More often than not, when you’re reading about Washington DC, you’re likely to find words like dysfunctional, partisan, nuclear option, filibuster, and gridlock. But politics aside, there’s still plenty to love about this town, especially if you’re a fiction writer or a reader. Recognizing that DC is the go-to setting for tons of books from super serious to high octane entertainment, two DC librarians recently started a clever crowdsourcing project to encourage the exploration of the town’s social and geographic history by populating a database of excerpts from novels with DC scenes and mapping them:
DC BY THE BOOK.
I love to read books set in my town so I couldn’t wait to explore the DC By The Book website. Once there, I found out that you can join the project as a contributor by recommending novels with DC settings. Or you can help the librarians map the books that are already listed on the site by finding the excerpts set in the Washington DC neighborhoods, parks, government buildings, museums and so on. There’s also a cool map that shows you the locations where scenes from the books take place.
I couldn’t resist adding a couple of books with scenes set in some of my favorite places in DC to the website.
Allison Leotta opens DISCRETION with a young woman, Caroline, dressed like a K Street lobbyist in an “ivory St. John suit, Manolo heels,” entering the Capitol through the Senate-side for a private, evening appointment with a congressman. Except Caroline is not a lobbyist; she is an expensive prostitute. A staffer walks her through the Capitol to his boss’s personal office. On the way, they pass through the magnificent Brumidi Corridors—“the most beautiful corridor Caroline had ever seen.”
Caroline pauses in the Rotunda—“the ceremonial heart of the Capitol”— to admire Brumidi’s masterpiece on the domed ceiling: “The Apotheosis of Washington, a fresco painting of the first President depicted as a god among angels.”
The staffer ushers Caroline past a sign—“No Visitors Beyond This Point”—and up the stairs to the congressman’s personal office in the Capitol building.
Inside the congressman’s office, Caroline admires the view of the National Mall from the balcony.
You’ll have to read the book if you want to find out how Caroline’s night ends. Or visit DC By The Book to see if the excerpt has been posted and mapped.
A lot of the action in CONCRETE EVIDENCE, by our own Rachel Grant, takes place in DC. One of my favorite scenes is a romantic moonlit walk through the presidential memorials along the Tidal Basin:
Holding hands, Erica and Lee “walked in the darkness around the basin. She managed to drop his hand before they reached the Jefferson Memorial, and he could feel her build a barrier between them until it was as solid as the marble columns surrounding the statue of the nation’s third president.”
Carol M. Highsmith
Be sure to check out this mash-up of literature, history, geography and technology: DC by the Book
But before you go, dear Reader, share your favorite setting for fiction. And K&T authors, tell us about your favorite places to set the novels you write.
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CONCRETE EVIDENCE (Kindle or Nook).
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