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Adalbert is a forum for me, to post ephemera, photography, poetry, occasional travel notes, and various spontaneous motions. Cover photo: Parsonage where my great-grandfather spent his early years. Taken near Liegnitz, Silesia, ca. 1870.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cameron's Bookstore, Portland, Oregon


The (Wayne) Morse:  Democrat for US Senate poster has hung on the wall of Cameron's Bookstore ever since I first began patronising the store in 1979 (and apparently the poster long antedates that first visit).  As flinty as was the original Republicindependicrat himself:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_Morse, the poster thwarts the arrow of time, as do the unchanging nature of the pulpy incense of the stacks of Frontier Times and divers other magazines, and the tightly packed catacombs of bookshelves.  I associate Fred, the congenial and distinguished-appearing former owner of the bookstore, with the era of my early expeditions to Cameron's.  When seeing a stack of books I brought forward to the counter once, he referred to a book he read about a bibliophile who neglected all other duties in favor of reading.

In the 1970s and 1980s, and up until 10-15 years ago, downtown Portland was carpeted with bookstores, used and new.  Looking Glass Bookstore, in its original location, with its racks of underground comics and thoughtful selection of books, and used bookstores such as Holland's, the Old Oregon, the Great Northwest, Powell's (still there of course) and others lent a cultured and antiquarian atmosphere to the city core.  Most have since vanished, or exist in some other incarnation at best.


  1. It seems I've spent half my life in book shops, hard to walk past one. Have just finished reading 'Two weeks in Norway' which you posted in 2008...Great stuff, really liked it. An adventure for sure.
    Where did you get the Princess Iseult piece from...Strange thing is I keep thinking I've seen it before. Ray

  2. Thanks for the comment Ray. We're fortunate to have, fairly close to me, a very large bookstore indeed, Powell's. I'm pleased that you liked Two Weeks in Norway (and Shanghai); I find writing on the fly like that when traveling creates its own narrative. I haven't traveled much the past few years but hope to get back into it at length. The "Princess Iseult" piece was a Nigerian-type scam e-mail I got and doctored a little, hee hee.

  3. I love old book stores. Unfortunately most of them won't survive economic triple dips and ipad kindle readers.

  4. The books look better on the shelf than the tablets ha ha.