Powell’s City of Books

Powell’s Books, in downtown Portland, Oregon, claims the imposing title of being the “largest independent and used bookstore in the world.” Although I’m not entirely certain that’s true – I’ve heard its now 3rd largest in the nation or something like that – it is a terribly good place to explore.

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The nickname “Powell’s City of Books” is not really an exaggeration, aside from having five or six other locations, the primary location takes up an entire city block.


I have a pretty absurd collection of books at my parent’s house waiting to be read that I amassed during regular weekend visits in high school. Powell’s was always more fun than Barnes and Noble and the like because, for one thing, the books are affordable, but there’s also that added excitement (as with any used book store) of finding books that have someone else’s writing in the margins or notes to a friend on the inside cover. Surely I’m not alone in that preference – do you prefer your books new and unmarked or previously loved?



I love the sound of that… nostalgia writing.


I know I read that in high school but I can’t remember much about it or if I even liked it. I wish I had as much time to read for fun now as I did back then. Sigh.



Gabriel Garcia Marquez is my favorite author. If you have any recommendations for similar authors I’d be more than happy to hear them. Who is your favorite author?

Anyway, places like this just seem so cozy during the fall, don’t they?

*click images for full view


7 responses to “Powell’s City of Books

  1. Oh cool, my roommate Hank has told me about this place before. I might spend Thanksgiving with his family in Portland, so maybe I’ll get to go exploring in there myself.

    Aaaand, I really like to read non-fiction stuff from Malcolm Gladwell or Noam Chomsky. I never actually read a fiction book for pleasure before. I was thinking about starting with the Twilight series.

  2. lovely used book store! I wish we had one of these in the boston area; there are small ones, but nothing like this! while you were in ny, did you hit up strand? much the same as Powell’s.

    my favorite authors are William S. Burroughs and Haruki Murakami.

  3. Ok, we are going here come spring. As for authors, J.K. Rowling hands down. No but seriously, read Lois Ann Yamanaka cause that is soo representative of us.

  4. well, im colombian and im really glad that you have gabo as you favorite author,i had read a few of his books, he is amazing,
    i read Chronicle of a Death Foretold and also saw the movie, now im reading.. 12 cuentos peregrinos(spa); or eng. strange pilgrims… they really got me into the book they are great…

  5. I really like the color of the second shot. :-)

    His Japanese is a bit off-beat, but I’d recommend Ko Machida.

  6. Only visited once, but Powell’s was great fun to explore.

    Fiction favourites change constantly – but contemporary writers that I’ve really enjoyed include Ishiguro (Never Let me Go) Mistry (A Fine Balance) and JG Farrell (The Siege of Krishnapur). Try the Man Booker Prize shortlist for inspiration – it always produces an excellent source of new writers to try.

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