November 13, 2013

World of Books: Christina + D.C. Metro Area

Everyone has their neighborhood bookstore or their local library they call home. Maybe both even. I know I do - in TWO different cities. World of Books if a bi-weekly feature that allows me - and any of YOU - to share the bookstores and libraries you love so much. If you want to be featured on World of Books too, make sure to go HERE and fill out the contact form!

Today on WORLD OF BOOKS, Christina is going to tell you all about the D.C. Metro Area bookish places. ENJOY ALL OF THE PRETTY PICTURES!

I’ve lived in northern Virginia my whole life, minus college and grad school, and feel grateful to be in a place that has so many amazing bookish locations and events.

At the top of the list is the mother of all libraries, The Library of Congress. 

It’s basically a cross between mammoth library and museum. The LOC is open to the public and has tons of interesting exhibits and displays for tourists to walk through, all free. These include the Gutenberg Bible and a recreated version of Thomas Jefferson’s personal library.

You do need a LOC library card to study in the main reading room and to check out books, but visitors can spy on those working through a large balcony overlooking the room.

In addition to the LOC, the surrounding counties have excellent public library systems. I am a Fairfax County resident and am a frequent library patron. I’ve found the selection of hard copy and electronic books to borrow is excellent and if they don’t have something you want, you can request they purchase it. Because the counties here are so close together, we have the advantage of a short drive to another library system for events, as well as reciprocity in book lending. I’ve found the Arlington Public Library System has particularly excellent events and programs. Recently they’ve been hosting write-ins for NaNoWriMo and panels of local authors.

(Jessica Spotswood, Diana Peterfreund & Jon Skovron)
The DC area also has amazing independent book stores that host author events practically every day of the week.

One of my favorites, and perhaps the most famous, is Politics & Prose in Washington DC. They host events in the store, at the Sixth & I Synagogue, and local libraries, including the Bethesda Library, where I have been many times. Their staff are all fabulous and they really take the time to get to know their patrons and to ask for feedback. P& P also has a great café, Modern Times, that serves yummy sandwiches, salads and drinks, and also plays host to Trivia for Nerds monthly.

Most recently, I was able to hear Rainbow Rowell speak at P&P. She was fabulous!

A little further south is One More Page in Arlington, VA. OMP always impresses me with the warmth of their staff, the personalized recommendations they give, and the intimacy of their events. I always feel like I’m among friends there. OMP is a popular spot for authors to have their book launch parties and they don’t mind if authors bring in delicious cupcakes for their events!

(Valerie O. Patterson, Elizabeth Scott, Elisa Nader and Danielle Ellison)
(Do you want me to list everyone here?)
I also feel incredibly lucky to be in an area with a LOT of bloggers and book enthusiasts. We often find ourselves making up a large part of the crowd at events and have organized group dinners with authors and each other.
Cupcakes by Jen of Jenuine Cupcakes
Andye from Reading Teen and Jessica Spotswood
Alexandria, Va is the home of Hooray 4 Books, a children’s bookstore that is also a popular spot for author book launches and panel discussions. They host frequent story time for little ones and are often jam packed full of personalized books. H4B is also very metro-friendly.

(Cristin Terrill)
In addition, we have our fair share of Barnes & Noble stores, and a wide array of used book stores. My favorites include 2nd & Charles in Woodbridge, Va and McKay’s in Manassas, Va.

Thanks for visiting the DC area’s bookish spots!

Who's hopping in their car and driving down to D.C. right about now? Definitely not just me. Speak up in the comments below if you're coming with!