tv Summer Reading with Senator Jeanne Shaheen CSPAN July 30, 2016 5:00pm-5:31pm EDT
>> it's very interesting you think you know because we all know about the right brothers. then to hear david talk about their personal story, i discovered i really do not know anything about them at all. the brothers had a sister who is very helpful with everything they did. all of them live together. as they were getting older, they had a bicycle shop, they started out in a bicycle shop and one of the brothers was fascinated by flight. and then translated that to have
it begin to build an airplane and they went to kitty hawk in north carolina because that's where they thought the wind pattern would be best. so it is a wonderful story, and also about not just about that family and their relationships but also about america at that time as we were looking at what happened to manufacturing and the industrial revolution and the innovation that was going on at the time. >> does it surprise you that the sister got short changed on that? spee2. >> guest: that was typical, but it was nice to hear the really important role that she played. i'm not finished with the book i'm about a quarter the way through. i'm looking forward to seeing more the story that he talked about in the conversation.
>> host: what kind of books are you drawn to? >> it depends on what i am doing at the time. i always try to have something serious that i can read that i am interested in and then something fun so i really like mysteries, i'm a big fan of mary higgins clark when i have a weekend or when i am on a flight someplace and i have some extended time that i just want to escape its fun to read that and i like agatha christie, all of those are very fun. but then reading, i find history and historical novels are fascinating to me, biographies and history is one of my favorite recently has been the book read notice which is about the survey about a man who is one of the first western investors in russia and eastern europe after the fall of the soviet union.
we had some legislation to address a really horrible human rights abuses in russia of this young attorney name sir gay who had work with the author of the book and he had been a whistle blower on people who he thought were defrauding the russian government. bill got so outraged about what was happen because he was imprisoned and tortured. ultimately he died during that period. afterwards you tried to get attention to his case and we ultimately passed legislation here that bankcard and john mccain sponsored and i worked on and was a cosponsor of to hold accountable those people in russia who had violated the
human rights, who had tortured him and to hold others in russia accountable for human rights violation. it. it is a fascinating story and reads like a novel. also interested in another book that has new hampshire connections called citizens of london which is a great story about world war ii and the americans who help forge the bond with britain that helped us defeat the nazis in world war ii and one of the principles and that was of the former governor of new hampshire who then went on to be ambassador to england during that period. so that is a great story about americans who were pivot and the. of time of of what it was like during london during the bombing. you just get that sense of what life was like and it could end
at any time. there is a sense of an urgency about everything people do. the former governor of new hampshire was a real hero to the english people during that period, he succeeded joe kennedy as ambassador in england. >> host: do you find that reading can help you work here the senate? >> guest: absolutely. it gives you historical perspective which is interesting, even though i was an english major i find history fascinating. i think most of us and politics were fascinated by history. and also it gives you a sense of the challenges that we face today and an understanding that they are not unique and in most cases we face similar challenges before and looking at how people make decisions to overcome those
and the leaders that we have had in the past who are able to steer the country in a positive direction it's really reassuring to see that we face difficult times as we are today before and we have been able to get through them. >> host: you said you are an english major, why? why? why did you major in english? >> guest: i sort of wound up as an english major, i have always loved literature loved books. i started out majoring in french and then had to transfer schools and switch to political science and then when i transferred back to my original college i wanted to be able to graduate and i had and i had more credits in english than in anything also that was the way i wound up as an english major. >> guest: what are some of your literature favorites? >> guest: i love heart of
darkness, that was one of those when as a college college student that was one of those books that i thought was really critical and thinking about life and the idea that work is really important and having something to get up and do every day and a focus is very important. i also love the book called the last angry man. that was about a novel about a man who was a dr. who was just upset and try to do something when he saw the wrong and he thought it should be addressed in his whole life tried to do something about them. and then of course i had the benefit of taking horses and chaucer and shakespeare and having that foundation.
shakespeare, i love shakespeare, wonderful. and then american literature as well and particularly american playwrights i'm a big fan of eugene o'neill. i tend to like when it is heavy place. >> host: to get back to shakespeare, how would you explain shakespeare to those of us who just do not get it, who have tried. >> guest: i think you have to see shakespeare performs. when you see a performance it is very different than reading. i taught in mississippi in the first are they totally integrated the schools in the south and one of my classes we did mcbeth and we actually, we read mcbeth and then we had the students perform different things from mcbeth. it was really interesting to see
them interpret what they were reading and to get it as part of being able to actually play out the scenes from mcbeth. of of course the witches are everybody's favorite, double bubble tumble trouble and toil. >> guest: is it relevant today? spee2 absolutely absolutely it's relevant. mcbeth, you see what happens to lady macbeth, she cannot wash the blood from her hands because she still feels that guilt and look at some of our situations today were people have done things that are wrong and unfortunately not everybody feels that guilt but there are people who still do. hamlet, the indecision of hamlet trying to figure out what is the right thing to do. it's very relevant today.
>> host: if you had to recommend a book or two books on the u.s. senate, on u.s. history and somebody said how can i learn more about what you do appear, is there when you would recommend? spee2 well david mccullough's book about john adams i think is a wonderful book. 1776 is a wonderful book, less about what we wonderful book, less about what we do today in the senate, i have not yet read master of the senate which is the third book in the trilogy about lyndon johnson. i just finished the second book also that's my list to do and people tell me that it's a wonderful description of what happens in the senate and the process and how to make things happen which johnson of course was a master at. so that is one on my list for the summer. >> host: when you were growing up in missouri and going to
school in mississippi did it ever occur to you that you were going to be the governor and senator from new hampshire? >> guest: no, never that was not on my dreamless of things that i wanted to do in the future. but i had this theory about politics and that was that some of us are born with musical ability and some of us are artists and others get the political gene. and so some of us that are drawn to politics because my parents were always interested in current events but neither of them were political really. they always voted but they were not involved in politics. so i think some of it some of us are just junkies, we get excited about it.
>> host: are you an offer? spee2 i'm not, i wish i were, my daughter however is an author. my oldest daughter i think you know has written a wonderful book about her family and to my oldest granddaughter, her oldest daughter ellie who is type i diabetes and the struggles the family has had. ellie and coach. this wonderful yellow lab who came and is ellie's diabetes service dog. in fact she is at a camp or six weeks this summer and pittsburgh and coaches with her. a lot of the concern that i know we all feel about ellie because this is her first extended period of time away from home is mitigated because she has coach with her. >> host: that book ellie and coach came out in 2015 in case you're interested book tv did in interview interview with her about that book. so i aren't you an author? >> guest: i hope at some point i will be.
>> host: a lot of your colleagues have written books. >> guest: they have, a very good fascinating books. barbara boxer wrote the art of tough, i love that title and that of course claire mccaskill has written a book, i'm trying to think, she has a wonderful title for hers as well and then there's a book, not a memoir about her but about the importance of women, particularly particularly young women engaged in the political process. so it is great to have all of these talented colleagues. at some point i hope that i can join them. >> host: as the only woman who was bubbled governor and senator. so what would you call your book? >> guest: i have not gotten that far. that's why haven't written one, because he because you actually have to take time and think about it.
>> host: do you ever get recommendations for books from your colleagues or recommend to your colleagues books? >> guest: yes but i have cannot tell you any of i have gotten lately but i have had them are alexander bring me a book about the senate and he said he thought it was the best book of how the senate operates that he had read so we do share from time to time books that we think are important and helpful. >> host: why would senator alexander bring that to you? spee2 i can't remember, we were talking about books i can't remember exactly what i was talking about he said all you need to read this book and then he brought it to me. >> host: the books that you go back to time and again, novels, historical books,.
>> guest: less now that i use to when i was growing up there books that i used to reread frequently but because time is more challenging today is harder to do that but one of the things that i liked it as having had the opportunity to reach my children and some of the books i have to them and my grandchildren have been interested in are some of my favorite books. books like charlotte's web, eb white's stuart little, trumpet of little, trumpet of the swan, those are wonderful books and for parents it's just as fun for me to read them for my kids as it was for my kids to hear them. books like shell silverstein, "where the sidewalk ends" it's a book of poetry and it's just fun to read out loud. when i get
asked to go to schools and read to some of the elementary students that is when i often take with me because they love that book. the rhyming and the images. sarah cynthia scott would not take the garbage out. you get that image. this. this little girl that kids can identify with. >> host: when you visit with librarians in new hampshire what is the main concern? >> guest: resources. it's always resources. but they also are very positive about the library of congress, about the wonderful job that it does in providing support to libraries throughout the country one of the things i've had the opportunity to do the last ten years or so is go to the opening of new libraries in new hampshire. i think there's a perception that everything is online so people don't need libraries and
so they people are not reading books of the same way so we've had a number of new library's open in new hampshire and we have we have the traditional books but they also do have this new function of providing computer access for people who may not have it at their home, of providing community space where people can come and meet together and i think that has been a wonderful transition in the function that libraries provide to communities. >> host: did you find that you could affect policy more directly as governor or senator when it came to reading, libraries, this type of education? >> guest: i think it is apples and oranges. you have a different role as governor than you do a senator.
certainly being, is very proud when i was able to chair the appropriations subcommittee of the legislative branch because the library of congress was part of my oversight, my portfolio. we are able to increase support for the library congress after several years when i have been decreasing. i was very positive and i heard back home how much people appreciated that. as governor i was able to be in new hampshire more to meet with students and go to schools that i have been a senator. you have a very direct ability to go in for programs like reading is fundamental. so to be able to go into the school every year and read to kids and talk about the importance of books.
>> host: what to think of these programs like new hampshire reads ordered the whole state, all reading the same book? do you think it's effective? spee2 yes, i think think it's very effective in the programs that have students who are signed up to read a certain number of books over the summer, i think those are very important. kids kids need encouragement they need direction. reading does broaden your horizon, it gives you the ability to fantasize about other places and what may happen in your life in a way that very few of the things too. even television and movies. they are great, but books just have a different ability to capture kids a imagination. >> host: to volunteer and have been a political person for long time, jimmy carter, al gore, gary hart, gary hart, barack obama, is there a political book
that you would recommend for people, a memoir or or a book by a politician? >> guest: certainly books about campaigning i think are important to read because they give you that foundation for the modern campaign system that we have. i can remember reading the book about the carter campaign which was a wonderful book and particularly for those of us were been part of that campaign it's always fun to go back to see how outsiders viewed what was going on. there is a book almost every campaign has one of those books done about it. >> host: where'd you get your books? when you have time? to order them online, hard copy,
e-books? >> guest: i never read e-books. i actually want the book. the feel of the book and the physicality of the book is important. and i get them wherever i can find. i go into the books are at the weekend and always ago to see what is there that i might want to pick up and that's how i picked up 1776. it six. it had been out for a couple of years and found it very cheaply going into browses he was there. as i said that library of congress that's one of the good reasons to go because you get to leave with this book. so wherever i can find them. and and then my friends will only books too. on occasion, that's why haven't
yet read master of the senate because i have a friend who bought it and said don't go out and buy it. i could get it from the library congress but then i have to give it back. so i always feel like i'm on a deadline when i get books from the library of congress. so she said i've got it, i will give it to you. so wherever i can find them. >> i want to tell you about the mark twain that not everybody knows about. most people think of this witty author of huckleberry fin who fought racism and imperialism. that is all true. but he was also an eternal bad boy. he liked to drink, smoke, and drink, smoke, and curse. he married an heiress who paid the bills but he like to gamble on pool and poker and startup companies. all of these caught up with them. can you imagine being the comedy kingpin of the united states at age 60 losing it all?
he was dead broke in 1885 and lost all of his money and all of his wife's money. i just can't imagine losing all of my wife's money. if so terrifies me. so after a while the family of samuel l clemens could no longer afford to live in their own beautiful home. how sad is that? it's a quirky, wonderful house. he designed it himself and he had a fireplace built with a window over it. the smoke smoke would go on either side and he could see snow falling while the flames are coming up. he adore the house. they had a happy, loopy family life. they had three dogs and twins named one i know, and you know, and that their dog was don't know. he also enjoyed acting with his daughter susie.
they were rich, they had a tiffany drawing room, the had seven servants including a butler in a coachman but it was never enough for 20. the poor missouri boy wanted everything, he wanted a funny writer but also a literary writer. he wanted. he wanted to be a family man and he also wanted to be a poker playing rogue. he was full of conflicting desires. he like down-home folk and he wanted to be the richest rockefeller or vanderbilt. he's brought a few of us can stand prosperity, another man's i mean. [laughter] he was a magnet for conmen. what a talker he is he wrote at the inventor james w page. he could persuade a fish to fish to come out take a walk with. settling was losing his shirt. [laughter] he had a lethal combination for an investor. moonshot enthusiasm and no
patience for details. he once asked an accountant to sent them a profit loss statement that even his daughter could understand. jean was was two years old at the time. so 20 that the following invention would change the world. you don't recognize it? this is the page typesetter, wade also four tons, 18,000 movable parts and it was supposed to revolutionize printing. if it worked. twain had the immense misfortune of seeing it work once. at first he called james page of the shakespeare of the mechanical invention. by the end after it kept breaking down twain began fantasizing about capturing a certain part of pages anatomy in the steel trap and watching it slowly bleed to death. so the page types will set or
cleaned out twain's bank account for the next investment starting his own publishing company put him 80,000 dollars $80000 or the equivalent of 2.4 million, in modern currency, in in debt. they started off incredibly well. they published grants memoirs. and norma's success and huckleberry finn. twain expected to pay himself at royalties, he wound up receiving no royalties. this is their final list of titles. i don't don't know if you can see from there but at a publisher that is going to go out with stories from the rabbi isrobably going to be in a little trouble. so headlines, was deeply deeply humiliating, headlines said mark twain failed. i mean it was a brutal, no joke. joke. failure mark twain, failure of humorous. he is this literary superstar deeply embarrassed and he gets to maine advisors for his bankruptcy. one is henry huddleston rogers. hh. one of the wealthiest men in america, the right-hand man to
john d rockefeller, standard oil, his nickname was hell hound. this robber baron wants to play hardball with a creditor. he wants to offer 10 cents on the dollar. twain's other advisor is his wife live be, she has absolutely no business experience. she says i want the creditors to know that we have their interest at heart, much, much more than their own. livy wanted to pay them in full as soon as possible. a word of advice, never bet against the wife. twain agreed to pay everyone back in full. so he he needs to make big money, fast.
books are not selling, his most recent title was the american claimant, not exactly huge seller. so the quickest way for him to make money is to go out on a standup comedy tour. he absolutely from the bottom of his heart did not want to go. it is a little known fact that mark twain treaded public fact that mark twain treaded public speaking in front of large audiences. it was not so much age right as much as humiliation for. he did not want to play the clown. he signs up as a literary author. he said to a friend that once an audience use you stand on your head they will expect you to remain in that position forever. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> . . during the session. a reminder that personal recording of sessions is not allowed. there will be a book signing following the session, and this panel will be meeting in signing area number one which you will find noted on your festival map.
and you can also ask one of the volunteers in the room to direct you. welcome. i'm lynn fieldman, a freelance science writer and editor of science writers' magazine published by the national association of science writers. and i will serve as moderator of i will serve as moderator. it is my honor to introduce her panelist.ro, at our part right beth schapiro.and ev at the university of california santa cruz.ch is her research is centered on the analysis of ancient dna. her work has appeared in numerous publications including in nature and science and she is a 2009 recipient of the macarthur award. she lives in santa cruz her book