|IV and V at The Castle|
Our first stop was the Smithsonian Institution Building, more commonly known as "The Castle," which opens earlier than the other Smithsonians. There's not much to see there, although I came across a piece of petrified wood (18-65 million years old or something, which John thought was a ridiculous range) that was absolutely beautiful. Fortunately, the Natural History Museum is right across the Mall, so we headed over and stood in line for a few minutes before the doors opened at ten. It's funny. As a kid, that museum seemed enormous, but it's really not that big. That elephant in the foyer is still impressive, though. I was convinced it wasn't real because that thing is freaking HUGE, but apparently it's cast from a real elephant. Jack enjoyed a tarantula demonstration and the hall of mammals, which is always a little depressing for me. Those same animals have been there forever, getting dustier and dingier with age. The little pink fairy armadillo breaks my heart every time. But a gorilla, stuffed or otherwise, is always bound to get Jack's attention.
After that we had lunch and a cupcake from a food truck, took the metro home, and then I still got in my ten pages of writing. Later in the evening I picked LNRB up and we headed to northwest DC for a book signing at Politics and Prose. I read about Jennifer Close's debut novel, Girls in White Dresses, on Chick Lit is Not Dead, who gave her a rave review. When I Googled her and saw that she had a signing coming up I invited a few girlfriends to come with me. I bought Close's book, although I haven't read it yet, and I'm looking forward to it. Girls in White Dresses is a collection of short stories about a group of women in their twenties and their experiences with love, friendship, and weddings. Close has received a lot of praise for creating relatable (“We've all been there”) characters, but as I discussed with LNRB, I'm not sure if I'll be able to relate to the book. Close was very charming and funny at her reading, so I think I'll enjoy it, but my twenties simply didn't feature that many weddings.
|The cover of Girls in White Dresses. Pretty fabulous, huh?|
|Close reading from her debut novel, Girls in White Dresses.|
Politics and Prose, which I'd never been to before, is a great little independent book store that apparently hosts lots of author signings. I managed author signings in a past life, and I'm happy to say this one was quite lovely. Cupcakes and Persecco were a fabulous touch, and Close, wearing an adorable white dress, was great at taking questions (I even got up the nerve to ask one – not good for my blood pressure, I tell you!), and she took a few minutes to chat with everyone who purchased a copy of her book. I'm not one to spend twenty-five dollars on a novel these days (I've got my Kindle, the library, and a stack of paperback books from my mom to get through) but I like to think it's good author karma to support not only the author, but one of the few remaining independent book stores in the area.
All in all, a great day of family, writing, books, and friends. Thanks, honey!