It may come as a surprise to you that I have time to read in between all those trips to the Passenger for brunch, but it’s true. It probably won’t come as a surprise, though, that I’ve been reading a lot about drinking and prohibition lately. Two DC area authors have new books on those subjects.
I met Rachel a while back at a media preview at a local restaurant. At this point, many moons later, I don’t even remember which one, but we became fast friends and I began my raging obsession with this wonderful woman. Rachel writes about restaurants for Washington Flyer, but as we got to know each other, our conversations would always go back to one thing: boys. We’d talk about her love life, she’d give me solid, calm advice on mine, and I quickly learned she was writing a book on her experience dating.
I even got a sneak peek at the manuscript, and so when she finally got a publish date for her book, The Science of Single: One Woman’s Grand Experiment in Modern Dating, Creating Chemistry, and Finding Love, I was thrilled. So now that the release date of her book is TOMORROW, I thought I’d finally share one of my favorite people with you all. Continue reading
This may mark me as woefully out of touch with the kids today, but I do adore books – and charming little independent bookshops which sell them. I have no interest in a Kindle or what have you, and I just got back from a vacation where browsing beautiful bookstores was a major activity.
While the founders of Politics & Prose and Olsson’s have recently passed away, there remains a vibrant community of book retailing in the Washington area. It may help that we are a very educated, literate group of people, of course.
Nope, it’s the 11th Biennial Book Arts Fair and Conference, and it’s going on this weekend (November 5-7) in Silver Spring at the Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center. Rather than try to explain this unique event myself, I’ll let their website do the talking:
“Now in its third decade, the fair will showcase a dynamic array of innovative book art, limited edition prints, fine papers, and specialty tools along with a rich program of notable speakers, demonstrations, and special exhibitions. This three day event will connect international artists, scholars, collectors, publishers, and art lovers. Serving to inform and inspire, the Book Arts Fair and Conference is a celebration of the printed form and the book as art.”
So if you’re into books, art, or both, this is just the ticket for you. Be sure to check out their events page for a schedule of all of the cool activities going on this weekend.
It’s a sad thing to see a bookstore close. I walk by the still-empty shells of the Olsson’s locations in Penn Quarter and Dupont Circle and feel a twinge at the long afternoons spent browsing the shelves. And I’m sure someday I’ll sit down at a table in the new Clydes at 14th and F streets and think, “Hey, weren’t these walls covered with books once?” But hey, in the ever-chugging slog of commercial progress, life goes on. And Borders will close. C’est la vie.
As a parting gift to DC book lovers, the store began liquidating its inventory today, marking most books and CDs down 20 percent. That discount puts the store’s pricing now in line with online retailers like Amazon, which, let’s be frank, is why Borders has had such a tough time lately anyway. For a few brief shining days, though, there are deals to be had. Stock up for the beach or the holidays, or maybe finally grab that copy of “Gatsby” you always meant to read.
A survey conducted by Central Connecticut State University was released, ranking DC No. 2 among the 75 most-literate major cities in the country.
This serves as the good news to last weeks “bad news” ranking DC 36th on the “happiness scale”. Our state of happiness is up for debate but at least we can read!
What was the goal of the CCSU survey? The attempt to, “[…} capture one critical index of our nation’s well-being — the literacy of its major cities,” study author & CCSU President Jack Miller, said in a news release. “The information is compared against population rates in each city to develop a per capita profile of the city’s ‘long-term literacy’ — a set of factors measuring the ways people use their literacy — and thus presents a large-scale portrait of our nation’s cultural vitality.”
Other cities making the top 10 include: Seattle, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Portland, St. Paul, Boston, Cincinnati, and Denver.
Zola Wine & Kitchen is hosting a Cookbook Author Series with this Thursday’s author being Lucinda Scala Quinn, formally the food editor of Martha Stewart Living Television.
On November 12 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., the nationally renowned culinary author will discuss her new book, Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys, and will offer culinary demonstrations.
Tickets are priced at $75 per person and include a copy of her new release, along with appetizers showcasing the published recipes and two glasses of wine per person. Guests for the evening also receive a 10% discount on wine purchases from its wine shop during the event. Continue reading
Dan Brown’s long awaited book The Lost Symbol hit stores today. The latest in Brown’s series of books involving super sleuth Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) takes place here in D.C., the city we all love so much. According to Wikipedia:
“The book’s story takes place over a period of 12 hours in Washington, D.C., with a focus on Freemasonry. Langdon is summoned to Washington by his mentor, a Mason named Peter Solomon. When Solomon goes missing and a ghastly clue is left, Langdon is sent on a rapid chase through the concealed passages of the city. He joins forces with Solomon’s daughter, Noetic scientist Dr. Katherine Solomon, while matching wits with a tattooed and brilliant villain who is in search of an ancient source of power.”
I can’t wait to see what crazy underground tombs of evil Brown has in store for us. Perhaps the Washington Monument is actually a giant handle that when pulled will rotate the entire city by a magical 33.3 degrees, awaken the founding fathers from their graves who will then rewrite the Constitution to suit today’s needs? Maybe the Capitol has a secret basement that only a select group of senators know about, containing an ancient recipe for half smokes topped with chili and melted cheese?
I bought my copy today, did you?
Bill Bryson is kind of a jerk. This thought crossed my mind once every few chapters as I read his 1989 novel The Lost Continent. This was my first experience reading Bryson, though his name and bookjackets are so ubiquitous I figure he must have some friends at the New York Times or Barnes & Noble or something. Granting room for the possibility that Bill Bryson Narrator is as much a character as any, I found that in The Lost Continent the Bryson Narrator is in turn judgemental, cranky, elitist, disparaging, borderline racist and sadly determined to be unimpressed by most anything. I’m also well-aware that my judgements of Bryson might be unfair, and my observations would have no place here if he had not, 100-some pages into the book, decided to make his way up through Virginia to dedicate roughly 9 pages to a stay in Washington, DC.
The Lost Continent is Bryson’s travelogue of his nearly-14,000-mile trip across and around and within America. I thought maybe for a second that this trip must have been bankrolled by a Tina Fey-esque book advance, but as The Lost Continent pre-dated such tomes as A Walk in the Woods and A Short History of Nearly Everything by more than a decade, I’m not quite sure who ponied up the dough. All I can say is I’m infinitely jealous, which you can add to other wrinkles in my credibility, not least of which being that I was still in diapers when Bryson made his journey. After two decades of living in the UK, Bryson decides to return to Des Moines, Iowa, land of his birth, and set out in search for the America of the American Dream. The America of Leave it to Beaver, where the corner druggist, while he’s out sweeping his stoop, waves to a young Jimmy Stewart-esque individual as he rides his bike down Main Street on his way to the sandlot to play ball. Suffice to say, Bryson winds up disappointed more often than not, as the America he witnesses features less tree-lined avenues and picturesque town squares, and more destitute, ramshackle homes and gaudy and tasteless absurdity. Continue reading
I have to admit, this one snuck up on me.
To be fair, it seems to do that to me every year; you’d think a writer like me would be a bit more cognizant of the National Book Festival, especially since it’s right across the Potomac every September.
This year, though, I have an excuse. (We won’t talk about previous years…)
BUT! Just because I’m lame doesn’t mean you should be! The National Book Festival will go on, rain or shine, as scheduled tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Located on the National Mall between 3rd and 7th streets, the festival is free and open to the public. Continue reading