Presidential Escapism

President Washington was the inspiration for Presidents Day, the day that now honors all persons who have served as president of the United States. A hearty salute to all of them! Normally, nonfiction rules the day when it comes to presidential reads. There are, after all, a plethora of fascinating biographies and accounts of U.S. presidents. But let’s suspend reality for a while instead, starting with these fictional stories.

 

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Lincoln in the Bardo

by George Saunders
This historical novel is getting a lot of buzz and is included on many “new and noteworthy” book lists, including ours! The story takes place over the course of one night at the dawn of the Civil War, the night Abraham Lincoln visits the crypt of his deceased son, Willie, to spend time with him. Both are in a state of limbo of sorts. The book intertwines the living, the dead, and history in a captivating way.

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11/22/63

by Stephen King
If you didn’t already know, Stephen King writes more than just horror. Read this book and you’ll see. High-school English teacher Jake Epping travels through time with one goal in mind: preventing the assassination of President Kennedy. Can he rewrite the course of history? It’s an exciting, suspenseful tale that will keep you enthralled to the end.

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Election

by Tom Perrotta
This funny, somewhat dark comedy about an overachieving high-school student and an idealistic English teacher has all the makings of a political thriller — ambition, scandal and intrigue. And because it’s set in a high school around a student-body election, you know there is also high drama! Check out the movie for great performances by Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick.

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

by Seth Grahame-Smith
Abraham Lincoln saved the Union and freed millions of slaves. But did you know he kept secret journals chronicling his internal struggle with the dark forces of vampires? That’s the premise of this story, anyway. And it makes for interesting reading, especially if you like history mixed with a good dose of fantasy.

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Advise & Consent

by Allen Drury
This Pulitzer Prize winner has been hailed as one of the best novels about our political system, government, and Washington, D.C. The story, about senators struggling over the president’s nomination for Secretary of State, includes well-drawn characters and believable dialogue, with a great feel for location. You could also watch the movie!

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Capital Crimes Series

by Margaret Truman
Margaret Truman used her experience as President Harry S. Truman’s only daughter to write a series of crime novels set in and around Washington, D.C. It’s interesting to note that most of these novels include the word “murder” in the title, so dive in!

 

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