This Is How It Starts

last read…

As mentioned in a past post about another novel taking place within the Beltway, I love reading fiction set in Washington DC. Especially since I have left the District, looking back on the specific time and era of these books takes me back and especially when written accurately, I can imagine that I lived in the same universe as these stories and the characters are people that I actually knew.

Add in Philadelphia references that allow me to relate even further, and that is one hell of a book cocktail.

I love that the protagonist meets a secondary character, who is on the low-low if you get my drift, at Local 16. These days (nearly a decade after publication) the bar is rather stale, albeit the rooftop is a great location for a University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation alumni happy hour, but when this book was released (2009), it and to a larger extent, the U Street corridor was still in its nascent stages of transition to the yuppie neighborhood it is today. All this is to say, is that Grant Ginder nailed Local 16 as the covert bar of the mid-to-late aughts.

I love the mention of The Express paper. My initial commute in the District was down the green line and west on the orange line. It was certainly lengthy enough to warrant reading material, especially since this commute took place in the pre-iPhone era, and The Express allowed me to avoid eye contact. That little publication was enough to keep me occupied with both pop culture nuggets and legitimate news, while awaiting my transfer on the L’Enfant station platform, through Farragut West. The Express was like an extended Skimm, before the Skimm.

Lastly the protagonist makes a metaphor with which I identify; it is to the effect that …everyone is dancing the tango, and I am doing the waltz… Marinate on that.


This Is How It Starts by Grant Ginder


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