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March 18, 2010

Is Reading a Right?

Posted by webmaster
Guest blogger Denise Neary is fast becoming our "finder of cool and interesting things about books". Today is no exception. Check out Denise's review of the famous independent bookstore Politics and Prose and the cool award they are getting!

Have you ever thought of your reading habit as an expression of your civil liberties?

Tonight, Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade, the founders of Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington DC will receive the Henry Edgerton Civil Liberties Special Recognition Award “for uniquely demonstrating how the freedoms of speech and press contribute to the public good.” The award will be given by the American Civil Liberties Union of the National Capital Area.

Politics and Prose is one of the coolest places on earth. It is a bookstore that makes you feel smarter just for knowing about it. It is a gem for many reasons----an amazing selection of books, a smart and helpful staff, and a stunning events list high among them for me. And I know people make fun of coffee shops in bookstores---but I love Modern Times Coffeehouse, and always wonder if the intense people tapping on their keyboards there are actually extras playing the part of “breakthrough novelists.”

It is the rare night when an author isn’t featured at Politics and Prose. And while they get everyone to speak, it is a decidedly unglamorous venue. The speaker usually has a comfortable chair they sit in only for the introduction, an old wooden podium and a lone microphone, and a table for signing after the readings. The audience sits on folding metal chairs (and the audience members, like good grade school children, are required to fold them back up and return them at the end of the program).

Politics, literature, history, humor, sports----if you can read or write about it, you can find it featured at Politics and Prose.

On the Politics and Prose website, Cohen and Meade say, “We are flattered and appreciative of this distinctive recognition of Politics and Prose’s unique contribution to our city’s intellectual life.” Talk about an understatement.

Your local bookstore, helping to protect the values we hold most dear! Now, that is an award to cherish.

--Denise Neary, Contributor