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Jeb Bush on books: From Bible to historical thriller

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Looking for a summer book list? Jeb Bush has some to recommend.

In a detour from policy questions about immigration and the Middle East on Thursday, the likely Republican presidential candidate was asked by an employee of a biomedical company what he ought to be reading.

“If I were to read one book this year, what would you recommend?” asked Clayt Robinson, one of about 100 Emergent employees who met Bush after he toured the Lansing lab.

“Wow,” Bush said, before quickly compiling a list that began with what he’s reading now: St. Paul’s letters in the New Testament. “I would recommend that,” he said, “particularly if you want to get your life centered.”

The former Florida governor sparked laughter in the company’s break room when he transitioned to other works, “if you want to be depressed about things.”

Charles Murray‘s “Coming Apart” and Robert Putnam’s “Bowling Alone” are works on the lack of social mobility in the United States, sobering and “pretty nerdy,” he said.

Bush described Murray as libertarian and Putnam’s “extraordinary book” as coming from the left.

Bush capped the list with a wildcard: Erik Larson‘s “The Devil in the White City.”

The nonfiction best-seller is about the conception and construction of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, which coincided with a series of murders in the city.

“They built this extraordinary World’s Fair in a year and a half,” Bush explained. “And at the same time there was this guy who built an incinerator in his apartment complex and was killing women.”

“It’s a spectacular book,” he finished before adding, “Don’t ask me what movies I’ve seen, because I haven’t.”

Bush planned to speak at a Lansing-area Republican dinner later Thursday and raise money in the Detroit area Friday.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press. 

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