Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Shopping DC: Books

Lately (while Blake was up in NYC) I've been eating all sorts of random things for dinner, so I've edged off the meal planning for a while.  I don't think my smorgasbord dinners would be all that interesting...and they certainly wouldn't contain links to great recipes.

Basically it's been like this:

Monday:  Chips and salsa and pickles.

Tuesday: Pita and hummus and raspberries.

Wednesday: Frozen enchiladas from my frozen meal stash.

Thursday:  More frozen enchiladas as leftovers.

Yes. It's been a classy affair over here.

So as I've been slacking on the meal planning posts, I thought I'd start on another series.  I love DC.  I enjoy shopping.  I adore lists.  Add those together and I give you "Shopping DC."

Mostly this is for my own good so that I keep it all organized.  Like I said, I love lists.

Where do you go in DC to buy books and enjoy the experience?  Well, in the spirit of lists and DC adventures, here is my first foray into "Shopping DC."

1.  Friends of the Library, Montgomery County Book Sale.
I've mentioned this place before (probably as the Wheaton Library Book Sale) because I visit it all the time.  I'm probably there at least twice a month and I leave with a stack of books every single time.

The Book Sale takes in donations from all over Montgomery County and organizes them into category and then by author last name.  It's as big as a Barnes and Nobel, but resides in the basement of the Wheaton Regional Library.  They've got a great kids section (with board books that look like they've never been used) and a fantastic young adult section (I got a whole set of hardcover Harry Potter books for $15.00) and a classics section with beautiful leather-bound copies...it goes on and on.

Most books are between 25 cents and a dollar.  So, whether you're looking for beautiful books for decorating purposes, or to build up your own library, or to purchase your book club books on the cheap, this is the place to do it.

2.  Capital Hill Books
Blake thinks of this more as Capital Claustrophobia Books (I sort of agree), but it's a great place to visit.  It's a used bookstore located right by Eastern Market and you feel like you're being transported through time when you walk through the door.

The best way I can describe it is 1 part hoarders episode, 1 part Harry Potter's experience at the wand shop on Diagon Alley, and 1 part Shakespeare and Company in Paris (minus the cats and the transient writers living in it).

It's worth checking out just for the experience and the great photo-ops.  Also, it doesn't hurt that it's across the street from the delicious breakfast options at Eastern Market.

Photo from here

3.  Politics & Prose.  Arguably DC's most famous bookstore...and the only non-used bookstore on my list.  Politics & Prose is a great store by itself, but my favorite thing about them is that they schedule so many events and author talks that you can keep endlessly busy satisfying your bibliophile needs.

They offer writing classes and support local authors.  They put together book signings and help sponsor the National Book Festival.  I've been to a number of their events at various locations throughout the city (my favorite was seeing Khaled Hosseini at the Historic 6th Street Synagogue) and am always impressed.  Don't forget to sign up for their email lists so you don't miss out on any of the events or interesting classes.

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