Cozy Book Nooks in the Willamette Valley
Whistling wind, pattering rain, and even drifting snowflakes strike a secret urge in the Oregonian heart. It signals the time to brew some tea, wrap up in a warm blanket and take refuge in the pages of a great book. After an adventurous summer filled with trails to hike and rivers to kayak we covertly look forward to luxurious reading sessions the long, cloud-filled winter provides. Willamette Valley’s small towns and big cities alike reflect a thriving book culture, with quirky, personable bookstores tempting us to while away an hour or two while bitter winds blow outside. Like snowflakes, each is unique, with attractions including comfy seating areas, craft classes, author events, a historic pedigree, even in-house ice cream. Take a seat, turn off that phone and reap the rich rewards of what each of our local book nooks have to offer.
Second Chance Books, Independence
Jam-packed Second Chance Books, family-owned since 1993, is a literary labyrinth for the book-obsessed. Shelves of books climb to the ceiling, span windows and crisscross overhead. Hand-made (and occasionally amusing) labels organize the extensive stock of mostly used books. While a few chairs dot the aisles, the shop’s historic location on Silverton’s Main Street encourages shoppers to hustle new purchases next door to the wine bar or down the block to a bakery.
Grass Roots Books and Music, Corvallis
Grass Roots Books and Music draws customers into its cozy brick-lined interior with an inventory of new books attractively curated around several cushy, browse-inducing chairs.
Frequent author events, poetry nights and readings make the shop a vibrant part of the Corvallis community, home of Oregon State University. With CDs, puzzles, games, tote bags, calendars and cards, Grass Roots attracts shoppers for one-stop gift buying as well as leisurely loitering.
Third Street Books, McMinnville
“Books are the gateway to anywhere” proclaims a slogan painted on the wall inside Third Street Books. Here in McMinnville, gateway to Oregon’s wine country, they emphasize local authors and attractions, along with a great general selection of new and used books. Hand-written staff picks introduce shoppers to new authors and volumes. Third Street books hosts book clubs and celebrates downtown’s Third Friday with home-town beer and local artists presenting their art, craft and music.
Downtown Carnegie Library, Albany
The Downtown Carnegie Library deserves special mention as a destination for lovers of books, architecture and history. Built in 1914, this pale brick building houses fireplaces topped by beautifully crafted wooden mantels and flanked by upholstered chairs in vintage style. Large double-hung windows above the stacks flood rooms with light. Albany families embrace its many community programs, including story time for kids, adult craft nights, maker days, gardening presentations, book clubs and more.
Chapters Coffee and Books, Newberg
The spacious seating area at Chapters Coffee and Books suggests laptops and lingering under a high, airy ceiling topping vintage brick walls. A coffee bar and Cream Northwest, an in-house hand-crafted ice creamery, lure visitors in. Plenty of tables and chairs keep them contentedly reading, writing and gazing at Newberg’s main drag through soaring windows. This family-run business sells new and used books, along with tea, freshly roasted coffee and gifts.
The Book Nook, Canby
The Book Nook, in the heart of Canby, has shelves of used and new volumes around homey couches, a coffee table and chess set. Book clubs and craft classes contribute to the welcoming, living-room vibe. The owner upcycles deteriorating vintage volumes into crafty paper décor: Check the event schedule to learn how. Art supplies, gifts and cards by local artists round out the merchandise.
Books N Time, Silverton
Silverton’s densely packed book-lovers’ haunt features mostly used books, with a few antique volumes and new editions highlighted by the front counter. Books N Time also sells new wooden clocks, ranging from mantel to wall to full-sized grandfather clocks. Armchairs in the kids section invite a story-telling session on a rainy day, and local authors sign books on site.
Tsunami Books, Eugene
Tsunami Books epitomizes the hippie glory of Eugene, adorned with images of cultural and literary icons like local author Ken Kesey, Alan Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. The bulletin board reflects its central role in the community, layered with flyers and posters announcing everything from qigong to guitar lessons to Scottish country dance. Frequent author readings, open mics, concerts and poetry slams bring in a diverse crowd, while good lighting and many chairs encourage relaxed browsing. A small record selection, locally made art and crafts, calendars and postcards supplement the book selection.