Another World

In The Art of Travel Fall 2014, Great good places, Washington DC by Sidney1 Comment

I love reading. You can ask any of my closest friends and they will attest to that. My old roommate used to come home and find me huddled up on the sofa my kindle on my lap engrossed in my novel. She would clear her throat and I would look up with a guilty look on my face, as I knew I should have been doing homework. On occasion I have even decided to stay at home and live in my fictional world rather than go out to a party. A majority of the books I read are fictional but I also have a passion for behavioral and economics books, such as ‘Predictably Irrational’ by Dan Ariely.

On my way home from work one day I wandered into a store which had books displayed in its storefront. I assumed that it was just an ordinary bookstore, however I was very mistaken. I had found a little piece of heaven in DC. Not only was it a bookstore but also a café and a grill. Food, books and reading, it had everything I would need for an entire day (or month).

Since first discovering KramerBooks & Afterwards Café & Grill I have spent several hours living inside the little world it creates. The front of the store is the book section. There are books on shelves, aisles and piled on top of each other, they are everywhere. I couldn’t find a particular order to the books but that was part of the beauty. I would move from table to table picking up a new book reading the blurb and flipping through the pages. Reading different snippets from the array of books meant I could learn a little bit about each one and then find the one or two that really drew me in. It reminded me of going on and watching all the latest trailers to figure out what film I was going to watch next month. The best thing was that once I chose a book I could venture into the next part of the store.

The café & grill is nestled into the back end of the store. The ambience when I first went in on a Tuesday afternoon was one of bustle and joy. People were animatedly talking with one another yet in corners of the room I noticed others huddled away reading the books they picked out. On my first visit I joined the cohort of book readers. I ordered a mocha, a new found favorite drink of mine, and got sucked into my story. Good writers have this special way of really bringing me into a whole new world, seeing things from characters perspectives and making me feel like a character myself. That’s one of the reasons I love reading. The ability to escape the mundane day-to-day life.

As much as I like to sit by myself and read, I also love spending time with my friends. On a Saturday evening I went back to KramerBooks and had dinner with a few of my friends. This enlightened me to another great aspect of the shop, live music! We got to eat a delicious dinner while being entertained, yet it was still quiet enough for us to hold our own conversation.

KramerBooks & Afterwards Café & Grill is truly a part of DC I never knew existed. I am extremely glad I found it and if any of you travel to DC I highly recommend you go!


  1. Hi Sidney! Your experience at Kramer’s sounds amazing! I often pass by book shops here in Shanghai, but they certainly aren’t as animated (or lit) as this one in DC looks. Your old roommate probably just didn’t understand the importance of escaping one’s world via a book on Kindle (rolls eyes at her) — it’s certainly much more important than homework!

    I’m also glad you liked Predictably Irrational. It’s one of my favorite books, and Dan Ariely is interestingly one of those authors who write so well that you can escape your world. I commend him for writing non fiction books that can do that.

    Enjoy the rest of your time in DC and at Kramers!

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