George's Lucky "Top 13" Summer-of-Cindy Reading List, by Tom Engelhardt** This is a delightful tongue-in-cheek article of suggested summer reading for George Bush from Tom Engelhardt.
For your summer reading enjoyment, I'd like to suggest Tom Engelhardt's latest book, "The Last Days of Publishing". “A satisfyingly virulent, comical, absurd, deeply grieving true portrait of how things work today in the sleek factories of conglomerate book producers... a skillful novel of manners -- of very bad manners”
—Herb Gold, LA Times
Click to read author interview, reviews and blurbs, first pages of novel, or to buy.
Tomgram: George’s Lucky "Top 13” Summer-of-Cindy Reading List
A Besieged-in-Crawford Reading List for the President
By Tom Engelhardt
It's been a month of momentous White House announcements. First, there was Laura's gender-bending, glass-soufflé-dish breaking decision to choose Cristeta Comerford for the previously all-male post of White House head chef. Then came the issuing of the presidential vacation reading list. Besieged in Crawford's Green Zone by Cindy Sheehan and her supporters, but also by sinking poll numbers, rising casualty figures in Iraq, Republican fears for the 2006 midterm elections, soaring gas prices, and a world generally spinning out ! of control, the President has sworn to stick to vacation normalcy -- biking, brush-cutting, and, of course, reading. "I think it's also important for me to go on with my life" has been his response to the building pressure -- and to prove it, we're told, he's settled in with three good books: Mark Kurlansky's history of salt, John Barry's tale of the great flu pandemic of 1918, and... hmmm... Edvard Radzinsky's upcoming Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar.
But in his summer of non-fun, further steps on the book front may be in order. Admittedly, he's already signed on for 1,500 pages of heavy reading, but tsars, salt, and the flu? As the berms go up and the universe closes in, what the President really needs is a genuinely useful summer-of-Cindy reading list and, as a longtime editor in publishing, I decided I could provide exactly that. So I took an informal survey of editors and writers I know, asking for their thoughts on a presidential reading list that might bring closure to George's beleaguered August. The books, I suggested, should be attention-grabbing, informative, and above all utilitarian.
The list that resulted from my survey includes several books on (or recently on) bestseller lists, a couple of eternal classics (child as well as adult), and other intriguing suggestions that add up to a hefty 4,000 pages of help. I've taken the liberty of arranging them into four categories -- a lucky "top 13" list of books whose order is meant to offer a shape to the last weeks of a long, hot presidential summer.
13 Problem-solving Books for George:
On Handling the New Neighbors
1. Waiting for the Barbarians by J. M. Coetzee: A South African fable about strangers at the gates of a disintegrating empire.
Click here to read more of this dispatch.