A little light reading while we make history

If you spent all last night glued to the television watching election news programming or in front of the computer refreshing Five Thirty Eight and Twitter, let’s get you some help today. Here are some election-themed books to help wean you off your political information addiction.

Election by Tom Perrotta

Who really cares who gets elected President of Winwood High School? Nobody — except Tracy Flick. Tracy’s one of those students of boundless energy and ambition who somehow finds the time to do everything — edit the school paper, star in the musical, sleep with her favorite teacher. Her heart is set on becoming President of Winwood, and what Tracy wants, Tracy gets. With weeks to go before election day, her victory is nearly a foregone conclusion. And that’s just the problem, according to Mr. M — a.k.a. Jim McAllister, faculty, advisor to the Student Government Association and a popular Winwood history teacher. In the name of democracy — not to mention a simmering grudge against Tracy Flick — Mr. M recruits the perfect opposition candidate.

(Also, catch the movie has starring Matthew Broderick, because there’s nothing not fun about seeing Ferris Bueller as a teacher.)

All’s Fair: Love, War, and Running for President by Mary Matalin and James Carville

James Carville and Mary Matalin, lifetime political consultants, met and fell in love. They shared a dream: to direct a campaign for President of the United States. And then their dreams came true. Problem was, they had to campaign against each other.

Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics by Anonymous (Joe Klein)

A brilliant and penetrating look behind the scenes of modern American politics, Primary Colors is a funny, wise, and dramatic story with characters and events that resemble some familiar, real-life figures. When a former congressional aide becomes part of the staff of the governor of a small Southern state, he watches in horror, admiration, and amazement, as the governor mixes calculation and sincerity in his not-so-above-board campaign for the presidency.

    The Race by Richard North Patterson

    He’s a decorated Gulf War pilot. A fashion plate. A ladies’ man. An independent thinker who speaks his mind and never takes no for an answer. The only thing Americans can expect from Corey Grace is the unexpected…Love him or hate him, the country can’t wait to see how this charismatic white senator from Ohio—who now has fallen in love with black movie star Lexie Hart—will perform in the most brutal of political contests. Will Grace endure in spite of his controversial lifestyle, and a tragic mistake buried deep in his past? Or will he perish under pressure—from players on both sides of the party line?

    What It Takes : the Way to the White House / Richard Ben Cramer.

    An American Iliad in the guise of contemporary political reportage, What It Takes penetrates the mystery at the heart of all presidential campaigns: How do presumably ordinary people acquire that mixture of ambition, stamina, and pure shamelessness that makes a true candidate? As he recounts the frenzied course of the 1988 presidential race — and scours the psyches of contenders from George Bush and Robert Dole to Michael Dukakis and Gary Hart — Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Richard Ben Cramer comes up with the answers, in a book that is vast, exhaustively researched, exhilarating, and sometimes appalling in its revelations.



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