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Powell's City of Books
Powell's City of Books
1005 W Burnside St.
Portland, OR 97209
Daily: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Sell Us Your Books:
Daily: 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Rare Book Room:
Daily: 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Bldg. 2 hours:
Daily: 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
The Espresso Book Machine® has arrived! Visit the Purple Room in the City of Books to publish your own book or print hard-to-find titles, all in the time it takes to make a cup of coffee. Learn more.
Get turn-by-turn directions to books — on your phone! Download the free Meridian app for iPhone and Android. Click here to learn more.
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.
Each month, the Basil Hallward Gallery (located upstairs in the Pearl Room) hosts a new art exhibit, as well as dozens of author events featuring acclaimed writers, artists, and thinkers such as Roddy Doyle, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Chabon, Annie Leibovitz, and President Jimmy Carter.
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.
And the City's newest addition (October 2010) is Powell's Books Bldg. 2, a relocation of Powell's Technical Books, brings mathematics, sciences, computing, engineering, construction, and transportation sections closer to visitors at the flagship store. Bldg. 2 is located across the street from the City of Books on the corner of NW 10th and Couch.
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.
• 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? Heck, it may be bigger than your whole town.
The Washington Post called Powell's "perhaps the best bookstore in the world." You can also browse our store map online in .PDF format.
If you've already placed an order for a book via our website and would like to check on its status, please email the internet office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about Powell's City of Books:
Store Map (PDF) • Directions to Powell's City of Books • World Cup Coffee & Tea at Powell's City of Books • Tour Powell's City of Books • The Rare Book Room
Here are just some of the books we're talking about at Powell's.
Where You Are
Maps usually plot things like mountain ranges and bodies of water on a grid in an attempt to make travel more efficient. This innovative book is in fact a box containing 16 individually bound maps, each one using geographical techniques to instead plot memories, thoughts, and feelings on a piece of paper. The result is experimental in form but as emotionally resonant as any essay collection I've read in recent years.
Recommended by Adam P. December 17, 2013
Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns
Andrea Gibson writes poetry that will break your heart into tiny little pieces, then glue it all back together again. In Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns, she tackles what it means to love and lose, human rights, and the reality of depression. She will empower you and inspire you, but most of all she will reach out and let you know that you're not alone.
Recommended by Koa December 17, 2013
A labyrinthine, complex literary horror-mystery novel, Night Film has a seemingly endless amount of twists and turns. I was immediately and completely sucked into the story: a dark tale of an infamous horror filmmaker, his ethereal daughter, the multitude of loyal hangers-on, a possible suicide, a possible murder, disappearing witnesses, and a devastating love story. Pessl is a worthy storyteller and she certainly knows how to force you to the top of her cliffhangers. Midway through, the story seemed to become bogged down with everything devolving into some kind of dark-magic, supernatural mumbo-jumbo. Luckily, that particular twist was just a ruse designed to confuse — and, yes — I was duped. Hang on — Pessle will fling you, blindfolded, on a long and switch-backed roller coaster ride down a pitch-black rabbit hole. Enjoy the jaunt.
Recommended by Dianah December 17, 2013
The Infatuations (staff pick)
What happened is the least of it. It's a novel, and once you've finished a novel, what happened in it is of little importance and soon forgotten. What matters are the possibilities and ideas that the novel's imaginary plot communicates to us and infuses us with, a plot that we recall far more vividly than real events and to which we pay far more attention.
Being that there are so many ways in which one might consider a book's overall effect (to say nothing of how certain elements may appeal to one reader over another), it can be rather arduous to convey what it is about a particular work that makes it resonate as it does. To some, prose is paramount. To others, believable characters and their development, with whom a reader can identify or at least empathize. Faithful dialogue, compelling plot, philosophical asides, broad scope, cross-cultural relevance, clever construction, unique narrative stylings, memorable voice, a timeless quality — all these and more are reasons often given when discussing what it is about a work of fiction that makes it so distinguished or outstanding. The one commonality shared by all the world's great novels, however, be they past or present, is their remarkable ability to stay with us long after we've set the story aside. So it is with Javier Marías's latest novel, The Infatuations.
Published to wide acclaim in his native Spain in 2011, the disputed King of Redonda's most recent offering is a murder mystery par excellence. No mere formulaic thriller, Marías's tale is one of perception, memory, grief, love, death, complicity, circumstance, doubt, chance, delusion, the multiplicity of motivation, and, of course, the nature of infatuation. Set within the capital city of Madrid and using a violent (and seemingly senseless) murder as its catalyst, the story follows María Dolz, a publishing house employee who entangles herself, however inadvertently at the onset, in the heinous crime's aftermath.
All this information was published over a period of two days, the two days following the murder. Then the item vanished from the press completely, as tends to happen with all news nowadays: people don't want to know why something happened, only what happened, and to know that the world is full of reckless acts, of dangers, threats and bad luck that only brush past us, but touch and kill our careless fellow human beings, or perhaps they were simply not among the chosen. We live quite happily with a thousand unresolved mysteries that occupy our minds for ten minutes in the morning and are then forgotten without leaving so much as a tremor of grief, not a trace. We don't want to go too deeply into anything or linger too long over any event or story, we need to have our attention shifted from one thing to another, to be given a constantly renewed supply of other people's misfortunes, as if, after each one, we thought: "How dreadful. But what's next? What other horrors have we avoided? We need to feel that we, by contrast, are survivors, immortals, so feed us some new atrocities, we've worn out yesterday's already.
Once morbid curiosity, fascination, and, perhaps, schadenfreude no longer fuel our fertile imaginations, a murder (nothing more) becomes as disposable as any of the myriad news stories that we've somehow indulged as being momentarily relevant to our lives. Marías works this pervasive and perverse social peculiarity to great effect — intriguing us enough to concern ourselves with the fate of his characters (with ever the freedom to simply turn or walk away), yet forever eroding the space around them from which we can watch safely from the periphery. It's a deliriously intoxicating technique, one evinced by our daily obsession with celebrity scandal, political malfeasance, far-off disaster, or nearby crimes of passion. These truncated news stories and soundbites, in reality, often have not the slightest thing to do with our own lives, but end up somehow consuming us (however briefly) all the same — as if they were somehow vested with the weight of our own personal stake. María is unable to turn away and neither are we.
Whereas so many whodunnits content themselves with little more than revealing the perpetrator and their hackneyed impulses, The Infatuations seeks to explore and confront a much broader purview. With perceptive observations and often tender insights into thought, reason, emotion, judgment, and the murky fringes of reality, Marías draws us into an almost inescapable role of accomplice and witness. He is able to do this so effectively by extracting the reader from the mystery of the murder itself (with which so few of us can identify) and repositioning one within the more familiar confines of love lost, relationships torn asunder, and the inevitable self-doubt which follows.
We tend to hope that, of the people and habits we cherish, no one will die and none will end, not realizing that the only thing that maintains those habits intact is their sudden withdrawal, with no possible alteration or evolution, before they can abandon us or we abandon them. Anything that lasts goes bad and putrefies, it bores us, turns against us, saturates and wearies us. How many people who once seemed vital to us are left by the wayside, how many relationships wear thin, become diluted for no apparent reason or certainly none of any weight. The only people who do not fail or let us down are those who are snatched from us, the only ones we don't drop are those who abruptly disappear and so have no time to cause us pain or disappointment. When that happens, we despair momentarily, because we believe we could have continued with them for much longer, with no foreseeable expiry date. That's a mistake, albeit understandable. Continuity changes everything, and something we thought wonderful yesterday would have become a torment tomorrow.
Is the author manipulating us? Are we willing participants? Are we rendered prostrate simply because the story evokes the universal feeling of unrequited desire and heartbreak? What about the abhorrent murder? Is all grief transmutable and therefore inexorable? Are we failing to see beyond all that is shown?
I would never know more than what he told me, and so I would never know anything for sure; yes, it's ridiculous, isn't it, that after all these centuries of practice, after so many incredible advances and inventions, we still have no way of knowing when someone is lying; naturally, this both benefits and prejudices all of us equally, and may be our one remaining redoubt of freedom.
Marías's 13th novel (and the 10th to be translated into English), achingly beautiful and seemingly effortless like so much of his writing, could only have been carefully constructed by one possessed of a compassion and discernment alien to lesser writers. The Infatuations is not a flawless outing, but a remarkable and impressive one nonetheless. Marías's exploration of doubt, truth, life, love, and violence does not answer any of the age-old questions of morality and mortality, but leaves us with the sense that there is much veracity and wisdom to be found within the shadows and gradations. A master of contemporary fiction (and regularly mentioned as a perennial candidate for world literature's highest honor), Marías is amongst the finest European writers at work today.
The passing of time exacerbates and intensifies any storm, even though there wasn't the tiniest cloud on the horizon at the beginning. We cannot know what time will do to us with its fine, indistinguishable layers upon layers, we cannot know what it might make of us. It advances stealthily, day by day and hour by hour and step by poisoned step, never drawing attention to its surreptitious labors, so respectful and considerate that it never once gives us a sudden prod or a nasty fright. Each morning, it turns up with its soothing, invariable face and tells us exactly the opposite of what is actually happening: that everything is fine and nothing has changed, that everything is just as it was yesterday — the balance of power — that nothing has been gained and nothing lost, that our face is the same, as is our hair and our shape, that the person who hated us continues to hate us and the person who loved us continues to love us. And yet quite the opposite is true, but time conceals this from us with its treacherous minutes and sly seconds, until a strange, unthinkable day arrives, when nothing is as it always was...
*translated from the Spanish by the estimable Margaret Jull Costa (Saramago, Pessoa, De Queirós, Atxaga, et al)
Recommended by Jeremy December 17, 2013
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
I'm super impatient when it comes to cooking and need something simple to make. Not only was this cookbook easy to use but it produced some very delicious results. I'm constantly looking through it as a reminder for the recipes I use frequently.
Recommended by Bry H. November 23, 2013
Cookin' with Coolio
Let's face it: no one has the time to cook a decent meal. NO ONE. That's why Coolio has taken the best of his former cooking show and compiled this collection of quick, cheap, and delicious recipes. Your date will be impressed, and you'll spend under $20 on dinner! Trust me; I've done it many, many, many times.
Recommended by Jordan G. November 23, 2013
Whole Grains for a New Generation
I bought this book earlier this year, and now I turn to it constantly for clean, wildly inspired whole-grain recipes that appeal to everyone (even my toddler!). Krissoff's roots are southern, and her recipes run the gamut from pimiento cheese and catfish larb to brown rice "krispy treats" made with tahini and dark chocolate. Many of the recipes are gluten-free, and Krissoff provides a comprehensive guide to cooking and swapping grains to accommodate dietary needs and limited pantries. If you've ever wondered what to do with Forbidden Black Rice, or just want to perk up your morning bowl of oatmeal, Whole Grains for a New Generation is the best resource available.
Recommended by Rhianna W. November 23, 2013
Vegan with a Vengeance
When it comes to vegan recipes, Isa Moskowitz is the best. Her first book, Vegan with a Vengeance, is the best of the best. All Moskowitz's books are terrific, but this is the one that I used until it fell apart.
Recommended by Cindy P. November 23, 2013
Rabbit Food Cookbook
I have a shelf full of cookbooks at home, and yet I almost invariably turn to this one when it's time to venture into the kitchen. It's small, it's spiral-bound (which makes it easy to use), and it is full of delicious recipes. The pot pie and the "chicken" fried steak are personal favorites, as well as the desserts. Plus, the author is from Portland.
Recommended by Candice B. November 23, 2013
Betty Goes Vegan
If I could only consult one cookbook, it would have to be Betty Goes Vegan by Dan and Annie Shannon! It has every kind of recipe you could possibly need, whether it be a fancy dish to impress your dinner guests or just some simple, delicious comfort food for a night in. My favorite part about this particular cookbook is that it takes traditional recipes we all know and love and adapts them to fit the needs of someone living a vegan lifestyle, so you don't have to sacrifice any of your favorite dishes from your pre-vegan days!
Recommended by Koa November 23, 2013
Spork-Fed: Super Fun and Flavorful Vegan Recipes from the Sisters of Spork Foods
Even if you're not vegan (or even vegetarian), this cookbook is bursting with unique recipes that will tantalize your taste buds and convert the most dyed-in-the-wool carnivore. If you're looking for healthy (and easy-to-make) recipes for everyday meals, holidays, or even late-night cravings, you'll find them in this beautifully photographed book! You'll never look at quinoa (its pronounced "keen-wah," by the way), seitan, miso, or agave the same way again!
Recommended by Scott W. November 23, 2013
The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook
This cookbook is so great, I own two copies! One for kitchen use and one that is for menu planning and reference. At the back of The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook, there is a guide to grains, legumes, and vegetables — how/when to buy, store, and cook them. I use this cookbook almost every day. I owe my culinary confidence to this book!
Recommended by Desiree November 23, 2013