Bookstore · Reading List · Reviews

5 Bookstores At Historic DC Sites

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By Molly Korroch

People choose brick and mortar stores over the internet for the experience. What could be a better D.C. bookstore shopping experience than finding a book at an historic local attraction? Museum and National Park Service sites often come complete with gift shops filled with books specifically pertaining to the site’s subject. Visiting D.C.? Kill two birds with one stone and visit any one of these beautiful places.

Ford’s Theatre

As the site of President Lincoln’s assassination, Ford’s Theatre is the most infamous theatre in America. The theater remained closed for over one hundred years until it reopened in 1968 as a working theater and national historic site. Ford’s Theatre is now both a place to see performances (sans Confederate sympathizers) and a museum and bookshop where you can learn so much more about that fateful Friday night.

The National Cathedral

Did you know that the National Cathedral is the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s final Sunday sermon? Learn that and more from the books at their on-site shop. Along with a variety of religious books and tokens, you’ll find several volumes documenting the history of both the area and the cathedral itself.

National Gallery

There’s nothing quite like an art museum gift shop. Especially if that museum is a particularly good one. Washington D.C.’s National Gallery is just such a museum. Here you can find prints, books on sculpture, art history, children’s books, impressionism–you name it! If you’re trying to find the perfect coffee table book or a gift for one of your artsier friends, then this bookshop is for you.

Mount Vernon

If you live in D.C. and haven’t been to Mount Vernon you are truly missing out. It’s the perfect spot for an afternoon walk in Springtime. Now, if you’re at all interested in George Washington or American history, this bookstore’s collection will knock you off your feet. “The Shops at Mount Vernon features the world’s most comprehensive George Washington-themed bookstore. Every book in this collection comes with a Mount Vernon bookplate, signed by the author.” From books about gardening and historical farming to first-rate historical non-fiction (Go read Nathaniel Philbrick. Now. Just go.) it’s impossible to leave this shop without feeling a tad more historically enlightened and perhaps a bit more patriotic.

The White House

Whether or not you go on a day where you can actually tour the White House, you can still enjoy it’s fantastic history at the bookstore. Here you can find a variety of historic guides, books, and other ephemera associated with the history of the building. Can you name which president was the first to live in the white house? Do you know why it’s white, or who started calling it “The White House”? Learn more about one of our city’s greatest monuments at this National Park bookstore.

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Bookstore · Events · Reviews

A Little DC Without the Bougie: Politics and Pros

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If you have lived in DC long enough, you might’ve heard of Politics and Prose. With many locations in DC, and their affiliation to Busboys & Politics, its known for a great variety of books, community place, and a good hang out spot. Not only do they have the new-est books, Politics and Prose also hosts exclusive author talks and frequent events throughout the city.

Fast Facts

Place: Politics and Pros on Connecticut Ave. NW, and including all Busboys & Poets locations

General theme: “Something that evokes Washington, but not pretentious” – owner Carla Cohen

Hours: Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. 

Food/Drink: Busboys & Poets has a full menu and bar. Politics and Pros location on Connecticut has a coffee shop on the lower level. 

Wifi: Busboys & Poets does!

Events: A full list of calendar events can be seen here, with info on Busboys & Poets too! 

Appointment necessary: Nope! 

If this place were band: John Lennon – Imagine 

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Bookstore · Events

A Night With Auntie Maxine

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Congresswoman Maxine Waters, or also known as Auntie Maxine, held an open-mic reception at Busboys and Poets on 5th and K St. just last Friday in anticipation of the Tax Day March. This reception was an invitation to “young writers, bloggers and all millennials who have profiled her opposition to President Trump and leading conversations on Twitter regarding what’s at stake under his administration” according to BusBoys & Poets.

GU Book Crew made a quick stop to see what the event was all about, and it did not disappoint.

For those not following Auntie Maxine, she is a leading women in the impeachment of President Trump. She has been serving as a U.S. Representative since 1991, the most senior of the 12 black women currently serving in congress, and a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

What you might see circling around the internet is her famous “We’ve got to stop his ass!”  video which took place at Busboys. Busboys and Poets is known for its safe space for community engagement and radical connections, so it’s no surprise that Auntie Maxine let it all out.

BusBoys and Poets takes pride in being a community gathering place, a place to feed your body, mind and soul, and a space where culture and politics collide. At all locations, you will find paintings from local artist and/or activists. With a full menu, full bar, and book store in every location, its a perfect spot for community engagement and fun.

Fast Facts

Place: Busboys & Poets – Locations include 5th &K, 14th & V, Shirlington, Hyattsville, Brookland, Takoma

General theme: Community, culture, art

Hours: Hours vary by location, but you can typically expect 8:00 a.m. – midnight Monday-Thursday, 8:00 a.m.-1:00 a.m. Fridays, 9:00 a.m.-midnight on weekends.

A Brief History: Established in 2005, Anas “Andy” Shallal, an activist, artist and ‘restaurateur’, wanted to create a community gathering place. The first location on 14th & V received a welcoming embrace, especially from those opposing the Iraq War. Since then six more locations have been opened in distinct DC neighborhoods.

Food/Drink: Yes. Full menu, full bar. You can check out their menu here, which includes vegetarian, gluten free and vegan options.

Wifi: Yes.

Appointment necessary: Nope! Although, if you come with a party you should make reservations.

If this place were band: Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit

Bookstore

Comic Logic: NOVA’s Local Comic Store ‘Where everybody knows your name’

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By Joey Payton

If you picture the comic book guy from the Simpson’s when you think of a local comic store, then Northern Virginia’s Comic Logic Books & Artwork will reshape your paradigm of what a community comic book shop should be.

“I think a lot of people have in their minds that comic book stores are like the one in the Simpson’s with a snooty comic book guy behind the counter,” said Kristin Unger, life-long comic book enthusiast and Comic Logic associate.

But that image is far from the Comic Logic scene.

Put at ease by a nostalgic sci-fi tune (imagine the Star Trek theme song), there are familiar figurines of your childhood heroes dispersed throughout, vibrant covers lining the walls and elated faces of the Comic Logic staff assisting customers.

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Comic Logic’s Rich Gollhofer and Kristin Unger believe if you give them a chance, they can make a comic lover out of you.

A place for Nerds

“Instead of a sports bar, this is like a nerd bar,” said Rich Gollhofer, one of the shop’s co-owners and comic aficionado. “It’s a safe space for nerds.”

Gollhofer, whose love for comics began during his childhood when he would read his dad’s hand-me-down DC and Marvel comics, never saw comics as anything other than another way to consume media, he said.

“I was never taught that comics were less than books. They’re all on the same level. I think you get a bit of the best of best worlds with comics,” said Gollhofer. “You can put prose in comics, but also with the art, you have that same aspect that’s in film and television where you can tell more with a picture sometimes than with words.”

If you don’t do comics, give Gollhofer and Unger a chance and they’ll make a comic lover out of you.

“I think one of things we’ve been successful with is converting people who don’t read comics into comic book readers,” said Unger.

If you think comics are stupid, then you’ll be singing another tune once they get the epic sci-fi fantasy, Saga, into your hands.

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Local writers and artists are featured on a Comic Logic’s bookshelf.

A place for Creators

Earlier this month Comic Logic celebrated its second birthday, but it attributes its success to its customers and local creators.

“A sense of community is what we’re trying to build. It’s only through their support that we get to exist,” said Gollhofer.

Comic Logic’s loyalty to its local writers and artists is evident in the significant amount of space allocated their original artwork on the walls and shelves.

“The original art that you see on the wall is from local artists. The local writers on the shelf include a kid that’s still in high school. That’s part of the community that we are trying to build and maintain,” said Gollhofer.

This year the new shop has the distinction of being one of the sponsors for NOVA CON 2017 in Tysons Corner, Va., July 28 – 30. Even at this huge event, Comic Logic plans to include some of its local artists.

“We’re curating local creators and artists to come in and show off their wears.”

Some of the notable creators that will be featured at NOVA CON include Tyrone Selby, creator and writer of Elements of Light, and gamer and costume designer extraordinaire, Misty the “Imperial Grrrl,” so check them out.

A place for Community 

There’s something to buy and something to do for everyone at Comic Logic.

Comic Logic is a Local Comic Store that aims to be everything that a LCS can be,” said Gollhofer. “We’re looking for more like the Cheers-type ‘everybody knows your name’ when you come here.”

Whether you’re in the market for a crisp and glossy paperback or looking to socialize with friendly comic lovers, your trip to this blossoming comic store will be well-served.

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Comic Logic staff share their suggested comics for any interested and inquiring readers.

Fast Facts

Place: Comic Logic Books & Artwork in Ashburn, Va.

General theme: Comic book themed with something for kids through adults. And did you know they have a theme song called “Superior” by Burn the Ballroom?

Hours: Monday-Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (And they’re open most federal holidays, too!)

A Brief History: Co-founded & owned by NOVA comic enthusiasts in April 2015

Food/Drink: No, not usually, but if you come to ‘Drink and Draw’ nights I hear it totally makes-up for it.

Wifi: Nope, because you should be reading comics, anyway

Events: Kids drawing classes, Drink and Draw, Free Comic Book Day and NOVA CON

Appointment necessary: None needed. Everyone is welcome.

If this place were band: Wintergatan – Marble Machine
Continue reading “Comic Logic: NOVA’s Local Comic Store ‘Where everybody knows your name’”

Bookstore · Events · Reviews

5 Bookstores a Day Trip From DC

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By Molly Korroch

There is nothing so sweet as stumbling upon a fantastic independent bookstore.

While we’ve discussed several that are located in downtown D.C., sometimes you must stretch your legs to stretch your mind. If you need a weekend getaway from the city, here are five fantastic bookstores (and cities) that are only a day trip away.

Atomic Books

Baltimore, MD
3620 Falls Road

Atomic Books lives up to its quirky and modern name. Its motto is “Literary finds for mutated minds.” Thoroughly invested in the literary and local community, Atomic Books hosts a variety of events, including readings, signings, books clubs and beer nights–and that’s only the stuff that’s happening over the next couple of weeks. Fun Fact: The actor/director, John Waters, picks up his fan mail via Atomic Books. It’s true!

Riverby Books

Fredricksburg, VA
805 Caroline Street

Riverby Books is quaint and cozy. While technically this store has a D.C. location, take an afternoon to check out its Fredricksburg site. They specialize in used books, including the rarer and out-of-print titles. (Its Facebook page recently boasted a first edition of Ralph Ellison’s famed Invisible Man.) This is the perfect spot for a wander or to find something special for the book lover in your life.

Chop Suey

Richmond, VA
2913 West Cary Street

Chop Suey Books is a haven for readers and writers alike. Next door is the home of the Richmond Young Writers. (But, don’t let the word “Young” fool you. It offer classes and workshops for all ages.) Though it only began in 2002, Chop Suey has the kind of presence in the community that makes it feel like it’s been there forever. Its two story bookshop offers both new and used titles of all genres imaginable. Chop Suey also has a special relationship with many local writers and authors, and the staff are always happy to recommend what is sure to become your next favorite book.

The Annapolis Bookstore

Annapolis, MD
53 Maryland Avenue

The Annapolis Bookstore looks exactly like the children’s bookstore from You’ve Got Mail. It’s classic, simple and there’s something comforting about it. At this store there’s a focus on maritime lit and children’s books. It also sells quite a few rare books. Its events include a weekly story time with ‘Nanny K’ and conversations with noted scholars.

Daedalus Bookshop

Charlottesville, VA
123 Fourth Street NE

When you walk into Daedalus Bookshop you are immediately washed with the smell of old books. Located right off the Charlottesville’s downtown mall, Daedalus feels like your grandmother’s attic: piles upon piles upon stacks of used books. There’s literally thousands of books! Every single bit of wall space is comprised of book-stuffed shelves. It’s the perfect place for a bibliophile to wander because you’re sure to find something you love–and for a great price. The building is a bit wobbly. The stairs creak, and it’s easy to get lost, but in the most delicious of ways.

Bookstore · Uncategorized

Learn from the past with Sankofa Video, Books & Café

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By Joey Payton

Did you know there are only 54 black-owned bookstores remaining in the U.S.?

GU Book Crew recently took a trip to Middle East Books and More, but now our journey brings us to Georgia Ave., where we found one of only three black bookstores in D.C.: Sankofa Video, Books & Café.

The bookstore, which is located across the street from Howard University, is known for emphasizing the significant history and posterity of black people.

“This bookstore is very important because we need to see ourselves,” said Sankofa employee, Makala Scurlock. “We need to be able to read and know that we come from something. Our history doesn’t begin with slavery.”

Scurlock, a senior at Howard University majoring in African Studies, also teaches at the Afrikan Centered School Nation House. She was happy to answer our questions about the African-inspired bookstore.

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Sankofa Video, Books & Cafe employee, Makala Scurlock

GUBC: What is Sankofa?

Scurlock: It was founded in about 1997. We have the largest amount of children’s book by and about African people about the African diaspora—that’s what this whole bookstore is all about. The name comes from an Adinkra symbol. Sankofa is a bird, and if you see the bird, most of the time it’s clutching an egg. The egg is symbolic of history because if you hold it too tightly, then it will crack, and if you hold it too loosely, it’ll fall. So if you understand your history, then you can continue moving forward and not repeat the same mistakes. It’s also the name-sake of the co-owners’ movie, SANKOFA.

GUBC: Where is Sankofa located? Any significance?

Scurlock: We are across the street from Howard University. That speaks for itself, since it’s one of the oldest historically black colleges and universities. Also, it’s on Georgia Ave., Washington, D.C., which was also known as the ‘Nile Valley,’ because there used to be a bunch of black-owned business all along this street.

GUBC: When is Sankofa open?

Scurlock: We’re open every day. 11am to 8 pm, Monday through Saturday. And Sundays we’re open 11am to 6pm. And every Sunday we have ‘Happy Nappy Storytelling.’ It’s free. Bring your kids.

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GUBC: Who should come to Sankofa?

Scurlock: Everyone! Anyone who is interested in learning about the African diaspora. Or if you’re an African and you’re interested in learning about yourself. Come and get education about it.

GUBC: Why go to Sankofa?

Scurlock: Because of the energy. You have the option of a place to come and sit and be around people who might not think like you but who have the same goal, which is to learn. Not only do we have books, but we have well-known influencers who come here that do workshops. That’s very special to have a space where you can come and hear that. If you only see black people from the perspective of the media, then you’re only going to have a one-dimensional knowledge of them. This includes African people themselves.

GUBC: How to find out more about Sankofa?

Scurlock: Go to our website, sankofa.com. We’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And if you have any questions, email us at sankofa@gmail.com.

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Fast Facts

Place: Sankofa Video, Books & Café, Along the ‘Nile Valley’ on Georgia Ave., Washington, D.C.

General theme: African inspired. Emphasis on African diaspora and people of African descent. Books and videos ranges from children’s to adult literature.

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

A Brief History: Opened in 1997 by Haile and Shirikiana Gerima, a filmmaking couple who produced and directed the internationally acclaimed film, SANKOFA. Since then, it has continued to spread black stories through books, films and events.

Food/Drink: Yes. The Sankofa Café offers a phenomenal menu of African inspired cuisine. You can enjoy food and beverage on the front patio, in the café or in the reading area. Ask for the Larry Clark!

Wifi: Yes.

Appointment necessary: None needed. Everyone is welcome.

If this place were band: Fela Ransome Kuti & African 70 – V.I.P. (Vagabonds in Power)