Saturday, July 24, 2010

I love my city (a love post for Portland)

I live in Portland, Oregon.

To me, it is an amazing place to live, despite often being called the "most depressing city"--presumably because of the weather. I think a lot of people assume that it is always raining and cold in Portland, which would not be true. Today it was eighty degrees and clear. But, in all honesty, it does rain a lot. Portland has what many of my friends call "bipolar weather" where it is sprinkling at one moment, and sunny the next. I do not see Portland as depressing, but an exciting adventure.

Why do I love this city? Let me count the ways.

+ The most unique shops

One of the biggest tourist attractions in Portland is the hole-in-the-wall shop Voodoo Doughnuts. No, seriously, it is a hole in the wall. The location downtown is no larger than one's kitchen, and usually has a line of 30 people outside the building at any time. But, it's worth it. And there have been two new locations that have opened up that are far less crowded. The main attraction at this delicious store is the Bacon Maple Bar--a raised yeast doughnut with maple frosting and a slice of bacon on top.

Don't judge it before you take a bite. It's delicious.

There is also a sweet place downtown called Sock Dreams. Let me make this clear, it is a store dedicated to SOCKS! What is better than that? Not to mention all the awesome Vintage and Used clothing stores such as Crossroads Trading Company, Avant Garden, Magpie, Little Evie's Five and Dime, and way too many more to list.

+ The scenery

Portland has been referred to as the most environmentally friendly city in the United States and the second most in the world. We measure how nice of a day it is by how well you can see Mt. Hood. The beach and the mountains are both located within hours of the city. Multnomah Falls is breathtaking, and the perfect tourist destination.

+ The Food.

I can't really talk about how amazing some of the restraunts are over here. Even the food at Saturday Market is delicious. By the way, if anyone reading this has never eaten an Elephant Ear (no, not an actual elephant ear), let me know, because that is a tragedy.

My favorite restraunt? Montage. Not even for the food, although there macaroni and cheese is remarkably good, but because they package the leftovers so beautifully.

I try my hardest to not eat my food when I go there. I still remember the adorable duck I got the first time I ate there.

+ Transportation

To go along with being the "greenest city" in America, there are several options on how to get to where you need to go in this city. First off, biking is not only convenient but a beloved hobby by many that live on Portland. I doubt you will see less than 50 different bikers after being downtown for less than an hour.

We even have a naked bike ride, but I'll let you look at those pictures on your own.

Also, I can't forget the MAX (short for Metropolitan Area Express) light rail system, which connects the city and suburbs.

+ The used bookstores

Oh, how lucky I am to be a book lover in one of the bookish cities in America.

Powell's Books is a beloved favorite by many Portlanders and tourists alike. It's the largest independent used bookstore in America, and occupies a full city block. It contains over 68,000 square feet (1.6) acres of retail floor space.

Everytime I go in, I fall back in love. However, there are other places I like to go while shopping for books, especially when I don't want to spend as much as I do at Powell's.

I enjoy Title Wive Used Books, and buy from them often. Basically, Tital Wave is where they sell the books that have been taken out of circulation from the Multnomah County Libraries. Hardbacks are usually two dollars and paperbacks are even less. It's like heaven, if heaven was a bookshop (which it is, in my mind).

Of course this is only scraping the barrel about what is great about Portland. Many would mention the rose gardens, OMSI, the popular brewery's, and the like. But as a 17 year old, none are large interests points. Even though the rose gardens are beautiful.

Thanks for your time. I hope you liked seeing a bit of my city.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Book Review: Columbine by Dave Cullen

Columbine by Dave Cullen
Published April 6th 2009
Hardcover, 417 pages

Description (Book Jacket)

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold left an indelible stamp on the American psyche. Their goal was simple: to blow up their school, Oklahoma City-style, and to leave "a lasting impression on the world." Their bombs failed, but the ensuing shooting defined a new era of school violence-irrevocably branding every subsequent shooting "another Columbine."

When we think of Columbine, we think of the Trench Coat Mafia; we think of Cassie Bernall, the girl we thought professed her faith before she was shot; and we think of the boy pulling himself out of a school window-the whole world was watching him. Now, in a riveting piece of journalism nearly ten years in the making, comes the story none of us knew. In this revelatory book, Dave Cullen has delivered a profile of teenage killers that goes to the heart of psychopathology. He lays bare the callous brutality of mastermind Eric Harris and the quavering, suicidal Dylan Klebold, who went to the Columbine prom three days earlier and obsessed about love in his journal.

The result is an astonishing account of two good students with lots of friends, who were secretly stockpiling a basement cache of weapons, recording their raging hatred, and manipulating every adult who got in their way. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold left signs everywhere, described by Cullen with a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, thousands of pages of police files, FBI psychologists, and the boys' tapes and diaries, he gives the first complete account of the Columbine High School massacre.

In the tradition of Helter Skelter and In Cold Blood, Columbine is destined to be a classic. A close-up portrait of violence, a community rendered helpless, and police blunders and cover-ups, it is a compelling and utterly human portrait of two killers--an unforgettable cautionary tale for our time.

My thoughts:


Going into Columbine, I knew it wasn't going to be an easy read; And honestly, it wasn't. There were many times when I just needed to set the book down and take a breath. That's how I knew that this book was special, for it touched me in a way other books had not in a very long time.

The author, Dave Cullen, spent ten years covering Columbine, and he thoroughly knew his stuff, which made for a compelling read. The reaccounting of this massacre could have been disasterous if in another reporters or writers hand. I can picture a book filled with numerous pages berating the killers and their families for all the pain they caused. This is not that book. Instead, this book takes on a fresh perspective, one not riddled with judgement, but instead filled with analytical and comprehensive thoughts on the massacre, the killers, and the cover-up.

This isn't just the story of what happened at Columbine Hogh School on April 20, 1999. It delves in much deeper, focusing on what led to that fateful day, and the aftermath that millions witnessed firsthand. Whether you followed what happened at Columbine for years, or this is your first exploration into the massace, you will find what you are looking for in this exceptional book that will touch you in ways you can not imagine.

I can not reccomend this book highly enough.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Book Buyers Anonymous Book Ban

Hello. My name is Jenna, and I am a book buying addict.

Lately, I've been realizing how much I spend on books that I never even get around to reading. I NEED to buy books more than WANT to, and it has become a problem. I need to take a break from acquiring more books and enjoying the MANY books I own and haven't read. That is why I decided to join Book Buyers Anonymous Book Ban, started by Tara at 25 Hour Books, for the month of July.

I have a problem, and am obviously trying to get help with it.

However, there are a couple rules I have for myself, so it's not an all-or-nothing situation (I'm not strong enough to quit cold-turkey).

1. I can acquire books from contests and/or giftcards, since I am not actually paying for them with my own money.

2. If a book is under $3.00, I can get it. (This rule is just in case I go to a garage sale and find a book I like. I don't plan on ordering any books at all this month).

3. If the book is a present for someone else, like a birthday gift, it is okay to buy it.

It would be great if you decided to join the rest of us in this fun AND CHEAP book ban.