What’s on your Summer reading list?

Those lazy days of Summer are upon us. I hope that all of you have the chance to take a break and recharge your batteries before the fight against Brexit enters its most intense phase.

I’m heading away for some highland bliss in the last two weeks of August, so everyone’s on notice not to do anything too exciting during that time.

I get too little time to read books for pure pleasure these days so I am really looking forward to putting my feet up and getting through some of my massive “must read’ pile.

So far this Summer, I’ve read two fantastic memoirs from former Obama staffers. I reviewed Dan Pfeiffer’s Yes we still can: Politics in the age of Obama, Twitter and Trump which has some highly relevant observations for Liberal Democrats.

Former Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco’s Who thought this was a good idea was as much a self-help inspiromercial as it was insightful account of the Obama White House and beyond. And the bit about how impossible it was to get tampons in the White House shows how it wasn’t used to accommodating the needs of staffers who had periods.

On my list for Summer is yet another Obama staffer’s book. Ben Rhodes, former Deputy National Security Adviser, has written The World as it is. I’m looking forward to his take on global power play and where we go from here.

I am determined to read more by people of colour and The things I would tell you is an anthology of diverse experiences of British Muslim women, whose voices need to be heard and experiences taken seriously. We need to stand with them when they face discrimination and abuse.

I am really looking forward to doing more than scanning through Trans Britain : our journey from the shadows, a history of the fight for transgender rights and the heartbreaking stories which inspired it. I saw editor Christine Burns speak very entertainingly  on this at Trans Pride in Edinburgh in March. The book contains chapters by our own Helen Belcher and Sarah Brown.

I also have a stack of fiction planned – I still haven’t read beyond the first chapter of Vince’s Open Arms so I feel obliged to actually get through it.

I’m also looking forward to B A Paris’s Bring me back. I found her previous books, The Breakdown and Behind Closed Doors compelling despite the fact that they needed better editing to get rid of plot holes and inaccuracies.

I heard author Angie Thomas interviewed on Woman’s Hour last year about her debut novel, The hate u give, about how a young woman learns the realities of racism as she strives to achieve justice for her best friend after he is shot dead by a policeman. I was inspired enough to buy the book but still haven’t got round to reading it.

So there’s seven from me. What are you planning on reading this Summer?

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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4 Comments

  • Oliver Craven 5th Aug '18 - 4:44am

    Most of the way through ‘The Signal and the Noise’ by Nate Silver, an American journalist and statistician. Some good insights on forecasting and data

  • Can I suggest that for political obsessives like ourselves, we should try to read something non political over the summer.
    Can I recommend “Relentless”, the biography of NFL star Julian Edelman. It’s about a kid from the wrong side of town, too small, went to the wrong college and probably wasn’t good enough anyway but who just wouldn’t give up in persuit of his dream. It’s no spoiler to say he made it, big time.
    Just shows that you can turn almost anything around if you refuse to be beaten. Oh, there I go talking Brexit again !

  • Peter Martin 6th Aug '18 - 9:25pm

    Maybe just make a little time for some political reading?

    On the one hand, Lib Dems like the Pan European entity known as the EU, and on the other they like devolving power to local Govts.

    There’s still an argument, well made by MItchell and Fazi in the book below, that the real power lies at the level of the Nation State and shouldn’t be carelessly ignored by the centre left.

    https://www.plutobooks.com/9780745337326/reclaiming-the-state/

  • Radical Holiday Reading for radically-minded LDs

    Four recent best-sellers: The Failed Experiment (2014) exposes the failure of Thatcher’s ‘neo-liberalism’. Postcapitalism (2015) discusses where we are now. 23 Things they don’t tell you about capitalism (2010) is brilliantly arranged to suit any reader. And The Econocracy (2017) exposes how ‘Economics’ has in four decades become a closed-shop of erroneous doctrinal orthodoxy, leading us to calamity.

    Economics is not about finance but about how communities make or exchange what they need or desire, steered by Politicians for the good of everybody. But in Britain politicians were pleased to adopt the enticing mistakes of cleverly wrong economists. Our most pressing task is to explain this lucidly to everyone , so that voters can more easily spot errors and lies, and ensure that the country is governed for them, by politicians of good faith and good understanding. Then every village will get a bus service, and every patient a nurse, when they need them, and not when and where the Propheteer chooses to allow.

    So everyone in or near democratic office must understand the message of the four books. None needs reading from cover to cover: they are not equally accessible for the ordinary reader like me. But those who cannot grasp the four books’ basic theses ought not to be politicians: Conservatives have been hoodwinked by unscrupulous colleagues — e.g. into ‘knowing’ the non-existence of the ‘Magic Money Tree’. “You can’t get out of debt by borrowing more”, says cosy Auntie Maggy across the kitchen table. Well, anyone can see that! You can, though, if you’re a self-employed taxi-driver, who gets his car back on the road with a new tyre bought with a credit-card. That is Investment, and it works better than Austerity, better than going hungry for a week or a decade, scrimping to buy a tyre with cash.

    Democrats, then, must first understand the conclusions in the four books. Best read the concluding chapters first. Then we must communicate our new understanding to the whole electorate. Once people grasp the necessity of a truly radical change in conservative “thinking” they will vote accordingly for the Left and the Centre and the rescue of our four nations. This will not be easy; too many powerful villains and dupes (and First Past The Post) are ranked against the people. But we must do it; and we can.

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