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November 26, 2019

top ten bookstores i’m thankful for
posted by soe 1:10 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl is a Thanksgiving freebie. I’ve decided I’d like to share ten bookstores I’m personally thankful for:

  1. Politics & Prose: A D.C. institution, this now trio of shops bring authors to the District on a daily basis. And they have a music buyer on staff, making them pretty much the only place in town I can buy new cds still.
  2. Kramerbooks: A mainstay of my Dupont Circle neighborhood, this bookstore, cafe, and bar is open until 1 a.m. weeknights and 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday (and was very handy this year when I realized I didn’t have any cake for Rudi rather late on his birthday this year).
  3. Powell’s: This Portland, Oregon, megastore is like a beacon for booklovers, being pretty much a block wide and several stories tall. Do not plan a trip to the Northwest without stopping, and do not stop without several hours to adequately explore.
  4. R.J. Julia Booksellers: This was the first bookstore I ever joined as a member. Located in Madison, Connecticut, it has long hosted great author talks and provided hours of entertainment. It also took over the bookstore in Middletown, around the corner from my old house, after I moved.
  5. Whitlock’s Book Barn: This is one of Connecticut’s great used bookshops and one of two (that I’m aware of) in the state housed in barns. Located in Bethany in the Housatonic Valley, you can find both antiquarian titles and used paperbacks in this rural paradise that my parents used to drag us to kicking and screaming when we were kids.
  6. Capitol Hill Bookstore: This rowhouse near Eastern Market in D.C. is filled to bursting with books. While the fire marshal has clearly vetoed the piles of books that used to sit on each stair tread, they are still in stacks in the bathroom and on every other flat surface. Plus, they are deliciously cranky both in person and on their Twitter.
  7. The Strand: New York City’s answer to Powell’s (although don’t tell a New Yorker that), the Strand is home to 18 miles of new and used books. When I win the lottery and am ready to purchase my unabridged copy of the OED, they have a copy of all 20 volumes on hand.
  8. The King’s English: This Salt Lake City, Utah, shop is one of my favorite stops when we’re visiting Rudi’s mom.
  9. East City Bookshop: This Capitol Hill-area bookstore has quickly built a loyal following, and not just because of their stroller parking area and photo wall of dogs. They boast an extremely knowledgeable kids/YA bookseller and run a plethora of bookclubs, including W(h)ine and Angst, a YA bookclub for adults.
  10. Mahogany Books: This tiny bookstore, located in the Anacostia Arts Center, is the only bookshop East of the Anacostia River in D.C. and delivers Black-centric books for “readers in search of books written for, by, or about people of the African Diaspora.” It was this bookshop that introduced me (literally — she came in to pick up a book just after they hand sold me her poetry collection) to Elizabeth Acevedo.

Local runners-up you can visit here in D.C.: Loyalty Books, Solid State Books, Bridge Street Books, Second Story, Lost City (formerly Idle Times), Sankofa, Wall of Books, Carpe Librum, The Lantern, and more.

How about you? What bookstores are you thankful for?

Have you signed up for the Virtual Advent Tour yet? We’d be excited to have you join us!

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