, I have no pictures to prove the weekend's existence, so I decided to focus on one small, short aspect of our time: Powell's Books. Seeing as the name alone strikes me speechless, allow me to copy their own description from the website:

Powell's City of Books is a book lover's paradise, the largest used and new bookstore in the world. Located in downtown Portland, Oregon and occupying an entire city block, the City stocks more than a million new and used books. Nine color coded rooms house over 3,500 different sections, offering something for every interest, including an incredible selection of out-of-print and hard-to-find titles.

The City's Rare Book Room gathers autographed first editions and other collectible volumes for readers in search of a one-of-a-kind treasure.

Every day at our buyers' counter in the Orange Room, we purchase thousands of used books from the public. Powell's purchases special collections, libraries, and bookstore inventories as well.

A few facts about the City of Books:

  • 68,000 square feet packed with books
  • we buy 3,000 used books over the counter every day
  • approximately 3,000 people walk in and buy something every day
  • another 3,000 people just browse and drink coffee
  • our parking garage provides space for 40 cars (ok, so there are bigger parking garages)
  • we stock 122 major subject areas and more than 3,500 subsections
  • you'll find more than 1,000,000 volumes on our shelves
  • approximately 80,000 book lovers browse the City's shelves every day, in Portland and via the Internet. So is our mother ship the world's largest bookstore? Hey, it may be bigger than your whole town.




While we were there, we eagerly picked up one find: Spring Came on Forever by Bess Streeter Aldrich who wrote one of my favorite books of all time, A Lantern in Her Hand. We looked at slim paperbacks of poetry by Christian poet Christina Rossetti (for the record, there is a disproportionately large amount of cute people in the poetry aisles). We searched for E.P. Roe, a rarely read author in the 21st century whom we discovered from our grandmother's book collection (start with Opening a Chestnut Burr if you want to try him). We also drooled over Gene Stratton Porter, Margaret Sidney (of The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew fame), marvelous editions of The Last of the Mohicans, centuries-old books by Saint Augustine, and gorgeous antique books in French (we couldn't read a word, but they were beautiful!).


Many years ago, we bought a book we had never heard of (What Katy Did, written in the 19th century by Susan Coolidge) at Powell's. After reading the book, though, we knew it was going to be a staple on our bookshelf. Coolidge unravels the tale of a rambunctious, awkward, quick-tempered girl who is the oldest of six motherless children (their father and aunt tend to the bunch). Katy loves her siblings and sincerely wants to guide them, encourage them, and be patient with them, but her own unthinking self always seems to get the better of her noble desires. Through a series of devastating events, however, Katy grows up and learns how to be best friends with her own siblings.

If some of these favorite authors and books are ones that you have yet to read, I highly encourage you to check them out! You may not be blessed to live near Powell's, but where there's a bibliophile, there's a way!

10 comments:

  1. Aghh!!! Seriously you guys I get this nauseous feeling in my stomach just reading about that bookstore...I wonder how many bibliophiles like me walk through the doors and faint dead away out of pure happiness?
    Bookstores overwhelm me, especially if they have chairs in them. :)
    Maybe I will move to the City of Books...they'll let me live there, right? :)

    I hadn't heard of some of those books; I will have to look them up!
    <3, Kelsey :o)

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  2. Oh, why did you hafto tell me about that store. I'm just a tad jealous.=)

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  3. Wow, what a store! I love used book sales/stores. My local library is having a used book sale this week and I've been counting the days since their last sale in September. It will last three days. I guess I'll be camping in the parking lot..... ;D I'll have to visit Powell's if I'm ever in the area.

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  4. Sounds absolutely wonderful! Especially when reading's been a favorite hobby ever since I was a little girl. I am beginning to panic now because I have read almost everything by my favorite authors (Dickens, Eliot, Brontes etc. etc.) and I am wondering if there are any good books left. I will definitely have to check out the bookstore. Sounds like I'll have to set aside an entire day for that one, though. :-)

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  5. *sigh* It was beautiful...I totally have to go spend a week there some day. :p Thanks for the lovely weekend!

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  6. We love Powells! It’s sort of a tradition to go there every year for my birthday. :) We love reading old, antique books.

    ~Shiloh

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  7. I'm glad to see I'm not the only bibliophile around! ;-) For the folks who don't live around here, just plan to make Powell's stop #1 on the great Northwest exploration (it's only a half-hour from the airport ;-).

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  8. You can read What Katy Did on-line at http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/coolidge/katy/katy.html

    :)

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  9. Thanks Ana! I linked the title "What Katy Did" to that website in my post, but I didn't make it clear. Check it out, everyone!

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  10. I went there once. I spent about 4 hours browsing.

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