Not unlike the T.A.R.D.I.S., the exterior of Ada’s Technical Books (a pleasant little house front) does not prepare you for what is inside. Enter and find an impressive, white-walled space with 20 foot ceilings, dark wood floors and a crisp, contemporary design. What makes Ada special isn’t their volume – this is Seattle, home to Amazon dot com and 80+ independent bookstores – but their curation. This is the place to go when you want to browse, and want to talk to someone else about what you’re looking for, thinking about and working on. Ada’s is as much a gathering place for the local literary science community as it is a bookstore.
Several science and science fiction book clubs meet here, and Ada’s hosts book readings, small how-to classes on unusual and interesting topics, and visits from international specialists. Once, an Enigma machine expert was passing through and arranged to visit, so we got to play with an actual Enigma machine.
The cafe has a small menu appealing to the health-conscious: numerous salads, truffle Beecher’s macaroni and cheese, quiches, breakfast sandwiches, soups. My favorite is the warm lentil salad, a delicate but filling blend of curried lentils, coconut, yogurt and arugula. The dining tables are curio boxes with different collections under glass. The wifi is free and very fast! Of course, it’s a bookstore so they also sell lots of books, and gifts. Check their calendar for upcoming events. Or drop by and just hang out in a beautiful shop with other science lovers.