My head has been spinning lately with the election season trying to understand what is happening to our country. I respect the fact that Trump will soon be our president despite outwardly not agreeing with his politics. However, I don't understand the populist movement behind Trump's win. In order to better understand, I wanted to create a list of books to read. My list had gone through several renovations before I discovered this article in the New York Times listing 6 books to help understand Trump's win. Someone did my research for me! Fantastic. Why reinvent the wheel when I had already decided upon three of the six books on the list? So in addition to hosting a literary read-along of the Bible next year, I will also host a 2017 read-along of these 6 books. As with the Bible read-along, I'm reading them regardless of whether anyone joins me, so if you just want to watch, I'm cool with that, too. Please comment below if you're interested in joining for some or all of them so I know whether I'm going to be making discussion questions. I will read these books in the order listed in the New York Times article because why not?
Anyone, Trump supporter or not, is welcome to join as long as the dialog remains polite.
Anyone, Trump supporter or not, is welcome to join as long as the dialog remains polite.
January - February: THE UNWINDING: An Inner History of the New America, by George Packer
March - April: STRANGERS IN THEIR OWN LAND: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild
May - June: HILLBILLY ELEGY: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
July - August: LISTEN, LIBERAL: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank
September - October: THE POPULIST EXPLOSION: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics by John B. Judis
November - December: WHITE TRASH: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg
This look to be really relevant books. I think that you will get a lot out of them and I look forward to your upcoming posts.ReplyDelete
Personally I have trouble respecting Trump's win. I understand the arguments for the and against the Electoral College. When one considers that we have had two Presidential elections in the last twenty years where the loser of the popular vote took office, plus multiple House Elections where the loser of the popular vote also ended up in complete control of the House, I cannot respect such an outrageously undemocratic system.
As I've been told: we're not a democracy, we're a "democratic republic." Whatever that means. They say it as if that closes the whole topic in favor of the electoral college. 🙄Delete
I'm in for this. I might not manage all of the books, but I have got to read something that helps me at least attempt to make sense of the world we live in now.ReplyDelete
That's so great! It'll be nice to have company while reading this important topic. I'll put out an opening post for each book, and you can let me know at that time if you plan on joining with that book. 🙂Delete
I think that I understand the movement better than most of the book community. I think that it helps to be a lifelong New Yorker who now lives in Alabama. I have had the honor of knowing peoples hearts and desires in both areas. People are fed up with the corruption more than anything. No matter who we voted for, we would be fools not to accept that frustration as legitimate. I get it. I am looking forward to your groups discussions and hope that the conversation is positive and leads to some real understanding. I am, however, leery of a couple of the books on the list. I haven't read them, although I have several of them on my list, so I will save judgement for when I do. I just don't trust that The New York Times wouldn't be happy to add books that in this context would perpetuate the all too real prejudice against people in the south.ReplyDelete
Yeah, I'm always a little leery of books like this, because they're going to have a bias. But what can I do?Delete
I'm delving into dangerous territory next year hosting a secular Bible read and a year-long political read, and it's possible that one or both of them will go sour. But that's what my comment delete button is for. 😮
Toady, I hear your concern and share it -- we are not going to get anywhere if we just demonize one group or another. I have never been to the South but want and need to learn more about that perspective.Delete
On the other hand, I simply cannot understand the election of a blatantly corrupt person in the cause of anti-corruption. I share the frustration, but my definition of "corruption" must be so different that it's like we're speaking different languages. Where can we find common ground, and meet in a way that allows us to work together rather than fight each other? That's the question I want to explore through this reading.
HL, you are a brave soul, and I appreciate deeply what you are taking on.Delete
Lory, I agree that the conversation needs to happen.
I also hear the people here saying that they are tired of people assuming that they don't like / respect the LGBT community or other religions because they are Christian, they are prejudice, they are uneducated... We aren't all cut from the same cloth, and there is a real fear from the right here that their freedoms were under attack to promote other agendas. I believe that there is a place for all of us and I think that we can find a way to support issues without pointing the finger at groups of Americans. I am heartbroken that we are so divided. I am not a young person, so I have first hand knowledge of what it felt like to have genuine pride in my country. How I miss that.
I agree that calling everyone who voted for Trump racist/sexist/homophobic is counterproductive, wrong, and hurtful. My boyfriend puts up with a lot of that and although I strongly disagree with his political stance, I understand why he's upset about the liberals' accusations.Delete
I also understand when the Trump voters call liberals elitist intellectuals with disgust in their voice. I mean look at me breaking out the term "cognitive dissonance." 😂
My understanding from my boyfriend (who is a Tea Partier) is that the other politicians running were corrupt politically, whereas Trump has had very little opportunity to become politicially corrupt. But I think there must be some cognitive dissonance going on there?ReplyDelete
Well, now he has the opportunity, for sure. But perhaps his supporters don't consider lining his own pockets and handing the US over to foreign interests as corruption? That's where the cognitive dissonance comes in for me.Delete
True. But there must be other reasons why he was elected. That's why we're reading these books next year. ☺️Delete
Our book club read White Trash last month. It's very much what it says -- a history. We were all hungering to get more of an understanding of the Trump supporter and it didn't quite get us there. But, as one of our members pointed out, understanding the history is a really good foundation. Strangers in Their Own Land was recommended that night and I've been curious about Hillbilly Elegy, too.ReplyDelete
I plan to join you, reading these books on the above schedule.
It'll be great to have you Joy! The more we have, the better the discussion will be.Delete
White Trash and Strangers in Their Own Land are excellent for helping understand what happened in early November.ReplyDelete
I've heard great things about them both. Hillbilly Elegy as well.Delete
Cool, thanks for featuring this NYT book list. I'm over-committed for the coming year, reading-wise anyway, but I look forward to seeing what you and other readers think of these books!ReplyDelete
Too bad you can't join us, but I totally understand being over-committed. That's the same reason I'm not joining your read-along of Wheel of Time. :)Delete
I've read Hillybilly Elegy and Strangers in Their Own Land....and would recommend both of them. Exellent! I will join you reading the other 4 books and await your kick-off post in January. It is important to learn why the USA has just experienced such a bitter and divisive campaign...and what can be done about politics in US in the futre?ReplyDelete
Great! I'm so glad you'll be joining us!Delete
Count me in! I've been seeing a lot of these 'understanding the election' lists and I know I won't really get to the books on them without reading buddies to hold me accountable :)ReplyDelete
Yay! Accountability is exactly why I decided to do a group read.Delete
I am also interested in this list (and someone to bounce ideas off of), so I am adding the first book to my hold list at the library. I grew up in the rural midwest & now live in the urban south (Atlanta, GA), so am curious about how some of these books will read.ReplyDelete
Hopefully you can join us! If you can't read at exactly the same pace because you're getting the books from the library, then that's cool. Just participate as you can! :)Delete
Glad you're spending two months on this first book, as it looks long.Delete
A book that's come up on my radar recently is Blue in a Red State by Justin Krebs. (My manager at work says it's a good look at talking/communicating across the lines of political difference.)
Thanks for the rec, I'll check it out! Though I'm not sure how many more nonfiction books I'll be able to pile in this year, lol. I can MAYBE get through one a month at my current pace.Delete
Thanks for hosting. I am looking forward to reading along and discussing.ReplyDelete
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.Delete
This looks like a great discussion and I hope to join in on 2 or 3 of them. It sounds like Strangers and Hillbilly Elegy might be two to focus on, given limited time. For myself, I'm torn between wanting to understand, feeling like I'll need to fight all the horrible policies that will come, and just wanting to put my head in a book.ReplyDelete
I'd like to participate in as many of these as possible. Political books have never been a favorite genre for me, but it's time I become more educated if I'm ever to understand how we, as a country, have gotten to this place we are in today. And while I don't love reading political books, I do enjoy reading sociology and there seems to be quite a bit of overlap in these titles.ReplyDelete
I would also like to participate. I'm so sickened by what is happening to our country and I truly don't understand. Especially after watching Trump's first news conference yesterday. I've already ordered WHAT WE DO NOW: Standing Up for Your Values in Trump's America but will also pick up The Unwinding. I do think it's so important for us to make our voices heard but yet to do so effectively, we need to understand those who elected Trump. Thank you for organizing this challenge.ReplyDelete
Thank you for organizing this. It's an excellent idea.ReplyDelete