DC Reads

Welcome to DC Reads 2016!

October 15-November 11, 2016

This election year DC Public Library encourages you to explore American democracy with a selection of books to spark your curiosity and open discussions.  Featured Event

Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. on Democracy in Black

Tuesday, October 25 | 6:30 pm | Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library 
Join us for an evening with Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. to speak about his book Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul.  For complete details and to get tickets, please visit our Eventbrite ticket page.

Book Discussion Groups

Throughout October and November libraries around the city will be reading and discussing selected titles from the DC Reads: Democracy Bookshelf.
Find a book group near you!

About the Bookshelf

DC Public Library has curated the DC Reads: Democracy Bookshelf, a selection of twelve unique and thought provoking works exploring the complex history, inner workings, and struggles in American democracy from a diverse array of authors.  The bookshelf is divided into four areas: Exploring American Politics, Unconventional Histories, Contemporary Challenges, and Stories and Allegories, each providing a different entry point for readers across a diverse array of interests.


Exploring American Politics

Founding documents, critical issues, and inside baseball

American Epic: Reading the U.S. Constitution by Garrett Epps

Epps takes us on A complete reading of the Constitution--even the "boring" parts--to achieve an appreciation of its power and a holistic understanding of what it says

What You Should Know About Politics But Don't by Jessamyn Conrad

In a world of sound bites, deliberate misinformation, and a political scene colored by the blue versus red partisan divide, how does the average educated American find a reliable source that’s free of political spin?

Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs, and Washington Handshakes by Chuck McCutcheon & David Mark

A concise, pointed, bipartisan guide to the lies, obfuscations, and helical constructions of modern American political language, as practiced by real-life versions of the characters on House of Cards.

Unconventional Histories

Unheard voices, untold stories, and gonzo journalism

Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts

An intimate and illuminating look at the fervently patriotic and passionate women whose tireless pursuits on behalf of their families–and their country–proved just as crucial to the forging of a new nation as the rebellion that established it.

District Comics (An Unconventional History of Washington DC) ed. by Matt Dembicki

A graphic novel anthology featuring lesser-known stories about Washington, DC, from its earliest days as a rustic settlement along the swampy banks of the Potomac to the modern-day metropolis.

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 by Hunter S. Thompson

From the legendary journalist Hunter S. Thompson comes the bestselling critical look at Nixon and McGovern’s 1972 presidential election.

Contemporary Challenges

Voting rights, black lives, and the glass ceiling

Give Us the Ballot: Modern Struggle for Voting Rights by Ari Berman

In this groundbreaking narrative history, Ari Berman charts both the transformation of American democracy under the VRA and the counterrevolution that has sought to limit it from the moment the act was signed into law.

Democracy in Black by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.

Part manifesto, part history, part memoir, Glaude argues that we live in a country founded on a “value gap”—with white lives valued more than others—that still distorts our politics today.

What Will It Take to Make a Woman President? by Marianne Schnall

Schnall interviews politicians, public officials, thought leaders, writers, artists, and activists in an attempt to discover the obstacles that have held women back and what needs to change in order to elect a woman into the White House.

Stories and Allegories

A political dynasty, a marriage, and a dystopian future

Echo House by Ward Just

An epic chronicle of three generations of Washington power brokers and the women who loved them.

The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close

Beth and Matt are a young ambitious couple with rising fortunes in national politics. But can their marriage survive this town?

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

In an age of declining births, the Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable

Special Thanks to Our Partners

Additional support for DC Reads provided by the DC Public Library Foundation and the Federation of Friends of the DC Public Library

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