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A little while back I registered a ridiculous complaint about the Dupont Circle nonprofit/bookseller Books for America: It simply wasn’t messy enough to be one of my favorite bookstores. (No, Maud, I don’t prefer a store that smells like mulch, but a little character never hurts.) Back in the summer, the store seemed like a nice-enough, pleasantly tidy shop—fiction neatly alphabetized, “local interest” neatly shelved.
I’m happy to report that, after a visit yesterday, Books for America is a now something of a mess. Not a wreck, by any means—fiction is still pretty much in alphabetical order, and you can walk down the aisles without tripping. But there’s some double-stacking on the new-arrivals table, and there are plenty of bins around stuffed with unshelved books. The store is now doing what a good used bookstore ought to do—make you dig a little sometimes. If I have to empty out a box of recent arrivals to make sure that The Bushwhacked Piano isn’t in stock, fine by me.