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Posted by on August 2, 2011

We spent the weekend in Portland for the Oregon Brewers Festival, which was held at a park in downtown Portland.

Do you know what else is in downtown Portland? That’s right. Powell’s City of Books.

Now, I am not saying it’s unreasonable to expect me to stick around a beer tasting festival that I have agreed to attend, even if Powell’s is only a fifteen minute walk away. But I will say that it’s unrealistic. So, as you might imagine, I spent a very nice two days at Powell’s while Adam, Christine, Gene and Jon tasted something like 85 different beers at the park.

Powell’s is not actually my favorite new/used bookstore of all time. (That honor goes to Green Apple, though that may be because after shopping at the Apple one can pop into Burma Superstar to eat samusa soup and tea leaf salad while gloating over one’s purchases.) The prices at Powell’s are also not the cheapest (after you’ve shopped a library sale, everything else seems overpriced), and the percentage of used books to new books is not the best. However, the sheer size of it — it takes up a full city block, not counting its satellite stores — makes it a unique experience, not to be missed. I was delighted to take my little all-day field trip there on Friday, and though I had not intended to, I snuck off to Powell’s again on Saturday while people were hanging out at the festival. While there I browsed and purchased three etiquette books, and then realized that none of those books would condone ditching one’s friends to visit a bookstore, no matter how awesome it is. So I returned to beer.

In addition to Powell’s, I spent five days alone on the roof of the houseboat reading Henry James, and spent part of a dinner party trapping one of the hosts in the kitchen to talk about Henry Miller, so I guess the few hours I employed in tasting vegetable beers and being social were hours I could spare.

Here are Michele’s pictures from the houseboat. If you’re wondering why I am only in one picture, it’s because I was on the roof communing with Isabel Archer while almost all of these adventures were taking place. Time well spent, if you ask me, but no one was able to ask me because I was on the roof.

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