Summer of Recovery Reading List

Like many Americans, I’ll be spending my summer looking for a job.  In addition to contemplating what I want to be when I grow up (continue a career in politics or try something new?), I’ve also been devouring a few books.  I even read my first self-help book!  For those on a budget, borrow from friends, buy them for a few dollars cheaper on your e-reader or smartphone or check them out at the library.

Some of my favorites so far:

Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America by Ann Coulter

If you’re a regular HUMAN EVENTS reader, you’ve surely heard of Coulter’s newest New York Times best seller.  Unlike many other books by well-known conservatives, Coulter’s have unique research.  In Demonic, she introduces readers to Gustave Le Bon, author of the 1876 book on mob think, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind.  One aspect of the book that the mainstream media doesn’t seem to grasp in their attempt at a “gotcha” moment is that “mob” does not mean a group of like-minded people.  Mobs are violent.  Mobs rely on inane slogans.  Mobs aren’t reading the Constitution, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and other free-marketers.  Our peaceful protesters clean up the public areas after they’re done.  Their most peaceful protesters throw glitter at a five-foot-tall congresswoman.

Seize Freedom!: American Truths and Renewal in a Chaotic Age by Thaddeus G. McCotter

There are some congressmen who know how to conduct themselves on Twitter.  One can’t expect every congressman to emulate Michigan Republican McCotter’s dry wit, but his principled leadership and willingness to engage in debate should be the standard.  Seize Freedom isn’t a political memoir or CliffsNotes of basic conservatism.  It’s a how-to for people who want to take power back from the government.

If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster

Lancaster is one of my favorite nonfiction humor writers (check out her blog  If You Were Here is her first novel.  It combines my love of Lancaster, HGTV and filmmaker John Hughes into one book.  It follows a couple that is renovating their dream home on the North Shore of Chicago, where many of Hughes’ movies were filmed.  If You Were Here is my favorite poolside read this summer.

A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life by Bethenny Frankel

I don’t know where Frankel is politically, but her life is a feminist’s nightmare.  She had a successful business and social life, including being a cast member on “The Apprentice” (Martha Stewart’s season) and “The Real Housewives of New York.”  However, she found the most joy (and later even more career success) after she met her husband and had a beautiful baby.  She has since appeared on the cover of Fortune magazine and seems to have gotten everything she wanted and a few things she didn’t know she wanted.  I assume most self-help books are repetitive, and this one is no exception.  However, Frankel is sharp and has an inspiring personal story. 

I Love You and I’m Leaving You Anyway: A Memoir by Tracy McMillan

McMillan’s memoir is about growing up in foster care and her relationships with the men in her life.  You may be shocked to learn that being the daughter of a prostitute and a pimp who is in and out of prison makes relationships difficult.  What drew me to the book was the fact that McMillan is a writer for “Mad Men.”  Thankfully, she gets past blaming her mother and father, something that so many use as an excuse to continue making bad choices in life.

Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell

If you read Bushnell’s last book, The Carrie Diaries, you have probably already purchased this book because of the revelation on the last page.  Summer and the City doesn’t disappoint and has a similar nugget at the end.  This is pure guilty pleasure reading.

Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal

So, speaking of guilty pleasure reading …  This book is the opposite of Summer and the City.  The author transports her well-known characters to the present rather than to the past.  Sweet Valley Confidential is like a Pez dispenser.  You know the contents on the inside aren’t that great, but the nostalgia is worth it. 

Books Still on My “To Read” List:

Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World! by Andrew Breitbart (Out Now!)

Scars of a Chef: The Searing Story of a Top Chef Marked Forever by the Grit and Grace of Life in the Kitchen by Rick Tramonto (Out Now!)

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (Out Now!)

The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America by Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch (June 28)

American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party by Margaret Hoover (July 19)

In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir by Dick Cheney (August 30)