12 Best Books About Washington Dc Update 05/2022

Books About Washington Dc

My favorite show, The West Wing, made me go to the capital. Then, before I came to DC, I read a lot of books about it. The first time I saw it was at night, when I was driving around the monuments that were lit up. It looked like a TV set to me. In 2012, I moved here for two years. I’m still here in 2021. Love this place even though it has flaws and takes itself too seriously, and maybe even because of them.

There is a lot more to D.C. than power. It’s also the capital city. It’s very American, of course. A place where people protest about politics is in the middle of the street. It has a lot of African Americans living there, but gentrification is pushing them further away from the center of the city. It’s also where people live, fall in love, have kids, study, and work in all kinds of fields. For good and bad, a lot of well-educated, well-motivated people make their way into D.C. life. This can be amusing, eye-rolling, and even devastating at times. Here are some books for people of all ages that show some of the things I like about the city I live in.

Kids’ Books about Washington, D.C.

Washington, DC ABCs by Mr. Boddington’s Studio

Washington, DC ABCs by Mr. Boddington’s Studio

Images and concepts that make you think of Washington, D.C. are shown in this book to help you teach your child the alphabet. U stands for the U.S. Constitution, and V stands for Vintage Campaign Button. As the pattern of A is for…, B is for… repeats itself, it is soothing for bedtime.

Shaking up the House by Yamile Saied Méndez

It’s a middle-grade book about two sets of First Children and the prank war that ensues when two girls have to give up their home, the White House.

Adult Fiction Set in Washington, D.C.

The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu

In 2007, this book about immigration, race, and gentrification won a lot of awards and was named a New York Times Notable Book by the New York Times. It looks at the life of a young Ethiopian immigrant who is trying to figure out where to go in Washington, D.C.

Story: “It was a complex story about how immigrants struggle in the U.S., written in beautiful prose and told from the point of view of an African shop owner in Washington, D.C.”

Campaign Widows by Aimee Agresti

Sometimes, people who aren’t supposed to be friends end up becoming friends, or at least having fun together. Aimee Agresti’s book about four women whose husbands are away on political campaigns is about that kind of relationship.

A starred review from Booklist said that Agresti’s first book for adults “hits just the right balance of Washington insiderness and women’s fiction,” adding that it has “domestic and romantic flaws with a cast that is both enticing and interesting.”

The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close

The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close

The book starts with, “This is what people talk about at an Obama campaign reunion.” You know right away that you’re in the hands of someone who can make the D.C. political world come to life, with its ambitious and sometimes annoying campaign staffers.

The List by Karin Tanabe

This book may have been set in 2013, which now seems like a simple time, but it’s a lot of fun and will make you think of Veep. In this story about a young journalist who hides in the bushes at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Karin Tanabe drew a lot from her time at Politico. She wrote about a reporter who finds a scandal and has to decide whether to break it.

Summerlings by Lisa Howorth

In the summer of 1959, tensions between neighbors outside the city are high because of the Cold War. This short story is about a group of kids who are excited about the arrival of huge spiders and want to throw a party and get everyone they know to like each other. “I can see that much of the drama was just Washington, where things can change quickly, weirdness and treachery can rule, people and things are neither what they seem nor what they are said to be, and everyone is moving on.”

Nonfiction Books About Washington, D.C.

Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital by Chris Myers Asch & George Derek Musgrove

If you want to know a lot about D.C.’s history over the last four centuries, this is the place to start. As a book with over 600 pages, “District” tells how the District went from a plantation society to the first Black majority city, from a center of the slave trade to a place where people cried “justice!”

This Town by Mark Leibovich

This Town by Mark Leibovich

In 2013, this book came out. Even though D.C. has changed a lot since then, this book is important for understanding how people think and act in “this town.” It’s like an anthropological look at how people think and act in the political world of D.C.

West Wingers Edited by Gautam Raghavan

There are a lot of stories in this book that show how smart and ambitious the Obama administration’s staffers were, and how they tried to make the world a better place.

Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

An alum of Howard University On Monday’s Not Coming, Tiffany D. Jackson wrote a story that took place in Washington, DC, where she lived. In the book, you get to see how Claudia Coleman, a young girl, copes with the loss of her best friend.

The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes

The most important and influential poet of the 20th century, Langston Hughes, worked as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel in DC before he rose to fame. DC’s bookstore and restaurant chain, Busboys & Poets, is a tribute to Hughes and all of his great work. This book is a great way to learn more about the famous person and his work.

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