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Monday, July 14, 7:00 pm

The second book by the Johns Hopkins history professor and author of In the Name of the Father views American history from the perspective of five Frenchmen who fled their revolution in 1789 for refuge in Philadelphia. Furstenberg follows Talleyrand, Rochefoucauld, Louis-Marie Vicomte de Noailles, Moreau de Saint-Méry, and Constantin-François Chasseboeuf—all liberal anglophiles, as they observed and engaged in events ranging from the Haitian revolution to the Louisiana Purchase. (Penguin)

ISBN-13: 9781594204418
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press HC, The, 7/2014

The Stager: A Novel Written
By One of Our Own


For any author, having a novel published is an act of bravery, exposing one’s talents to the world. Even more brave is if publication comes while working full-time in a bookstore, among colleagues who are tough literary critics. That’s exactly what has happened to our own Susan Coll, P&P’s director of events and programs, whose fifth novel, The Stager, was released this month.

Susan needn’t fret. Her book already has received favorable reviews in The Washington Post and the Washingtonian, and was tweeted this month by best-selling author Cheryl Strayed (writer of Wild). Naturally, we want to join the chorus toasting Susan and celebrating a terrific new addition to P&P’s list of recommended fiction.

Fans of Susan’s earlier books know that she’s a master of dark comedy that focuses on lives and lifestyles in the upscale enclaves of suburban Washington, DC. But while her novels are set locally, their themes resonate with readers far beyond the nation’s capital. Topics have ranged from parents gone amok over kids’ college applications to teenagers gone amok at high school “beach weeks.” In The Stager, Susan uses a real estate transaction—the sale of a large house in a tony suburban zip code—to explore the excesses, foibles, and yearnings that lurk beneath a gloss of faux success, happiness, and perfection. The result is an entertaining, humorous tale that also manages to penetrate the deeper, darker absurdities of contemporary life.

Susan came up with the idea for the book when she was putting her own house on the market some years ago and was advised to use a “stager” to make it more appealing to potential buyers. The experience was dehumanizing in ways she hadn’t imagined and led her to think about “staging” as a metaphor for the world around her. She worked on the book for several years, usually at night and on weekends when she wasn’t at the store. The writing took longer than with her previous works, but the slower pace, she says, turned out to be fortuitous, giving her more time to craft characters and narrative.

A number of us at P&P consider this book to be Susan’s best yet. We’re especially partial to one of her main characters, Dominique, who happens to be a very wise rabbit. The cover is also one of the cleverest we’ve seen.

We hope you enjoy The Stager as much as we have.

--Brad and Lissa

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Save the date! September 7

Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Politics & Prose
on Sunday, September 7.

Family fun throughout the day and a toast to three decades of books, authors, and readers at dusk. More details to come—save the date!


Cover to Cover

Cover to Cover is a monthly P&P Staff Pick, the book we’ve all been reading & recommend, cover to cover.

We don’t often see the words ‘romance’ and ‘classic’ used to describe the same novel, but nothing truer can be said of Diana Gabaldon’s Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, the most recent in a now 8 volume series that is about to arrive on the small screen, with Starz debuting a series based on the novels next month. A sweeping epic of a tale, crossing time and place, it is historical fiction at its most delicious— painstakingly researched and deeply engrossing.

For more on the series, read Janice's review.


Kobo Sale

From now until July 23, save $30 on the Kobo Aura. The sale price is now $109.99 and you will receive 2 free eBooks, The Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry and Garden of Lies by Eileen Goudge.

read more about the kobo aura


Summer Classes for Kids

Does your child have some free time and a love for sci-fi, fantasy, comics and storytelling? Then check out these classes for kids and teens! Comics Jam & Scribbler’s Cabal, July 21 – 25. Fantasy Writing Workshop for Teens, August 11 – 15. Dungeons and Dragons, August 18 – 22.

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Only a Few Spots Left: Provence

The team behind P&P’s popular trip to Paris is offering a trip to Provence this October. The model will be the same as Paris: some structure, some free time, discussions, and an opportunity for full exploration and enjoyment of a very special part of the world. A three-day excursion to Marseille is optional.

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Autumn in Italy

Politics & Prose and author Phyllis Theroux invite you to join a small group of congenial travelers this October for a week at Villa Spannocchia, a charming farm estate in Tuscany. Day trips to nearby hill towns, plus a three-day Art & Tuscan Cooking Tour of Florence are on offer.

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P&P is excited about the National Book Festival!

(click to view a larger image ▲)


Children and Teens

Calling all Sleuths!

 Looking for summer fun filled with espionage and escapades? Become a Summer Sleuth with P&P! Beginning on July 17 and running through August 14, our Children and Teens Department is hosting a summer of riddles, clues, prizes, and, of course, mysterious reads for all ages.

Participating readers can solve mysteries to win prizes from area businesses (spoiler: ice cream & brownies involved!) and showcase their reading progress on the walls of the Children and Teens Department. Need more clues to help you get started?

  • Summer Sleuths kicks off Thursday, July 17.
  • New clues (one for each age group) will be posted in the Children and Teens window display each Thursday for a consecutive four weeks.
  • Think you’ve solved the clue? Share your answer downstairs in the Children and Teens Department for a chance to win a prize. New prizes* from area businesses—Avalon Theatre, Little Red Fox, Comet Ping Pong, and P&P—will be available each week.
  • Read a spy-themed book from our window or choose your own adventure!
  • Add your name to the Detective Wall of Fame 1) for every book you finish or 2) every time you solve a mystery and claim your prize.
  • Share your favorite sleuth reads and experiences with us at @KidsandProse and in store!

Questions? Summer Sleuths still strike you as mysterious? Call the Children and Teens Department at 202-364-1919, ext. 3, or email

*Limit one prize per person per week.


New in Paperback

Blast from the Past

Book Cover Book Cover

Mariko Tamaki
This One Summer
(First Second, $17.99)

Mary Ann Rodman
My Best Friend

(Puffin, $5.99)

read more about these books.


Now on Sale

Monday, July 14, 6:30 p.m.



Lunch at the Willard

Sunday, September 14, 12 p.m.



Music News

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