The wonderful thing about having your boyfriend in town is that every day becomes a “treat yo’ self” kind of day, or in my case, a “treat yo’ shelf” kind of day.

Two cities, three days, four bookstores, and thirteen books later, I present to you: my recent loot.

Powell’s City of Books (Portland, OR)

On Sunday I spent a good chunk of time exploring the many lovely floors of Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon (I would be lying if I said the distance to Powell’s didn’t factor in my decision to attend school in Washington).

This bookstore is fantastic in more ways than one, but I especially appreciated how they tagged books written by Writers of Color (WOC) throughout the store. Given my reading goals this year, it made it easier to head for the content I was really interested in.

At Powell’s I ended up with seven (pretty random/diverse) books:

  1. Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka by John Gimlette—a non-fiction travel novel about Gimlette’s trek across Sri Lanka, a country that emerged from a 26-year-old civil war in 2009.
  2. Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey—a fictional mystery novel featuring Inspector Darko Dawson, a Ghanian sleuth investigating the murder of a woman in the small town of Ketanu.
  3. Ways to Disappear by Idra Novey—a fictional story about a missing elderly Brazilian author who left behind gambling debt, and the American translator who tries to track her down.
  4. Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation—a collection of short speculative (science) fiction from China, presented by award-winning translator and author Ken Liu.
  5. Do Cool Sh*t: Quit Your Day Job, Start Your Own Business, and Live Happily Ever After by Mika Agarwal—a memoir by social entrepreneur and founder of WILD, a farm-to-table pizzeria in NYC and Las Vegas. She teaches you how to live life kicking ass.

  6. Wildwood by Colin Meloy—the first book in a planned trilogy with tons of magic, wonder, and danger.
  7. The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Shoji Shimada—self-declared detective Kiyoshi Mitarai has a week to solve a 40-year-old “locked room mystery”. As the reader, you’re given all the clues—can you solve the puzzle before the end?

Left Bank Books Collective (Downtown Seattle, WA)

Yesterday I played “tourist” in downtown Seattle and explored Pike Place Market and the surrounding area, where I was surprised to find a bookstore that I didn’t know existed! Left Bank Books Collective is a cozy, two-story shop with both used and new books that are mostly left-wing. It’s hard to find something specific, but good for general perusing.

  1. Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor—this fictional novel is based on the popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast. The story takes place in Night Vale, a town in an unnamed desert somewhere in the United States, where occult phenomena are almost mundane.

book 2

Metsker Maps (Downtown Seattle, WA)

Metsker Maps is located on the same block as Left Bank Books Collective. It’s primarily a local and global map/travel store, selling all sorts of things from travel guides to flags to puzzles. It also sells quite a bit of travel literature, which is one of my favorite genres (those who can’t travel, read).

  1. Adventure Divas: Searching the Globe for Women Who Are Changing the World by Holly Morris—while filming her PBS series “Adventure Divas”, Morris meets several incredible women from around the world, including a fugitive living in exile in Cuba, New Delhi’s chief of police, a Maori pop star, and an Iranian artist and rice farmer.

book 1


Magus Books (University District, Seattle, WA)

Next to Half Price Books, Magus is my favorite University District bookstore, located an easy 5-minute walk from campus I’ve found some really good deals on their sale shelves, which seem to be updated with “new” books every couple of days.

  1. Marcus of Umbria: What an Italian Dog Taught an American Girl about Love by Justine van der Leun—a memoir of a woman who leaves everything behind and moves to a small Italian village, where (mis)adventures ensue. Oh, and there’s a puppy involved!
  2. Calling Mr. King by Ronald De Feo—a suspense novel featuring a hitman who develops a passion for art and architecture.
  3. McSweeney’s Quarterly No. 48—an American literary journal containing short stories and illustrations published by McSweeney’s Publishing.
  4. Magic, Science, and Religion and Other Essays by Bronislaw Malinowski—three famous Malinowski essays about the Trobrianders of New Guinea from a world-renowned anthropologist.

Have you read any of these or are they on your TBR list? Share your thoughts below!