From a new look at Thomas Jefferson to the latest installment of Robert Caro’s monumental series on LBJ to an acclaimed portrait of Catherine the Great, here are just the right books for anyone who does “know much about history.”
Talking Points Memo: How was it to write [the book] while still having a day job?
Nate Silver: It’s very challenging, because they require different parts of your brain. The blogging part of your brain has to be very caffeinated and reactive and news-driven and conscientious of needing to get information out reasonably quickly. Whereas a book, you really need some space where you shut out distractions and are able to do some reflection and deeper thinking. You need to be well-rested, which I’m terrible at most of the time. On the one hand you’re trying to take these different subjects, and you might call them verticals — politics and poker and global warming and everything else — on the other hand, you’re trying to weave themes throughout the book so it’s not just a series of essays or an anthology that drives to a coherent point. That requires a lot of energy. On top of that you have to use narrative and structure and dramatic interpretation of things, and you also have to be accurate to a series of facts you’re presenting, some of which are new to you. It’s a lot to do, I think, to write a quote-unquote “real book” when you’re making an effort to step back and make a real argument and have some nuance and complexity in it. This last crunch in particular, from about February or March onward, has been just the busiest period of my life, professionally. I’m looking forward to sitting on a beach somewhere in December.
With the Olympics coming up, its appropriate to remember this awesome campaign Dwyane Wade did with Penguin.
The project began when Penguin Classics and the NBA asked Wade to help celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Penguin Classics and NBA Cares “Read to Achieve” Literacy Initiative by choosing a classic title. Wade selected Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudiceas his favorite Penguin Classic.
“I’ve read Pride and Prejudice a couple of times,” Wade explained. “It’s one of my favorite books, which usually surprises people. I guess they wonder how a love story from Regency England could be relevant to a 21st century basketball player from the Southside of Chicago. Class struggle, overcoming stereotypes and humble beginnings, getting out of your own way and letting love take over: these are things I can relate to, definitely.”