[Editor's Note: We'd like to thank all of our readers who took the time to comment on the rare books post Finis. We're pleased to share the news that Kirsten isn't leaving the Powell's blog, she's simply expanding her role outside of rare books. You'll find her posts covering book collecting, strange facts from the book world, and other interesting literary tidbits right here every month.]
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Each summer when I was a kid our family vacations took us over the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan. My father would always say, "Twenty men died building this bridge," as we were halfway across the 7,400 feet of roadway, a statement that never failed to terrify me.
The truth is that five men died building that bridge, which is probably a pretty good safety record for the size of the project. But I didn't know that then, and I didn't know of D. B. Steinman either, so I couldn't possibly know just how safe I was crossing one of his bridges.
Here in Portland, a city embarrassingly rich with bridges, our local D. B. Steinman creation is the beautiful St. Johns Bridge.
D. B. Steinman grew up in lower Manhattan; his Builders of the Bridge is about the Brooklyn Bridge and the Roeblings. We're lucky enough to have several of Steinman's bridge titles in stock right now, including the kids' book Famous Bridges of the World and his technical treatise The Wichert Truss.
Bridges have inspired some fabulous writing. The third edition of The Portland Bridge Book included new poetry and lyrics. Steinman wrote poetry about bridges and others have written poems about the bridges he built, but I have to say I prefer the poetic beauty of his bridges to his written poetry.
Will you be in Portland on August 8? That's the date of the 2010 Portland Bridge Pedal — the event that allows cyclists to ride over (almost) all of Portland's bridges, including the Fremont suspension bridge. If you can't be here for the ride, you can still see some great Portland views from the Hawthorne Bridge in this video about a local bridge tender — one of the loneliest guys in town.
Portland is so well known for books, bikes, bridges, and beer that it's almost surprising the Bridge Pedal isn't just a giant pub crawl in disguise, with stops at the City of Books and Powell's on Hawthorne to indulge in some inspired book purchases while in the company of thousands of other Portland enthusiasts…
Thank you, D. B. Steinman, for your books and for your bridges.
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Kirsten Berg has worked as a used book buyer for Powell's for more than 10 years. She is experienced with technical and general reading material, and enjoys working with out-of-print and rare material the most.