Thursday, January 22, 2009

politics and prose


on saturday i spent the afternoon at politics and prose, a fabulous little indie bookstore/coffeehouse in washington. it was good timing as i had just finished the master and margarita (a brilliant and hilarious dalliance with the diablo) and i was hungry for new mind food. i couldn't decide which was more fun, prowling the bookshelves or eavesdropping on the lively discussions around me. this gem now joins my list of independent bookish favorites: the raven here in lawrence; shakespeare & company in paris; lemuria in jackson, mississippi (which now, by the way, has a liquor license so you can have a beer while you're browsing); the now-defunct bound to be read in st. paul, minnesota; bart's books in ojai, california (where you can still shop after hours because the outside of the store is lined with bookshelves); and the news cafe in miami (a newsstand/coffeehouse with periodicals from all over the world).

i'd love to know, what's your favorite indie bookstore? where is it?

p.s. this print is going in the shop :)

27 comments:

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

There is a little used bookstore in my town that is full of old wooden shelves stacked every which way with makeshift benches and ottomans sprinkled here and there. It makes for the tiniest reading sections and hidden nooks. I just love it. It's also crammed full of decorations; plastic dinosaurs, mis-matched salt shakers, vintage postcards and religious icons. The whole place is like a treasure hunt. It's so much fun!

joanne said...

oooooooooo...books...such a junkie i am...i love all bookstores, large and small, independent and chain...i'm not at all picky...i look for books everywhere...

there are the wonderful rooms of library book sales and thrift stores...there are a few independent book sellers where i live and also a lot of little independent combination cafe/gift/book stores...

it's so wonderful to wander through and find different books in different places...my shelves are currently bursting at the seams and probably need some culling, but it is so so hard to part with any of them...

i love love LOVE this doodle print :)

Milkberry said...

Japan doesn't have any. Sigh I envy you :P

steve said...

Oh cool, I've wanted to go here - sad 'cause I live nearby and have never been there! In Pittsburgh's Southside they have some wonderful independent bookshops/coffeeshops. I could hang out in those places forever. What I do now, once a week on Wednesdays, since I work a small job after work and want to avoid the insane homebound traffic, is stop into Borders and grab a stack of mags and sit and get caught up on what's going on with art and cultural stuff. Still, it's not quite the same as those indie shops, which I hope never go out of business.

Bella Sinclair said...

May I crawl into your art and browse a while? It's cozy in there!

My favorite has to be the Strand in Greenwich Village, NYC. Huge, huge, huge, and not terribly cozy. But I'd stop in on the way home from school and run my fingers along the old, old dusty leatherbound books. I'd save enough and buy them, one at a time.

~Barb~ said...

This is ME! I can get lost in a bookstore for hours and hours...it's like my own little heaven. Very nice piece!
Peace & Love,
~Barb~

peggy said...

Oh...how I love bookstores...and small under-used libraries in little sleepy towns are great fun too.

jess gonacha said...

yay! i love bookstores. i wish there was a good indie one near me, but alas, i live in the suburbs. i went in a great bookstore in NYC when i was there last week, but i can't remember what it was called. oops!

Nina Crittenden said...

I don't think I really have a favorite.... the Wild Rumpus is a fun one in Mpls.

heather smith jones said...

I was thinking yesterday how I really need some "mind food". Really.

please sir said...

Sounds so fun. We have this crazy bookstore that I love to wander thru. I don't even remember the name now? But they put out old books that you can either take for free or donate a little money. The outside book area is open 24/7 - how great right?

Christy said...

The Tattered Cover in Denver is wonderful. Floors of books stacked one on top of the other, and nooks and crannies everywhere.

Shani said...

The coffee house/bookshop combo seems not to have crossed the pond yet. I really, really miss that over here. When I'm back in the States I can stay for HOURS in one of these places.

cindy : quaint said...

wow, you've been to so many towns with lovely bookshops. my favorite is called black cat books in sag harbor, ny. they have used/vintage books and a really wonderful gardening collection. they're also very friendly.

Bella Sinclair said...

I just remembered seeing this a while ago. If you ever find yourself in Chicago, you may want to check this place out. You know, just for kicks. But don't take the girls. You may never find them again:

http://www.neatorama.com/2008/11/17/books-rare-medium-well-done/

elizabeth said...

Mm, bookstores! My favorites are books for American in DC (22nd and P, I think... near Dupont Circle) and Joseph-Beth and The Blue Manatee here in Cincinnati. There's another one in DC that I like, in Adams Morgan, but I can't think what it's called. And I had a lot of fun touring The Strand in New York. Ooh! And in Baltimore, there's this place called The Book Thing where the books are FREE! It's fabulous.

elizabeth said...

That first one in DC-- it's called Books for America. Oops!

elizabeth said...

Also, The Book Loft in Columbus. Okay, I'm done now. Sorry!

Lynn Fisher said...

Common Good Books, in St Paul, Mn...the one owned by Garrison Keillor...and one of our last independents.

aimee said...

oh these are great, and you know i'm making a list to visit next time i go to these places... keep them coming!! thank you!

and bella, i have just dropped my glass of wine! in the late 90s i lived next door to that "rare, medium and well-done" bookstore (it's bookman's corner on clark & wellington.) i spent a lot of time there; can't believe i had forgotten about it in this list! it is a brilliant mess and isn't much bigger than that one aisle you see in the picture. WOW!! thank you for bringing up such good memories!! :)

L'Atelier said...

Sounds like a great list to keep- am totally bookshop addicted!
Here in Cape Town you would have to visit The Readers Lounge and Wordsworths., Johannesburg: Exclusive Books in Hidepark.
Ok I can picture tons of great bookstores all over Europe- but can't remember their names!!!
Some I can give you the locations...Zurich: just off Bahnhofstrasse, London: (might it also be called Wordsworth??) oxfordstreet - but london is full of amazing bookstores.. if you love books you got to try and get into the national library its mindblowing, Istanbul: at the bottom of Istiklal Cad.,
the fact that i cant remember any names irritates me!! argh! will stop now! :)

Esti said...

we don't have many indie bookstores around here. There's Anti-, where they sell nice Art and Illustration books, but that's about it. Your list made me so jealous!

Krissy said...

There is a house in St. Louis that the owner has turned into an amazing bookstore. I can spend hours there looking at books that I didn't know existed. Lots of handmade originals- in fact, I got my first edition "the little prince" there and I absolutely adore it!

Lovely print :) happy weekend.

Megan Coyle said...

No way, politics and prose is in my neighborhood :) it's such a fantastic store, did you like all the Obama merchandise they had out? I got a kick out of the action figures. And I like this piece you've done--books are always so much fun.

Nicola said...

Aimee, what a fun piece! I love the mesmerizing "bookshelf"! Here we have a local used bookstore which I *love* (it's a veg cafe as well, *and* it hangs local art shows :)

mo said...

my favorite indie bookstore here in albuquerque is Bookworks. it's only about 5 minutes from where i live, and it's next door (only in recent years) to a Flying Star cafe (formerly Double Rainbow). what a perfect combo! but even before the cafe moved in, it had been one of my favorite bookstores for many years, from when it was a teensy little place with barely enough room to turn around, to the larger place it currently is. it's such a lovely little gem ensconced here in the North Valley ;)

arlene said...

Powell's Books in Portland, OR. A full city block of new and used shelved together...over a million titles in stock! Indie and very dangerous..you get lost in there at least once an hour. We drive there from Alberta...that's how fabulous it is.
I want to visit all your picks! I would so build a holiday around a visit to a fantastic book store!