For one evening, the University Club was transformed into Book Country as more than 35 of DC’s bestselling authors turned out to meet and greet fans. Besides purchasing holiday gifts made personal with autographs, shoppers were able to nab some face time with writers like Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, co-authors of That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back.
The event provided variety, making it easy to find the perfect gift for anyone on that list. Mystery loves were lined up to buy Blink of an Eye, by former Senator and Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen. What’s better than a good mystery? How about one set in wine country—Ellen Crosby’s The Sauvignon Secret. One of baseball’s best known writers, Paul Dickson, was on hand to autograph his books—Baseball Is…Defining the National Pastime and The Dickson Baseball Dictionary.
This being DC, political books and thrillers dominated: Ronald Kessler, The Secrets of the FBI; James Swanson, Bloody Times: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the Manhunt for Jefferson Davis; Ken Walsh, Family of Freedom: Presidents and African Americans in the White House; and, Jody Warrick, The Triple Agent: The al-Qaeda Mole Who Infiltrated the CIA.
Domenica Marchetti, a graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism, worked as a reporter for several newspapers before giving into her love of food. “My mother is from Abruzzo and is a wonderful cook,” she said. Marchetti spent time in Italy and has continued her family tradition. Her book, The Glorious Pasta of Italy, covers the basics of pasta making, then goes on to provide mouth-watering recipes for soups, sauces, filled pastas, and much more.
We had a quick lesson on Prohibition in Washington DC—How Dry We Weren’t, from author Garrett Peck. Because of the popularity of Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, set in Atlantic City, prohibition is a hot topic. Little did we know that DC underwent the prohibition experiment before the rest of the country. Peck’s book is filled with amusing anecdotes. (Like the origin of Welch’s Grape Juice). Peck conducts walking tours around DC to cover sites notable in the city’s prohibition history. For more information, go to his website, Temperance Tour.
The Park sisters—Frances and Ginger—suffered a family tragedy. In their grief, they turned to each other, and the comfort of chocolate. That journey led to the opening of one of DC’s most beloved stores, Chocolate Chocolate, and to a book—Chocolate Chocolate: The True Story of Two Sisters, Tons of Treats, and the Little Shop that Could. Besides receiving an autographed book, shoppers were able to sample the store’s truffles and other chocolate delights. Equally delightful are the sisters themselves—chatty, enthusiastic, eager to please. We quickly learned that half the people in the room (including Thomas Friedman), are loyal fans of Chocolate Chocolate. The book tells a great story and, as a bonus, includes the shop’s recipe for the House Truffle.
Like so many others, we left with a shopping bag filled with books, reading for ourselves and for many on our list. Rarely is our Christmas shopping so much fun!