What the Television We Watch Can Tell Us About Our Politics: West Wing versus House of Cards

unfettered equality

In 1999, NBC premiered Aaron Sorkin’s new series The West Wing, a television show that follows the life of fictional President Josiah Bartlet and his staff. It was two years before 9/11, and television audiences were enamored by Sorkin’s portrayal of a “utopian” White House. Premiering shortly after the Clinton impeachment, The West Wing debuted during a partisan political climate that split the American electorate. Sorkin’s goal was to humanize the executive branch and combat the cynical beliefs viewers had of politics. He created relatable characters and a President without moral ambiguity, giving audiences an alternative view of public service than what was they saw on the daily news. This optimistic approach definitely became more apparent as the Clinton presidency came to a close and the presidency of George W. Bush began.

Most of The West Wing’s run coincided with the Bush presidency. The turmoil of the Bush years…

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2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize Long List Announced!


The Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize Long List
was announced last week, and there are a lot of great books included. We’ve already been buzzing about a few of them at the store and certainly don’t envy the judges when it comes to picking one winner from the bunch!

remember me like thisgreat glass seaWhile we wait for the announcements of the short list and winner, you can catch nominee Josh Weil here at the store Monday, July 21 at 7PM with his debut novel (also the Statesman Selects pick of the month), The Great Glass SeaBret AnthonyJohnston will visit us in September with his nominated novel, Remember Me Like Thiswhich is available on our shelves now.

You can also check out our bookseller reviews for Fourth of July Creek, and The Enchanted, which was our Top Shelf Pick for March.

fourth of july creekenchantedMolly on Fourth of July Creek: 

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Summertime, and the Reading Is Excellent



Summer is a great season to be a bibliophile, because it’s considered a totally normal activity to sit in a beach/pool/lawn/whatever chair and plow through books one after the other. (Speaking of which, check out Zadie Smith’s fantastic What It Means to Be Addicted to Reading: “The beach is one of the few places pathological readers can pass undetected among their civilian cousins.”) In addition to Ann’s current favorites, here’s what our staff is reading and loving right now.

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