Washington, D.C.   no comments

Posted at 4:34 pm in

Bridge Street Books
2814 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 965 5200

Georgetown starts at Bridge Street Books, right by the M Street bridge in a charming old row house.  There is always a table covered with excellent sale books out front, and inside, the two small floors somehow contain a terrific and literate selection of books, including current events, politics, history, and philosophy, as well as a wall of poetry and several of literature. It’s probably best to visit at the end of your Georgetown trip, but if you find yourself buying five pounds of books on your way into the neighborhood, they will happily hold them for you until you come back–at which point, you may of course be tempted to buy even more books…

Chapters Literary Arts Center & Bookstore

Chapters has been a presence in Washington for more than twenty years, and really began the tradition of bookstore author readings here.  I spent a lot of lunch breaks at their shop when I was working at the Washington Post in the mid-90s, and have been a loyal customer ever since.  It was always a haven of  learning and good books and interesting conversation.  I went in once to buy a copy of Beowulf in Old English, and Steve Moyer, the co-owner, having read the opening to me in correct Old English, said that I would need an Anglo-Saxon grammar book to understand it.  “Hang on,’ he said, “I know there’s one around here somewhere.” And there was.

Chapters was forced to close their most recent shop, but are working hard to find a new space, and have set up a nonprofit, the Chapters Literary Arts Center (full disclosure: I’m on the board).  In the meantime, you can support their efforts by buying books online at their website.

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Bookstore and Cafe
1517 Connecticut Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 387-1462

Kramerbooks is a DC institution, though its service has improved from the days when its t-shirts said “We’re not Fucking Nordstrom’s!” The building is divided into an excellent bookstore in the front, and an extremely nice restaurant (with a huge selection of desserts) in the back.  There’s also a bar area.  The store is at Dupont Circle, and is a popular meeting spot for people dining in the neighborhood.  It’s not big enough for really extended loitering (there aren’t any chairs), but it’s always a fun place to buy books–and run into a friend or two.

Politics and Prose Bookstore & Coffeeshop
5015 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008
202-364-1919 •  800-722-0790

Politics & Prose is arguably one of the best bookstores in the country. It’s large but never impersonal, filled with comfortable places to sit and friendly staff members. The book selection is vast and excellent, and there’s an outstanding children’s book department on the lower floor–where there is also a fantastic sale section.  There’s a huge assortment of cards, and a smaller but always brilliantly well chosen set of CDs. P&P has author events almost every night, and throughout the day on weekends.  The back of the lower floor holds a particularly nice coffee shop. (The spinach and feta sandwiches are delicious.)

Written by Lorin on May 18th, 2010

Leave a Reply