Portland's Best Bookstores that Aren't Powell's

Find your personal page paradise with our guide to the city's under-the-radar literary hideaways—plus a few record shops to further your analog bliss.

By Fiona McCann September 21, 2015 Published in the October 2015 issue of Portland Monthly

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Pages Paradise

Where does Beckett keep close company with Balzac, while Diderot rubs dust jackets with Derrida? At Mother Foucault’s, the cheekily named Southeast rest stop for the most bookish of new and used books. Enter its musty, analog world—cell phones are strictly forbidden, credit cards politely declined—and be transported to a bibliophilic idyll of creaking, crowded shelves, with a rolling library ladder and antique leather armchairs. Don’t be fooled by the time-warp trickery, however: Mother Foucault is still less than five years old. Proprietor Craig Florence, a onetime lodger at Paris’s illustrious Shakespeare and Company, does not stock “children’s books or cookbooks.” But literary fiction, poetry, philosophy, and history all have a place, as well as some foreign-language gems—Bolaño and Barthes in the original, anyone? It’s worth a visit for the olfactory hit of well-thumbed pages alone. FM 523 SE Morrison St, 503-236-2665

6 Analog Empires


A densely packed den of come-as-you-are used books, magazines, and comics: from back issues of Sunset to early-20th-century Department of Agriculture Yearbooks. 336 SW Third Ave,

Reading Frenzy

Indie publications are the mainstay of this highly selective Portland legend, with local authors well represented. 3628 N Mississippi Ave,

Monograph Bookwerks

An aesthete’s haven of clean white shelves, stacked with new and used books about art, architecture, and design. 5005 NE 27th Ave,

Mississippi Records

A sizable and sweet selection of rock, punk, world, and jazz vinyl delights. Bonus: Maisy the dog. 5202 N Albina Ave, 503-282-2990

Beacon Sound

Used and new records, skewing toward electronic and indie rock. 3636 N Mississippi Ave,


Dozens of independent dealers sell vinyl here, giving each bin its own distinct organizing principle. 3130 SE Hawthorne Blvd,

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