Saturday, May 16, 2009

Visiting a bookstore

I was down in the Sellwood neighborhood of Portland on Friday. I like the area quite a bit, but I don't find myself going very often. My most frequent reason to visit is to get my hands on some Salvadoran food. El Palenque's fried plantains are certainly worth the trip.

This time I drove past Wallace Books and, since I had the time, I stopped in for a good browse. Wallace is a new and used bookstore of the kind that is disappearing. The building is a converted residence, so the store has a warren like feel that the modern stores have eschewed. Thanks to a dedication to organizing, the store gives the feel of a place where you might find a lost treasure, but you can also search alphabetically if you choose.

The science fiction section was particularly nice with all manner of out of print treasures. Few things date as quickly as science fiction, but the selection was attractive. I picked up Resume with Monsters, a strange sci-fi book by William Browning Spencer.

Over in history I found a copy of Only Yesterday. This one, about the 1920s, was written in 1931, giving it, I hope, the feel of a book about this decade written this year. It had an inscription, which usually gives me pause. I worry that it was some spurned peace offering. In this case, the original owners seems to have written when they bought it (2001, in case you are interested).

Lastly was Lost at Sea. I had a spell where I read piles of adventure/disaster books, but I then had my fill. I suppose I am getting back on the horse.

What I like about visiting stores like Wallace is that I buy books that I otherwise wouldn't (whether I read them is another story). While I appreciate all the Internet can offer for the directed search, the browse is something that the Web still can't do very well.


Citizen Reader said...

I LOVED "Only Yesterday." It very much gave the feel of the Roaring 20s. I still remember stumbling across it in my college stacks, reading it, and having the epiphany that nonfiction could be something you read for fun. Wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I want that Spencer book when you are done. I really liked his Zod Wallop, which updates An Occurrence at Owl Creek. Steve