Zinester’s Guide to Portland (5th Edition): Edited By Sean Granton, 129 pgs. By Lauren Trout

Upon first glance, this guide book seems promising. It had most of the information that I want to know when I’m first visiting a city: public transportation options, basic layout of the city, cheap restaurants, and grocery stores. There was one glaring omission though—a list of places to stay. No hotels, hostels, or even camping grounds mentioned here. I suppose you could just search for that on the internet. Wait, couldn’t you just search for all of this on the internet? Why would you buy a guide book at all? Oh right, because you want to know what the “zinesters” do in Portland.

Craven Rock talked about this in his review of an earlier edition of this book, and I’m going to mention it too: this guide is tailored toward zinesters as envisioned by a particular set. In this guide, a person who is into zines would naturally be interested in vegan restaurants, comic shops, bike shops, bars, and coffee houses. I think that actually defines “hipster” culture. We all know that hipsters hate being called hipsters, so it looks like they have decided to adopt the label “zinesters” instead. That is totally unfair, because people who write zines are a much more diverse group.

I don’t get how the editors could decide what would or would not be relevant to zinesters. There’s a section on skateboarding in the city, but no mention of wheelchair accessibility around the city. They highlight bars with two dollar pint specials, but don’t list places that give discounts for seniors, teachers, or military. You see what I’m getting at here? I’ve read zines written by skaters and zines written by people who are disabled, so why would they cater to one group but not the other in this guide?

I’ve never been to Portland, so I can’t really tell you if there is more to the city than what is in this guide book. But Craven Rock used to live there, and his review said it’s best to just explore the city for yourself (or better—pick a different city to visit), so I would follow that advice instead. –Lauren Trout (Microcosm Publishing, microcosmpublishing.com)