What I Bought At Powell’s

When I was in Portland last weekend, I got to pay a visit to Powell’s City of Books, a bookstore so big it takes up more than a city block and they hand you a map when you walk in the door. However, I displayed some restraint and managed to emerge with only two books to add to my sagging shelves. Both are about natural history, so I thought I’d share them here.

Must-See Birds of the Pacific Northwest, by Sarah Swanson and Max Smith. Having become somewhat acquainted with the authors through the magic of Twitter, I was eager to check this one out. I love the fun, idiosyncratic life histories of their eighty-five chosen “must-see” birds – my favorite is the Marbled Murrelet, which nests in huge mossy trees and catches fish in rough ocean waters and “if it drank microbrews and wore fleece, could be the region’s mascot.” They also include some suggested itineraries for weekend birding trips in Oregon and Washington, which are going to be highly helpful as I keep exploring my new state. The only downside (for me) is that the book focuses on the coastal third of both states, not the dry side where I live, which is why I also bought…

Oregon’s Dry Side: Exploring East of the Cascade Crest, by Alan D. St. John. I’m looking forward to reading more of this one as I have time. It includes chapters on the geology, flora, and fauna of the whole region, plus more detail on exploring specific areas within the dry side, with lots of color photos. This will be another one to pack along on weekend adventures.

What good books have you discovered lately?

5 thoughts on “What I Bought At Powell’s”

  1. If I made a trip to a bookstore like Powell’s, I don’t think I could be held responsible for the results… Two books I’ve noticed recently that I can’t wait to get my hands on: 1.) Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, edited by Barry Lopez, which is like a dictionary of geography words, including some extremely local words for specific features; and 2.) The Shorebird Guide, by O’Brien, Crossley and Karlson. Shorebirds are one of my weaknesses, and this one looks fantastic. Enjoy your new acquisitions!

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