Literary Hill

Amir Y, Shift Lead at Little District Books.

This column is for those who like to tuck something to read into holiday gift bags, stockings, and travel packs. Amir Y, shift lead, at Little District Books on the Hill met with me this month to discuss “bookish buys” for this holiday season.  Little District Books is an independent bookstore that celebrates LGBTQ+ authors and stories. It’s located on Barracks Row at 737 8th St. SE.

MLF: Any special books that you’re recommending for gifting this holiday season?

Amir Y: I personally would recommend some more of our indie romances because I feel like they’re often difficult to find.  I’d say that my favorite would be Sparks Fly, which is a magical romance between two wizard boys. It’s perfect for people who love enemies-to-lovers stories—they are academic rivals. And it’s such a fun read.

MLF: Any recommendations for folks who would like to give something more than a single book?

Amir Y: Little District has a book subscription box. You can send a Googleform to a friend, if you’re gifting it to someone, and they can fill it out and send it back to us. The form asks them what genres that they like and if they’re okay with young adult books. If they want fiction, nonfiction, and what type of fiction—fantasy, sci-fi, romance. And they could also link their GoodReads or StoryGraph accounts if they’re interested. Then the Little District team will look at their interests and pick out books for them.

And then, we also have a wide range of stickers, bookmarks, puzzles, and bookish gifts.

MLF: How else might folks support Little District and other independent bookstores during this holiday season?

Amir Y: It’s better to shop and order early, so that we can ensure that the product that you’re getting is the best and that you’re getting it in time. I’d also say that if there is a book that you want, and it’s not on your local bookstore’s website, reach out to them. See if they can special order it for you.

And the last thing I would say is. Amazon is not our friend. If for some reason you need to order online, not directly from an independent bookstore, I would highly recommend, which is an online retailer. Part of the proceeds go to an independent bookstore of your choosing.

For gift ideas or to contact Little District Bookstore, visit

Don’t forget our other favorite local, independent bookstores this holiday season: East City (, Solid State Books (, and Capitol Hill Books (

East of the City has two shopper-friendly holiday gift buyers guides—one for adults and one for kids—that are sure to help you find memorable bookish gifts. Whether you are buying deliciously salacious books for a celebrity gossip or for teens and young adults—East City has an excellent range of new reads in stock.

Alma Katsu

Michelle LaFrance is Associate Professor of English at George Mason University. She teaches creative nonfiction, life writing, and civic writing at the Hill Center and blogs about writing, her upcoming writing classes, and writing retreats at