Blink and you'll drive right past this dusty blue cottage off Route 7 in Falls Church. Located near a used CD store and intimate coffee house, Hole in the Wall Books is a great place to get lost for a little awhile. The store is legendary -- locally, anyway -- for an extensive collection of science fiction and comic books. They each get their very own room in this converted old house, where echoes of your feet on the floor are muffled by millions and millions of pages.
Past a built-in sunken checkout booth, a store employee will review your old books for store credit. The owner, Edie, generally doesn't pay cash unless something is very special or rare, but store credit tends to be on the generous side for what she does take. Write your name on an index card, Edie adds the amount and each future purchase will be half-covered by your balance as long as it lasts. And trust us: You'll find something to buy every single time you visit.
The front room is a huge mix of fiction, mass-market paperbacks, history and sociology stacked on floor-to-ceiling shelves with additional piles of books alphabetized on the floor. Comic books are clustered on center tables; cookbooks and travel guides are stocked at the back. It all seems like a typical used book store, but the alcoves formed by bookcases and the abundance of footstools -- plus the very engaging Edie -- make it a place to stick around for awhile. If only she'd put in an espresso bar.