News & Politics

Read These 8 Awesome Novels Recommended by DC-Area Booksellers

In honor of Independent Bookstore Day, we asked local retailers for their fiction picks.

Saturday, April 27, is Independent Bookstore Day, an annual observance celebrating the local shops that function not just as places to purchase books but also as community centers, cultural hubs, and safe spaces. In honor of this Saturday’s event, we asked a bunch of area retailers to suggest one fantastic novel that readers can’t go wrong with if they’re looking for an IBD purchase. Just one rule: Because everyone needs a break from the news cycle, the picks can’t be about politics. Happy shopping (and reading)!

Bards Alley 

110 Church St., NW, Vienna

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Reid Jenkins

“Daisy Jones & The Six follows the rise of a fictitious rock band from the late 1970s. Told from the perspective of the seven band members and other industry types, we hear their stories through interviews with a biographer. As each recall the band’s rise to fame, they relate surprisingly different memories. I binge-listened to this raw, heartbreaking, fun, and original novel on, and it was captivating. So turn off the news and traffic, and listen to (or read) Daisy Jones & The Six. Bonus: Penguin Random House created a companion playlist on Spotify and IT ROCKS!” —Jen Morrow, owner



Busboys and Poets

14th Street location (2021 14th St., NW)



Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

“It’s an intensely soul-searching, mystical work of fiction with writing so hypnotic that I finished the whole thing, phone switched off, in a single night—a huge feat for my distracted brain!” —Ellie Eaton, supervisor

Busboys and Poets

Anacostia location (2004 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Southeast)


Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

“Homegoing is a really good story that takes your mind to different places. You still learn a lot of things but it’s not really based on politics.” —Moriah Pshihamba, bookseller

Busboys and Poets

Hyattsville location (5331 Baltimore Ave.)



Circe by Madeline Miller

“It takes you back to ancient Greece. It’s fascinating, substantive, and a good read! But no politics.” —Kurt Stand, manager


Capitol Hill Books

657 C Street, Southeast


The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt

“It was chosen by Vulture as one of the best books of the millennium so far. It’s all about the nature of genius.” —Aaron Beckwith, manager

East City Bookshop

645 Pennsylvania Ave., SE

 Normal People by Sally Rooney
Normal People is the story of Marianne and Connell, high school classmates whose lives are intertwined because Connell’s mother cleans Marianne’s family’s house. They remind us that even when we get overwhelmed with global political issues, it is our personal relationships that truly define our lives.” —Emilie Sommer, book buyer


1231 Good Hope Rd., SE


Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires
“It’s a social-commentary book of short stories. It deals with mental health but in very funny, raw ways. It’s definitely a look in the mirror but it doesn’t have anything to do with the current administration. It has its own world.” —Christina Joy, manager

One More Page Books

2200 N. Westmoreland St., Arlington 


The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
“It’s really sweet, it’s quick, you can pick it up and put it down, and it’s really just a beautiful concept: Every day he writes down something that delights him, and it just has that warming sentiment of seeing the beauty of life. You get to see his positive point of view as you’re reading essays.” —Lelia Nebeker, book buyer

Politics and Prose

5015 Connecticut Ave., NW

 Normal People by Sally Rooney
“It’s a really great coming-of-age love story that follows two teenagers over four years. Her writing is really interior and psychological, and her characters are complex and realistic. I’ve just been suggesting it to everyone.” —Alecia Nippert, manager

Scrawl Books

11911 Freedom Dr., Reston

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Reid Jenkins
“It’s written as a series of interviews from a band in the ’70s, and you can really put yourself back in time with it. It’s amazing.” —Molly McMahon, bookseller