Saturday, December 13, 2008

Colleen Shogan

Colleen Shogan's first book, The Moral Rhetoric of American Presidents, was published in September 2006 by Texas A&M University Press.

Earlier this month I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
Since I started working on Capitol Hill over three years ago, I've made it common practice to read for pleasure in the evenings. The vast majority of my day, I think about policy, politics, presidents, and Congress, so I look forward to the escape of an entertaining novel.

Recently, I finished David Baldacci's The Collectors. It is a suspenseful mystery set at the Library of Congress, where I currently work for the Congressional Research Service. Baldacci spent months researching the book at the Library of Congress, and the fruits of his labor are evident. His descriptions are fascinating and accurate, and the plot moves quickly, just like life in Washington, DC.

Even though I mostly read fiction, I did spend several evenings perusing Stephen Hess's new book, What Do We Do Now? Hess, a scholar at the Brookings Institution, is a veteran of several White House transitions, and his book is a workbook for the new President-elect. In very concrete and practical terms, it describes what a new president must do before January 20 to make the White House function efficiently.

I plan to read two books in the near future - Russ Roberts' The Price of Everything and Curtis Sittenfield's American Wife. Roberts is a former colleague of mine at George Mason University. He writes novels with economic themes and lessons. His previous book, The Invisible Heart was a romance about economics. You know you're dealing with a talented writer when someone can pull that off! I look forward to Roberts' latest attempt to teach basic economic principles through fiction.

Several years ago, I thoroughly enjoyed Curtis Sittenfeld's first novel, Prep. Her latest book is loosely based upon First Lady Laura Bush. I bought the book because I think Sittenfeld has the talent to explore the obviously complicated story of Laura Bush without adopting a condescending attitude in the story.

Finally, I couldn't resist the Twilight craze after seeing the movie. As a fan of Harry Potter and the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series, I have ordered Stephanie Meyer's first book in the series, and can't wait to spend a cold wintery day soon reading it cover to cover.
Elvin Lim included Shogan's The Moral Rhetoric of American Presidents on his list of the five best books on presidential rhetoric.

Prior to joining the Congressional Research Service, Shogan served as a Legislative Assistant for Senator Joe Lieberman, in which she handled matters on appropriations, transportation, small business, and science & technology. Before joining the Senate, she was Assistant Professor of Government and Politics at George Mason University.

Visit Colleen Shogan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue