Favorite Thing Friday: Powell’s Books

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As world traveler who has visited countless bookstores all over the world, I thought I had seen it all. Then, I realized how wrong I was when I walked up to Powell’s on Burnside Street in Portland, OR. I knew this place was the largest new/used bookstore in the world, but I had no idea just how big. They don’t call it a “city of books” for nothing!

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Powell’s City of Books, Burnside St., c.b.w. 2015

I literally froze in the middle of the lobby when I first walked in. My eyes didn’t know where to look first and my mouth was hanging open as if an alien mothership had just landed. Table after table of books followed by walls (floor to ceiling) of books, and then doorways that lead to shelf after shelf of more books. They should put a sign on the door that says, “Caution: Drooling May Occur.”

Realizing this was no ordinary bookshop, I went straight to the information desk and picked up a map. This was not a place where I could wander aimlessly and not get lost! To my shock, the map unfolded like a roadmap: Three floors cover a city block and contain color coded rooms that are further organized by genre specific stacks. There’s a coffee shop, too!

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It actually took two trips to wander through the entire store. The first time through, I went from room to room, floor to floor, just get a sense of the place and stand in awe of such a giant collection of books. The second time through, I went with a list of books I hoped to find.

First, I hoped to find some new haiku books. The well has run dry at my local bookstores and on amazon, so I hoped Powell’s would have something I haven’t read. Not only did I find haiku books, but I think I witnessed the largest poetry section I’ve ever seen in a bookstore. I ended up buying three haiku books out of the 20 or so they had available, (including original printings of R.H. Blyth’s four volume interpretation of haiku – Wow!).

Second, I dared myself to believe I could find the Fates series by Lanie Bross. My local bookstore no longer had it and amazon wanted too much for it. I wandered into the YA section and was again blown away by the sheer size of it. After scanning through two aisles, I actually found what I was looking for along with a bonus. Fates and it’s sequel Chaos, were sitting on the shelf together like they were waiting for me. I hugged them as I walked through the rest of the store.

As a writer of YA fiction, the scope of Powell’s YA section left me feeling so giddy – so many teens were wandering through the aisles with books in their hands! And look what was lingering near the YA entrance . . .

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Motivational Stairs, Powell’s, c.b.w. 2015

How’s that for some motivation!

Two trips and five books later, I am convinced that if Powell’s doesn’t have a book, it doesn’t exist. I’m still drooling over this place and still hugging the books that have become my Powell’s souvenirs.

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2015

Vacation Recovery

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Isn’t it funny how vacation is sometimes more exhausting than the real life world you are escaping? All of last week, I was chuckling to myself as I collapsed on my hotel bed from sheer and utter exhaustion from a full day adventure.

It all began when I traveled to Oregon with a friend where we embarked on a series of adventures that took us through Portland, Willamette National Forest, the Pacific Coast, and the Columbia River Gorge.

I saw more of Oregon than I ever thought I would thanks to a combined sense of curiosity and fearless exploration. And we have to multiply this combination by two because when my friend and I travel together we are unstoppable! On one day, we drove almost 400 miles tracking down waterfalls, collapsed sea caves, and snow capped mountain peaks.

While the adventures we shared were incredible, both of us came out of it realizing we are no longer spring chickens. I would’t call us out of shape, but rather victims of the aging process. When I was younger, I could engage in active travel (hiking, walking long distances, etc) for extended periods of time. Now, four days of driving, wilderness hikes, and city walking sent me home with an injured foot tendon and multiple strained muscles. This from a person who trail hikes nearly every day at home!

Still, I can honestly say the pain is worth it. Oregon turned out to be an incredible place. I think part of the reason I pushed myself harder than I should was because I didn’t want to miss what was around the bend. Whether it be a hidden waterfall in Willamette National Forest, Spouting Horn (aka Thor’s Well) on the coast, or a funky corner in Portland, I was completely under Oregon’s spell.

Of course, now I’m limping around like a cripple.

And yeah, it’s still worth it.

Here’s one reason why …

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Multnomah Falls, Oregon, c.b.w. 2015

With a view like this, the pain doesn’t matter. I’ll heal. 

More pictures will be posted in the coming weeks as my muse was greatly inspired by Oregon’s beautiful scenery and the quirky awesomeness that is Portland. The taste of Voodoo Doughnuts still lingers on my tongue.

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c.b.w. 2015