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Celeste Ng, Jon Meacham, and Other National Book Fest Participants Recommend Books for Washingtonians

Crazy times call for quality books.

Left to right: Bird; Ng; Meacham; and Medina. Photograph of Bird by Stephen Frietch. Photograph of Ng by Kevin Day Photography. Photograph of Meacham by Heidi Ross.Photograph of Medina by Penelope M. Carrington.

This Library of Congress event at the Washington Convention Center on September 1 boasts an all-star lineup, with literary darlings (Jennifer Egan, Lorrie Moore), political heavyweights (Sonia Sotomayor, Madeleine Albright), and nonfiction notables (Ron Chernow, David Grann) all scheduled to appear (free). We asked a few speakers what they think Washingtonians should be reading.

Kai Bird

The Good Spy

Reporter: A Memoir by Seymour M. Hersh

“This is topical and extremely well written, both a colorful account of Hersh’s career as an investigative reporter in Washington and absolutely inspirational for journalists everywhere.”

Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere

Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, and Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

“There are times when I read to escape, but there are also times when I read to keep going. These are books every American should be reading right now.”

Jon Meacham

The Soul of America

The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope

“Fiction may well be the best refuge from the madness of the moment. I just reread this, and it perfectly captures the human drama of an hour of shifting manners and morals.”

Meg Medina

Burn Baby Burn

The Displaced, edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen

“This beautiful collection offers intimate stories of authors from around the world. The chilling details of their ordeals offer us accounts of unspeakable losses. But more important, it offers a nuanced look at finding a new home and identity in places where, often, one is unwanted.”

This article appears in the September 2018 issue of Washingtonian.

Editorial Fellow

Emma Sarappo is an editorial fellow at Washingtonian. Her work has appeared in Tonic, PlanetForward, and The Bitter Southerner. She is from Nashville and never stops talking about it, and loves covering anything that takes itself too seriously.