Sand on the Shelves


I spent the weekend in Portland and got the opportunity to introduce some friends to Powell's Bookstore. We joked ahead of time that we only had an hour to browse. If any of you have been to Powell’s with their multileveled color coded rooms, you know that an hour is only enough time to look in the front window.

My route was planned with a trip to the bathroom, then to check on the availability of Sand in My Bra, and finally an iced mocha with whippo in the coffee room.

The shelving system, quite similar to the end scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, had me asking this question…

If you were to carefully choose as many books as you truly wanted to read, how long would it take to read them?

Sally Caton, an account manager at web design company called gotomedia guesstimated ten years. Linda Emery, who just finished getting MS in school psychology, answered that in real life real working time it would take 17 years. But if she could sit down and read and read and read as if on a lifelong vacation, maybe six months.

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I’m pretty confident that even if I only chose books I wanted to read, I still wouldn’t get to all of them. The travel books I would treat as part of a treasured collection, hopefully to get signed by the authors themselves throughout my lifetime. I love that and have already added Marry Morris, Bill Bryson, Tim Cahill, Pico Iyer, Jan Morris, Peter Matthiessen, and Joseph O’Connor to my collection. There’s probably more that have slipped my mind. The second thing I would do is put a shelving system in the bathroom. That is my best chance at getting to atleast thumb through most of them. And now you see I didn’t even answer my own question properly.

Hey, have you been to the downtown Powell’s? How many do you think you’d buy in a one day shopping spree?

Crap, I haven’t even reported about Sand yet! They had four copies upstairs in the general travel writing section which I turned face out. Like a geek I wanted pictures taken. Sally stepped over a man sitting in the aisles to commence the photo shoot. Downstairs, Sand also had four more face out copies in the travel section of new releases on the main floor. Interestingly enough, they had zero in the humor section under anthologies.

I’ll put the pictures up later this week when I get them back. Stay tuned.