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Welcome to Books R Us, a recommended reading blog from InfoSoup librarians and users and home to A Year of Listening Dangerously, the 2014 InfoSoup Reading Challenge! Find a great book to read next, add your own reviews, and check out our book related resources such as NoveList and BookLetters.

politics

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Author: Nicole M. Kelby

This book was just so great. In my family, the Kennedys were icons and I knew all about the pink suit. I do not know how many times my Irish mom told me the story of John Kennedy's assassination and Jackie's reaction. It became part of my fiber even thought I was not even born yet!

So this book really gave an interesting fictionalized account of the fashion world in which Jackie moved and all of the hard work that was put into her "knock-offs" in the US. The main character of Kate is a young Irish woman who is the assigned seamstress on some of the outfits for Jackie. She loves her job and takes pride in her work. She lives in an Irish neighborhood where she is dating an Irish butcher, Patrick. In the neighborhood some of her neighbors are jealous of her perceived status. Kate has to make a decision about Patrick. Toward the end of the book there is a heartbreaking day when Kate wears her own version of the pink suit. Soon,sadness follows for the real life Jackie and the tribute that Kate makes with the pink suit can be seen in your mind's eye. You will cry!

Great imagination and writing!

And the affirmation that fashion does have a place in our psyche is very interesting indeed.

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Author: H.G. Bissinger

This true story of how football reigns supreme in West Texas has been on my to-read list for years. My newfound interest in the TV series based on the movie based on the book brought me back to the book. And- I loved this book.

I'm not even mad about the time it took me to pick up the book (I had to put some time between the present & when I actually lived in West Texas). This is a great companion to the TV series because you can see how the Hollywood drama isn't so, errr, dramatic. Watching the series I found myself saying, the booster club wouldn't have a say in money spent on school budgets- wrong I was! Bissinger's well-written non-fiction piece is so much more than football, it's about education and racism, politics, and a quick and interesting read. I even enjoyed the football part of it. I loved Bissinger's sports writing and use of metaphor.

If you like the series (on Netflix or at the library), you will be as engrossed in the book as I was.

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Author: Bill Bryson

I always love to read anything by Bill Bryson and this was no exception.  In this book, Bill takes an often hilarious journey throughout vast Australia.  He vividly describes the sometimes desolate landscape, and repeats many times that Australia has more ways to kill a person (and in a horrific way) than any other place on the planet.  His close encounters with some of these deadly creatures were told in a very funny way, although I'm sure he wasn't laughing at the time.  Bill also does a lot of research into the history of Australia, many of which is unknown to most of us in the US, not to mention the rest of the world.  For example, back in the 1960's Australia lost a Prime Minister.  He walked into the water and was never seen again.  It never even made the news here.  Imagine a U.S. President going out for a swim and disappearing forever and then that not making the news.  It is nearly 100% a probability that the PM was attacked, and devoured, by any number of venemous beings in Australian waters.  When Bill asks a local about swimming and whether he should worry about sharks, the local tells him not to worry, that the last attack was a very long time ago (2 whole months).

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Originally posted in: APL Picks

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

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Author: Edmund Morris

He was a weak, asthmatic child who became an athletic outdoorsman. A child of privilege who battled inner city corruption as a New York police commissioner. A fast-rising politician who gave it up to become a cowboy in the west. An acclaimed scholar who achieved fame as a war hero. A conservationist who slaughtered big game. He seemed to do everything and be everywhere, and still managed to become America’s youngest president. Roosevelt’s life provides the raw material for a great book and that’s just what author Edmund Morris provides. Upon publication, this book was acclaimed an instant classic, and remains a riveting account of a fascinating life.

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Author: Nigel Hamilton

This “warts and all” detailed look at the lives of the American presidents from FDR through the George W. Bush is readable, fascinating, and full of the historical setting of each era. The mini-biographies are organized by The Road to the White House, Presidential Years, and Private Life. The book helps us realize that these men were indeed human with faults of their own.

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Author: John Ferling

Remember the election of 2000, when the Bush-Gore battle went unresolved for a full month after the voting? That race had nothing on the campaign of 1800, which ended in an actual tie. In that year, the incumbent president, John Adams, was running against his own vice president, Thomas Jefferson. Once friends who had worked together to draft the Declaration of Independence, the two men had come to detest each other. It was one of the dirtiest campaigns ever, with Adams accused of trying to set up a monarchy in collusion with the British, while Jefferson was charged with being an atheist and spy for the French. Adding to the drama, Jefferson’s running mate, Aaron Burr, was working with the opposition to supplant Jefferson at the top of the ticket. It’s a fascinating story, well told in Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800.

The Devil’s Highway: A True Story

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Author: Luis Alberto Urrea

The Devil’s Highway is a trapezoid of land bound by 1-19, the Colorado River, 1-8, and Mexican Rt. 2. This is a collection of stories covering the harrowing journey of the undocumented entrants and the hazards they face as they attempt to start a new life in the United States. Raw and engrossing.

Boomsday

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Title: Boomsday
Author: Christopher Buckley

When Cassandra Devine’s father spends her Yale tuition on his failing dot-com startup, Cassandra ends up in the military. Before long, a reckless congressman and a mine explosion hurl her into a scandal that ends her military career, and Cass’s consolation prize is a lousy job as a political aide in Washington D.C.

A decade later, the Baby Boomers are about to retire en masse, bringing the Social Security system and indeed the whole economy crashing down on the backs of younger Americans. By day, Cass is a skilled spin doctor for the slimiest characters in business and politics. By night, she is a populist blogger and revolutionary calling on the under-30’s to vandalize Boomer’s gated communities and golf courses.

In one caffeine-fueled rant, Cass presents her “modest proposal” to solve the social security crisis by providing tax breaks for Boomers who agree to voluntary transitioning (in other words, suicide) at age 65.

Surprisingly, the idea takes off and becomes a major issue in the presidential election. Cynical and funny; there are no good guys in this book.

Book Features:
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Author: Curtis Sittenfeld

This is a novel loosely based on the lives of Laura and George Bush. I found that intriguing but more importantly, the story was excellent. The last part of the book gives insights into what it must be like to live in the White House and how that would effect a marriage. Just because you're President does not mean that your spouse necessarily supports that or is in agreement with you about your politics! I kept wondering about Michelle Obama and how she is handling all of this right now. Curtis is a powerful writer. She is able to create all these points that come up again later in the story--that kept my mind alive and engaged. I don't want to create a spoiler but there is a symbol that is introduced early in the book which comes back up again toward the very end (long after you have forgotten about it). The way that Curtis a storyteller re-introduces it is truly masterful and becomes layered in meaning with this sentence: When I got my _______ back. Great job!