Keep Portland Weird (Word Wise)

February 2, 2011

Portland has a reputation for being different. It is also known for being a great literary city. So, of course, there would be some things that makes it weird- or, at least, unique- for its residential readers. Let’s take a look at a couple of these.

The Bookstores

It’s no surprise that when bibliophiles come to Portland, one of their first stops is Powell’s Bookstore. With its four floors of color coded rooms, it really does seem that you’ve stepped into a “city of books”.

There are also many local independent stores specializing in a specific genre. For mystery maniacs, Murder by the Book is “the scene” in the Hawthorne Neighborhood. It’s all Agatha all the time (and other Mystery greats as well.) There are not one, but two children’s bookstores for young ones and the young at heart. A Children’s Place is in the beautiful Beaumont neighborhood. My favorite is Green Bean Books (in the Alberta Arts district) where you’ll find vending machines selling finger puppets and mustaches. Those features just help the imagination run wild.

Reading Frenzy is a great store for anyone interested in supporting popular self-made mini-publications called zines. Whatever range of topics people want to read about- from mundane and trivial to innovative and awesome, there’s sure to be something for everyone there.

Everywhere You Go, There’s Something to Read

For anyone who feels that walls are too confining, walking around Portland can be a reading experience in itself.

In “Portland’s Living Room”, check out the brick squares and read the names of those who raised funds for Pioneer Courthouse Square. And, although they weren’t sponsors, Sherlock Holmes, George Washington, and Elvis Presley (just to name some famous few) can be found among the names.

Popping up around Portland are poetry posts. These are just nice little distractions when one stumbles upon them.

While riding the streetcar, I noticed a man tattooed with words. I guess you can literally read him like an open book, which I didn’t. That would just be too weird, even for me.

There are many other ways Portland is weird, word wise. When you’re here, keep your eyes open. If your city has some interesting literary character, we would love to hear about it!

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