That big sigh of relief you hear among Capitol Hill bibliophiles comes from the recent news that Riverby Books at 417 East Capitol St. SE will be reopening soon. A former journalist, Lori Grisham, previously at USA Today and NPR, will manage the store. The literary institution has been closed since late last year, in the wake of the death of owner Steven Cymrot. He died on Nov. 29, 2014, after being struck by a truck near the bookstore while walking, according to the Washington Post's obituary . Shortly after, the family, which operates a companion used and antiquarian store in Fredericksburg, Va., stated in a notice taped to Riverby's D.C. rowhouse door: "Riverby Books is closed for the holidays and perhaps a bit longer while we figure out which way is up."
That sad notice was replaced recently with a large placard announcing: "Friends & Neighbors: Riverby Books Will Reopen in October. Follow @riverbydc for updates." The store announced on Twitter on Sept. 28 that they were "organizing our shelves and gathering new stock. Hope to have our doors open in a few weeks."
Riverby Books DC will reopen in October! We're organizing our shelves and gathering new stock. Hope to have our doors open in a few weeks.— Riverby Books DC (@RiverbyDC) September 28, 2015
And do we perhaps detect a trend in Washington journalists taking up the challenge of running a bookstore? Grisham — who is engaged to NPR's Patrick Cooper (the son of Political MoneyLine's Kent Cooper) — will be following in the footsteps of political scribes such as Lissa Muscatine and Bradley Graham, who headed for the stacks when they purchased the venerable Politics and Prose in 2011. Paul Cymrot, son of the late Steven, will be the head honcho for the D.C. store.
And, at a minimum, fans of print will have another venue to go along with Riverby's Hillside bookstore companion Capitol Hill Books. In the Cymrots' sad notice, they directed patrons toward Eastern Market: "If you have so-so books to sell, we hope you'll hold on to them til you see our lights back on — or take them to our friends at Capitol Hill Books, where the Admiral will let you know their worth and yours :-)" — the "admiral" reference being to that establishment's legendary curmudgeon owner, Jim Toole.
Well, the light's back on at Riverby Books, or at least it will be soon.