Sunday, July 6, 2008

Capitol Hill Books


Morton "Jim" Toole: " do you think you got it? The most important thing to do is.... not to panic. If you need to make a decision,....make it. Now I'm going to lunch." he barks out, turning over the reigns of his store to a wide-eyed staffer. Then a quick friendly wink at a customer and he's out the door in his lime green Bermuda shorts.

He is the elderly owner of Capitol Hill Books, near Eastern Market in Washington DC, a brownstone turned new and used book store. If you're not into a book store with very tight quarters or mounds and mounds of books that teeter and looks as if there about to fall on you, this isn't the place for you.

Every city would love and cherish a store like this, a maze of books stacked to the ceiling with corridors often two feet wide. The foreign language section is in the bathroom, autobiography's fill a closet and spill out into the hall. There are bare bulbs to chandeliers to light the way, and classical music is piped in from every corner of the place. They sell novels to encyclopedias to trade publications to first editions and rare books. Every nook and cranny of the property has stacks of books, often eliciting snickers from customers because of it's fantastically organized clutter. Worth a visit. And they have free wine and cheese on the second Saturday of the month starting at 4pm.

Capitol Hill Books. 657 C St. SE • Washington DC • a202.544.1621


Melissa said...

That is a lovely, lovely photo. I hope I remember the second saturday thing. Books organized like this and a glass of vino is a worth the trip.

Jay said...

Thanks Melissa, I snapped the picture in the wrong light setting and it worked, it kinda created a mood.