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In the mail today: State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America, a collection that proudly announces on the cover that it features “50 writers on 50 states.” There’s a nice batch of writers essayifying on Georgia (Ha Jin), Maryland (Myla Goldberg), Ohio (Susan Orlean), and so on. Better still, D.C. didn’t get neglected: The book’s afterword is an interview with Edward P. Jones. The novelist and short story writer mostly expounds soberly on the District’s institutionalized racism, but his chat with Cressida Leyson ends on a more wistful note:
Do you ever wish that you belonged to a state?
No, I think I’ve just wished that we had the same rights that everyone else has…. I think it may have been ten years ago when this started, but D.C. license plates now have the phrase, “Taxation without representation.” I don’t have a car, but I think one of these days I’m going to find out a way to get one of those license plates just for myself.
Jones will take part in a signing and discussion of the book on September 16 at the Library of Congress; the event will also include a screening of a short film related to the book.