Democracy Now

I’ve never tried hosting a group read on this blog. That’s partly because I don’t want to apply any more structure to writing-I-do-for-free than I have to, and partly because I haven’t found the a book that seemed right for that kind of project. But starting January 22 I’d like to give it a try: With the help of my friend Jennifer Howard, a reporter at the Chronicle of Higher Education and occasional Bookslut blogger, I’ll be devoting a couple of weeks to posting about Henry Adams‘ 1880 novel about Washington, D.C., politics, Democracy.

Jennifer and I came up with this idea last fall, when were chatting on Twitter about D.C. novels that a) we haven’t read and b) most eagerly wanted to get to. Democracy topped the list mainly because it’s reputed to (still) be among the most spot-on portraits of political maneuvering in the nation’s capital. Having since finished it, I can say there are plenty of other reasons to read it too: It’s wickedly funny, makes observations about D.C.’s nonpolitical life that still apply today, and couches all this in a well-turned romantic tale. (Though, this being a D.C. novel, the romance and the politics tend to get mucked together.)

We’ll post back and forth on our blogs, working with the Library of America’s Adams anthology. Of course, the novel is easily had for free. Questions? Leave ’em in the comments. Regardless, I hope you’ll join us, whether the novel is long familiar to you or completely new.

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