Starred Review

The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics

by Barton Swaim

Mention the name of former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and there's at least a fair chance the response will be, "hiking the Appalachian Trail," a reference to the feeble story his aides offered to cover up Sanford's secret trip to Argentina to visit his mistress in June 2009. Barton Swaim's memoir of the nearly four years he spent as one of Sanford's beleaguered speechwriters during that time is a candid, witty look inside the world of high-stakes politics. 

Like his predecessors, Swaim's early

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The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life

by Bernard Roth

Rarely can the audience for a book be accurately described as "everyone, at every age and stage of life"--but this is true for The Achievement Habit by Bernard Roth (professor of engineering and the co-founder and academic director of Stanford University's design school). Having taught for 52 years, Roth is a gifted instructor sharing what he has learned about how to create a life with meaning. His primary recommendation is to stop trying (which requires force) and instead take action (which is empowering).

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What Pet Should I Get?

by Dr. Seuss

The siblings from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish return for a triumphant trip to the pet store in this newly discovered manuscript from the treasure troves of Dr. Seuss.

Instead of fish that have "a little star" or fish that drive "a little car," the denizens of the pet store that the boy narrator and his sister Kay visit include more realistic offerings: "a fine dog who shook hands," a cat that Kay pats, and a pup and kitten. Seuss goes to town with the phrase "Make up your mind," which appears on

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Shelf Discovery

The Invaders

by Karolina Waclawiak

An incisive skewering of a privileged beachside community facing an "invasion" of lower-class outsiders.

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Media Heat

Monday, July 27, 2015

On Diane Rehm: Cyrus Copeland, author of Off the Radar: A Father's Secret, a Mother's Heroism, and a Son's Quest (Blue Rider Press, $27.95, 9780399158506).

On the Daily Show: David McCullough, author of The Wright Brothers (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781476728742).

Thursday, July 23, 2015

On KCRW's Bookworm: Linda Rosenkrantz, author of Talk (NYRB Classics, $14.95, 9781590178447).

On the Daily Show: Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau, $24, 9780812993547).

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

On Diane Rehm: Stephen Petranek, author of How We'll Live on Mars (Simon & Schuster/TED, $16.99, 9781476784762).

Monday, July 20, 2015

On Diane Rehm: Arthur Brooks, author of The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America (Broadside Books, $27.99, 9780062319753).

Thursday, July 16, 2015

On KCRW's Bookworm: Christian Kracht, author of Imperium: A Fiction of the South Seas (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $23, 9780374175245).
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