Adventures on the Indie Bookstore Route, Pt. 1

by Madeline Dell'Aria

It's summertime and like any true book lover knows, it's time to kick up your feet, soak up the sun, and relax with a good book. Whether you're picking up the latest book of the season or a classic from the canon, we're here to show your the best places throughout the D.M.V. for scoring fresh reads—our fantastic indie book shops, of course!




Falls Church, VA

Hole in the Wall Books is located right in the middle of placid Falls Church, VA at 904 W Broad St. The quaint bookstore’s azure door is a gateway to a different time: specializing primarily in science-fiction, fantasy, and comics, books at Hole in the Wall are stacked, squeezed, and pigeon-holed in overlapping arrangement. This overabundance of fiction, the must of buried tomes thick in the air, harkens back to literature’s tactile, page-flipping, pre-Kindle origins. While its name implies a tightly packed space, this bounty of books is hardly stifling, creating instead an entrance to infinite worlds and spaces ripe for exploration.

The concatenation of literary sources is curated by the knowledgeable and affable founders, Michael and Edie Nally. In 1979, Michael began running a small book section of what was then Record and Tape Exchange. This store would later move, but Michael’s "Hole in the Wall" would remain, eventually occupying the entire space of the original store.

Besides the collection, which has certainly expanded over the years, little has changed since 1979; there is no computer system, reference books are used instead of Google, and cell phones are seldom spotted. The only exception to the owners’ pursuit of antiquity is the store’s website, and (naturally) their up-to-date collection of comics and a miscellany of geek genres. Particularly strong are the science fiction and fantasy collections, which reflect the taste of the founders. This bookstore is largely operated on a buy-sell-trade basis, and the collection similarly reflects the diversity of the Washington metropolitan area.

The store is accessible via MetroBus on Broad Street and has a surprisingly large parking lot, given the diminutive size of the store. For those avid genre-fiction readers seeking escape in fantasy, adventure, or just a bygone era, there may be no better locale than Hole in the Wall Books.

Madeline Dell’Aria, a Northern Virginia native, recently graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Growing up she wanted to become a tree, a witch, or an explorer; so she became a writer.