I went to the Women’s March on Washington with a friend a couple of weekends ago. It was an amazing experience to stand with so many like-minded people and I’m incredibly glad that I live close enough to D.C. to make the weekend trip. To make the most of the experience, we also visited two independent book stores in the Georgetown area and each was rather charming and a different experience from a chain book store (though I do love those as well).
Saturday evening, after a long day of marching we wandered over to Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café. It’s an adorable little book store that immediately hits you with how crowded it is with books. It was a busy place in the evening, and the café and bar that is attached to the bookstore definitely seemed to be something of a hub.
While there I was really close to buying Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, which I have been seeing all over BookTube (a rabbit hole that I recently got sucked into). But ultimately I decided not to make that purchase, which I may or may not seriously regret, because if you’ve ever seen the hardcover version of it and Crooked Kingdom, you will know that you are in the presence of beauty. My favorite feature, of course, are the colored page edges. One of them has red edges and the other has black. Basically, I not only need to read these books, I also just want them to pretty up my bookshelves.
Much to my disappointment Kramerbooks has a rather small collection of science fiction and fantasy novels. It’s just one wide bookshelf lining the hallway between two of the three rooms that make up the entirety of the store. Most of the books for sale were literary fiction, history, and current events. Nothing against these genres, but I don’t usually reach for these much myself.
Unfortunately I did not partake in the café or bar goodies (we were heading to dinner afterward), but upon making my purchase, I was handed a book mark that advertised not only Kramerbooks’s current bestsellers, but also featured some literary cocktails, which I think is rather charming.
The book that I ended up buying is Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente. From my understanding it is an alternative history science fiction novel about a woman in old glamor Hollywood that makes documentaries. She begins work on a documentary about a research team on Venus that disappeared and that’s when the shenanigans begin. This may or may not be a super accurate description of this book, but this is what I still remember two weeks after having read the blurb on the back. I’m not entirely sure when I will end up reading this book, but considering that I promised my husband that I would not buy any more books until I finished reading all of the physical books that I recently bought, I suppose I will get to it in the next couple of months.
On Sunday we visited Bridge Street Books after a delicious breakfast of crepes. I did not end up buying anything while I was there, but I did enjoy strolling through the store and absorbing the cutesy bookish atmosphere. The man who worked there (I’m not sure if he was the owner or just a manager) was incredibly knowledgeable and very friendly. Most of the books for sale were not for me, really. Most of the collection contained literary fiction and history books, much like Kramerbooks, though the shelf for science fiction and fantasy was small to nonexistent.
Regardless, I enjoyed the atmosphere and thought that the view from the second floor down to the first was rather neat and made for fun pictures.
While I do most of my book shopping online, I still love visiting book stores and browsing leisurely among shelves for my next read. I will continue to occasionally visit independent book stores and you can be sure I’ll write about my adventures there!