Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Powell's City of Books is one of those places that I could easily become lost within. That is partly due to being directionally challenged and partly due to actually wanting to become lost forever in its aisles. Although I think I have finally convinced myself that I wouldn't really want to work there. After sixteen years in the book retail industry, Powell's seems as though it would the ultimate bookseller dream job, short of owning my own store. But then I started watching the customers and realized that a lot of them are obnoxious, snotty, self-absorbed assholes. Yes, most of them are not. Most of them are civilized and polite and thankful. Most of them are excited to find the book they have been seeking or stumbling upon an author or title new to them. But I am getting too old to return to any type of job where I would have to placate the bullies of life who expect to get what they want when they want it, which is right now!

The wife and I split up to wander the three floors and nine rooms of Powell's, each at his or her leisure. I spent a lot of time in the Blue Room—literature and poetry. I left with a used copy of Jorge Luis Borges's Selected Poems that was in perfect condition. I also spent quite a bit of time in the Pearl Room looking through books of art, architecture, typography, and design, as well as viewing the photographs of Elliott Erwitt on display in Powell's Basil Hallward Art Gallery.

After the wife and I had our fixes (okay, it was mostly me; yes, I'm the addict here), we wandered off into the dark and cold of the November Portland night for dinner and beer...

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