Monday, April 11, 2011

Among the Books: Capitol Hill Books

If Borges designed a bookstore, it would look like Capitol Hill Books. Rooms wind into rooms, turn into stairs, and find themselves in some little alcove somewhere, or even a bathroom. The books take up every available space of the three-story building, sagging upon makeshift shelves over doorways, or staggering down staircases.

The basement floor (not shown) is dark and cramped. A sign hangs from the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs, warning that low-hanging lights are "head bangable." Other sharpeed signs around the store mark off genres or alphabetized shelves. Some merely describe books. One note peaks out from inside James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, saying, "Lies, lies, and more lies. Read it anyway."

Other ephemera covers the ends of shelves, usually articles or photos related to that area of the store. In the travel section, a clipping of Freya Stark's obituary is taped to the wall. I'm pretty sure that my house is eventually going to look like a combination of the picture above and the one below.

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