The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears
, by Dinaw Mengestu.
In this remarkable first novel, an Ethiopian emigre describes a period of unrest in Logan Circle when gentrification led to evictions.
“Even the late-afternoon light seems to hit D.C. the same way. Right now it’s a soft, startling pinkish hue folded into a few large clouds building up along the western horizon. In two more hours, it will dissolve into long, dark red tendrils of light that will stretch across the sky, and this day will have finally ended.”
Cooking With Love
, by Carla Hall.
More than 100 recipes from the D.C.-based chef who has revolutionized comfort food.
“If you had to serve lunch to the Securities and Exchange Commission, what would you make? Not easy, right? I had this brilliant idea of bean salad with green beans cut into tiny coins. They’re pretty that way and easy to scoop up.”
The Five of Hearts: An Intimate Portrait of Henry Adams and His Friends, 1880-1918
, by Patricia O’Toole.
An absorbing description of Washington’s most impressive circle.
“Henry retreated to his study to write a history of the United States in the opening years of the nineteenth century. Such an existence was idyllic, he thought — ‘like a dream of the golden age.’ Henry fervently believed that the future of the world lay in the United States and that the future of the United States lay in Washington. He reveled in the expectation and fancied himself one of ‘the first rays of light’ that would one day set fire to the world.”
Capitol Hill Haunts
, by Tim Krepp.
A hair-raising guide to Washington’s ghosts, from the Demon Cat to the weeping lady of the Maples.
“It is one of the oldest buildings in the city and has been the epicenter for drama high and low for more than two hundred years. It is the symbolic center of the District of Columbia, so much that our lettered and numbered roads start from here. Obviously, weighty decisions of great national importance have been and still are debated here, but the Capitol has also seen its fair share of violence, heartbreak, and just general mayhem as well.”
Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City
, by Natalie Hopkinson.
In the ’60s, when outsiders saw the nation’s capital devastated by crime, those who knew where to look could find a vibrant public sphere that moved to the blaring horns and thumping percussion of the new groove.
“As far as Chocolate Cities go, there is no more extreme case than Washington, D.C., in the second half of the twentieth century. Beyond the federal capital, Washington, lies a very black city, D.C. . . . When you happen to be born in a world designed for white people, to live in a Chocolate City is to taste an unquantifiable richness. It gives a unique angle of vision, an alternate lens to see world power. In a Chocolate City, black is normal.”