Politics in Prose | Wyatt’s World

We’re just a handful of weeks away from a new round of consequential elections around the world, and with the wounds of 2016 still raw, a fresh wave of books on politics and political concerns hits the shelves. Here are five examples from those with firsthand experience and those whose ideas will fuel elections to come.

  • What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton (S. & S.).
    Beyond the venting rage of left- and right-wing pundits and media talking heads telling Clinton to be silent, here the former secretary of state’s reflections on the 2016 election and its outcome shape a richer and more resonant conversation about women’s voices and political choices.
  • Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation by John Freeman (Penguin).
    Addressing the riving topics of our times from multiple approaches, Freeman gathers the literary voices of Sandra Cisneros, Anthony Doerr, Roxane Gay, Rebecca Solnit, Karen Russell, and others, to share essays, reportage, poems, and fiction about inequality.
  • The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison (Harvard Univ.).
    Invited by Harvard University to serve as one of its Charles Eliot Norton lecturers, Morrison spent time in 2016 discussing literature and the ways it addresses the issue of belonging. Exploring racism, acceptance, and the concept of the Other, here she draws on her lectures to investigate how her own work and that of other writers considers the essential questions of today and ages past.
  • The Secret Life: Three True Stories of the Digital Age by Andrew O’Hagan (Farrar).
    If it had not been clear before, it is now blatantly apparent that the online world is another aspect of real life, with real-life effects in politics and our everyday routines. O’Hagan, one of Granta‘s Best of Young British Novelists, examines three lives inextricably wrapped up in the electronic world and its self-creation myths: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, a possible inventor of the digital currency Bitcoin, and the author himself, as he, too, assumes a fake identity online—one he stole from a real person.
  • Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur (Dey St: HarperCollins).
    Reporting for NBC News, Tur followed the Trump campaign for more than a year and was repeatedly called out by the president as an example of the “disgusting” press. Her insider look at the election, the attacks on the free press, and covering Trump as a woman add perspective to the circus of politics.
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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at Readers_Shelf@comcast.net

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