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The List: A Novel Paperback – February 5, 2013

4 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Adrienne Brown has left a fabulous job as an editor of Town & Country, in which she partied with the rich and famous in New York, and collected a designer wardrobe to work in Washington, D.C., for a political newspaper and website that promises long hours and little recognition or pay. But it’s the Capitolist—the List—which is rising in power, influence, and the ability to launch careers into the stratosphere if its writers can hang on. Adrienne’s buddies in the little-respected style section offer support as they commiserate over their ill treatment. With every long, overworked day, Adrienne wonders about her decision. She’s 28, living with her parents in Virginia in an apartment above the barn, and working insane hours with no love life. Then she stumbles onto a sex scandal involving a prominent senator that could elevate her from the trenches into the limelight. But does she have the feral ambition it will take to get the story? Tanabe, a former Politico reporter, has written a fast-paced novel about politics and journalism in the digital age. --Vanessa Bush


"A biting, hilarious send-up of D.C.'s elite." (People)

“Hildy Johnson would recognize a kindred spirit in 28-year-old Adrienne Brown, a Beltway-bred, New York-trained reporter who sacrifices sleep, sanity, and sex to feed the wonky digital/paper beast the Capitolist – or “The List” as its rabidly ambitious scribes call it. Adrienne slaves in relative obscurity as a “Style section girl” at this Beltway must-read, blasting out celebrity interviews on her never-turned-off Blackberry. But within a month of her arrival, she also stumbles on what will become a blockbuster, front-page story involving List superstar and shrewish White House reporter Olivia Campo. To untangle the details of the hot-sheets affair between the married Olivia and famously family-man U.S. senator—and two mysterious deaths—Adrienne enlists the help of her pushy big sister, Payton. She not only gets a career-boosting story but the respect of her perfect sibling, high-powered parents, and sharp-elbowed peers. Former Politico reporter Tanabe’s roman-a-clef is a hilarious skewering of digital journalism – and how news is tweeted and blogged at a dizzying pace by armies of underpaid and overworked 20-something journos—as well as smartly paced and dishy debut, part political thriller, part surprisingly sweet coming-of-age tale, and part timeless ode to dogged reporters with good instincts and guts of steel. Hildy would be proud.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

"A contemporary, politically astute novel that is both wickedly humorous and enticing...[with] complex characters, an intriguing plot, and tightly brilliant execution. When word gets around about The List, readers will clamor for their copy and devour this book." (New York Journal of Books)

"Tanabe gleefully skewers digital media sweathshops...[but] despite its breezy, chick-lit tone, The List has more in common with newsroom satires." (Washington Post)

“Appealing…everything a die-hard chick-lit fan could want: plenty of fluff, sibling rivalry, deceit and intrigue, and a spunky heroine.” (Kirkus)

"The List is mandatory reading for anyone who wonders about the impact of new media on Washington's political culture. Tanabe has written a novel that is delicious fun and incredibly revealing about life at the intersection of politics and journalism." —Nicolle Wallace, New York Times bestselling author of Eighteen Acres

“A gorgeous book—I loved it. Funny, intriguing, and utterly unputdownable.” (Penny Vincenzi internationally bestselling author of More Than You Know)

"Karin Tanabe's energetic, humorous debut is narrated by a young reporter trying to prove herself by chasing the biggest story of the year. The List perfectly captures the frenetic, all-consuming pace of political reporting, with a healthy dose of scandal, glamour and intrigue thrown in. Think The Devil Wears Prada meets Capitol Hill." (Sarah Pekkanen author of These Girls)

"The List is a wonderfully witty insider's romp through Washington. Karin Tanabe has as sharp a tongue as she does an eye for detail, about everything from political scandal to office politics. And I thought New York was a tough town!" (Cristina Alger author of The Darlings)

The List is a breezy, dishy romp through Washington, DC politics, journalism, and scandal—a witty and caffeinated glimpse into a world few of us ever see, let alone know as intimately as Karin Tanabe surely does. But underneath the considerable pleasures of its glimmering surface, it's a surprisingly moving coming of age story about a young woman navigating the bumpy terrain between ambition and ethics, between her hunger for professional success and the quiet truth of her own heart.” (Lauren Fox author of Friends Like Us and Still Life with Husband)

“Part coming of age, part political thriller, Karin Tanabe's The List is a mordantly funny send-up of quadruple espresso fueled journalism in the internet age, with the most irresistible heroine since Bridget Jones at its center. This is Evelyn Waugh's Scoop for the 21st century." (Susan Fales-Hill author of Imperfect Bliss)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press (February 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451695594
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451695595
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #840,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Karin Tanabe is a fiction writer and former Politico reporter whose writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, and The Washington Post among many other publications. Before turning to fiction, Karin worked as a celebrity journalist and society reporter. She has made frequent appearances as a celebrity and politics expert on Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition and CNN. A graduate of Vassar College, she lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and daughter.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a native midwesterner living in Washington, I hate Washington books that get it wrong. The List is not one of those books. The way the author describes the power-hungry inhabitants, the overworked journalists, the twenty-somethings who want to sprint up the ladder but are so afraid of making the wrong professional move - it's all spot on. If you're a fan of the Netflix show House of Cards but think the portrayal of Washington is a little off, read The List instead.

I was glad that the book met all my "accurate Washington" expectations, but I was very pleasantly surprised with how hilarious it is. Protagonist Adrienne Brown comes from a world of luxe fashion magazines in New York but she heads to Washington for a little more substance and ends up falling on a story that could change her professional career and really make a name for herself. The big question is should she do the right thing, or do the right thing for her career? I liked the moral struggle in the book, which is also something the antagonist, Olivia Campo, has to deal with.

Olivia's story is a little bit more like the show Revenge, and while I shared Adrienne's loathing of her in the beginning, in the end it was a tough decision between team Adrienne and team Olivia. Though the ending definitely doesn't leave you hanging, I definitely wondered about Adrienne's next move when I finished. Now I'm waiting for the sequel! Readers who like laugh-out-loud chick lit like Sophie Kinsella will love this book and it won't disappoint the wonks either.
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The List is one of those books you will not be able to put down. Though it's both funny and clever, Tanabe's novel is more than just charming chick lit; it's an insider's look at the fast-paced media world -- and what it costs. I found this book extremely relative in our current, media-addicted, I-need-to-know-it-now society. In fact, I was just as obsessed as the main character when she stumbled upon a scandalous affair and wondering what I would do if faced with the same moral dilemma. The List is a book that will keep you guessing until the final page (which you'll probably stay up until all hours reading!) -- which I love, because there's nothing worse than a predictable ending.

This would be a fantastic book club pick.
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Format: Paperback
If you wonder about the people whose bylines show up again and again on sites like Politico, Huffington Post, Gawker, Drudge etc., The List
explains that they're actually super young reporters hunkering down with barely time to wash their hair or eat a real meal. I liked how
this book, penned by a former Politico writer, gave me a look into that world without ever having to join it because it doesn't sound

Adrienne Brown is Tanabe's main character and while she's a reporter for a political print and web outlet in Washington DC, she's not a
sharp elbowed, super confident scribe. She's trying to make a name for herself while keeping some integrity and carving out a personal life. The first challenge turns out to be easier than the second as she falls on a story which could be big, about a colleague and a senator,
and then has to decide if she's going to report it or not.

Knowing Washington well, I liked how this book didn't overly glamorize things. The Hill and D.C. journalism seem shiny and powerful on TV,
but for the under thirties trying to work their way up, it's more about really low salaries and the fear of making a wrong move.
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I wasn't drawn to the book because of the political thriller aspect,
which the Publishers Weekly blurb on the cover touts, I bought it
because my friend's book club picked it and said it was really funny.
They were right. The List is hilarious, even cover your mouth as you
guffaw funny at times. Adrienne Brown, the main character, is 28 and
trying to navigate the journalism/politics intersection of Washington
D.C. She used to work at Town & Country but decided she wanted to do
something more meaningful so headed to D.C. to write about politics.
All that sounds pretty serious, and her job definitely is - not to
mention so fast-paced I can't believe there are journalists left - but
Adrienne's inner monologue and her conversations with her sassy older
sister are where the humor shines. I loved her sister Payton and the
rest of Adrienne's family. The family dynamic is really funny as
Adrienne's trying hard to keep up with the over achievers she's
surrounded by all while she lives in a barn. It can get a little
madcap and Bridget Jonesish at times, but if you like Helen Fielding
or Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers movies, you'll definitely like The
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"The List" is unputdownable--hilarious at times, thoughtful, fast paced, thrilling, with an ironic twist at the end that would compare favorably with such classics of the newspaper trade as "Miss Lonelyhearts" and "What Makes Sammy Run." What Karin Tanabe describes is a new world of journalism--relentlessly fast-paced and competitive that threatens to devour the persona of those involved. It is must reading for anyone who is tempted to become a journalist today who is willing to risk being wrung of every ounce of energy , where competition is absolutely brutal. What saves this book from the bleak world of "Sammy" and "Miss Lonelyhearts" is the writer's elegant sense of humor. You'll be chuckling along from one explosive episode to the next. The starred review in Publishers Weekly made references to Hildy, the fast-talking dame of a journalist played by Rosalind Russell playing opposite Cary Grant in "His Girl Friday." Move the plot to today's world of journalism and you have , tadah!, "The List" (short for the Capitolist, an online newspaper reminiscent of Politico where the author used to work). Hollywood should option this novel and find a new version of the Rosalind and Cary combo. Munch, munch . . . a delicious read.
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