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  • Tara Sonin 5:00 pm on 2018/02/09 Permalink
    Tags: 11/22/63, abraham lincoln vampire hunter, all american girl, american queen, american wife, , , , , , , dolley, eighteen acres, ellen feldman, eugene burdock, executive orders, failsafe, frost/nixon, , harvey wheeler, , it can’t happen here, jailbird, , jenn marie thorne, joe klein, , , leader of the free world, , lucy, , , mount vernon love story, mrs. President, nicole wallace, peter morgan, , primary colors, , seth grahams-smith, sierra simone, sinclair lewis, stephen carter, , , the impeachment of abraham lincoln, the inner circle, the plot against america, , the wrong side of right, , wide awake   

    25 Fictional Presidents 

    President’s Day is around the corner, so we compiled a list of 25 fictional presidents for you to read about! If watching the news bums you out, but political intrigue does not, these books are for you.

    Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
    This haunting novel centers around the true story of Lincoln’s son, who died during his Presidency. While President Lincoln visits the gravesite of his son, the ghosts who have clung to life narrate a deeply moving, complex thread of tales.

    11/22/63, by Stephen King
    This political sci-fi is about a man who travels back in time with one goal—to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. While the President does not “officially” appear in the story, the entire plot centers around Jake Epping managing to stop Lee Harvey Oswald…but will his actions have the opposite impact on American history than he hopes?

    American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld
    Loosely based on Laura Bush, this novel stars Alice, a small-town girl who grows up to marry a future President. Follow Alice in her courtship by a dazzling Republican man she finds herself unable to stay away from…but once they enter the White House, she realizes she disagrees with in ways they may be unable to reconcile.

    Jailbird, by Kurt Vonnegut
    Watergate gets even more insidious in this story, told from the perspective of a fictional co-conspirator in the Nixon Administration cover-up. Wry and humorous, but also dark and revealing of the jagged edges of human nature, Vonnegut’s anti-hero shares the story from his perspective years later, after serving his time for the crime.

    Dolley, by Rita Mae Brown
    Dolley Madison was the fourth first lady in American history, and this novel explores her fictional diary. Being the wife of one of America’s founders was both glamorous, full of fashion and parties…and horrendous, as her husband ushers the country into war.

    Primary Colors, by Joe Klein
    Originally published anonymously, this novel takes readers behind the political curtain of presidential campaigns. Based on Bill Clinton’s rise to the presidency, told from the perspective of a lower-level aide, every moment is rife with drama on the verge of scandal.

    Eighteen Acres, by Nicolle Wallace
    Nicole Wallace is a former Communications Director of the White House (and current political pundit) and wrote a novel imagining the first woman president as she weathers a re-election campaign, an infidelity scandal, and an international blunder.

    American Queen, by Sierra Simone
    Now for a very different kind of novel, this erotic romance imagines a completely fictional scenario in which a girl finds herself in love with two men: they just happen to be the President of the United States…and the Vice President of the United States. Confused? Once you meet Greer, Embry and Maxen in this reimagining of Camelot, you’ll be in love.

    The President is Missing, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
    This book isn’t even available yet, but it’s totally pre-order worthy…because it’s the first novel written by a former President! Bill Clinton teamed up with James Patterson to write a political thriller about what happens when a President vanishes without a trace.

    Failsafe, by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler
    Published in 1962, when tensions between Russia and the US were at an all-time high, this speculative novel imagines a scenario in which American bombers take control of the nuclear weapons and decide to put an end to the conflict once and for all…and the President must act before Russia engages them in all-out war.

    The Dead Zone, by Stephen King
    Stephen King returns to the list with this bestselling speculative novel about a man who wakes up from a coma with the mysterious ability to see people’s futures. But this becomes a problem when he has a vision of a man running for President…and it’s disastrous. Does he intervene to prevent it from coming true?

    Executive Orders, by Tom Clancy
    The worst has occurred: the President, the cabinet, and most of congress is dead. That leaves the VP, Jack Ryan, in charge. President Ryan must govern without a government all the while trying to figure out who is responsible. Riveting and with twists that will leave you breathless, fans of Designated Survivor will love this novel.

    The Inner Circle, by Brad Meltzer
    An adventure of presidential proportions begins when an archivist and his one-time crush find a mysterious dictionary that belonged to the first president, George Washington. They must race against the clock to decipher the meaning of the dictionary, and, once a man ends up dead, hope they don’t end up suffering the same fate.

    The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, by Stephen L. Carter
    This fascinating novel imagines a world where Lincoln did not die, and instead lived to face the consequences of the Civil War…namely, an impeachment trial for a breach of executive powers. When one of Lincoln’s lawyers is murdered, a young black woman working for his defense team must unravel the mystery.

    Mount Vernon Love Story, by Mary Higgins Clark
    Mystery master Mary Higgins Clark wrote an historical novel about George Washington! Did you know that many people believe Washington, despite being married to Martha, was in love with someone else? Higgins Clark is not one of them; she writes the love story between America’s FIRST first-couple as one of mutual respect, admiration, and affection.

    Lucy, by Ellen Feldman
    In contrast, this novel is about a president who was in love with someone who wasn’t his wife. Before he was President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt loved Lucy Mercer…Eleanor’s social secretary. Through polio, a world war, and two presidential terms, despite his promises to Eleanor, Franklin and Lucy remain connected. Heartbreaking, romantic, and beautiful.

    Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, by Seth Grahame-Smith
    Presidents go paranormal in this fun novel that reveals the true story behind our 16th President. Abraham Lincoln was a vampire hunter, hell-bent on vengeance against the creatures responsible for his mother’s death.

    Mr. President, by Katy Evans
    Matt and Charlotte have known one another since they were kids. He was the son of a President, and vowed never to follow in his father’s footsteps…except now he has, bringing Charlotte along for the ride. The problem? Charlotte loves him, but knows she can never love a President. This erotic romance novel sizzles with political steam.

    The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth
    An Alternative history where FDR loses the 1940 election to isolationist Charles Lindbergh…who strikes a deal with Hitler to stay out of his way. But tensions rise, along with anti-Semintism, and the consequences are seen through the eyes of one boy.

    It Can’t Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis
    This book was written during the Great Depression, but the subject matter is still relevant today. Featuring another character who unseats Franklin Delano Roosevelt from the Presidency, this novel details the dangers of populist rhetoric with a President who halts progress on all fronts and holds his enemies captive.

    Frost/Nixon, by Peter Morgan
    This play dramatizes the epic showdown between journalist David Frost and President Nixon, in which the former tries to get the latter to confess to his crimes. (You can watch the movie, too!)

    Crooked, by Austin Grossman
    Grossman’s reinvention of Tricky Dick as the inheritor of a presidency imbued with magical powers—a man consistently distrusted and marginalized by the people who could have prepared him for the battles to come—is thoroughly enjoyable. Most importantly, it offers up an idea of a president who has more than a veto up his or her sleeves. Certainly a little black magic would be very welcome in today’s unsettled world.

    All American Girl, by Meg Cabot
    One of my favorite YA novels featuring regular-girl Sam Madison, who saves the president from an assassination attempt. Sam is in love with her older sister’s boyfriend, but as she spends more time with the President’s son—the only person who seems to understand the downsides to her newfound fame—she starts to question both her choice, and whether she could love the kid who lives in the White House.

    The Wrong Side of Right, by Jenn Marie Thorne
    Kate has never known her father, but when her mother dies, he reveals himself: a powerful politician vying for the White House. Suddenly, Kate is embroiled in the world of politics, a new family, and a dangerous first-love…all the while grieving for her mom, and the life she once loved.

    Wide Awake, by David Levithan
    This speculative novel stars the first gay, Jewish President…whose election is promptly declared invalid by a governor of a crucial state. Jimmy and Duncan, a teen couple, decide to lend their support by joining the protests to support him.

    What novels featuring fictionalized presidents do you love?

    The post 25 Fictional Presidents appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jenny Shank 7:00 pm on 2015/10/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , the inner circle, ,   

    Where to Start With: T.C. Boyle 

    I’m such a T.C. Boyle fan I’ve interviewed him three times for three different newspapers—several of which no longer exist. It’s not surprising that the energetic Boyle has outlasted many other writers, publications, and institutions. He’s the author of 25 books, from 1982 debut Water Music to this year’s The Harder They Come, and shows no signs of slowing his high-quality literary output any time soon. Why do I keep coming back to Boyle? For many reasons—his storytelling chops, making you feel from the first word that you’re in the hands of a master; his outsized characters; his interest in recurring themes, such as humanity’s animal nature, that nevertheless always feel fresh; and the vigor of his prose. If you’ve never picked up a Boyle book or want to explore his catalogue further, here’s where to start.

    The Tortilla Curtain (1995)
    According to Boyle, this provocative novel is his book most often selected for citywide and university reads. Perhaps that’s because its themes remain as relevant today as they were 20 years ago: the fate of Mexican migrants and what happens when they come into conflict with well-heeled Americans, the degradation of the environment, and the tendency for drought-stricken California to flare up in wildfires. Or maybe the book is selected for community read-ins because it’s a humdinger of a story.

    T.C. Boyle Stories (1998)
    T.C. Boyle’s early novels earned plenty of accolades, including a Pen/Faulkner Award for 1987’s World’s End, but I tend to prefer his more recent novels, since Boyle has since refined his storytelling skills to virtuoso levels. On the other hand, I love his raw, surprising early short stories, collected in this 1998 volume, especially my all-time favorite, “Stones in My Passway, Hellhound on My Trail,” a harrowing, quick-as-a-flash tale about blues musician Robert Johnson.

    The Inner Circle (2004)
    When I interviewed Boyle in 2007, he was at work on The Women, a novel inspired by the life of Frank Lloyd Wright, and a book he described as being part of his “great egomaniacs of the 20th century” series, which also includes 1993’s The Road to Wellville, about John Harvey Kellogg. If forced to choose just one of Boyle’s egomaniac books, I’d pick The Inner Circle, because Boyle and sex researcher Alfred Kinsey are a match made in literary heaven. Told from the perspective of Kinsey’s fictional assistant John Milk, this novel is full of humor, conflict, and sex, of course.

    Drop City (2003)
    This novel, a finalist for the National Book Award, concerns a group of hippies living in the Drop City commune in Sonoma, California, in 1970. Government officials seek to oust them because “nobody wanted a free-form community in their midst, because free-form meant anarchy, it meant a cordillera of trash a mile high and human shit in the woods.” They relocate to Boynton, Alaska, to the consternation of the native population, and living off the land becomes a lot more intense for the acid-laced hippies.

    The Harder They Come (2015)
    Boyle doesn’t make despicable characters likeable, but he always manages to render them at least compelling and human, and that gift has perhaps never been stronger than in his most recent novel. The book, inspired by recent events, is told from three perspectives—that of a 70-year-old Vietnam veteran who kills a would-be robber in Costa Rica with his bare hands; that man’s mentally disturbed son Adam, who heads into the California wilderness and lives there as an outlaw, breaking into cabins and growing poppies for opium; and Adam’s lover, an anti-government woman whose relationship with Adam culminates in a crime spree. It’s volatile material, and in Boyle’s sure hands, it’s riveting.

     
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