Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Books, Bill Clinton's Picks

Someone should hire former President Bill Clinton to be a regular book reviewer. Regardless of politics, he has a brilliant mind, loves books and is excellent at reviewing them. And the fact that The Today Show, a news program, as opposed to, just another entertainment show, calls Clinton's selections "smarty pants" choices revels how often real news and issues are being dumbed down.  Too many interviews with celebrities and reality stars does that. Now I enjoy gossip just as much as the next person [Heck, yeah!], but when I read or watch the news from (what is supposed to be) the legitimate press, I want stories about important world issues ... and I want balance ... and the reporters to interview sources ... plus thoroughly do their homework. Hopefully, the folks who write, edit and produce the news, themselves, read compelling books.  By the way, Ann Curry was terrific this morning anchoring the segment.  It was the website -- probably a cyber editor trying to be cute -- that labeled Clinton's books a "smarty pants" list.

Listening to Bill Clinton review books on The Today Show this morning reminds me what critical thinking is.  There are many world issues and worthy ideas, which are bigger than politics and celebrity.  There are subjects and topics that say something about the human condition and help us understand who we are.

Clinton explains why books are important and make great gifts: Books "make you think" and "feel."  Reading "gives you time" [that's] "intensely personal, but you're completely involved. It's a wonderful way to get away from the helter-skelter of your life ..." [plus] "you can always be growing."  [It keeps] "your mind open and thriving." 

Here are Bill Clinton's book recommendations:
Penned: Back To Work

By Simon Sebag Montefiore (Knopf)
2. Lincoln 
By David Herbert Donald (Simon & Schuster)
By Marcus Aurelius (Simon & Brown)
By David Fromkin (Knopf)
By Seamus Heaney (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
 By Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Harper Perennial)
7. King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa
By Adam Hochschild (Mariner Books)
By Robert Wright (Vintage)

So if you have any last minute holiday shopping, head over to the bookstore. School


  1. Hi Debra.

    We appreciate your thoughtful comments about the importance of books and President Clinton's recommendations. I watched the video of today's interview and missed a few of the titles, so I did some internet research and your blog came up. Thanks. I'm the coordinator of the Chief of Naval Operations' Navy Professional Reading Program for every sailor in the US Navy from Junior Enlisted to four star admirals. We're based at the Naval War College. Do you have a Twitter account? I'd like to pass the word on about you.
    Martha Koziara @NavyReading or martha.koziara.ctr@usnwc.edu

  2. Hi Martha,

    Although I don't much use it, I do have a Twitter account: https://twitter.com/#!/Debra_Turner. Good to have the Naval War College as readers. Lucky me! Feel free to chime in anytime.

  3. I will be reading several off the list.

  4. I'll have to get my husband an extra present from Barnes & Noble.

  5. You are funny and cool ... with this year's and last year's readiing lists! :)