Must-Read Books By DC Authors

June 25, 2012 6:00 AM

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Washington, DC is known for being a transient city that is the center of power as the nation’s capital. With topics ranging from politics, struggles of race and activism, there’s a lot to write about if you live in DC. Here are some of the not-to-miss authors that have called Washington their home.
obamaswars Must Read Books By DC Authors

(credit: Simon and Schuster)

Bob Woodward – “Obama’s Wars”

Buy the book at:
Politics and Prose
5015 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 364-1919

Bob Woodward is best known for being a part of the journalist duo, Woodward and Bernstein, that broke the Watergate story in 1972. This release then sparked the book “All the President’s Men” that was also turned into a movie. Woodward has since continued to report on politics as a journalist for the Washington Post.

As a seasoned D.C. journalist, Woodward’s most recent book, “Obama’s Wars,” details the interaction between the newly-elected President Obama and the Department of Defense. This outlines the events surrounding when Obama tried to seek the answers needed to evaluate the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in order to end the wars and bring the troops home as promised in his campaign speeches. The frustration Obama feels is palpable in this well-detailed account of the events. There are even memos that illustrate conversations from the White House that go unanswered by the DOD.

The name says it all. Politics and Prose specializes in all political books, but carries a wide selection of fiction and non fiction alike. It’s also a popular local spot for book-touring authors.

Related: The Capital’s Shining Talent: Best Local Actors in DC

silentspring Must Read Books By DC Authors

(credit: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Rachel Carson – Silent Spring”

Buy the book at:
Kramerbooks & Afterwords: Bookstore and Cafe
1517 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 387-3825

Rachel Carson is a D.C.-area native. Her home in Silver Spring, Maryland was designed by her in 1956 and became her home until she died in 1964. Born in Pennsylvania, Carson moved to the D.C. area in 1929. As a journalist and aquatic biologist, Carson played a pivotal role in environmental justice. Her most famous book, “Silent Spring,” was the quintessential toxicology book that discussed how the potent pesticide DDT made its way into the waterways. From there, fish that were then preyed upon by shorebirds like the osprey and bald eagle consumed the pesticides in what is called bioaccumulation. DDT nearly led to the extinction of America’s national bird and Carson’s book was the alarm bell that sounded and led to the banning of DDT in 1972.

The book has since been republished with an introduction by Al Gore and can be picked up at D.C. bookstores.

Always packed and always fun, this Dupont Circle bookstore is best known for being a great café, bar and restaurant. Open all night on Friday and Saturday, Kramers is a go-to for a late-night meal or drink. Its Sunday brunch is always popular. Be prepared for a wait, but at least you have books to explore while passing the time.

annespencer Must Read Books By DC Authors

(credit: Louisiana State University Press)

Anne Spencer – “Time’s Unfading Garden: Anne Spencer’s Life and Poetry”

Buy the book at:
Busboys and Poets
2021 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 387-7638

Anne Spencer was the first African American to have her poetry included in the Norton Anthology of American Poetry. Born and raised in Lynchburg, Virginia, just outside of the D.C. area, Anne was a poet and activist for equality and educational opportunities. Her works include “At the Carnival,” “Before the Feast of Shushan” and “Translation,” and have been included in numerous anthologies, including “The Poetry of the Negro,” edited by Langston Hughes and Arna Bontemps. The book “Time’s Unfading Garden” includes information about her life, as well as her poetry works.

Known for its open-mic poetry and popular, D.C.-centric events, Busboys and Poets is a great place to hang out for hours. With comfortable furniture in its café, you can explore the books, read for hours and have a great meal. Always buzzing with people, Busboys and Poets is never overly chaotic and is a real neighborhood joint.

Related: Best Iconic Works of Art in DC

Jamie Hardin is the counter-culture Washingtonian in the know. Inspired by food, sustainability issues, and public health, she prides herself on finding DCs off-the-beaten path treasures. When she isnt enjoying organic food or reducing her carbon footprint, Jamies traveling on her scooter or walking her two pit bulls. Her work can be found at

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