An American Girl in Washington

Doing a little DC reading

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 15 November 2010

The last week or so has been crazy.  The holiday season is heating up at Local Department Store so I have started working full time hours.  This is hard on the feet but will be easier on the wallet, and just in time.  November has not been an easy month for the finances.  So thank goodness for public libraries and my mother’s Netflix account. Lately I have been watching a lot of TV on my trusty Mac (no, I haven’t seen For Colored Girls Yet, I’ll have to wait til it comes out on Netflix) and checking out a lot of library books.

Whenever I move somewhere new I like to read as much as I can about the area.  This meant reading All The King’s Men, A Confederacy of Dunces and all of the Ann Rice I could find when I moved to Louisiana, lots of books about the UN and the Khmer Rouge when I spent the summer in Cambodia, and A Long Walk to Freedom and other books about South African history during my semester there.  So, now that I’m living in the District, I’ve been reading books about politics, race, and Washington history.  So far, I’ve read Eugene Robinson’s Disintegration, which is true everywhere but the point is pretty vividly illustrated when walking down the streets of DC, The Audacity to Win by David Plouffe, the biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (warning: it’s really really long), and I just checked out Washington: The Making of the American Capital by Fergus M. Bordewich.

Reading all of these books has given me such an interesting perspective on the city, combined with talking to DC natives (like the man at the Shwarma shop who told me about when his parents used to get all dressed up to go to U St because it was like Harlem in the 20s, I wish I’d been there), working at the Store with a lot of women from the area, spending time on the Hill with political wonks and their ilk, volunteering at the Washington Literacy Council and living in The Palace, I’m getting a pretty wide view of DC and how everything fits together.  This is such a beautiful and complicated city and there is a lot (a lot) happening behind the scenes and across the river that no one ever talks about.  I mean to learn a lot more, and to figure out where I fit in in all of this madness.

What other DC books should I be reading?

Have a great week!



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