If your book groups are like mine--you may find politics creeping into your discussions. Suddenly a steadfast fictional character who returns from war like Ashley Wilkes in Gone With the Wind reminds you of John McCain, while Jane Eyre, come to think of it, is sorta like Hillary Clinton--or not. Then there's the Mary Poppins question being debated by young adult readers. Did the Banks family hire the governess because they wanted experience--or because they wanted change?
Speaking of change... we know that most book groups tackle fiction. But, perhaps in an election year readers might prefer a book that actually talks about real life people in real life politics. There are the Clinton autobiographies(Bill has one called My Life, and so does Hillary, called Living History) and Barack Obama has an autobiography called Dreams from My Father, written in 1995, before he ran for political office. There's also a great new biography by New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller called Condoleezza Rice: An American Life. My own book group in Menlo Park has selected Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin as a summer read--as many are fascinated by Lincoln's strategy of lining his cabinet with brilliant people who just happened to disagree with him politically--and getting them to work together.
If everyone in your book group is on the same page politically, then be sure to read a book by or about someone on the opposite team. If you fear fistfights or wine and cheese flung in people's faces because of political discord, then read a book about a political figure of long ago--even if you must go as far back as John Adams by David McCullough (now an HBO miniseries) or Julius Caesar (don't know which book about him is best--but there is a great play!)
If you have any recommendations for other political biographies or nonfiction, please share them here. I would love to put together a list.
Causes Lauren John Supports
Keplers Bookstore Circle of Friends (Menlo Park)
Friends of the Menlo Park Public Library
Book Group Expo
Marin Agricultural Land Trust...