A Gift That Is Really Plural

Today is the first day of winter, this is the last article I will publish before the last minute Christmas gift buying frenzy and I’m deeply concerned for America. Juxtapose all those things and in my mind I have the basis of an article. Let’s explore.

I find one of my biggest frustrations in life is that the more I learn; the more I realize I don’t know. The best remedy I have found for that situation is to do some reading on the topic in question. I’m also one of those nerds who listens to authors speak (I love Book TV!) and keep a list of books that I want to purchase and read. That leads to another frustration: I never seem to have enough time to read every book I want to. Compounding that, often as I read a book I discover another area of relative ignorance and the cycle continues. This becomes a classic case of not letting the perfect become the enemy of the good. In other words: read what you are able to.

Books are a great last minute gift. You don’t have to worry about sizes and colors. Have a list for the recipient(s) and grab one or more of the titles that are available. (Often given as little as one business day your local independent bookseller can get the book delivered to the store or if you prefer shipped to the address of your choosing.) I strongly suggest that you buy your books from a local independent bookseller. They are most often small business people from the community who give back to the community. They pay local taxes and where possible patronize other local businesses. They also employ local people often including local students. In today’s economy too many of the “working my way through school” jobs have disappeared. (When was the last time some nice young man pumped your gas and washed your windshield?) Remember one of the economic principles that Paul Krugman has taught us: “My spending is your income and vice versa.”

Most of what I read deals with political history, economics and public policy. (The three are often inseparable.)

Below is a list of four books I added to the Recommended Reading section in 2017 followed by several that are on my personal buy and read list:

Hillbilly Elegy: by J. D. Nance

Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: by John Nichols

The Plot to Hack America: by Malcolm Nance

White Trash: by Nancy Isenberg

A World in Disarray: by Richard Haass

Fantasyland: by Kurt Anderson

Janesville: by Amy Goldstein

The Future Is History: by Masha Gessen

Playing With Fire: by Lawrence O’Donnell

We Were Eight Years in Power: by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Man (including Larry) does not live by policy alone; therefore I have added two fiction books I have read this year followed by two that I intend to read in the near future.

Camino Island: by John Grisham

Refugee: by Alan Gratz

Origin: by Dan Brown

The Rooster Bar: by John Grisham

I did not provide a synopsis of any of the books because too many of them are books I have not read yet.

When you give a book you give the gift of knowledge to the reader, you make America just a tiny bit better place and if you purchase it from a local independent bookseller you give back to your community. That is a lot of winners from a single small gift – and one of them is you.

P.S. If the gift is for yourself and you, like me, prefer to read e-books there are ways to still support your local independent bookseller. I use kobo.com.

It has become my practice to take the end of the year off from writing. Therefore today’s article was written well before publishing.

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