Read ’em and Weep

We’ve seen the people of POGO demonstrate their athletic prowess — now it’s time for them to share their scholarly leanings.  Each staffer was asked to provide the book they are currently reading, or the last book they read, along with a short review.  The result was an eclectic list of biographies, novels, histories, science fiction tales, and yes, even a book on contracting in the 1970s.  Without further ado, the POGO September reading list:

Abby Evans, Development Associate
How Proust Can Change Your Life
by Alain de Botton
Self-help, philosophy, literary criticism, biography, and history all wrapped up into one deliciously witty, quick read.

Danni Downing, Program Editor
The C-5A Scandal: An Inside Story of the Military-Industrial Complex, by Berkeley Rice
A narrative of how the defense procurement system actually worked–or didn’t work–in the 1970s. The major points of this thirty-year-old story still sadly hold true today.

Ingrid Drake, Investigator, Director of the Congressional Oversight Training Series (COTS)
Pulitizer: A Life, by Denis Brian (father of our Executive Director)
When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina
by W. Lance Bennett, Regina G. Lawrence, Steven Livingston
People of the
Book, by Geraldine Brooks

Pamela Rutter, Web Manager
Of Mice and Men
, by John Steinbeck
American Classic.  I’m revisiting 9th grade American literature! 😉
My Life in France
, by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme
The Watercooler post about the Julia & Julie movie inspired me to read!  Maybe I’ll learn a couple tricks about cooking too!

Neil Gordon, Investigator
Isaac’s Storm
, by Erik Larson
The story of the 1900 Galveston hurricane and Isaac Cline, a meteorologist with the U.S. Weather Service who bears some responsibility for the massive loss of life.

Marthena Cowart, Director of Communications
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
First published in 2007, it has become a international best-seller. This a very French novel: tender and satirical in its overall tone, yet most absorbing because of its reflections on the nature of beauty and art, the meaning of life and death.

Chris A. Pabon, Director of Development
The Surrogates
, by Brett Weldale.
In the near future, people interact with each other through cybernetic surrogates. Movie with Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell comes out this fall.

Danielle Brian, Executive Director
Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time
, by David Oliver Relin and Greg Mortenson

Mandy Smithberger, National Security Investigator
Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women who Created Her, by Melanie Rehak
I never even really read Nancy Drew growing up, but as Supreme Court nominees, etc, keep dropping her name as an inspiration, it seemed like a fun read. It’s kind of the lower culture, abbreviated companion to Elaine Showalter’s A Jury of Her Peers.

Ned Feder, Staff Scientist
So Damn Much Money: The Triumph of Lobbying and the Corrosion of American Government, by Robert G. Kaiser.
The way the lobbyists triumphed — not just because of their own cleverness and their payouts, but because Congress is poorly equipped to resist. Fascinating story.

Bryan Rahija, Blog Editor

The Savage Detectives, by Roberto Bolaño
From the Chilean Jack Kerouac, a eulogy for founders of a punk rock poetry movement.

Feel free to chime in with other recommendations in the comments!

— Bryan Rahija

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