Monday, June 25, 2012

The Politics of Voter Suppression: Defending and Expanding Americans' Right to Vote (A Century Foundation Book) , by Tova Andrea Wang

The Politics of Voter Suppression 
Cornell University Press, ISBN 9780801450853, August 2012

Wang gives us both a history of voter suppression tactics in the USA since the end of Reconstruction, and a strong case for the illegitimacy of voter suppression as a means of partisan competition.

Some will remember at least some key facts about the use of poll taxes and literacy tests to prevent African-Americans from voting in the post-Reconstruction era. Even those readers may be startled at the extent of the suppression and the strength of its effects, as well as parallel efforts in northern states to limit the votes of "undesirables" there. Wang follows the evolution in both tactics and in who was interested in suppressing whom.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Revelation (Matthew Shardlake Series #4), by C.J. Sansom (author), Simon Jones (reader)

Macmillan UK, ISBN 9780230531932

Matthew Shardlake is absolutely, totally retired from politics. He's not really cut out for the rough play of Tudor politics, and is now devoting himself to his legal career, with the status and distinction of being appointed to practice in the Court of Requests, along with the handicap of being a hunchback. The monasteries are dissolved, Matthew has lost his past fervor for reform--and those now in ascendance at Henry VIII's court are pushing the old, papist ways with as much vigor and brutality as Thomas Cromwell ever pushed Reform. Matthew is glad to be out of it, and happy to agree to his friend Roger's proposal of a fund to create a new hospital for the poor in London, replacing the services once provided by the now-dissolved monasteries.

Then on his way to work at Lincoln's Inn the morning after that conversation, Matthew finds Roger, dead, in the fountain. His throat is slashed, he has bled into the water turning it red, and he has a strangely peaceful look on his face.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The President's Brain Is Missing? by John Scalzi

Tor Books, February 2011

This is an ebook-only short, barely a novella. It's also vintage Scalzi, funny and irreverent and insightful.

A senior staffer for an unnamed president gradually comes to the shocking realization that the president's brain is missing. He's walking, he's talking, he's functioning normally--but his brain is missing! (Yes, insert jokes here; Scalzi is careful to ensure you can't peg this president as being either Bush or Obama. He's not doing contemporary political commentary, here.)

The senior staffer starts digging for an answer to what's happened, and solution to the problem. But is it a problem? Who is responsible? Does this need to be fixed? And what's going to happen to the nosy staffer?

It's wickedly funny, and well worth the time you'll spend reading it. Recommended.

I bought this story.

Friday, June 8, 2012

An Orkney Murder (Rose McQuinn #3), by Alanna Knight (author), Hilary Neville (narrator)

Ulverscroft Soundings, Ltd., ISBN 9781845599209, June 2008

This is the the third book in the series, and the first that I've read. There's some backstory, but it was pretty easy to pick up enough to enjoy this story.

Rose McQuinn is trying to decide whether to marry her new love, an Edinburgh police detective, and is relieved, finally, two years after her return from America, to get an invitation to visit her sister Emily and her family on the island of Orkney, where Emily, Rose, and Rose's first love and now (probably) deceased husband, Danny McQuinn, grew up.