The District Curmudgeon
The District Curmudgeon
Jaime Fearer & Geoffrey Hatchard
The District Curmudgeon came about when we bought a house in Trinidad in 2009. We each had neighborhood blogs before, and wanted to continue writing about local issues and events, but weren’t exactly sure what was the best format. We decided that we wanted to keep the blog from being tied to a certain neighborhood, so we could talk at length about anything that catches our attention. And, as the name reflects, we have a bit of a reputation for being...we’ll say stubbornly persistent.
1. What’s one thing you love about independent bookstores?
An independent store is going to do all they can to keep their money local, to work with the surrounding community to create a mutually beneficial relationship, and to provide what patrons are actively searching for. A dirty not-so-secret: Jaime worked for a chain bookseller for just over 6 years (and then for an academic publisher here in DC for another 5 years). She loved bookselling, but always wanted the opportunity to work for an independent.
2. What's your blogging philosophy?
The most important thing to us is accuracy. If you don’t tell a story truthfully, you stand to lose all your credibility. All it takes is one careless error to destroy a good reputation, and we don’t want to do that to someone we’re writing about (if it isn’t warranted) or to ourselves. Good stories written well will draw attention naturally.
3. Who are your readers?
Our readers are mostly people who have found the blog through word-of-mouth from other blogs and twitter. Many tend to also be sticklers for truth and accuracy, and for holding others accountable for their actions. And some like to argue for argument’s sake, not that we’re complaining.
4. What’s your favorite D.C. blog?
Greater Greater Washington, and not just because we’re contributors. At its best, it brings together people who have traditionally had little-to-no voice in local politics with those who are actively crafting policy, and creates a space where they are able to discuss ideas as equals.
5. How can the analog medium of books & the digital mediums make beautiful creative babies?
Though we’re happily immersed in electronic communications, when it comes to books, we’ve not yet converted from analog to digital in our house. Some prefer the feel of a bound book in our hands, while others find the heft cumbersome and the ease of digital readers liberating. If the end goal is to keep people invested in reading, then ideally print and digital can work cooperatively rather than in competition. We can all support our local booksellers and independent publishers by continuing to purchase books, no matter the format.
Now for the really fun part. In the bookstore world, when a customer approaches us for our expert advice, we get to do our favorite thing: the handsell. This is when we put a book we love in the hands of customer who would probably have never thought to pick it out for themselves. I can't tell you how much joy this brings us.
Three Book Recommendations
Dream City: Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington, D.C. by Tom Sherwood and Harry Jaffe. Required reading for understanding how corruption during the Barry years crippled DC government and led to the “control board.” It would be wonderful if the authors would produce a follow-up!
Altars in the Street: A Courageous Memoir of Community and Spiritual Awakening by Melody Ermachild Chavis. A starkly truthful and poignant read that will resonate with anyone committed to immersing themselves 100% in their community. Chavis offers the honest guidance many search for.
Capital Sporting Grounds: A History of Stadium and Ballpark Construction in Washington, D.C. by Brett L. Abrams. A thorough history of the stadiums that have and have not been built in DC. The drawings of never-built stadia on Hains Point and where RFK is today are fascinating.