“The Lost Symbol” Descends upon D.C.

Today’s the big day. After months of rumors, ruminations, and really excited Tweets, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol has appeared in stores. This follow-up to the best-selling Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons is set in Washington, D.C. – though Brown’s version of D.C. promises to be more thrilling and fantastical than Georgetown University’s annual tuition and expenses. Louis Bayard reviewed an advance copy for the Washington Post, and finds that the book will please readers who enjoyed the Da Vinci []

The Value of Mystery

Laura Streib, of Forbes.com, writes today about the literary empire of James Patterson, best-selling author of the DC-based Alex Cross mysteries. Streib explains, Patterson’s not a writer. He’s a fiction (and non-fiction) factory. In 2008 he authored or co-authored seven books and in his 33-year career as a published author he’s written 57. He sells an average of 20 million books per year. An estimated 170 million copies of his novels are in print worldwide. Most important: During the last two years []

2009 National Book Festival in DC

The 2009 National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress, will be held on Saturday, September 26, 2009, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between 7th and 14th streets from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The festival is free and open to the public.

BookCrossing Convention to Come to DC

The BC in DC chapter of BookCrossing, always a good source for events, literary discussions, and local book news, will be sponsoring the 10th anniversary convention. The bad news? The convention won’t happen until April 15-17, 2011. Guess it gives me something to look forward to!

Denis Lipman to Publish “A Yank Back to England”

Denis Lipman, former resident of London’s East End and current resident of Washington, DC, will be publishing A Yank Back to England: The Prodigal Tourist Returns in January 2010. The premise of the novel came about through Lipman’s many journeys back home, both solo and accompanied by his wife. I’m eager to review it, especially after this comment by Michael York: “A perceptive, engaging and informative take on contemporary England as seen through the eyes of a fellow expatriate who writes with []

Sybil Steinberg Reviews Eugenia Kim’s “The Calligrapher’s Daughter”

Sybil Steinberg reviews DC resident Eugenia Kim’s new novel, The Calligrapher’s Daughter, in Washington Post‘s Book World. Steinberg praises the sensitivity of the novel, commenting that “Kim’s account acquires depth and immediacy as she draws vivid pictures of wartime poverty and hardship.” Steinberg closes by writing, In quietly recording the arc of a woman’s experience from idyllic childhood through harrowing adulthood, Kim mirrors the changing nation. The ending of the book is somewhat rushed, as Kim tries to encapsulate events in the []

Review of Eugenia Kim’s “The Calligrapher’s Daughter” in the Christian Science Monitor

Yvonne Zip reviews Eugenia Kim’s The Calligrapher’s Daughter in the Christian Science Monitor. Zip notes, “Kim builds a patient spell, carefully orienting American readers who probably know little of this chapter of history. . . Fans of Lisa See’s or Amy Tan’s novels should eagerly embrace [the main character] Najin, and The Calligrapher’s Daughter bids fair to become a staple of book clubs. While the story is Najin’s, its true subject is Korea’s occupation by Japan.”

Garrett Graff – Youngest Ever Editor-in-Chief?

Garrett Graff, the 28-year-old blogging pioneer, has taken over as editor-in-chief at The Washingtonian. Stepping into the shoes of Jack Limpert, who held the reins at the magazine for an incredible 40 years, the young journalist comments that his new role is “partly a reflection of just how Washington is changing. The city right now is not just younger than it has been traditionally in the past, but much richer in terms of culture and arts and restaurants.” Graff explains that he []

“On This Spot” by Douglas Evelyn and Paul Dickson

This guide to the historical landmarks of D.C. succeeds in presenting a thoroughly unique viewpoint of the city and its long and colorful history. Through a combination of anecdotes and images of historical sites — both existing and long gone — each destination has its own story, ranging from the political to the criminal. Dividing the city by neighborhood, rather than into walking paths, this portable little book is indispensable for anyone interested in the history behind the geography.

“The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls

The strength of Walls’s narrative lies in her ability to completely absorb herself in telling the story, without allowing herself time or space to inject judgment or analysis. More than just an incredible story, “The Glass Castle” showcases Jeannette Walls’s clear talent with a pen and her undeniable prowess as a storyteller.

“Bright Lights, Smaller City”: Jessica Cutler’s Bored Review of Grant Ginder’s “This Is How It Starts”

Jessica Cutler, author of The Washingtonienne, reviewed Grant Ginder’s This Is How It Starts. Cutler found it lacking in inspiration, comparing the work to Jay McInerneny’s Bright Lights, Big City. Cutler comments, “Ginder’s prose is rarely amusing or enjoyable. Perhaps it’s moony and aimless on purpose — all part of the ennui and disillusionment, as though the characters are intentionally cliche because Washington is really like that.” Ouch. Sounds like another great DC political thriller.

Capitol Hill’s Trover Shop to Close

Washington Post Staff Writer Kate Kilpatrick laments the forthcoming close of a Capitol Hill landmark, the Trover Shop. Though the plethora of political material in the store is less to my liking, many lament it’s passing. Kilpatrick relates: Bookstore enthusiasts walking along Pennsylvania Avenue during lunch break yesterday were confronted with sobering news: After 51 years in business on Capitol Hill, Trover Shop is closing. Bright-orange fliers announcing 20 percent off merchandise were taped around the shop before the 7 a.m. opening. []