Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Need an escape? ‘Friends of Midtown Reader’ have books to survive the election

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If this election has you stressed out, know this: You are not alone.

A survey by the American Psychological Association found 52 percent of American adults said the 2016 election is significant source of stress. With Election Day almost upon us, just about everyone is experiencing sky high anxiety.

Need an escape from the 24-hour news cycle and polls? A good book might be just the ticket. And Sally Bradshaw has a few up her sleeve.

Bradsahw opened Midtown Reader, her independent bookstore in Tallahassee, on Tuesday. While the shop is considered a general interest bookstore, Bradshaw has stocked the shelves with Florida authors and books about the Sunshine State

And what would a bookstore in the heart of the capital city be without a robust selection of political and historical books? The store opened just one week before Election Day, and Bradshaw made sure to have a display featuring books geared toward the election.

Rather than curate the display herself, she reached out to her vast network of contacts and asked them to recommend a few books to help readers survive the 2016 election. What she got was a mix of serious and fun, and a few cocktail and cookbooks thrown in to be safe.

“Everyone was incredibly generous,” she said. “Books are something that seem to bring everyone together.”

Want to be in the know? Here’s a look at the books recommended by the “Friends of Midtown Reader:”

— “What it Takes,” by Richard Ben Cramer; recommended by Gloria Borger, CNN chief political analyst. Why she recommended it: “A reminder of days gone by …”

— “Tequila Mockingbird,” by Tim Federle; recommended by Brandi Brown, former director of scheduling and events for Jeb Bush for President. Why she recommended it: “Because we’re going to need cocktails….”

— “Presidential Command,” by Peter W. Rodman; recommended by Jeb Bush Jr.

— “Thirty Tomorrows: The Next Three Decades of Globalization, Demographics and How We will Live,” by Milton Ezrati; recommended by David Johnson, former executive director of the Republican Party of Florida. Why he recommended it:  “This guide to the future says the Fountain of Youth will be in India, China and Brazil. The Fountain of Geritol? Europe, Japan and North America.”

— “The Righteous Mind,” by Jonathan Haidt; recommended by Liz Joyner, executive director of The Village Square. Why she recommended it: “Turns out human nature + our increasingly siloed society combine predictably to create the mess we find ourselves in this election season. If we’re going to sleuth our way out, Jonathan Haidt’s  “The Righteous Mind: Why good people are divided  by religion and politics” is as good a road map as exists. Along the way, you might just find yourself liking “them” a little more than you thought you did.”

— “The Pioneer Woman Cooks,” by Ree Drummond; recommended by Neil Newhouse, partner at Public Opinion Strategies in Alexandria, Virginia: Why he recommended it: “Because we’re going to need comfort food…”

— “A Moveable Feast,” by Ernest Hemingway; recommended by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. Why he recommended it: “This underrated classic is a man’s man guide to being the consummate ex-pat.  The semi-autobiography of Hemingway and his running buddies is a buffet of wine, women and song based in Paris…. It strikes me as the perfect book for all those who say, “if (insert Hillary/Donald) manages to win this thing, I’m leaving the country”. If you’re going to the effort, do it like Papa, Hadley, F. Scott, and Zelda did… “

— “Alexander Hamilton,” by Ron Chernow; recommended by Screven Watson, former executive director of the Florida Democratic Party. Why he recommended it: “To remind us that cut throat negative campaigning is nothing new…”

— “Abraham Lincoln,” by Lord Charnwood; recommended by Pete Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. Why he recommended it: “Published in 1916, this remains the best biography of America’s greatest President…..A statesman of the highest order, Lincoln dedicated his life to justice, embodied grace and helped reconcile a riven nation.  He personified the qualities we hope to find in a president.”

— “How to Move to Canada:  A Primer for Americans,” by Therese Loeb Kreuzer; recommended by Matt Williams, partner at Creative Direct, a national political direct mail firm in Richmond, Virginia. Why he recommended it: “Does this really need an explanation?”

And here’s a few more books Midtown Reader recommends:

— “100 Skills You’ll Need for the End of the World,” by Ana Maria Spagna and Brian Cronin

— “The Old Farmer’s Almanac Comfort Food,” by Ken Haedrich

— “The Essential New York Times Book of Cocktails,” by Steve Reddicliffe

— “The Foxfire Book:  Hog Dressing, Log Cabin Making, Mountain Crafts and Foods, Planting by the Signs, Snake Lore, Hunting Tales, Faith Healing,” by Eliot Wigginton

— “The Road to Character,” by David Brooks

— “Tweeter’s Composition Notebook: Think Before You Tweet,” by Potter Style

— “The Year of Voting Dangerously,” by Maureen Dowd


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