This past week I went on vacation to Vancouver, Washington with my sister and my Mom. My little sister had a training session for work and instead of her going up by herself, we decided to have a girls trip and spend some time in Portland. I didn’t really want to go, I had raid, but my Mom gave me these really sad Japanese puppy dog eyes and I couldn’t say no. I did make her pay for my driving snacks and day drinking though. (Look at those Asian kid snacks!)
I did not think anything remotely nerdy would come from this trip. I was basically there to entertain my mom, via shopping, while my sister was at training all day. But, like most things in life you don’t really want to do but do anyways, it was worth it. I got to nerd out a little and smoke a joint with my sister in the hotel’s gazebo. Hooray legality.
One place we were keen to visit while in Portland was Powell’s Books, a pretty famous bookstore there. First off, the place was huge. It’s the biggest bookstore I’ve ever seen. Borders and Barnes and Noble don’t even compare. There are staircases and elevators, and even an annexed store across the street from the main store. It was bookworm nirvana. I love wandering up and down the aisles, running my fingers across spines, and the smell of books.
Upon arrival, I quickly found the Fiction room and started browsing. Usually, Star Wars books are grouped together in a section with other "universes" like Star Trek and Doctor Who. Makes sense because it’s a pain in the ass to find them if they’re grouped by author. Especially as longer series, like The New Jedi Order and Legacy of the Force, usually have many different authors. I love walking into that aisle of nerdiness though. It’s always a very male dominated zone and it makes me giggle to get all the semi-casual checkouts as I start to browse. The selection at Powell’s was probably the best I’ve seen in one place. And trust me, I habitually check the Star Wars section at bookstores. It had all the basics, plus a few books I don’t see often. I almost picked up a copy of Outbound Flight and The Courtship of Princess Leia, but I’m looking for hardcovers so the search continues. Apart from the fiction Star Wars section, there were non-fiction shelves nearby as well. It was neat-o coming across the Art of SW:TOR book and I got to show my mom some images from “that game you play all the time.”
The non-fiction section was also where I picked up my two purchases. An absolute necessity for any Star Wars fan is the Star Wars Encyclopedia. I’ve been wanting one for a while now but I never can quite cough up the $60 for a copy. $14 though, I can totally do. I spent a few hours furiously searching obscure races and people and mumbling under my breath. Much to my Mother and the rest of Starbuck’s dismay. The other book I picked up, for $9, was “Star Wars Scrapbook: The Essential Collection” by Stephen J. Sansweet. While I’m really excited about the Encyclopedia, this book will forever have a place on my coffee table.
For those of you who may not know, Stephen Sansweet is the ultimate Star Wars collector. He displays and shares his awe inspiring collection at Rancho Obi-Wan (http://www.ranchoobiwan.org/) which he founded and runs. ROW is a mecca for Star Wars fans. Sansweet's collection ranges from across the globe and from the very early days of Star Wars to present. This book is his compilation scrapbook of those memories. It is quite literally, the super fan’s scrapbook. Within it’s pages are newspaper articles, company letterheads, stickers from Japan in the 1970s, and a whole slew of swag from candy boxes, ice creams, and premier events.
The history of this book is staggering. For someone like myself, born after the original trilogy was released, there is little to no chance I would ever get to see these important parts of Star Wars history. Given the chance, I would eat myself sick on sweets for some Star Wars prizes, but I didn’t get the chance. Now I can see and enjoy them. The book is meant to be interacted with and there is very little actual reading. The most text heavy aspects are a copy of the first Star Wars Club newsletter and a newspaper clipping from the June 26, 1976 LA Times containing a (great) interview with George Lucas.
Some of my other favorites from the book are the unused and international Star Wars posters. Japanese artifacts are predominant, and I got my Mom to translate some.
Being a huge fan myself, I loved this book. Connecting with Star Wars history is important to me, and this book made me feel like I had been collecting since the very beginning. It was a great find and definitely made the whole trip for me. Count on me to turn everything into Star Wars.