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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:
Saturday - Sunday: 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 email@example.com.
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.
18% Gray (staff pick)
Zachary Karabashliev's 18% Gray is an entertaining and often very funny post-breakup road trip tale. Armed with an ample stock of photography equipment, Toblerone, desperation, relationship woes, and a very large bag of marijuana, narrator Zack sets off for New York City from his Southern California home in hopes of perhaps winning back his beloved and estranged Stella. Mishaps, dark humor, and existential musing keep Zack company as he attempts to put his life in order. Karabashliev, Bulgarian-born novelist and playwright, tells a great story and 18% Gray is an amusing, hijinks-laden romp across the American continent.
Recommended by Jeremy June 17, 2013
The Reverend’s Wife
This is the ninth installment of Kimberla Lawson Roby's beautifully written series following the life of the infamous Reverend Curtis Black. This series allows you to become the character that you are reading about at that moment, which can bring about all kinds of emotions at the time! The focus of this book is on the reverend's third wife, Charlotte Black. Over the years, Charlotte has had many trials in her life and has to try to make amends with her husband, who now wants a divorce after their son graduates from high school. Charlotte is not having any of this, since she loves her husband deeply. As she tries to sort out her life without her husband around much, she's unaware that there is a woman who will go to great lengths to have Curtis in her clutches.
Recommended by Karen H. June 12, 2013
I hate westerns so much, but my entire family read Lonesome Dove, and I got shamed into reading it! Nice, huh? It's a good thing I did, because this 1986 Pulitzer Prize winner is an absolute masterpiece. McMurtry's storytelling skills are at their peak here, and it is one hell of a book. Take it from this western-hater: you will love this!
Recommended by Dianah June 10, 2013
Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall (staff pick)
Banksy, like graffiti and street art in general, often inspires impassioned reactions and fervent opinions. His artwork, speaking for itself as it so easily does, is seen either as mindless vandalism and wanton destruction of property or as creative expression and paint-based sociopolitical commentary. To many he is a countercultural figure or anti-authoritarian folk hero, yet to others he is just another malcontented urban hoodlum. Regardless of your feelings on graffiti, there is no denying the Bristol-bred bloke's effects on street art and the international art scene.
The pseudonymous Banksy notoriously eschews the media and very seldom grants interviews (and when he does, they are often conducted by email), so it is of no surprise that Will Ellsworth-Jones's Banksy: The Man behind the Wall is an entirely unauthorized affair. Ellsworth-Jones paints as interesting a portrait of the iconoclastic artist as could likely be done, given that he doesn't have any reliably confirmed biographical background with which to sketch his subject. Nonetheless, Banksy is a well-researched, comprehensive look into the essence of the street artist himself, as well as his art and commercial success.
Without the details of childhood and upbringing to offer as prelude, Ellsworth-Jones has to focus instead on what is actually known about the elusive Banksy. Chapters delve into the various types of graffiti, Banksy's early days in Bristol and London (and the feud with King Robbo), his many shows and exhibitions, the duality of art versus capitalism, the increasing appearance of fakes, forgeries, and imposters, Banksy's inner circle (including Pest Control), and the hullabaloo that surrounded Mr. Brainwash and Banksy's Oscar-nominated film, Exit through the Gift Shop.
Banksy is amongst the art world's more subversive elements, an accomplished and acclaimed provocateur for whom the art is seemingly of greater importance than the artist himself. Ellsworth-Jones portrays Banksy as creative, hardworking, and not a little calculating or controlling (which follows his overarching and carefully cultivated need for anonymity). Banksy: The Man behind the Wall is likely one of the more extensive and complete biographies we will see about Banksy — unless, of course, the artist himself moves on from stenciling walls to painting self-portraits.
"There's a whole new audience out there, and it's never been easier to sell it, particularly at the lower levels. You don't have to go to college, drag 'round a portfolio, mail off transparencies to snooty galleries or sleep with someone powerful. All you need now is a few ideas and a broadband connection. This is the first time the essentially bourgeois world of art has belonged to the people. We need to make it count." –Banksy
Recommended by Jeremy May 31, 2013
The Time in Between
Historical fiction, as this beautifully intricate weaving by María Dueñas demonstrates, is an intriguing way to visualize the complicated environment during World War II in Madrid. As Siri sews dresses for the Nazi officers' wives, she covertly stitches codes to reveal Nazi plans.
Recommended by Barb H May 30, 2013
As a hearty enthusiast of paranormal fiction, good and bad, I'll be the first to admit that the genre's often less-than-literary acumen can be discouraging. Benjamin Percy's newest novel, Red Moon, takes the supernatural thriller to a higher level, managing with brilliance both the smarts and the paranormal thrill. I hungrily devoured page after page without feeling the least bit guilty about the pleasure.
Recommended by Heidi Mager May 28, 2013
My Fathers' Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain (staff pick)
Patricio Pron's "A Few Words on the Life Cycles of Frogs" appeared as one of the 22 selections featured in Granta's 2010 "The Best of Young Spanish Language Novelists" issue. The award-winning Argentine writer (though still a couple of years shy of his 40th birthday) has written five novels and three collections of short stories. My Fathers' Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain is the first of Pron's novels to be translated into English and is an excellent, often emotional work.
Like so many works of Argentine fiction, My Fathers' Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain has at its foundation the haunting legacy of the nation's Dirty War. Pron's novel finds its expatriate pill-popping journalist protagonist returning to Argentina in advance of his ailing father's death, only to discover his dad's obsession with an unsolved local murder. As Pron's narrator attempts to uncover the crime's details — as well as the reasons for his father's fascination and fixation — he must also confront the nature of his own upbringing and the indelible mark left by the failed revolution upon generations of Argentinians.
In the epilogue, Pron goes on to highlight the factual events that inspired his novel. "While the events told in this book are mostly true, some are the result of the demands of fiction, whose rules are different from the rules of such genres as testimony or autobiography; for that reason I would like to mention here what the Spanish writer Antonio Muñoz Molina once said, as a reminder and a warning: 'A drop of fiction taints everything as fictional.'" My Fathers' Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain is a terrific work of intrigue, memory, identity, and the myriad ways the haunting effects of the past forever shape all that is to follow.
Recommended by Jeremy May 21, 2013
City of Thieves
Set in Leningrad during WWII, this is the story of two prisoners who get a chance to save themselves, but only if they can provide a dozen eggs for the wedding cake of the colonel's daughter. The entire city is starving and there is no food anywhere; people are eating the glue out of books and much, much worse... Benioff has written a perfect book, somehow both horrific and hilarious!
Recommended by Dianah May 21, 2013
This heartbreaking story of a Confederate soldier is absolutely riveting. Although Inman is gravely wounded, he deserts the army and heads back home on foot, keenly aware that he has the slimmest chance of making it alive. Trying to elude bounty hunters, starvation, and fear, Inman's journey is both harrowing and beautiful.
Recommended by Dianah May 10, 2013
Song of Achilles
The Song of Achilles revisits the sprawling story of the Trojan War but focuses on the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus. It is a love story so intensely searing, the brutal 10-year Trojan War somehow takes a backseat: the love they share means more than Helen, the war, and all of Greece put together. While Patroclus learns that he is much stronger than he ever imagined, Achilles learns, the hard way, about pride. Miller's take on this slice of Greek history is a passionate view of love amid disaster.
Recommended by Dianah May 6, 2013
What a strange yet wonderful box of loveliness! Building stories is odd, sweet, sad, beautiful, and quixotic, yet that barely scratches the surface. Made up of what I can only guess are "chapters" in varied formats, with no true end or beginning, its sprawling size is a bit overwhelming straight out of the box. Yet the melancholy story of the tenants of an old building is fascinating despite (or maybe because of) the fact that it's a cartoon. It is an intimate look at the human condition; the stories of the old woman who owns the building, the constantly fighting couple, and the woman who lost her leg are close observations of human despair. Amazingly accurate in its depiction of interior monologue, each character is so complex, rich, and layered, the soul-crushing burden of their lives is keenly felt. Building Stories will make your heart ache for its characters, and it will make you realize that this tiny slice of life looks mighty familiar.
Recommended by Dianah May 3, 2013
What Dies in Summer
A modern day Huckleberry Finn with a twist of magical realism, Tom Wright's What Dies in Summer will leave you torn between page turning and savoring the luscious prose.
Recommended by Michelle M May 2, 2013