From Island Books, we continued our Independent Bookstore Day 2016 expedition by traveling back across Lake Washington to one of our biggest surprises of the day: Ada’s Technical Books and Café. All I can say is WOW! What an amazing discovery. We went into this store figuring, wrongly, that my husband (a programmer by profession) might enjoy a few moments to peruse a handful of computer books and maybe find a new science fiction novel while my mother enjoyed a well earned and much needed latte. However, an hour later we had to drag most of our motely crew of book explorers out by their ears and hustle to get our last two promised stops of the day. Ada’s is a beautiful amalgam of historic, modern, geeky and stylish, just like the woman, Ada Lovelace, it is named for. For those of you not familiar with her or her work, she was a famous English mathematician and writer whose work was seminal in the development of the modern computer. She was also, as ironic as it may seem, the daughter or Lord Byron, the famed romantic poet.
Located in the heart of the Capital Hill area, in what appears to be an old (but beautifully restored) bungalow with great lighting, it is filled with books, kits, and projects on a variety of topics and ability levels, from beginner to expert. As expected, most of the books in the store have a technical, or scientific slant to them, but since science affects just about every topic we lay hands on in this world (or others) the books sold, and hence topics covered, are quite vast. With a great selection of science related fiction, a handful of graphic novels, and a good number of biographies covering some of the greatest scientific minds in history (including Ada). There is even, as one would expect, an area dedicated to programming and computing, in fact there is a whole room on these subjects. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and very approachable.
So whether you are shopping to broaden your own understanding of the universe or for your favorite geek, this is simply a cool place to spend an afternoon. And with coffee and food available you wont even have to leave the store for substance should you find yourself lucky enough to discover a new book, or better yet, project that you just have to start working on right away.
You may even be able to purchase some of the parts you need right there in the store.