An interview with Michelle Lewis of Third Eye Books


What’s your favorite area of your bookstore?

The children’s section is by far my favorite. I love the covers of the children’s books, and the stories for the little ones are fun, and the illustrations are amazingly beautiful.

What’s the coolest book cover that you like to have facing out on the shelves?

Rhianna’s book is super large – it weighs about 10 pounds. The size and her beautiful eyes catches everyone’s attention!

If you had a staff pick for a recent new release, what would it be?

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story and Born On the Water

Backlist pick?
The Portland Black Panthers

Do you have a strange customer story?

People coming up and literally staring at us through our store window as if they’re confused and then walking away – it happens at least a few times a week. Also people get us confused with the Third Eye Shoppe that used to be on Hawthorne. Our store name has “books” in it and folks still come in at least a few times a week looking for glassware and tie dyed T-shirts.

What author have you been starstruck to meet, or have you gotten to host a fun virtual event?

We LOVE LOVE LOVE Portland’s own David Walker, an Eisner Award Winner! He wrote the The Black Panther Party Graphic Novel, plus much more!

What are some misconceptions people have about working in a bookstore?

That we’ve read every book that is in our store and we know every author. We have to remind some of our customers that 12,000+ books are released every Tuesday – it’s impossible to keep up with and read every new and/backlist book out there.

What is your least favorite bookstore task?

Inventory 😩

Favorite part about working in a bookstore?

Talking to our customers and ordering cool new books… we love unpacking new books.

Can you recommend an underrated book?

We recommend No God Like The Mother by Keisha Ajose Fisher. She is a local author and the 2020 Oregon Book Award Winner for fiction.

Michelle Lewis is the owner of Third Eye Books in Portland, Oregon.