Olsson's-The Lansburgh, 418 7th St., NW

Olsson's newest DC store is located in the Penn Quarter on 7th Street, down the street from the MCI Center and next door to the Shakespeare Theatre. Within a few blocks are the National Gallery and the Portrait Gallery. In the heart of the New Downtown—the Penn Quarter—our spacious store, with high ceilings, large windows, and Footnotes Cafe, serves this neighborhood mix of government, business, and the arts. The store emphasizes books on theater, film and ancient history, as well as jazz and world music.

We also rent DVDs

  418 7th St., NW
Washington, DC 20004
(between D & E Streets)

Mon-Fri: 9:00am-8:00pm
Sat: 10:00am-8:00pm
Sun: 12:00noon-7:30pm

Footnotes Cafe inside—serving gourmet sandwiches and salads, coffee, tea, iced drinks, dessert, wine and beer.

Staff Favorites

Olsson's-The Lansburgh/Penn Quarter store is in the heart of Washington's dynamic new cultural mecca. Olsson's is situated between the National Archives and the MCI Center. We're just down the block from the Shakespeare Theatre and around the corner from the Wooly Mammoth Theater and the Science Museum. Next year brings the re-opening of the National Portrait Gallery/National Museum of American Art and the new home of the Newseum. In the midst of all this revitalization, our sophisticated customers wide ranging tastes are reflected in the staff recommendations.

A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh (Little, Brown, Paper) A comic classic! Witty and mean-spirited. Especially nice for Dickens fans. —Lansing, The Lansburgh/Penn Quarter $14.95

Cakes & Ale by W. Somerset Maugham (Vintage, Paper) Maugham's own favorite of his novels is also mine. A great romance and a central character based on Thomas Hardy. Superb! —Lansing, The Lansburgh/Penn Quarter $14.00

Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein and Company by James R. Mellow (Owl, Paper) 27, rue de Fleurus was both the site of Gertrude Stein's Parisian apartment and the epicenter of literary and artistic modernism, and Mellow's evocative biography perfectly captures Stein and her milieu. It also probes the fascinating question of whether her true genius lay in her prolix prose or in her ability to recognize the genius of her associates, who included Picasso, Matisse, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald. —Joe, The Lansburgh/Penn Quarter $17.00

Contempt by Alberto Moravia (New York Review of Books, Paper) This searing portrait of the dissolution of a marriage features one of the great self-deceived narrators in all of literature: Molteni, a would-be screenwriter who becomes convinced that, in the blink of an eye, his wife has stopped loving him. This short, sharp shock of a novel is also the basis for the great Godard film. —Joe, The Lansburgh/Penn Quarter $14.00

How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines by Thomas C. Foster (HarperCollins, Paper) The most charming critical book in many a day. Funny and felicitous in its devotion to serious reading. Chapters such as "When in Doubt it's by Shakespeare" and "Every Trip is a Quest ( Except When it's Not") are among the many highlights. —Lansing, The Lansburgh/Penn Quarter $12.95

Oh the Glory of It All by Sean Wilsey (Penguin, Hardcover) A wildly entertaining memoir of Wilsey's adventures as a neglected child/unruly teenager in the 1980's, featuring two spectacularly dysfunctional parents, three aggressively lousy private schools, and perhaps the greatest wicked stepmother in literary history. Hyper-riveting! —Joe, The Lansburgh/Penn Quarter $25.95

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett (Vintage, Paper) The first shot in Hammett's war on the upper-class, country house murder story. Back to the mean streets with a vengence. Violent and hard-boiled, a classic. —Lansing, The Lansburgh/Penn Quarter $11.95

The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage by Paul Elie (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, Paper) Interestingly conceived and well executed, this multi-biography of four of the most interesting Catholic literary figures of the twentieth century illuminates their approaches to faith in their work. The cross-cutting between these lives of committment makes their individual stories all the more compelling. —Joe, The Lansburgh/Penn Quarter $15.00

The Moviegoer by Walker Percy (Vintage, Paper) Steamy New Orleans preparing for Mardi Gras. Profound alienation kept at bay by the wonder of the movies. Then William Holden arrives in town. A modern classic! —Lansing, The Lansburgh/Penn Quarter $12.95

Them: A Memoir of Parents Francine by du Plessix Gray (Penguin, Hardcover) If you're going to have brilliant, glamorous, incredibly well-connected, and occasionally monstrous parents, you'd do well to learn to write as elegantly as Francine du Plessix Gray. Ms. Gray's chronicle of her mother, a Russian refugee and hat designer for Saks, and her stepfather, editorial head of the entire Conde Nast empire is a compelling and lovely memoir. —Joe, The Lansburgh/Penn Quarter $29.95

Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell by Deborah Solomon & Sharon Gallagher (Museum of Fine Arts, Paper) Art biographies are my favorite genre, and this is my favorite art biography. The work of the reclusive Joseph Cornell was loved by Surrealists, Abstract Expressionists, and Pop Artists alike. His beautiful shadowboxes are a mix of beauty and nostalgia, and his life is as fascinating as his work. The best biography of an introvert I can imagine. —Joe, The Lansburgh /Penn Quarter $22.50