If this massive bookstore presiding in downtown Portland, with all of its gastronomic and cultural allures, were to be situated in a cornfield in Iowa, miles from any other touristy delights, it would still be worth a multiple day car-trip in a decrepit vehicle, with only mediocre hamburger stands available to stave off starvation. I have spent days sharing the many attractions in visiting The City of Roses, both personal and universal. Let us not delude ourselves for one moment that there wasn’t one destination, and one destination only, that this fanatic of all things bound in ink and paper, had focused and fixed in her sights.
The opportunity to walk into a bookstore roughly the size of a small village, with its towering shelves, loaded with the wisdom of the ages, and the delights of the most fanciful and creative minds of all generations, is like overdosing on an addictive substance that has hitherto been meted out only in responsible doses. I have to confess, that of the number of times I have been inside Powell's, I have spent 99% of my time in one section, and one section only: The section that has an aisle labeled Klickitat Street, the section that has diminutive furniture that only allows one portion of my seating implement, the section that does not require a reading ability over 12-years-old. When I go I really plan to visit other floors and venues, but really there is no need. The youth section, AKA the Rose Room, is an intoxicating mix of variety, (oh so many choices), and juicy bargains. My principal and I have an understanding that if I ever have the opportunity to walk into this pantheon of excess I will be spending a portion of my budget before I find the exit.
The picture book section is nothing if not enchanting. It is a mix of the new, the recent, and the classic. My sister claims that preceding our visit during the week of humidity, there was a much more trying week on the temperature front. I’m not sure she has me convinced it was worse than what we lived through, but she did pass on this delightful antidote. During the fabled heat wave the unair-conditioned were forced to flee to venues that would lend them aid and comfort in the form of electrically cooled air. Movie theaters and libraries became popular hang-outs. During this time she managed a visit to Powell’s. When she walked into the picture book section she was greeted with the heart-warming, and slightly troubling, sight of countless parents and their children sprawled about the picture book room, sharing the love of reading in cool comfort. She compared it to news footage of refugee camps on the borders of war-torn countries. If I ever need to flee for my safety I want a room full of luscious reading at the other end.