O: A Presidential Novel

Hitting bookstore shelves today is the recently hyped, much speculated about novel O, an anonymously written novel about the Barack Obama White House. This book has created a big media splash with everyone wanting to know, who wrote O?

O is a novel about aspiration and delusion, set during the presidential election of 2012 and written by an anonymous author who has spent years observing politics and the fraught relationship between public image and self-regard.

The novel includes revealing and insightful portraits of many prominent figures in the political world—some invented and some real.

Visit the O website  for more info and to speculate for yourself about the anonymous author.

Read more in The Globe and Mail, National Post and The Quill and Quire.

The Story of Prohibition

Have you ever wondered how it was possible that something as crazy as outlawing the transport, sale, manufacture and consumption of alcohol came into effect? That the Constitution of the United States was actually amended to restrict human behaviour?

Seasoned journalist Daniel Okrent has all the answers in his newest book Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.

Beginning with the liquor-soaked country that the U.S. was in the nineteenth century, the book explains three things: How Prohibition happened, what life under Prohibition was like, and what it did to the country. The book is told largely through the stories of personalities in American history large and small, ranging from Susan B. Anthony to bootlegger Sam Bronfman to H.L. Mencken and even a glimpse of Joseph P. Kennedy.

It’s a book rich with stories from nearly all parts of the country. Okrent’s narrative runs through smoky Manhattan speakeasies, where relations between the sexes were changed forever; California vineyards busily producing “sacramental” wine; New England fishing communities that gave up fishing for the more lucrative rum-running business; and in Washington, the halls of Congress itself, where politicians who had voted for Prohibition drank openly and without apology.

Through it all, Americans kept drinking, going to remarkably creative lengths to smuggle, sell, conceal, and, sometimes fatally, imbibe their favorite intoxicants.

Last Call is authoritative, meticulous, and thrillingly told. It stands as the most complete history of Prohibition ever written and confirms Daniel Okrent’s rank as a major American writer.

Required Presidential Reading?

  Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals has been getting a lot of press lately for being one of Obama’s favourite books, but did you know that George Bush also read it in 2006?

According to this article, it was one of 95 books he read that year during a reading contest with Karl Rove.

 (Rove won.)

Obama

As you mull over yesterday’s election results, let us here at Simon and Schuster recommend a few titles we’ve handily published to satisfy all your Obama-related curiosity:

 

In this carefully reported biography, drawing upon interviews with more than one hundred people, including one with Michelle herself, Mundy captures the complexity of this remarkable woman and the remarkable life she has lived.

 

The moving story of an exceptional man, as told by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Bryan Collier, both winners of the Coretta Scott King Award. Barack Obama has motivated Americans to believe with him, to believe that every one of us has the power to change ourselves and change our world.

 

Whether you are a Baractogenarian (an Obama supporter over the age of twenty) or an Obombre (a Spanish-speaking male who supports Obama), you’ll cherish this indispensable guide – from the editors of Slate –  to one of the greatest Obomenons in American politics.