Monday, December 18, 2006

Powell's Books Doth Sucketh

This is Powell's Bookstore. It doesn't look like much, but it is, literally, a city of books. It even says so, somewhere on the marquee. People come from all over the country, nay, the WORLD to go to this bookstore. Movie stars visit it (they'd like us to think that they read), every author imaginable has given free readings there, and it's so large and cavernous, they've outgrown their city-block sized 4 level store and have had to extend it into three extra locations. Everybody shops there. If you're seen walking down the sidewalk with a Borders or Barnes and Noble bag in your hand, why the locals will openly scowl in your direction. They may even hiss. How dare you not shop local. Sinner. Heathen. Neo-con. Oh, no wait...that doesn't work. Whatevs.

I hate it in there. Took a lunch break to go find a few items that I just thought of. 1:30 on a Monday...granted, it's right before Christmas, but it was like fucking Lollapalooza in there. I kept expecting to see a bouncer throwing water bottles out to the crowd. And everyone's frantic...like the books are gonna walk off the shelves if they're not the first one to get to them. There are piles and piles of each book. I kid you not...piles.

But the cavernousness is the real issue. 4 floors that are reached through several different doorways and levels, and all are color coded, not genre coded. So if you want to find fiction, you have to remember that fiction is in the Blue Room. But people don't remember. Mainly, they wander about like children who've lost their parents. Or old people who've lost their...well...everything.

The book I was looking for wasn't a normal book, it was a collection of found objects made into a book. Of course that doesn't really fall under any sort of genre, so I went to the info kiosk for assistance with where to go, you know, after wandering around like a lost child for a while. I was informed that the book I was looking for was located in the Pearl Room. I looked down at the map on the desk. There's the Blue Room, the Red Room, the Gold Room, the Green Room, etc. But I didn't see a Pearl Room. I looked back at the woman, "What color is 'pearl' exactly?". She pointed to the far corner on the top floor marked Rare Book/Art Room. The color was...well, "So you mean the gray room?". She replied with a tired smile, "Yep". Me, incredulously, "'Pearl' is actually gray? Why don't you just call it the Gray Room?". But she hurried me along because other lost children were lining up behind me.

So I climbed the flights of stairs to find that they were out of the book I was looking for. Grrrrrr. Bet that never happens to the movie stars. They probably get carried to the Pearl Room on a gilded shelving cart. Anyway, later this week I'm going to Barnes and Nobles. Shut it.

And now...the requisite holiday picture of Becks (don't you wish I was YOUR child's aunt???):









17 keep(s) me blogging:

Laura said...

Yep, doesn't surprise me one bit. They always never have what I'm looking for. ALWAYS never. And don't give me lip about not using correct grammar.

And I'd watch out next time you're holding your nephew. He may just poop on you in retribution for that photo.

froelica said...

Blasphemer! Any place I can find original editions of Kurt Vonnegut's is wonderful place, indeed.

Jennifer said...

I like how Beckett looks like he is a tiny mountaineer, travailling through an oddly flat forest, with evil red eyes all about. I like to make up stories.

AxAtlas said...

Somebody needs to convert Beck's photo into some music video.

apterix55 said...

For God sake WHY did you go IN the store? They have a web site, you know... use it. [click] Done!

Kara said...

laura - i knew you'd back me up. you've been in the trenches too.

fro - hey, i like Vonnegut as much as the next hipster...but enough is enough...and he was extraordinarily unfunny on the daily show that one time.

jen - the end. that was beautiful

ax - and what music would you suggest??

apterix - that's why it's called "last minute" shopping. you of all people should understand that.

d said...

wow! ummm... those are some big feet.

Niall said...

Ok. I'm gonna be really witty and say: big feet => big socks => ... lots of presents from Santa. I'm so funny.

Long time no blog-reading. I like the sound of that book store though. I could probably spend the rest of my life there. I mean. What else would you need? Books. Gray/pearl holding rooms. I presume it's got some form of café/food area, right? The place of kings I tell ya. The place of kings.

froelica said...

He's getting on in years, cut him some slack. Or a slice of fruit cake. I hear old people like it. I think it helps keep them regular.

AxAtlas said...

okey, me thinkin' it should be medley. a medley with mashup stylin':
Digital Underground - "Humpty Dance"--> Olivia Tremor Control - "Paranormal Echoes"--> Elf Power - "Hole in My Shoe"-->Soup Dragons - "Divine Thing"-->Vince Guaraldi-"You're in Love, Charlie Brown"

Kara said...

d - you'll have to purchase some similar stockings if you're moving to calgary...cause that's, like, the country. and it's cold in the country. actually, i have no idea where calgary is. And i don't have to...cause i'm american. Our geographical ignorance is quaint.

niall - long time no see, brotha. or read. or whatever. yes there is a cafe attached. and the people who sling the beans are SURLY! that's portland's way. apparently that's quaint too.

fro, fro, fro - that is SO gross.

ax - 50 points from Gryffendor for trying to bring back the Soup Dragons

Emily Powell said...

I do believe that is the cutest picture of the little Beckett I've ever seen - okay I've only seen one other than that - but still - really freakin' adorable!!! Well done!

And I have to admit that I have a fond place in my heart for Powell's books - being that my last name is now Powell and all - but I am pretty sure there is no relation - damn the money would be nice!!

d said...

yes... quaint. that's exactly the word i was thinking.

calgary is closer to you. just on the other side of the mountains, above montana.

socks i can handle buying and wearing. cowboy boots and hat... not so much.

Niall said...

I'm intrigued ... do they also rent out beds for the night? Room service?

So they are 'SURLY' ... Hmmm. Is that a bad thing? When I was in Scotland last year the coffee shop people in the book shops mocked my book choices ... they recommended I read other ones (which I did and they were terrible, terrible books and I instantly regretted it). The surly ones may may shout at me for getting the book, but surely they wouldn't recommend any worse ones to me.

Kevin said...

I hate shitty bookstores.

AxAtlas said...

Dear 98% hipster,

What do you think Beck was saying to himself when you took that pic?

-ax

Anonymous said...

So, am I the only one who thinks he looks like an elf with stilts for legs? Who in their right mind would believe he is only two months old? Precious baby boy!

I have been an unfan of Powell's for years simply because they make life too complicated. If I want to find a book, let me find it, don't be clever with colors or concealed corners with fake colors. Not interested.

Just so you know, I'm signing this as Anon because I can't get anything else to work, stupid Blogger.