Finding Proust

On Saturday, Maeve and I saw each other for the first time since graduation–which, despite being only two weeks ago, feels like months ago. In the time since, I’ve moved all my things from Clinton, N.Y., back home to New York City, and then hauled them on a bus down to Washington, D.C.

Maeve came in from Baltimore for the day and, naturally, we were drawn to a bookstore. As we walked down 7th street in Eastern Market, a sign caught Maeve’s attention, and before we knew it we found ourselves in a mecca of used books.

I had read about Capitol Hill Books in my obsessive combing of the D.C. blogosphere, and it actually managed to surpass my expectations. Inside, books were spilling off of the shelves. Unlike many other used bookstores, which have turned out to be more aesthetically pleasing than practical, this one had exactly what we were looking for.

Sharing a shelf with Manuel Puig were Swann’s Way and Within a Budding Grove. We made our purchases (Maeve also bought Sedaris’ Naked) and found our favorite part of the store. Instead of your typical “staff picks”, the books near the register had captions a la Better Book Titles–such as “story of a young Vladimir Putin” for The Little Prince. The cashier, an older and sarcastic man who may have been the owner, noted our laughter and just said, “I get bored.”

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My intern-sized budget permits me to acquire In Search of Lost Time incrementally, but my room already looks homier with the first two books sitting on my shelf.

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