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Ron Simms Jr.
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What to do in DC: Politics and Prose

politics&proseLet it be known that, yes, I’m well aware there are millions of people out there who own Kindles, and iPads, and Nooks, and Libriés, and all those other fancy pants e-book readers.  There is something to be said about owning zillions of electronic books on a device that isn’t susceptible to the ravages of insects, dirt, or the always awesome mold.  I, however, am one of those people who loves walking into a book store and coming out with a nice, thick, book.  You can have your e-ink; I’ll gladly enjoy my new paperback and it’s crispy off white pages knowing that a whole bunch of Sequoias weren’t chopped down in vain.

DC’s got more than a couple of handfuls of bookstores to its name, including Books A Million and Second Story Books (not to mention big chains like Barnes and Noble and Borders), but one of the city’s best is the independently owned and operated Politics and Prose.  Contrary to popular belief, the store doesn’t only stock books of a political nature (although there are a lot to choose from).  All genres are represented here; cooking, fiction, non fiction, memoirs, self-help.  You could even pick up a brand spanking new copy of the Big Hungry Caterpillar if you wanted to (and then send it to me because that book is amazing).  The staff is extremely knowledgeable the books that are carried and will do whatever they can to hook you up with books that aren’t physically in the store.  And if you walk into the joint not knowing what you’re looking for, you can bet someone will be there to give you an informed recommendation.

However, the best part of Politics and Prose is its daily (sometimes twice daily) book readings.  Authors are always streaming into the place to read their works, providing a great opportunity to meet the people that are behind some of your favorite literature.  And after working in solitude for so long on their masterpieces you can bet these authors are excited to talk about their work to a captive audience.  Sometimes these talks can be sweet and warm.  Sometimes they can get a bit…lively.  Briton Jeanette Winterson gave a reading not too long ago that started off nice enough before turning into an Anti-America tirade.   It’s kind of nice to know that a quiet night at the book store could turn into a night out with an angry, torch bearing mob at a moments notice.

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