Capitol Hill Books in Washington, D.C. Will Allow Guests to Have the Whole Store to Themselves for an Hour

zozzzzo, iStock via Getty Image
zozzzzo, iStock via Getty Image

As the coronavirus outbreak spreads, people around the country are learning to adjust their daily lives. For readers, that means avoiding public spaces like libraries and bookstores and depending on e-books, delivery services, and their home book collections for their literary needs. One used bookstore in Washington, D.C., has responded to calls for social distancing by presenting a unique opportunity to customers. After reserving a time slot with Capitol Hill Books, guests can have the entire store and its contents to themselves for one hour.

The offer to live out every book lover's dream came after businesses around the U.S. closed over the weekend in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The morning of Monday, March 16, Capitol Hill Books announced it was limiting visits to an appointment-only basis, with a maximum of four guests allowed to enter the shop at a time. If you'd prefer to browse books in total isolation, you can also sign up for a one-hour time slot to get free, exclusive access to the bookstore.

Special guests are invited to "Roam the stacks and find something good to take home," Capitol Hill Books co-owner Kyle Burk tells Mental Floss. "I imagine they will also take selfies and throw them up on Insta ... which we will begrudgingly allow."

In addition to controlling how many people are allowed in the space at the same time, Capitol Hill Books is taking extra steps to keep the store sanitary. Upon entering, guests will be met with gloves and hand sanitizer. The business has also adopted a more extensive cleaning regimen.

To reserve an hour to social distance with some books, email info@capitolhillbooks-dc.com. You can also support independent bookstores like Capitol Hill without leaving home. Instead of ordering enough books to weather a quarantine from a major retailer, find a small bookstore that does online delivery. Capitol Hill Books is currently waiving shipping fees to anywhere in the U.S. on orders from its rare books website.

The Top 25 Bestselling E-Books on Amazon Right Now

Is she reading Harry Potter for the 15th time?
Is she reading Harry Potter for the 15th time?
grinvalds/iStock via Getty Images

Right now, the ability to access books on your tablet or phone—without leaving your house or waiting days for an order to arrive in the mail—seems more magical than ever. With just about every book at your fingertips, however, it might be a little difficult to decide which one to choose.

You could ask for recommendations from friends and family, or use this website, which specializes in personalized reading lists based on books you’ve already read and loved. Or you could check out Amazon’s current list of bestselling e-books—updated by the hour—to see what the general population just can’t get enough of. As of this morning (March 31), Elle Marr’s highly anticipated thriller The Missing Sister sits in the number one spot; since its publication date isn’t until April 1, that means it’s gotten to the top of the list on pre-orders alone.

There are several other riveting thrillers on the list, including Dean Koontz’s latest, In the Heart of the Fire, and Christopher Greyson’s murder mystery The Girl Who Lived. Plenty of other genres are well-represented, too, from Stephen R. Covey’s classic self-help book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to Jory John’s charming children’s story The Bad Seed.

And, of course, it would hardly seem like a bestseller list if Harry Potter didn’t make an appearance or two. According to this data, more than a few people are spending their quarantine time reading (or re-reading) J.K. Rowling’s beloved series—Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets are at number seven and number 17, respectively.

Look through March 31’s top 25 below:

  1. The Missing Sister by Elle Marr // $5
  1. Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis // $13
  1. Wall of Silence by Tracy Buchanan // $5
  1. The Bad Seed by Jory John // $13
  1. The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms // $2
  1. Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah // $5
  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling // $9
  1. The Last Bathing Beauty by Amy Sue Nathan // $5
  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey // $6
  1. When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal // $5
  1. Rough Edge by Lauren Landish // $4
  1. The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy // $1
  1. If You Tell by Gregg Olsen // $2
  1. Now, Then, and Everywhen by Rysa Walker // $5
  1. The Girl Who Lived by Christopher Greyson // $10
  1. Rain Will Come by Thomas Holgate // $5
  1. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling // $9
  1. The Other Family by Loretta Nyhan // $5
  1. In the Heart of the Fire by Dean Koontz // $2
  1. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng // $10
  1. Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes by James Dean // $8
  1. The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson // $15
  1. Unlimited Memory by Kevin Horsley // $10
  1. Lift Her Up by T.S. Joyce // $1
  1. In an Instant by Suzanne Redfearn // $5

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

Dolly Parton Is Reading Books From Her Imagination Library to Kids Stuck Inside

Let Dolly Parton read you a bedtime story.
Let Dolly Parton read you a bedtime story.
Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Since 1995, Dolly Parton has donated more than 100 million books to kids through her Imagination Library program. Now, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the country music star has found a way to bring the comfort of a good book to children stuck at home. As Nashville Scene reports, Parton will be reading bedtime stories across her social media platforms starting April 2.

Whether you have kids with extra energy from spending the day indoors or you're an adult who needs to relax at night, Parton can help. On Thursday at 7 p.m. EST, she'll stream her reading of The Little Engine That Could to her online followers. "Goodnight With Dolly" will continue every week at the same time for 10 weeks, with Parton reading a different book from her Imagination Library each time.

Parton founded the Imagination Library 25 years ago with the goal of promoting literacy in her home state of Tennessee. The organization mails free books to kids ages 0 through 5, and today it provides over 1 million books a month to young readers in the U.S., UK, Ireland, Australia, and Canada.

To catch Dolly's first bedtime story, tune into the Imagination Library's YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages Thursday night. For more ways to entertain yourself and your family at home, check out these classic board games you can play online.

[h/t Nashville Scene]

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