By Tamara Anne Fowler | CNA Media Team
Travel down a whimsical dirt path surrounded by lush greenery and you will arrive at Melville books, a charming new addition to Alberta Street.
Mitchell Melville is the owner, and he has never owned a bookstore before; however, “I have been scouting books for about 10 years and selling online as well,” he said.
After making the decision to open a bookstore, Mitchell began attending as many library, estate and garage sales as possible to build a collection. He still goes out and buys at least four days a week before opening the shop. Open hours are noon to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.
The store boasts about 4,000 titles in stock, all used. There are roughly 3,500 books inside and another 400-500 outside on carts.
Mitchell received the keys June 1 and the doors opened for a few hours July 21. Melville Books’ first official full day was July 24.
Although he can’t possibly choose what his absolute favorite books are, “‘White Teeth’ by Zadie Smith is one of my all time favorite novels. I try to read a little bit of everything but fiction and science fiction are my favorites.
“I loved the ‘Remembrance of Earth’s Past’ trilogy by Cixin Liu and the ‘Broken Earth’ trilogy by N.K. Jemisin,” Mitchell reported, noting both series are science fiction.
“I love reading science and math nonfiction, but also do some history and biography on occasion.”
He’s currently reading four books: “Little, Big” by John Crowley, “Evicted” by Matthew Desmond, “The Word for World is Forest” by Ursula K. LeGuin and “The Name of the Rose” by Umberto Eco.
He and partner Isabel live in northwest Portland, and they are hoping to move to the eastside within five or six months. Their goal is to be somewhere close to the shop.
Isabel is originally from New York City and doesn’t have a driver’s license. “She never needed one,” Mitchell pointed out. “So we are looking for an area within walking distance of a good grocery store and with good public transit accessibility.”
Currently, Mitchell rides his bike to the store, which takes about 30 minutes. “In September, I started making an effort to ride here at least once a week, and I hope to be commuting via bike nearly every day before too long.
But the ride isn’t without challenges. “It’s hard when I have to schlep a bunch of books around on the bike.”
Tamara Anne Fowler is Edit Kitten, a writer with 20-plus years of experience offering a sof ter, gentler approach to editing and coaching. Her personal editors — Armani, Max Factor and Spicey’D — are also her cats. Visit her at EditKitten.com or contact her at Tamara@EditKitten.com.