Friday, April 3, 2009

New Favorite Bookstore: Ampersand

Thanks to a note on Reading Local yesterday, I visited a wonderful new bookstore in my neighborhood. Actually, the bookstore -- Ampersand -- has been there since last November, but I am new to the neighborhood. So after reading about Reading Local's upcoming interview with Ampersand owner Myles Haslehorst, I walked over there to take a look. Ampersand has a small storefront in the "arts district" of NE Alberta Street, here in Portland. It is as much a gallery as a book store. Or, as Haslehorst describes on his web site:
Ampersand is a gallery, bookshop & retail archive . . . . Committed to cultural preservation, we buy & sell vintage photography, paper ephemera, historic documents & collectible books. Our book inventory, consisting of both new & used volumes, is focused primarily on visual content, with particular emphasis on art, design & photography books. Our monthly gallery shows feature either contemporary artworks or curated selections from our vintage inventory. In both cases, our intent is to investigate the colliding point between now & then, past & present, vintage & contemporary.
It works. Ampersand is peaceful and lovely, with its eclectic wares displayed with the tidy precision of a Japanese garden. It is the kind of shop you would come across in Hayes Valley in San Francisco or Nolita in Manhattan. As for books, Haslehorst definitely concentrates on visually pleasing volumes. He also has a small but impressive selections of used paperback literature in very good condition at reasonable prices. I picked up a pristine copy of Vladimir Nabokov's Laughter in the Dark for $6. But better yet, on my way out I spotted and nabbed a new copy of a Taschen book called Jazz Covers -- a collection of 1,000 classic jazz lp covers -- for my jazz loving hubby's upcoming birthday. I love my new neighborhood.

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