It's always easy to spot an Oregonian on vacation outside of the Northwest. They're the ones sitting in the shade with the ethereal complexions, wearing sunglasses and wide brimmed hats, nose deep in a book.
Portland is a town full of readers, and I'm not sure, but I think it might possibly have something to do with our rainy climate.
There is never a time when Powell's City of Books isn't packed, and our library has a ridiculously high circulation rate. This makes for some stiff competition when a new or interesting book is reviewed on NPR or in the NY Times or the Oregonian. Fortunately, the Multnomah County Library has a great website which enables you to search for and place holds on books online. Unfortunately, Portland is also a very web-savvy town, and when a book is mentioned on NPR, within a few seconds there are 350 holds placed on two copies, and you really have to have good reflexes to be one of the first in line to get it. This is exactly what happened when I read this review of "The Instructions" in the Oregonian early one morning in the beginning of January. I jumped up immediately, walked the thirty-six inches to my computer and placed a hold on the book at the library. I was something like number 245. I promptly forgot about it until last Friday, when I got an email from the library stating the book was waiting for me.
When I went to the holds shelf, I thought I must have ordered an audio book. It looked like a big box sitting on the shelf. Then I remembered that the title of the review was "The best 1,000 page novel you'll ever read", and I realized what I was in for.
(Wine cork added to show scale)
I just hope three weeks is long enough to finish it.