City Desk

I Read The Thinly Veiled Politico Thriller So You Don’t Have To

Summer’s here and you’re looking for the perfect beach read. Might we suggest The List, former Politico reporter Karin Tanabe’s novel about life inside The Capitolist, a barely disguised Politico substitute described as “the only media outlet in D.C. that’s actually on the rise?"

But while Capitolist might be doing well, Tanabe's writing—not so much. That makes reading The List for glimpses into Politico a grueling exercise, so I did it for you. 

Here's Tanabe on life at Politico, er, Capitolist:

One year at the Capitolist could save you five years somewhere else, but you had to get through that year without doubling your body weight and tripling your blood pressure.

On dreams both sexual and political:

I once had a dream I was backstroking naked with John Edwards in a murky swimming pool in Washington, D.C. It was a bit like a swimming pool mated with a pot of soup.


On the sex lives of the Cannon House Office Building:

Girls wearing sensible shoes raced toward their sensible jobs, and young men with good heads of hair and a fondness for the missionary position looked at me as if I were a space alien who had just ambled in.

On lanyard culture:

Everyone wears a Capitolist lanyard. You have to, or they’ll immediately judge you and you’ll get stuck covering holiday parties at the Office of Waste Management.

On positive body image:

That was the thing about female print journalists. Dressing up, grooming, having two angular eyebrows—all frowned upon. It was still that archaic mentality of trying to blend in with the boys.

And that's the speed read on The List.

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  • Susan Bodiker

    And I thought it was me...wish I had read this review before I got the book. What a bore!