Eight years ago, on a cloudless November afternoon, I was wandering around downtown Portland, doing what one does on a first day in a new city: slugging coffee, getting lost, swooning. I’d come out to visit a woman named Rachel, with whom I’d eventually take a cross-country bike trip; and that morning, before heading to work, Rachel had sent me out into her city with a list of Must-See Destinations—a list that began and ended with Powell’s City of Books.
I recall thinking I’d pop in for a few minutes, maybe grab a book, then get back outside to drink up the autumn air. It was just a bookstore, right? I’d spent lots of time in bookstores over the years, and I loved them dearly, but they weren’t exactly destinations. They were stores. With books.
I wandered some more, eventually found Powell’s. With its exhaust-stained marquee and towering concrete walls, it looked less like a bookstore than a county courthouse. But I headed inside. And pretty quick I stopped thinking about concrete. Stopped thinking, period. I wandered room to room, floor to floor, gawking at all the books and, just as much, at all the people who seemed to care about books. I’d never seen so many of either in one place. I felt at once thrilled and jealous and overwhelmed. I wanted to read every book, or write one of my own, or maybe just take a nap.
Over the years, I’ve been back to Powell’s who-knows-how-many times. I’ve picked up dozens of books, spent hours writing in the store’s café, seen many of my favorite authors give readings to a packed room. All along, I’ve dreamt of giving a reading of my own. So I’m beyond thrilled that Powell’s is hosting my book launch. I hope to see you there.
Join me at Powell’s on June 24th at 7:30 p.m. for the GOING SOMEWHERE book launch.