I spent last weekend in Portland (Oregon, in case some of you might have thought I was very ambitious and had popped across to Maine for a couple of days). Portland is just far enough from Vancouver to make any visit there feel special (I take the proximity of Seattle for granted so much that I’ve never actually visited) and it more than rewards its visitors with wonderful neighbourhoods, excellent restaurants, and, of course, one of the largest book stores in North America.
Thanks to a long weekend in BC, I was able to spend three nights in Portland and packed quite a lot in to the visit. I visited neighbourhoods I had never seen before (Laurelhurst made me nostalgic for the way Vancouver used to look – and for the prices we used to have!), stood in line with hipsters for twenty minutes at Salt and Straw for ice cream (a scoop of Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper that was actually worth the wait), revisited favourite restaurants, attended the very enjoyable Italian Style exhibition (on loan from the V&A) at the Portland Art Museum, and visited Powell’s bookstore. Twice.
Let’s be honest: book buying is half the attraction of visiting Portland. I’m not as practised as some of my fellow bloggers but I came home with what, for me, is a large haul:
Dr. Wortle’s School by Anthony Trollope – it is never a bad thing to grow one’s Trollope collection.
The House by the Dvina and A Home by the Hooghly by Eugenie Fraser – I was reading a library copy Fraser’s wonderful memoir The House by the Dvina just before we left for Portland and had to pick up a copy of my own. And I couldn’t resist her second memoir either, about her married life in India
Anthony Trollope by Victoria Glendinning – Audrey has been reading this and sharing wonderful excerpts from it.
Talks with T.G. Masaryk by Karel Čapek – an interview of Czechoslovakia’s first president by one of its great writers. I’ve been meaning to add this to my collection of Czech books for years.
The Letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner edited by William Maxwell – STW is possibly the best letter writer I’ve ever come across. A collection edited by Maxwell – a close friend and equally devoted correspondent – promises to be good.
The Virago Book of Women Gardeners – a wonderful collection (and one of my favourite books that I read in 2014).
Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan – Hazan is frequently mentioned by many of my favourite food bloggers and, having fallen completely for the few recipes of hers that I have tried, I knew I had to add this cookbook to my collection.
Now to find somewhere to put these books – my shelves were already overflowing!