Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Portland and Powell's

Q: How can you tell if you're a "book nerd?"
A: When a bookstore becomes a destination when you're traveling.

I had to go to Portland for work and while checking Mapquest to see how far the hotel was from the office, I noticed a bookstore listed on the map. I thought that was unusual - that a bookstore would appear like that. But it turns out that Powell's isn't just any bookstore - it's "the world's largest bookstore" (according to their website, anyway). And it was only a few blocks from the hotel! Cool!

But I searched their website and found a book I've wanted for 20 years: Insect-eating Plants and How to Grow Them by Adrian Slack. I tried growing carnivorous plants as a kid several times but it wasn't until I found this book at the library that I was able to keep them alive (and that library copy probably spent more time at my house than it did on the library shelves!). It was kind of the first book that focused on growing such plants instead of just describing them, and even though a few others have come out since, it's still popular among CPers (people who like carnivorous plants). Popular enough that the few used copies will sell for over $50 or $100 on Amazon. Even better - they had it for only $12. It turned out to be an "ex-library" copy (which I thought was strangely appropriate) from Clakamas, OR and was in surprisingly good shape (probably wasn't checked out very often).  So, now I'm not just a book nerd, I'm a plant nerd, right?

Oh yeah, Portland? Yeah, it was nice. I wasn't there long - flew in Monday morning and out Tuesday afternoon (I hate to be away from the family) - but it was very pretty.  We were in the "old town" area and Tuesday morning I had a chance to walk around - lots of cool old churches and buildings.  Another thing I thought was really great was how everything seems designed around public transportation and bikes.  Everywhere I looked it seemed there were bike paths and bike racks (which were usually full of bikes as opposed to the empty ones I see here).  Now, if it were only as sunny as it is in SoCal...


  1. I love Portland. We were only there for one day (on our way to Forks), but Powell's was on my Must-See list. Unfortunately, part of our group had airplane issues and I missed my chance. I've been dreaming of going there ever since.

    Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. I wish I'd had time to just browse and wander around. Of course, I probably didn't have enough room in my luggage for all the books I'd like to have bought.