Monday, June 22, 2015

SUMMER IS HERE: BRING ON THE BOOKS



I love those  lazy days of summer where you get to be lazy and lay in a reclining hair or a hammock with a good book, or just take a lunch break sitting down near a brook or a pond.

CBC Books released its 2015 summer reading list today. 15 great book suggestions for the summer. I am in a non-fiction mood this last little while. High on my list at the moment are: 

Pope Francis's Si (Praise Be). I have felt an epiphany of sorts . Frankly, I am really reenergized about social justice. It has also reopened my eyes to Liberation theory and the role of the Church in social justice causes.  So, I am on the lookout for books related to Liberation Theory.

The latest collaboration from Memorial  Politcal Scientist Dr. Alex Marland has me quite interested. Political Communication in Canada: Meet the Press and Tweet the Rest. Vancouver: UBC Press looks to provide some really fascinating insight into the managing of politics in this country.  I have been fascinated with the impact that social media and the permanent campaign has had on Canadian and Newfoundland politics. With the exception of Styart N. Soroka's Agenda - Setting Dynamics In Canada and Bill Fox's Spinwars (1999- gee time flies) there has not been as much about how voters, lobby groups and politicians communicate with each other in our country in this new age.  There is plenty of stuff out there from the American vantage point, no doubt much of that has been incorporated into Canadian campaigns. However, a truly Canadian perspective to rival Sasha Issenberg's - The Victory Lab is what I am yearning for.

Which reminds me, I to write Dr. Marland to see if there is an E-version. I love having all of my reading on a single device.

They all fit in nicely with Drew Westen's The Political Brain: THe Role Of Emotion In Deciding THE FATE OF THE NATION. How does the partisan brain reason about political information? It doesn't! Which explains why I am no longer in the game like I used to be. If you do not drink the Kool Aid and espouse the purity of the gospel according to the leader - you are deemed to not be a team player. This is a great book for those of us that are trying to figure out how otherwise smart folks become so myopic when the engage in partisan politics.

I need to re-read Mike Harris's - Party of One. I tore through it a few months ago, but really need to take some time to read through my notes and revisit it in advance of the election.  Also, I have been trying to get into David Coy Johnston's Divided: The Perils Of Our Growing Inequity. It investigates the upward redistribution of wealth and income in the United States, an issue which promise to be central to next years Presidential election and is certainly a theme in Laudato. Inequality can not be ignored.

In light of the Liberal Party of Canada's thrilling conversion to the cause of making democracy work better in this country, there are a few books that I had read over the past year that I have to revisit. What I learned about politics: Inside The Rise - and Collapse of Nova Scotia's NDP Government by Graham Steele should make for a more sobering read as the inexplicable New Democrat surge continues to gain strength.  Tragedy in the Commons, Alison Loat and Michael MacMillan of the non-partisan think tank Samara, offers insight gleaned from eighty exit interviews with former Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum. These former politicians are pretty honest and forthright with their observations about how broken parliamentary democracy is.

Another book that has not gotten the attention it deserved from me is Colin Delany's How To Use The Internet To Win in 2014. It provides lots of useful advice in the use of tools and tactics for the modern campaign. I was particularly impressed with the sections on data, analytics, logistics, budgeting and GOTV. 

On the self-improvement side, I am continuing to utilize Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Life by Angeles Arrien and  the Missing Commandment by Jerry and Denise Basel. 

Also on my summer reading list are Don Lenihans Rescuing Policy: The Case for public engagement (Public Policy Forum), The Myth of The Strong Leader by Archie Brown, and The Arbinger Institutes Leadership and Self-Deception. 

Among the fiction I would like to rear are :John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany; Ru by Kim Thuy;  Judy Blume's In the Unlikely Event;   Harper Lees's -  Go Set A Watchman  (Not out until mid July), To Rise Again ant a Decent Hour - Joshua Ferris; and Station Eleven by Emily St Johns Mandel.  Four of these have been on my iPad since February.


On the lighter side, I rediscovered comics and graphic novels. It started as a ploy to get the boys reading more but I am hooked on new X-File, Star Wars and Preacher stories. As I tell Conor, these are not the comics your dad grew up with! 



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