104 South Union Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
We occasionally close early for ticketed readings or workshops, please see the events schedule below, or call the shop at 703-647-9749 with questions.
Saturday, June 1st at 10AM
June Book Club Meeting - Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
Join us for the June Old Town Books Club! We will be reading and discussing Trust Exercise by Pulitzer Prize finalist Susan Choi, named a most anticipated book of 2019 by Buzzfeed and New York Magazine. Group discussion will be facilitated by bookseller Matt Gilson.
Old Town Books Club is free and open to the public; RSVP is appreciated. Take 15% off your in-store purchase of Trust Exercise by mentioning the book club.
About the book: In an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving “Brotherhood of the Arts,” two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed—or untoyed with—by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley. The outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and of their future adult lives, fails to penetrate this school’s walls—until it does, in a shocking spiral of events that catapults the action forward in time and flips the premise upside-down. What the reader believes to have happened to David and Sarah and their friends is not entirely true—though it’s not false, either. It takes until the book’s stunning coda for the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place—revealing truths that will resonate long after the final sentence. As captivating and tender as it is surprising, Susan Choi's Trust Exercise will incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, and about friendships and loyalties, and will leave readers with wiser understandings of the true capacities of adolescents and of the powers and responsibilities of adults.
'“Zing will go certain taut strings in your chest. . . . Choi builds her novel carefully, but it is packed with wild moments of grace and fear and abandon. . . . a phosphorescent examination of sexual consent.”
—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
”Many novels teach their readers how to read them; the reader of this one must learn something else—to stay with the not-knowing long enough to find the truth.”
—Joanna Biggs, The New Yorker
“Mind-bending. . . . It flexes its own meta-existence—as a novel about the manipulation inherent in any kind of narrative—brilliantly.”
—Hillary Kelly, New York Magazine
Thursday, June 13th at 7:00PM - Bookmaking with Instinct
Hosted in partnership with Moonlit DC
In this workshop led by Ink Press Productions founder, Amanda McCormick, participants will take part in an interactive experience to learn book-binding, printmaking, and storytelling methods, both conventional and experimental. Students will be supplied with various tools, supplies, and reference materials which will aid in the creation of handmade books.
About the Instructor: Amanda McCormick is an experiential performer & writer whose work has appeared in a variety of forms & mediums over the past decade. She is the founder of Ink Press Productions in Baltimore where she explores publishing as its own artistic medium and means to connect. She received her MFA from University of Baltimore where she now teaches. Amanda is the author of several books including & THE GREEN, a feminist retelling of growth and loss, taken from the source text Sir Gawain & the Green Knight, and AMANDA, a project of poetry that deals with the physical, experienced, and internalized selfhood of the artist-human who navigates society and the natural world in a slant framework of love and existence.
Scholarships are available for this workshop. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, July 6th at 10AM
July Book Club Meeting - The Tenth Muse by Catherine Chung
Join us for the July Old Town Books Club! We will be reading and discussing The Tenth Muse by Catherine Chung. Old Town Books Club is free and open to the public; RSVP is appreciated. Take 15% off your in-store purchase or pre-order of The Tenth Muse by mentioning the book club. Purchasing the book at our store is not required to attend, but is much appreciated - it sustains our free literary arts programming!
About the book: From childhood, Katherine knows she is different, and that her parents are not who they seem to be. But in becoming a mathematician, she must face the most human of problems—who is she? What is the cost of love, and what is the cost of ambition? On her quest to conquer the Riemann Hypothesis, the greatest unsolved mathematical problem of her time, she turns to a theorem with a mysterious history that holds both the lock and key to her identity, and to secrets long buried during World War II in Germany. Forced to confront some of the most consequential events of the twentieth century and rethink everything she knows of herself, she strives to take her place in the world of higher mathematics and finds kinship in the stories of the women who came before her—their love of the language of numbers connecting them across generations. In The Tenth Muse, Catherine Chung offers a gorgeous, sweeping tale about legacy, identity, and the beautiful ways the mind can make us free.
Roxane Gay calls The Tenth Muse "as ambitious and intriguing as the complex math problems Katherine, the protagonist of this remarkable novel, aims to solve. In this novel—the scope of which is staggering—Chung has crafted a story that is moving, elegant, and richly written.”
Kirkus Reviews starred The Tenth Muse, calling it "A powerful and virtuosically researched story about the mysteries of the head and the heart."
Old Town Books is a new, independent bookstore in Alexandria, Virginia.
We’re a general interest bookstore that emphasizes community engagement through bookclubs, author events, writers groups, and workshops.
We’re open seven days a week. Visit us in the shop Sunday - Thursday 11AM-7PM and Friday + Saturday 11AM - 8PM.*
*We occasionally close early for ticketed readings or workshops, please see the events page for more information, or call the shop at 703-647-9749.