tv Summer Reading with Senator Dick Durbin CSPAN August 28, 2016 11:30pm-12:01am EDT
>> i got into the doctor doolittle series which back in my youth nobody was reading. nobody had ever heard of them mostly after the movie came out. doctor doolittle most people discovered we he wasn't what it was about. i think it was a british set of books, for some reason i just got a kick out of the fact that there were talking animals in it. then of course the hardy boys and all the others that followed. those kind a part of who we were. my mom was an immigrant to this country, eighth-grade education. she was a self-taught person. she taught herself person. she taught herself everything under the sun. cooking, shorthand, reading, art, all of this. i think that probably inspired me. >> host: from where did she emigrate? >> guest: lithuania. she was born born in lithuania brought here at the age of two.
the lithuania population came from germany to baltimore. she landed she did not land in ellis island in new york. and the railroad had two destinations, could chicago and had she gone to chicago she would have been part of the largest immigration of lithuanians to america. a huge lithuania population. she took the southern route, her mom did i should say to meet up with my grandfather. and that was kind of a thriving part of east st. louis. why, stockyards, railroads, think, railroads, think that immigrants could work at. so she came, dropped out of school at the grade and became a switchboard operator at the local telephone company and worked her whole life. she really was my original teacher. spee1. >> host: what kind of books do gravitate towards today? >> guest: mainly nonfiction. i don't force myself but i tried to look at every third or fourth
book i read i want to read fiction. i think is good for me. naturally you think a politician is going to be reading history, biography and the like, which i love, but i think i've got a get into it. a few years ago is talking to someone and they said talking to someone and they said you know they have courses online that you can take and they don't charge anything you can take a college course. you could take a college course so what you think i took? writing. >> it well that would've been my second choice. the first race was poetry. i. i thought to myself, never have had a portrait course. so i took moderate contemporary poetry and there is a professor at the university of pennsylvania who taught this online, boise good. really good. so i got to monitor her his classes and then we would send out tests and such. it was a great experience. experience. i could get all of the poetry online.
i did not have to have a textbook and i learned all of these, emily dickinson and walt whitman went through all of these different posts. i made the mistake of telling one of the people at the editorial board of the daily herald in chicago that i did this. the next thing i know i am on all things considered. being interviewed on taking a portrait course. and i thought will i could talk for a few minutes on that. they surprised me. it was live on the air, i've never seen or met this man by videotape. and suddenly the professor said and i had a few questions about poetry and thinking as i had it right. i've always tried to expand a little bit into fiction work and authors, poetry and try to push myself a little bit. >> host: bless you during our summer reading quiz on book tv, we asked a lot of senators what they're reading and a lot of them said anthony doors, all, all the light we cannot see. >> guest: i read it. >> host: what was it about that book or senator sharon a?
>> guest: well i don't know about the others, for me i just heard about it it was captivated. i thought it was such a fascinating premise that there is a blind girl who is surviving bombing raids in france. and what happened to her. i recommended it to others. susan collins and i often trade books and i can't remember if i recommended it to her she to me. i thought it was really well-written. >> host: what is another book that you recommended to senator collins? >> guest: -- of carriage i thought was really well-written. the life of pi, remember recommending that to her long way. so we can ahead this exchange back and forth. >> host: what is on your current meaningless quest mark. >> guest: i read in the heart of the sea which is a story by nathaniel philbrick. it is a story about the essex,
whaling ship out of nantucket that was sent by a whale in the pacific. many members of the crew survived. it inspired herman melville to write her moby dick. it's a story behind the story. i liked it so much and then i saw philbrook came out with the second book and it's a revolutionary war book. i bought it, i have it sitting there and it will be my next one up in terms of what i am reading. but in terms of those that have been too recently that if i were particularly good, good, i am a huge fan of timothy egan. he's from the new york times and a great author. he wrote the immortal irish wing, a great, a great story about an irishman who was banished to the liberal island and south pacific, skip to the united states and became a big, prominent leader of union troops, that the irish battalion during the civil war and then went off to montana where he
died and that is kind of i will get into anymore but that's the premise of the book, how did he die, it tells a story story leading up to that. egan is such a great author. when i read about -- i thought i had these images of what it was the grapes of wrath and so far about the dustbowl. my goodness, it was an incredible scene. to to think that these cities were just engulfed in dirt and dust that was blowing through there and accumulating. it became a challenge in the cities are you going to stay are you going to leave. people sign pledges, i will never leave, and then leave. but egan is a great writer. the immortal a great writer. the immortal irishman is a book i strongly recommend. >> to ever read books by your colleague?
sure i read harry reads books and i try to read those along the way. >> what about addict or bimbo? >> you know i come i don't know if there will ever be one. i have 60 chapters sitting in a drawer in my desk, but i don't know if it is a book. it's just stories i have accumulated and written up over the coach said my time in congress. not sure there is a book in there, there's a a lot of writing and there, but someday i might and tie so let her. >> was one chapter you can tell us about? >> it's a continuing project, got this curiosity in my mind and i was with obama on the campaign trail and i said to him, to carry anything with you in your pocket every day? oh yes, he showed me this little pen that he had which is like a tiny little buddha.
i believe that's what it was. i take it with me everywhere and so i set up to start asking all these people i know who are presidential candidates what you care in your pocket the course of the campaign? and i started collecting it. one of the chapters is a story that each senator and what they like to carry in their pockets is are worthy of a book, i don't know. but it caught my attention. >> is there a bio in one of those chapter. >> goats all over the place. a politician can't write a book without reflecting on what you brought you here. my immigrant mother for example, my father who died when i was in high school from lung cancer. smoking two packs of camels per day, experiences that i had with paul douglas, the for senator i work for is a college in turn introduced me to paul simon who hired me out of law school to work in his governor's office. how i got into this battle to take smoking off airplanes, my father. and what it was like passing a bill in the house. so there is a
lot of personal reflection on this. as i as i said, there may be a book in there somewhere. keep looking. >> any poetry? >> guest: i'm not that good at it. i guess i'm humble enough to say there are some things i do a little bit of but don't professor have any great expertise. but the interesting thing about the courses want to read the new yorker now it's not just the stories in the cartoons, actually start and read the poor tree at least i try to read the poetry before i took that online course i never even tried. >> senator durbin is the democratic your time is pretty scarce, do do you have to build and reading time? >> guest: i really have a lot of airplane time. i commute every week. i've done that for over 30 years from illinois back to washington. so there is time there. i really found a book to be a great way to pass that time. catch up on the magazine clippings and so forth and then
get into a book. if i really get into it i will stick with it to the end. i'm not into kendall kindle. i tried it but it would just wasn't my style. i like that tangible feel in that paper book. i also find that if i'm curing the darn thing around my briefcase and finish it because i think to myself how are you going to finish it. so i stick with it and read it. it's also a great way great way of her sitting next to passenger and don't want to talk to and that does happen to politicians, the head of the nra from colorado i have a book that i have to read, it just reaches a point where you have a legitimate, timely timely way to say don't bother me. >> what is less time you're in the library? >> it is one of the casualties of that time which is now struggling to survive. but it really, really meant a lot to me. >> what happened there? it was interesting, took a a transition 88000 people at its peak that i remember and then
went through racial crisis where there's african-americans getting incomes wanting to move into new neighborhoods and my family was a casualty and we moved to another place in east st. louis and now it's a city that is probably 95% plus african-american, she really is impressive, got her fingers crossed that she is going to turn the city the right direction, right direction, population about 25000 today. >> industry? >> guest: nothing. except the casino riverboat, nothing. it's all gone. that really is part of the problem. >> what about popular books, i'm thinking about the harry potter series are some of these that kind of sweep the country, do they attract your question. >> usually not there is that whole thing with the girls and the dragon and all the rest, i guess i read those. i thought those were pretty good. i don't get caught up in that too much.
i do get fixed on certain authors. i think back i think a man named sebastian barry who is a irish author and he has written a series of books and i get the biggest kick out of reading this book, the good stories to start with. they talk a lot about ireland and all that it went through the 20th century and just the irish term of the phrase, get get the biggest kick out of reading that. there's really a special case i can't remember her first name. there are several memoirs about growing up in south africa in the southern part of african zimbabwe in that region. and the one that the two that i thought were really excellent, one was entitled it's going to the dogs tonight in the second one was, cocktails under the
tree of forgetfulness or something of that nature. she came from the most dysfunctional family can imagine. this white family white family there was beer. upon by the emerging blacks in the political structure there. the father was just a handyman, very handy very handy guy and she grew up drink a little too much but that came through the stories. she is very gifted writer. i think she think she lives in jackson hole now. >> are there books that helped you in the senate? >> sometimes i kind of gravitate towards those that i think will make a difference. there is a new one i'm putting on for summer reading, new biography biography of brandeis. i don't know enough about him. this will be a good come as a yell first book and so i bought that one and i want to get into that one. that does help me. there's another one that i'm fixing medicare that i just ordered trying to get myself in the frame of mind of dealing with some of these entitlement programs. i thought thought may be a reflection of somebody
would be helpful. >> host: to have you read books that you disagree with? >> i don't usually get through them. i just get angry and stop. and i really find if i can't finish a book, even if i try a second or third time, maybe it was not meant to be. maybe all of these books are not meant to take the finish line. and that's okay too. i don't mind trying and passing it along. i think i learn something even if i stop at 100 or 150 pages. >> host: you mention that you ordered the book, where do you get most yearbooks? >> guest: amazon. but i have convenience and my favorite story on amazon was waking up at 5:00 a.m. on a sunday morning and thinking i have to get some books and they said you want same day delivery on a sunday in chicago. i thought i'd like to see how that works and earned if they didn't deliver it by 230 in the afternoon in chicago. so it's pretty convenient. having said that, go out of my way to
overpay for books from neighborhood bookstores. i worked my way through college in a bookstore in dupont circle, is called discount books and records in washington when i went to georgetown. as one of the second or third best job that ahead. i memorize the inventory. i knew inventory. i knew where everything was. was there by publisher. i got a big kick out of it. that got me started on this craziness on books. i have more books than i should. but i thought about amazon and how good they are but i also thought man, i don't want to lose all of these neighborhood bookstores. so on broadway around the corner from my condo in chicago is a bookstore and i make a point to go in and do christmas gifts. i spent too much money. i could've saved 20% pressure on amazon but i think i have got to keep these guys on business. they just have such a good inventory. so i have a soft spot when it comes to the neighborhood bookstore. >> host: when you walk in there do they know who you are? spee2
yes they do. i also found also found having worked in a bookstore, if you had told me durban, we have got 30 minutes would like to go into a bookstore, great. but if you have an hour, great, aren't have, great. if it's a good bookstore, just give me the time i will amuse myself or however long you want me to stay in there. if it's a really good bookstore. >> host: are there any books you recommend to your colleagues and your staff? >> guest: yes, the empire of the summer moon was a book that i read. it's a story of a comanche indians. i thought to myself, i knew, i knew nothing about david american. all i knew i took out of westerns off of movies and it's all stereotypical. so i read the empire the southern moon and john comes in and i say to them, have you read empire of the southern moon. he said never heard of it. i
will give it to you. it's about texas, oklahoma kansas where the comanches dominated for decades. i give it to them, he loves it. he gives it as a gift the he gives it as a gift the next christmas to every republican senator. so yes that's when i recommended that turned out to be popular. >> host: is that the only book you recommended to your counterparts and the republicans i? >> there is a called the heart of everything that is. it's a story of the sioux nation which takes you to the different part of the united states. i recommend that to heidi hyde camp because a lot of it has to do with the dakota dakotas in minnesota. >> what about illinois? you want to learn about illinois or illinois politics as their book you would recommend? >> guest: a lot of them. there's just recommending to one of the staffers here city of the century. i get the biggest kick out of this book. it's. it's a 19 century history of the city of chicago. it just tells it from its early days of settlement on through colombian expedition.
people in the white city eric larson's book takes place about the same era, 1893. in 1892 as the 400th anniversary by one year. both are this huge white city. but i think. but i think city of the century is such an eye-opener. in terms of actually creating the city. it was a small town and it kind of grew geometrically at the end of the 19 century with railroads, and the central location. also opening up the west. so i would start there. i think that is a good book to read. i have read most of the books that paul simon row. he was prolific. when he ran for president they said of him, he said he has written more books than ronald reagan has read. that is what i think i don't know if george wilson said that or somebody did along the course of the campaign. he did not have a college degree but he was a prolific writer and author, journalist. his books are very good reflection.
>> host: what about the u.s. senate? is there anything that you recommend? >> guest: the master of the senate, i think his book about lg paying the -- of this but in a thick everyday thing that matches up. >> and this is lbj's office that were in. >> guest: he owns so many offices in the capital. there's one a little ways from here and it was part of his legacy, it easily could a bed, he would walk through at night the story goes paul douglas, the u.s. senate or that i work for as a kid, phd and a climax, cerebral, liberal, progressive, liberal, progressive, exactly the kind of politician that obj hated. so he was chairman of the joint economic committee of the simon he loved and nobody else wanted. lbj said you know he could not cause any trouble there. so it was late one night in the side offices in the door opens
without an announcement and in steps lbj. he looks around the office and doesn't say work closes the door and leaves. the next day douglas gets noticed you been evicted. lbj wanted that office. so i now have it today. the but in his time i think he lay claim to a lot of real estate in the capital. >> host: is a u.s. senator, do you have any involvement with libraries in illinois or the u.s. levers run the country? >> guest: i do. i have a a lot of friends who were in the library so i'm look working with them. there is a mormon who has been nominated to be the next librarian of congress. carla, is african-american librarian in baltimore, her family was a really from illinois. you'd expect chicago but it was downstate illinois. it was not a large african-american population. his population. his her mom and dad were born in illinois, probably because of the railroads. the
african-americans gravitated toward the railroads to get jobs on the railroads in centralia and dekalb and other places. turned out to be a pretty prominent musician, he traveled round she was born in florida. he finally made it to chicago and started malcolm x. college and chicago, so carla hayden has a great great story. she has run into some opposition from some quarters but i hope she winds up in the next library. the midges say one thing. when it comes to writing, i to writing, i think it is like most other skills. they say you need to do 10,000 times. well if you read stephen king he had a book called book called on writing which i recommend because the front end of the book is not a biography of stephen king which is hilarious. he is almost as funny as bill -- another reader writer that i read all the time. his growing up and tomorrow in iowa, he tells a story of of growing up in his interest in science fiction and all the
crazy things that nobody liked to read, he loved tree. and eventually he got up the courage to write and wasn't doing all that well but he had this quirky way of looking at think so he writes a book called carrie. this book called carrying hardbound doesn't do very well. and he is living hand to mouth. he's living in small apartment. the publisher calls him and said we decided to put carrie into paper book. you're going to get a 10000-dollar bonus. that was the launch of his publishing career. he completed. the second half of the book is about how to be a writer. how to get it done. and the key to it is pretty obvious, right every day. discipline yourself to write every day. and then he goes to insights on how then he goes to insights on how to write every day. john irving has a book and it's a book how he got his inspiration to be a writer called my imaginary girlfriend. his two passions in life,
wrestling and i mean legitimate wrestling, not the entertainment kind, and high school and college, and writing. he listed the ten books that inspired him to be a writer. i try to read them. i think i got through half of an i see the books all these years but it was irving that picked out a few women that the start of a so if you're interested in writing there are a lot of great writers who share their secret. >> do you practice writing? >> guest: some. i write columns. some of them are proof some doesn't. i read these chapters that i put in the drawer that is tony about but they may never see the latter-day. >> host: stephen king spoke at the laboratory was the last couple of years and on his book on writing did you get a chance to see him. >> guest: i missed them. i would've gone but i miss it. i would say at the library
congress when they bring in authors and they are usually about history, stephen ambrose and others would come in, their quiz and david rubenstein, thank you david for doing it, it is one of the most popular bipartisan events on capitol hill, by far. you get to go to a nice dinner, you listen to david interviewing the author, and then you get author, and then you get a free copy of the book. it's a pretty good night. there's one coming up tonight. >> host: there's no cameras allowed. we tried to get in there that would make it even nicer for you. >> guest: it's a book about churchill and franklin roosevelt. which i have read a couple on that that so i want to see what that's all about. >> host: senator dick durbin is the democratic in the u.s. senate. we appreciate you being on tv. >> host: thank you. >> here's a look at upcoming book fairs and festivals happening in september.
on september 18 it's the brooklyn festival held in downtown brooklyn new york. later the in all baltimore book festival taking place in the city's inner harbor. on saturday, september 24 book to be his life in the national book festival at the washington convention center in the nations capital. that includes other talks as well as your phone calls for authors. for more nation about the book fairs and festivals a book to be will be covered and watch previous coverage click the book fierce tab on our website on tv.org. >> is a summer of 1988, dukakis has really wind at his back. if you look at the polling some of those critical measures of tears about people like me he had a decisive advantage over vice president bush. but a real deficit when it came to would be a credible
commander-in-chief. he was against the guy with vice president bush was a congressman, one of the youngest navy enters and world war two, envoy to to china, chairman of the rnc and the cia. so dukakis really had to build up his props to stay totally toe is being trusted with the u.s. arsenal. so beginning back in the primaries and the n1 a1 tank, the abrams 70,000 pound payment is a perfect example example of that. let's find more tanks to put them in the european theater, the soviet soviet threat and forget about the star wars program.
this doesn't quite do it enough he vanished from the campaign after he did the biden attack video kate tape coming comes back and has an idea to do what we worked to do is theme weeks. every day we're going to focus on foreign policy and national security. so theme week was laid out for the week of september 11 through 14th of 1988. monday brought them to philadelphia and to cincinnati and tuesday would bring them to chicago and sterling heights. matt bennett is dispatched to sterling heights where the general land systems have a facility where they basically won the pentagon and inform
purchasers. so that is told by boston headquarters. we want governor dukakis to take a rise in the tank. as an advance person does, they go through a dress dress rehearsal and test drive. they get in the tank in they said were gonna do a standard run on 45 miles an hour. you have to wear helmet to hear what's going on. but also to protect your torso because you could really be hurt and a tank like this. this. and then they go back to boston and says that was fun but dukakis is gonna be terrible. >> and also never put anything on your head. >> that's politics one oh one at the beginning of the book describes president obama is handed a football, by the naval academy. and this brings back, this is where the book starts. he says let me give you listen,
politics one oh one, ever put something on your head of your president. in this all stems from dukakis with this, if it them, and oversize -- it was a helmet and it had this large label on it, black writing on a white background that said mike dukakis, and it looked like pete maverick mitchell from top to in 1986. but he did not look like tom cruz inside the helmet. >> you can watch this and other programs online booktv.org. >> next on afterwards, and culture makes the case for why donald trump should be president. she's in conversation in conversation with the "daily caller"'s tucker carlson. >> ann coulter you are an author, columnist and