Books

The week's most talked about book

Barack Obama and John McCain are on the verge of accepting the nomination of the Democratic and Republican parties during the 2008 national conventions. Democrats take the stage in Denver, Colorado, from August 25-28; and the Republican party arrives in similar style at St. Paul, Minnesota, from September 1-4. Expectations from both parties are high.

But there's a new political agenda set to cause almost as much ruckus as the candidiates' opposing platforms ... a little book.

"Mike's Election Guide 2008," courtesy of Michael Moore, is a liberal, no-holds-barred examination of our politics. Pages explode with so much humor, you'll find yourself laughing out loud at Moore's sharp wit on serious topics such as health care, childcare, taxes and terrorism. Is he for real? Yep (from the cover photo of a tiny flagpin pictured on his shirt to the handy appendix). But mostly, he's extremely entertaining.

It's easy to conclude which political spectrum Moore identifies with if you're familiar with his background. He's been stirring things up for some time; and he pokes fun of everyone, both liberal and conservative ... especially the conservatives.

Moore is a filmmaker, author, actor and an occasional liberal political commentator. He has directed and produced the documentaries "Fahrenheit 9/11," "Sicko" and "Bowling for Columbine." Two television series, "TV Nation" and "The Awful Truth," showcase his sarcastic dissection of serious topics. He is also the author of two books, "Stupid White Men" and "Dude, Where's My Country?"

How does "Mike's Election Guide 2008" compare to other election guides? Let's examine one book that challenges the left wing party: "Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream" by Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam (Doubleday Publishing, June 2008). It's a serious examination of politics and a blueprint for building the Republican majority. This conservative vision in print proposes principles for health care, taxes and immigration, with a focus on working class voters.

Moore's guide highlights 10 presidential decrees for Obama's (potential) first 10 days in office; six proposals to fix our broken elections; a handy candidate guide to the 12 Senate and 30 House seats up for grabs; and more. He did his homework and includes several documented notes and sources to prove it.

He has way too much fun with the "Ask Mike" chapter of his book:

Question: If Obama can't bowl, how can he govern? I'm remaining an undecided voter until I see if he can swim and play hockey -- Mike Gates, Fond du Lac, WI

Answer: It is true that a man who can't bowl a game of 200 or above is a man who can't rule the world. Obama's gutter balls were, admittedly embarrassing. It would have been so much better for all of us had they put bumpers in the gutters like they do for kids ...


Where did he find these people? Or a better question: How does he come up with such goofy answers?

Wherever you live, whichever your political preference or your feelings about the two party candidates, don't take this election guide too seriously ... Moore doesn't. Instead, use it as a stress reliever, even if your escape from Dullsville lasts only as long as it takes to read a 260-page book.




POLITICS AND EDUCATION IN THE MAKING




Mike's Election Guide 2008

Non-Fiction

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Listen to an excerpt from Mike's Election Guide 2008






Dream in Color: How the Sanchez Sisters Are Making History in Congress

Non-Fiction

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Optimum Nutrition for Your Child's Mind

Non-Fiction

Authors: Patrick Holford, Deborah Colson

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Publication Date: September 2008




Tales From the Teachers' Lounge

Non-Fiction

Author: Robert Wilder

Publisher: Dell Publishing

Publication Date: August 2008



"The Week's Most Talked About Book(s)" is a weekly book review and literary criticism column that publishes every Friday. Selected titles are based on popularity, public opinion, research and observation. Questions, comments and suggestions should be sent to book lover and columnist Karla Mass at kmass@mcclatchyinteractive.com. She is a content producer for McClatchy Interactive.
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