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What readers had to say about recent stories.

This week, readers had plenty to say about the T.J.Maxx/HomeGoods store that just opened in Georgetown, and about the news that Reston recently became the first place in the Washington area to ban the use of e-cigarettes in public spaces. Read on for some of our favorite comments from Twitter, Facebook, and Disqus. 

On the opening of the T.J.Maxx/HomeGoods store

From Twitter:

From Facebook:

Catherine Donovan: That's beyond depressing. No point in shopping in Georgetown anymore. Nothing unique there. 

Peoples Hernandez: I agree. Next thing you'll see is the return of strip joints on M Street.


On Reston’s e-cigarette ban

From Facebook:

Loren Willcock: Sorry, no stupid people allowed in public...we prefer to watch them on c-span and fox news.

Drew Xeron: Reston = the town in Footloose 

From Disqus:

mnberty1 − In the news today, General Motors develops a new engine that emits a vapor exhaust which eliminates ALL carbon monoxide and 99% of the carcinogens in former models......In other news, Reston Association board of directors voted unanimously to ban them from public spaces because it looked strange to its residents. 

tch − Wait, Reston Council didn't understand something, so they banned it? Did that actually just happen?

Posted at 01:45 PM/ET, 09/13/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Barbara Matusow—the late reporter's wife, editor of the book, and "Washingtonian" contributing editor—appeared to discuss the work. By Tanya Pai
Audience members await a reading of Scoop at Politics & Prose. Photographs by Alan Muldawer.

This Sunday afternoon, audience members packed into the Politics & Prose bookstore on Connecticut Avenue to hear a reading of Scoop, the memoir of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jack Nelson. Appearing to discuss the work were his wife, Barbara Matusow, a Washingtonian contributing editor and the editor of the book; Doyle McManus, who succeeded Nelson as the LA Times Washington bureau chief in 1996; and Gene Roberts, former executive editor of the Philadelphia Enquirer.*

Barbara Matusow signs a copy of Scoop.

Doyle McManus discusses the work.

See also:
The Very Best Care

*This post has been updated from a previous version. 

Posted at 04:30 PM/ET, 01/07/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Mason family hosted a party at their Kalorama home for the author’s debut work, set in New York. By Carol Ross Joynt

Jaclyn Mason, Cristina Alger, and Lauren Mason. Photograph by James R. Brantley.

Imagine the quintessential Washington cocktail party celebrating the quintessential New York novel, throw in a family of hosts in all age ranges and plenty good food and wine, and you’d have last night’s party celebrating The DarlingsCristina Alger’s acclaimed first novel, about a family named Darling who become enmeshed in a Wall Street imbroglio circa the 2008 meltdown. Those who’ve read the book call it a “thriller” and a “page turner” as well as a juicy glimpse into New York high society.

It was Washington society at the book party. The hosts were the Mason family— Joann and John and their daughters, Lauren and Jaclyn—at their Kalorama home. Joann and John invited a lot of their friends, and the daughters invited a lot of their friends, providing for the energetic mix of ages. Alger’s group included classmates from Harvard. She stood against the wall, talking quietly, almost wide-eyed at the DC turnout.

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Posted at 03:59 PM/ET, 02/29/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
The former CIA operative will pen a series of “world-stage thrillers,” the first of which will be published early next year. By Carol Ross Joynt

Photograph by Carol Ross Joynt.

The ranks of female spy novelists are about to get some competition from a woman with a notorious spy past: former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson. Blue Rider Press announced this week that early next year it will publish Blowback, the “first in a series of world-stage thrillers,” featuring a character named Vanessa Pierson. Pierson is described as a CIA operative with a “clandestine lover,” also in the CIA.

Wilson earlier wrote the nonfiction Fair Game, which told of her CIA career and having her cover blown by the late columnist Robert Novak, in an episode that became a scandal of the Bush administration. The book, for which she was reportedly paid a $2.5 million advance, was heavily redacted by the CIA, but still became a movie in 2010, starring Naomi Watts as Wilson and Sean Penn as her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson.

After the federal investigation into the leak of her identity, and a number of lawsuits, the Wilsons moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they still reside. Wilson’s co-author will be writer Sarah Lovett, who also lives in Santa Fe.

The catalogue from Blue Rider exclaims emphatically that the Valerie Plame Wilson spy novels will be “the inside story as only fiction can tell! She knows how the games are played.”

Posted at 04:22 PM/ET, 02/23/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Former NPR correspondent Eric Weiner embarks on a journey for spiritual revelation. By Drew Bratcher

Talk about the assignment of the century: For his previous book, The Geography of Bliss, former NPR correspondent Eric Weiner hotfooted the globe in search of true happiness. In Man Seeks God, Weiner—a witty writer with the insatiable curiosity of a child—embarks on a less hedonistic journey for spiritual revelation after a nurse in a hospital asks him, “Have you found your God yet?”

Find God Weiner doesn’t. Whether twirling with dervishes in Turkey, shaving his legs with Raëlians in Las Vegas, or conjuring animal spirits with a shaman in Beltsville, his interests lie more in what religion offers (“I am fascinated by Tantra”) and requires (“Yes, the Franciscans are tremendous moochers”) than in putting faith in dogmas: “The cold fact is I don’t believe any of these gods or goddesses actually exist.” It’s an approach that feels borderline inappropriate, given that Weiner is dealing with matters of the soul, not the stock market.

Weiner’s search, come to find out, has been hamstrung by his own cynicism. It makes you wonder what he might have discovered had he arrived at his conclusion at the start rather than the tail end of his journey.

This article appears in the February 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.

Posted at 09:24 AM/ET, 02/23/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Thomas Mallon offers a series of diverting, occasionally out-there character sketches that chart the debacle’s toll on the bit players. By Drew Bratcher

If you were to become a DC heavyweight whose life merited a novelist’s attention, you’d be lucky to have Thomas Mallon pick you for a muse. Unlike Gore Vidal, whose Washington historical novels have a crotchety polemical undertone, Mallon is an equitable storyteller who likes the Beltway, understands the city’s currency, and generally refuses to disparage the denizens in charge. In other words, those expecting to see Richard Nixon burned in effigy in Mallon’s novel Watergate will be disappointed, as will those hoping for a stringent recreation of the eponymous burglary. What Mallon offers is a series of diverting, occasionally out-there character sketches that chart the debacle’s toll on the bit players, among them Fred LaRue—a hard-drinking aide to President Nixon who’s haunted by the memory of a hunting accident that took his father’s life—and Rose Mary Woods, Nixon’s secretary who may have been responsible for the infamous elisions in the White House tapes.

Watergate seems to beg for a big climax that never comes, yet there’s so much to like. The dialogue is smart, the description ebullient, and the variegated narrative gives luster to a real-life American tragicomedy.

This article appears in the February 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.

Posted at 02:46 PM/ET, 02/22/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Jean Edward Smith’s biography of Dwight Eisenhower. By Drew Bratcher

Jean Edward Smith’s biography of Dwight Eisenhower arrives when the Republican President who had a flair for governing without flair is a topic du jour among conservatives. David Brooks wrote in the New York Times that the older he gets, the more he admires Ike’s “mature stewardship.” A good steward is highly regarded in lean times, when the presidency calls for a steady-handed problem solver. If Eisenhower was that, Smith says, it was largely the result of his experiences as an officer in the Army between the wars. This overlooked chapter in his career tried his patience but was a refiner’s fire in which many of his foibles (a “devil-may-care” attitude, people-pleasing) were replaced with what Smith calls “supreme confidence in his own judgment.” The takeaway: Lecture halls and boardrooms are no match for the military when it comes to executive training. Where are the generals on the campaign trail?

This article appears in the February 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.

Posted at 04:27 PM/ET, 02/21/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Though he’s a lawyer at the Washington firm Arnold & Porter, Anthony J. Franze found time to write a riveting new thriller set in the secretive world of the Supreme Court. By Lawrence Hurley

Photograph courtesy of Arnold & Porter.

Anthony Franze’s debut novel opens with a dramatic scene at the Supreme Court: Six justices have just been gunned down by a crazed assassin. If that doesn’t grab your attention, nothing will. Franze is an experienced appellate lawyer with Arnold & Porter and has helped author Supreme Court briefs, so he knows all about the mysterious workings of the high court—knowledge that he’s now put to a more creative use. The Last Justice (published by Sterling & Ross on February 7) focuses on the attempts by US solicitor general Jefferson McKenna, the federal government’s advocate before the high court, to get to the bottom of the mass killing. One of the twists: McKenna himself is a suspect. John Grisham (whose Pelican Brief also featured a couple of justices kicking the bucket) would be proud. Franze, 41, who lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with his wife and three kids, talks here about how he came up with the idea and the long road that led to the finished product.

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Posted at 02:27 PM/ET, 02/13/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
We catch up with the “Hardball” host to talk about his newest book, “Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.” By Carol Ross Joynt

Chris Matthews would be the first to tell you he’s had a long-standing obsession with President John F. Kennedy. Even though he grew up in a Republican household, as a young man he found JFK to be the most interesting political figure of the time. His first book was Kennedy & Nixon. His latest book, Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero, goes right to the heart of the matter. In the preface, he writes that during all the decades since the 1963 assassination, his “fascination with the elusive spirit of John F. Kennedy has remained an abiding one.”

Matthews may be best known as a television personality. He hosts MSNBC’s Hardball and is an NBC political commentator. But his roots are in column writing, and his published books, so far, total six. He grew up in Philadelphia, went to college in Worcester, Massachusetts, served in the Peace Corps, was a Carter White House speechwriter, and for six years was a top aide to speaker of the House Tip O’Neill before jumping to newspapers and television.

We checked in to talk about the new book—but as in any conversation with Chris Matthews, the path was winding.

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Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 12/29/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Traci Nobles explains the status of the e-book she plans to release about her relationship with the former congressman. By Carol Ross Joynt

Photograph from Traci Nobles’ appearance on the Today show.

Traci Nobles, one of the women who had an online affair with former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, says she still plans to publish her tell-all, I Freinded You [sic], but it has been postponed until at least the end of the year. Earlier it was announced it would come out last month. She says she’s “struggling” right now—divorcing, jobless, suffering from endometriosis, and having to live off the man who will be her ex-husband. Nobles, 35, is a former cheerleading coach and Pilates instructor “with two college degrees, in exercise science and health promotion and education.” We caught up with her to learn more about the book, why she is publishing it, and what it has to say that hasn’t already been made public.

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Posted at 11:28 AM/ET, 11/30/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()