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Home is where the books are

According to one local expert, home is also what a lot of the hottest new books are about

Beaverton resident Danielle Marshall knows what books you want in your home.

As a front-line buyer for Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, that's what she gets paid to know. In fact, she is faced with the challenge of having to buy books for her store before they're published.

That's right, before they're published. How does she do it? She reads a lot about books - catalogs, for example. She also gets samples.

It's not so terrible, she insists. At her old job - a tiny book store in San Francisco - 'it was a much tougher job,' she points out, because there was not a square inch to waste, so every decision was extremely crucial.

'But here it's mostly about deciding which books we're going to feature,' says Marshall, who landed her job at the Beaverton Powell's more than six years ago after applying online. 'It's all about which books I want to feature. It's pretty fun.'

Part of that 'fun' is anticipating what books people will want this Christmas, and Danielle says she spotted some trends early on.

'The thing that really stood out to me,' she says, was that a lot of books that were about to come out seemed to be involved with people's immediate surroundings - their homes, families, their own well-being - and a lot of it had a retro feel to it. As typical as that sounds, she says, 'It's not always like that.'

But right now, she says, 'It's more hearth and home, crafty things - things to do at home, with your family, with yourself.'

Her recommendations for gift-giving this Christmas reflect that trend. She points to 'The Good Home Cookbook' by Richard J. Perry, a Tigard resident and owner of Collectors Press ($24.95), a collection of 1,000 recipes with a retro approach.

She also has a couple of bird-watching books on her list.

'Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song' ($45 in hardcover, with recordings of each bird included) is big and beautiful, not meant to pack into the wild. But 'Birdsongs of the Pacific Northwest: A Field Guide and Audio CD' ($21.95, Mountaineers Books) by Martyn Steward, Stephen R. Whitney and Elizabeth Briars Hart is small enough to be portable.

Another personal favorite of Marshall's is 'The Backyard Lumberjack: The Ultimate Guide to Felling, Bucking, Splitting and Stacking.'

Books about the home

But the real treat in store for the dedicated homeowner is the plethora of books out there about the home. And, on that score, Marshall has another list.

'People are very concerned about their curb appeal,' says the book buyer, referring to the number of shows concerned with that on cable television's HGTV network. 'There are many, many books with 'curb appeal' in their titles.'

Thanks to recent shifts in the real estate market, says Marshall, people are more interested than ever in books on selling, remodeling and improving their homes.

Marshall recommends 'Curb Appeal: Landscapes, Color, Entries, Design and Details' by HGTV Books ($19.95).

Among the more popular titles on the subject of homes are the 'Not So Big House' series by Sarah Sasanka, called, on her Web site, a 'bestselling author, architect and cultural visionary' who is 'is leading a movement that is redefining the American home.' Her latest book is 'The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live' ($15.95).

'Everybody's more focused on the reality of the home,' says Marshall. 'The focus is on you and what you can do in your own home.'

As evidence of the hunger for 'community,' Marshall points to the phenomenon of iVillage.com, a Web site catering to women that offers another kind of community, or place where individuals can go to find people like them.

'It's just kind of an interesting perspective on community,' says Marshall. 'It's like your community is becoming bigger because it's the whole world, but we're more insular because we don't interact with those people.'

Other books homeowners may want to check out, according to Danielle Marshall are these:

n 'Everything and the Kitchen Sink: Remodel Your Kitchen Without Losing Your Mind' by Janice Costa ($16.95).

n 'Garage Makeovers: Adding Space Without Adding On (Popular Mechanics)' by Rick Peters ($17.95).

n 'The Ultimate Garage' (Sunset, $19.95).

n 'Lowe's Complete Home Improvement and Repair 2nd Edition' (34.95).

n 'Remodeling a basement: Expert Advice from Start to Finish (Taunton's Build Like a Pro)' by Roger German ($19.95).

n 'Organizing from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System for Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life' by Julie Morgenstern ($15).

n 'Storage Workshop (House Beautiful)' by Tessa Evelegh ($24.95).

Powell's settling into its new home

Powell's moved into its new location at the Cedar Hills Crossing shopping center, 3415 S.W. Cedar Hills Blvd., on Nov. 17, leaving the Cascade Plaza site it occupied for 22 years.

The 32,500-square-foot store takes up space next to G.I. Joe's that once belonged to multiple tenants in what used to be called the Beaverton Mall.

Cedar Hills Crossing is in the final stages of a $35 million renovation that has included the opening of a New Seasons grocery store and a multi-screen cinema.

'We're so excited to be in this space,' says front-line buyer Danielle Marshall, surrounded by what seems like acres of new shelves, displays and plenty of places to sit and read.

The store's hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sundays 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The store will be closed Christmas but open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. New Year's Day.

Of course, Powell's has a number of other locations available, including the famous 'City of Books' at 10th and Burnside downtown, and online at www.powells.com.