Coastal Bookstores

Nov 22, 2009

Kim and I are heading to Coos Bay this week to celebrate Thanksgiving with the Davidson clan.  I am already thinking of books — is that wrong?

My favorite thing to do on the Oregon coast, other than spend time with the in-laws and all of our super-adorable nieces, is trawl a couple of my favorite book stores.  These places are a different breed than what you find in Portland, with often random and surprising titles — probably because there isn’t so fierce a competitor as Powell’s.  The coast is where I discovered Jonathan Lethem, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, and many others.  I am also pretty sure I first read Yukio Mishima somewhere on that foggy stretch.

I first read Yukio Mishima on the Oregon coast

Yukio Mishima was a pretty interesting guy...

If I am honest I know that there are probably less deals to be had now than when I was a teenager.  The rise of Internet shopping has changed the book landscape, and every bookseller feels it — though I know it’s been especially hard for smaller, independent shops over the past decade.  From a consumer’s perspective, since many books are now priced using Internet comparisons, books that should be expensive for the coast are sometimes cheap, and vice-versa.

But there is still something magical about these stores — two in particular that I really love.  You walk through the aisles and find yourself caught, dizzily browsing the foreign and familiar names.  If, like now, it is winter, then rain often lashes the small, old brick buildings.  The town’s lonely boulevard is empty of tourists, and perhaps when the front door opens you hear the crash of waves nearby, through the mist.

Then — pay dirt!  A $5.50 copy of that amazing Japanese or Italian novel you’ve been waiting to read, the one published a few years ago that you never bought.

So, check ’em out:

Robert’s Bookshop

3412 S.E. Hwy 101

Lincoln City, Oregon 97367

541-994-4453

Yesterday’s Books
2051 Sherman Ave
North Bend, OR 97459-3306
(541) 756-7214

Books ‘N’ Bears

P. O. Box 2326

1255 Bay Street

Florence, Oregon 97439

541-997-5979

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