Ben Freed

DCist is a blog about anything and everything in Washington, D.C. It's not the White House and the U.S. Capitol that capture our attention--as beautiful as they both are--but rather the politics, history, culture, and cuisine of local D.C.


1. What's one thing you love about independent bookstores?

Independent bookstores are invaluable for the expertise of their staff and the role they play in building community. Unlike shopping online, the mere act of of walking around an independent bookstore opens you up to titles, authors and people that you might not ever have known of.

2. What's your blogging philosophy?

Be fair and be honest. If you have an opinion, make it clear. If it changes, admit it.

3. Who are your readers?

Our readers run the gamut from young to old, new to D.C. and longtime residents, Ward 1 to Ward 8 and everything in between.

4. What is your favorite D.C. blog?

There are almost too many to choose from, but Ghosts of D.C. has become a quick favorite. There are few blogs out there that dig into the history of D.C.--street by street, building by building, event by event--as Ghosts of D.C. does.

5. How can the analog medium of books & the digital mediums make beautiful creative babies?

This is the million dollar question. If we knew the answer I would have trademarked it already and made millions.

Three Book Recommendations

Martin: "Too Big to Fail" by Andrew Ross Sorkin. How close did the U.S. economy come to collapse in 2008? Sorkin explains in engaging--and easy to understand--detail.

Ben: "The Map and the Territory," by Michel Houellebecq. Houellebecq's portrait of an artist named Jed Martin is rivetingly funny, even as it turns into the author's version of detective fiction following an exquisitely painterly murder scene.

Our Readers: "What it Was," by George Pelecanos. Pelecanos churns out eminently readable crime thrillers by the dozen--and centers the majority of them in and around D.C. It's hard not to stop and think, "Hey, I know that place" when he describes the scene of a robbery or murder.

"Dream City: Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington, D.C.," by Tom Sherwood and Harry Jaffe. Even though the book is old and out of print, it's the must-read history of D.C. In many ways, its lessons are timeless.

Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System--And Themselves Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143118244
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Penguin Books - September 7th, 2010

The Map and the Territory Cover Image
By Michel Houellebecq, Gavin Bowd (Translator)
ISBN: 9780307701558
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - January 3rd, 2012

What It Was Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316209540
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Reagan Arthur Books - July 15th, 2016