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The List: A Novel Paperback – February 5, 2013
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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)
Top customer reviews
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It was a great read! Every page seemed to have something on it that made me laugh, and yet, it was really an interesting story, and I cared about what happened next. I hated to put it down when lunch was over!
The observations made by the main character, Adrienne, are often quirky and funny. I don't want to give them all away, but one of my favorites was when something was offered to her, and she thought she'd "rather shave her eyebrows and eat them." I was eating a sandwich when I read that and actually choked on it because I started to laugh! I had not expected that line!
Such unexpected, off-handed, funny remarks and observations are constantly made, and yet, the humor doesn't distract from the story itself. It's a solid story line that captured my interest from the first page. I had no inkling of how it would all turn out, which was fun. Usually I can foresee the ending, but not in this book!
I looked forward to lunch the whole time I was reading the book; I couldn't wait every day to read the next section! I wanted to know what happened to Adrienne; and beyond that, I wanted to know what happened to everyone else, too! I hope we'll see a lot more of Karin Tanabe's work! I can't wait for her next book!
If you've always wanted to learn how it works on the inside of an institution like Politic--er, I mean, "The List," this book is for you. Tanabe's portrayal of this lifestyle is spot on. Adrienne is extreme, to be sure, but that's kind of the whole point. Adrienne sacrifices being well-rounded in order to get to the top... like so many of the Type As that make up the DC demographic. The book deals with the toll that kind of sacrifice can take, from the unique perspective of a 21st century 20-something female who has always expected and been expected to achieve the best.
None of this is conveyed in a heavy-handed way, though. If I had to pinpoint it, I'd say Tanabe's most brilliant skill as an author lies in her ability to raise important questions and tell an important story, all while refusing to take herself seriously. What a breathe of fresh air for a Washington story!
The plot is a page-turner and the prose is incredibly funny. There is hardly a paragraph without a joke, many of them laugh-out-loud silly. I really appreciated the fact that Tanabe keeps her distance as the plot resolves, never pushing any sort of neat little moralistic message. Adrienne finds herself in a swirling intersection of romance, career and politics that raises quite nuanced themes, and leaves you with a lot to chew on.
Definitely a winner for a book club!
I enjoyed the book and all the characters. I liked the way the author referenced current, modern events and lifestyles. I loved reading about Adrienne's sister, Payton and how she figured in shaping Adrienne as a girl. The dialogue between sisters was a riot, as well as the stories of what the older one had done to the younger one! Too funny.
Overall, enjoyed the book!
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
All in all - I liked this writer. I would gladly read more.