It never ceases to amaze me the variety of non-fiction books published each season. Politics, popular science, biography memoirs and history (And you thought writers had finished with the Civil War!), cooking, etc. all seem to make their way onto bestseller lists. Fans of non-fiction have their favorite authors, just like readers of fiction; certain author’s names guarantee big sales.
Bob Woodward, of Watergate fame, has written a number of books relating to presidential policies. Starting with The Commanders, which describes the first President Bush’s relationship with his military commanders during the first Gulf War. Since then, Woodward has concentrated on reporting various aspects of the administrations of Clinton, Bush II, and Obama. In The Price of Politics, his latest book, Woodward describes behind the scenes at the White House and the Capitol during the budget crisis of 2011.
That budget is the focus of a new book by David Wessel entitled Red Ink: inside the high-stakes politics of the federal budget. “In a sweeping narrative about the people and the politics behind the budget, Wessel looks at the 2011 fiscal year (which ended September 30) to see where all the money was actually spent, and why the budget process has grown wildly out of control.”
David Wessel and Bob Woodward write about contemporary politics but Evan Thomas describes Ike’s Bluff. Dwight David Eisenhower led the victory over Hitler’s Germany in the closing days of World War II, although he had never seen combat first hand. In reality, Ike hated war, but he, as president, threatened to use Nuclear weapons against the Communist threat. There was another side to President Eisenhower’s bluff: he let the press and voters think he was not as smart as he actually was.
From contemporary politics and presidential politics let’s go to books about cooking and plants, not my favorite comfort zones. The outdoor gardening season is over, but not so the raising and cultivation of indoor plants. Tovah Martin, a well-respected gardening expert, has written The Unexpected Houseplant: 220 Extraordinary Choices for Every Spot in Your Home. Martin starts her book in the fall, which she considers the start of the indoor growing season, and continues through the year describing a variety of houseplants the reader can grow in their own homes.
If you get hungry taking of those indoor plants and decide to join the “eat local food” movement, Marisa McClellan’s Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round should be of interest to you. Like Martin, McClellan has suggestions for every season. With Christmas approaching fast, the book has recipes for jams, sauces, etc. that would go with the season. McClellan also has a blog at www.foodinjars.com.