The assignment came like a gauntlet thrown.
EMAIL FROM MY EDITOR: Portland, Oregon is the most literary city in the country. If you love books, you should go there right away.
MY REPLY: I’m looking at tickets as we speak.
It was really that simple — I’d been longing to see Portland and didn’t need much convincing. Before leaving, I queried a local Portland author to find out how the city’s book culture supports her. Mary Elizabeth Summer, author of Trust Me: I’m Lying, a young adult mystery series, was more than a little enthusiastic:
“It’s the compounding interest of creativity,” she gushed. “You can’t walk anywhere in this town without tripping over books, and that, my friend, is the only kind of town I want to live in.”
That was just what I wanted to hear. I donned a trench coat and fedora and headed north to investigate (though the detective outfit was more for dealing with rain than anything else). My first stop was a place to put up for the night:
The Heathman is a grand, historic hotel in the Financial District. Forget your kindle — the hotel boasts its own lending library of more than 2,700 volumes signed by visiting authors. (To get your book into The Heathman library, you have to spend the night and sign the book during your stay.)