tv Summer Reading with Senator Dick Durbin CSPAN September 26, 2016 7:30am-8:01am EDT
>> kid books. i got into the dr. doolittle search. back in my youth nobody was reading. nobody ever heard of them until after the movie came out the dr. doolittle, most people discovered who he was and what it was about. i think it was a british set of books. for some reason i got a kick out of the fact they were talking animals. our military. of course the hardy boys and all the others that followed. that's kind of part of who we were. my mom was an immigrant to this country, eighth grade education. she was really self-taught. she taught herself everything under the sun. cooking, shorthand, reading, art. all this. i think that probably inspired me. >> from with each immigrant and how did she end up in east st. louis? >> she was born in lithuania, brighter at the age of two. the lithuania population came from germany to baltimore. she didn't land at ellis island in new york. the baltimore and ohio reverend
at two destinations, chicago and st. louis. had to go to chicago she would've been part of the largest immigration of lithuania's to america. she took the southern route. her mom dead i should say, to meet up with my grandfather. that was kind of a thriving part of the st. louis. why? stockyards, steel mills, railroads. things immigrants could working. so she came, dropped out of school after the great. became a switchboard operator at a local telephone company and worked her whole life. she really was my original teacher. >> host: what kind of books decrepit towards today? >> guest: mainly nonfiction. i don't force myself but i disciplined myself about every third or fourth book to read something fiction. i think it's good for me. naturally you think of politicians going to be reading history and biography, which i
love, but i've got to get into it. a few years ago i was talking to someone and they said they of courses online that you can take. it doesn't charge anything. you can take a college course. i decided i would take a college course. what do you think i took? >> host: writing. >> guest: that would've been my second choice. my first choice was poker. i thought to myself i've never had a portrait court. i took in modern contemporary american poetry and was a professor at the university of pennsylvania who taught this online. boy come is a good. really good. i got to monitor his classes and they would send a test in such. it was a great experience. i could get all the poetry online site didn't have to by textbook. i learned all of these, emily dickinson and walt whitman, all through these troubled. i made a mistake of telling what of the people at the editorial
board of the daily herald outside chicago to do this. they put in the paper. the next thing you on on all things considered. in being interviewed about taking a portrait course. i could talk for a few minutes. i know that about. they surprised me. the professor was live on the air. i had never seen or met this man. so this a professor has a quiz before you today. he asked the few questions. thank goodness i got it right. i've always tried to use my reading to kind of expand a little bit into fiction work, foreign authors, poetry, push myself a little bit. >> host: last year during our summer reading quiz you on booktv, we asked a lot of centers what they're reading and a lot of them said all the light we cannot see. what was said about the book and what the senators sharing its? >> no. well, i don't know about the
others. i just heard about it and i was captivated. i thought it was such a fascinating premise that the was a blind girl who was surviving bombing raids in france, and what happened to her. i recommended it to others. susan collins and often trade books and i can't remember if i recommended it to her or she to me. i thought it was really well written. >> host: with another book you recommended to senator collins country all of kid ridge was a novel i read. i think in a special out of it. the "life of pi," remember recommended that you were along the way. we kind of had this exchange back and forth. >> host: what's on your current reading list? >> guest: i read in the heart of the city which is a story by nathaniel philbrick. it's a story about the six, a
winship out of nantucket that was sought by a whale in the pacific, and many members of the crew survived, inspired are the melville to write moby dick. it's the story behind the story. i liked it so much, that i saw he came up with a second book called valian valley of ambitioh is a revolution for book. i bought it. i've got it sitting there. it will be my next one up in terms of what i'm reading. but in terms of those i've been recently that were particularly good, i'm a huge fan of timothy egan, a writer for the "new york times" and a heck of an author. he wrote the immortal irishman, a great story about an irishman who was banished to live on an island in the south pacific, escaped, became a big prominent leader of union troops. the irish battalion during the civil war, then went off to montana where he died at that's kind of, i will give away
anymore but that's the premise of the book. how did he die? tells the story leading up to the. he such a great author. when i read about the dust bowl, i had these images of what the gospel was that led to the migration in the '30s of folks from oklahoma out to california. "grapes of wrath" and so forth. i don't know much about it. he writes a book about it. the worst hard time about the dust bowl. my goodness, i mean, it was an incredible scene to think these cities were just engulfed in dirt and dust that was blowing through and the cumulative to indicate the challenge in these cities, are you going to stay or be a quitter and leave? people would sign pledges, i will never leave, and then leave. it is a great writer. so the immortal irishman this book i strongly recommend. >> host: do you ever read books by your colleagues who have written, other political books transferred yes. amy klobuchar's book.
i read harry reid's books and claire mccaskill's books, book i should say. i try to read those along the way. spewing what about a dick durbin book? >> at another of the b-1. i've got 60 chapter city editor and my desk i don't know if it's a book. it's just stores at the cumulative and written up over the course of my time in congress. i'm not sure there's a book in there. there's a lot of writing but someday i may entice an editor to si sit down with the look of her. >> host: want one chapter you can tell us about? >> guest: i wrote a chapter that's continuing project. i got this curiosity and my mind when i was with obama on the campaign trail. i said to him, do you do anything with you in your pocket every day? oh, yeah, he showed me this little pendant he had which was like a tiny little buddha. i believe that's what it was. he said i take it with me everywhere. i thought i would ask you all
the people i know, presidential candidate and what did you care in your pocket or in the course of the campaign. one of the chapters is the story of the senator and what they like to carry in their pockets. is that worthy of the book at? i don't know but it was something that caught my attention. >> host: is there a bio and one of those chapters? >> guest: it's all over the place. a politician could write a book without reflecting on what brought you here. my immigrant mother, my father died when i was in high school from lung cancer, smoking two packs of camels that they, experiences i had with paul douglas, the first senator i worked for, introduced me to paul simon who hired me out of law school to work in his lieutenant governor's office. how i got into the battle to take smoking on airplanes. my father. and what it was like passing a bill in the house. there's a lot of cursor production on this. there may be a book in there
somewhere. >> host: is there any poetry? >> guest: not yet. i'm not that good at it. i guess i'm humble enough to say there's some things i do a little bit of but don't profess to have any great expertise. the interesting thing after taking the course is when i read "the new yorker," it isn't just the stories and cartoons. i stop and read the poetry, or at least try to read the poetry before to the online course i didn't even try. >> host: as the democratic with your time is pretty scarce. do you have to building reading don? >> guest: i would 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, and i really found a book to be a great way to pass that time. catch up on magazine clippings and so forth, i think it into a book. if i really get into it i will stick with it to the end. i'm not into kindle.
i tried it. it just wasn't my style. i like the tangible feel of that paper book also fine if i'm carrying the darn thing about him a briefcase i'm going to finish it because i think how long are you going to carry this? i stick with it and read. it's also great what if your city a passenger you don't want to talk to, and that does happen to politicians. ahead of the nra from colorado, thank you, i've got a book about three. it reaches a point where you have at least a legitimate kindly wait to say don't bother me. >> host: when was the last time you were in the east same lewis library transferred passed by it. long gone. it's one of the casualties of the port in which is now struggling to survive, but he really did a lot to me. >> host: what happened? >> guest: it to the transitio transition, 80,000 people at its peak that i remember, and then went through a racial crisis
where there were african-americans getting improved incomes, wanting to move into new neighborhoods come in white flight. my family was a casualty of that. we moved to another place in the st. louis go into a suburb. now it's a city that is probably 95% plus african-american. reduce, we've got a great new mayor. she really as impressive. got my fingers cautiously to turn the city in the right direction. population of about 25,000 today. >> host: industry? >> guest: nothing except casino riverboat. nothing. it's all gone and the road is part of the problem. >> host: what about popular book, send a book, thinking of the harry potter series are some of these that sweep the country or do they attract your attention? >> guest: usually not. there was that whole thing, the girl with the dragon and all the rest. i guess i read those. i thought they were pretty good but it don't get caught up into that too much. i did get fixed on certain
authors. i think back, a fellow named sebastian barry who was an irish author at his written a series of books, seven or eight, about a family. i get the biggest kick out of reading his books. they are good stories to start with, and they talk a lot about ireland and all that went through in the 20th century. just the irish turn of phrase, i get the biggest kick out of reading that. there's a woman named fuller. she's really a special case. can't remember her first thing e but she wrote several memoirs about growing up in south africa in the southern part of africa, zimbabwe in that region. the one, but two of the or really excellent, one was entitled don't let's go to the dogs tonight, and the second one was cocktails under the tree of forgetfulness, or something of that nature. she came from the most dysfunctional family you can imagine the his wife, those
being -- the political structure, her father was just kind of any demand, very handy guy and she grew up, they drank a little too much and that came through industries. she's very gifted writer and think she lives in jackson hole mountain. >> host: arthur brooks that help you in your work in the senate? >> guest: sometimes i gravitate towards those that will make a difference. there's another one and put it on for summer reading of a new biography of brandeis. i don't know enough about him. this would be a good book. i bought that one. i want to get into that when. that does something. there's another one on fixing medicare that it is bordered. i try to get myself into the frame of mind he frame of mind do with somebody's into the programs that i thought maybe a reflection by some of these, some psycho thoughtful would be helpful host the do you ever read books you disagree with?
>> guest: i don't usually get to the i usually get angry and stop. i find if i can finish the book, even if i tried a second or third time, maybe it was not meant to be. made all these books are not meant to take to the finish line. that's okay. i don't mind trying it, passing it along. i think i learned something even if i stop at 100 or 150 pages. >> host: you mentioned you ordered a book. where do you get most of your books directory and the sun. very convenient. my favorite store on amazon was waking up at 5 a.m. on a sunday morning and thinking i got to order some books, and they said to you want same-day delivery on a sunday in chicago. i would like to find out that works. darned if it didn't deliver it by 2:30 in the afternoon. it's reconvening. having said that i go out of my way to overpay for books from neighborhood bookstores. i worked my way through college at a bookstore called discount
books and records. in washington when what the georgetown. it was one of the second or third best jobs i ever had i memorized the inventory. i knew where everything was it was there by publisher. i got a big kick out of it and i think that got me started on this craziness on books. i have more books than i should, but i thought about amazon under the there are but also thought i don't want to lose all these neighborhood bookstores. so in broadway right around the corner from my condo in chicago is the unabridged bookstore. i make a point of going in there to buy christmas gifts. i spend too much money. i could've saved 20% on amazon but i think i've got to keep these guys in business. they get such a good inventory. i have a soft spot when it comes to neighborhood bookstores. >> host: do they know who you are? >> guest: they do. i that have worked in a bookstore, if you told me we've
got 30 minutes, would you like to own a bookstore? great. we've got an hour, great. our and have to agree. if it's a good bookstore, just give me the time. i will amuse myself or however long you want me to stay in their if it's a really good bookstore. >> host: is there any books you recommend to your colleagues or to your staff transferred yes. the empire of the summer but was a book i read. the story of the comanche indians. i thought to myself i knew nothing about native americans. all i knew i took out of westerns, off of movies. it's all stereotypical. so i read the empire of the summer moon. john cornyn comes walking into the senate gym. i say to john, have you read empire of the summer moon? never heard of it. i'll give it a. it's all about texas and oakland and kansas were the comanche is really dominated for decades. i gave it to cookie loves a. he gives it as a gift the next christmas to everyone republican
senator. so yes, that's what i recommend that turned out to be popular. >> host: is that the only book you recommended to your counterpart on the republican side? >> guest: is a book called the heart of everything that is, and it's a story of this emission which takes a different part of the united states -- sue nation. i recommend that you heidi heitkamp and amy klobuchar because a lot of it has to do with the dakotas and minnesota. host but what about eleanor. if you want to learn about the a little or a lot politics is a book you would recommend? >> guest: there's a lot of intelligence recommending to one of the staffers here city of the center. get the biggest kick out of this book. this is a 19th century history of chicago and it just tells the from its early days of settlement on three colombian exposition. people have read the white city, erik larson's book, that takes place at about the same area,
1893. they built this huge white city, but i think city of the center for such an eye-opener in terms of creating a city. it was a small town in the kind of grew just geometrically. at the end of the 19th century with railroads and central location and opening up the west. so i would start there. i think that's a good book to read. i read most of the books that paul simon wrote. he was prolific. when he ran for president they said of him, they said he has written more books than ronald reagan has read. that was what i think i don't know if george will said that but somebody did a long the course of the campaign. did not have a college degree but he was a prolific writer and author, journalist. his books are very good reflection on the political scene. >> host: what about the u.s.
senate? is there any book you would recommend? >> guest: master of the senate. the history of the this body. i don't think ever anything that matches up post to this is a bj's old hiding office we are in, right treasury he also made office in the capital. i had his office for the with operation over a little ways from here, and if this is part of his legacy, easily could've been, he would walk through at night, story goes, paul douglas via senator that have worked for as a kid, ph.d in economics, cerebral liberal progressive from exactly the kind of politician that lbj hated. so douglas was chairman of the joint economic committee, an assignment he loved and nobody else wanted to lbj came to because he couldn't cause any trouble. he's working late one night in one of the side offices over here. the door opens without an announcement, in steps of vijay.
vijay. he looks round and thus is a word, closes the door and lease. the next day douglas gets noticed, you've been evicted. so i now have it today, but it is time i think elect clinton a lot of real estate in the capital post back as a u.s. senator do you have any involvement with libraries in illinois for the u.s. libraries around the country transferred i do. i have a lot of friends involved with fibers. there's a woman who to nominate the next library of congress. her name is carla hayden. african-american library in now in baltimore was originally, that was returned from illinois. you would expect chicago. it was downstate illinois. it was a large african-american publishing but her mom and dad were born in you going illinois. the reason i was the railroads. the african americas gravitate towards the railroads. they got jobs in the railroads. father conduct be a pretty
prominent musician. he traveled around. she was born in florida. he went to new york, finally made it to chicago. if you go to malcolm x college in chicago, the auditorium is named after her death. so carl hayden has a great story. she's run into some opposition from some quarters but hope she ends up being the next library and. let me just say one thing about writing if i can. when it comes to writing i think it's like most other skills. they say he needed to 10,000 times. if you read stephen king, a book called on writing, which i recommend because the front end of the book is an autobiography which is always. is almost as fun as bill bryson to another writer i read all the time. the life and times of the whizbang kid, going up in des moines, iowa. stephen king tells the story of growing up in this interest in science fiction and all the crazy things nobody else would like to read.
he loved to read individually worked up the courage to write, wasn't all that well but he had this kind of quirky way of looking at things or to write a book called kerry. this book in hardback doesn't do very well. he is living hand to mouth. it very, living in an, living in a small apartment the public also it says we decide to put kerry into the back and you're going to get a 10,000-dollar advance the it drops the phone. he couldn't believe the. that was the launch of his publishing for the second half is a primer how to be a writer. how to get it done. the key to it is pretty obvious. right every day. this plan yourself to write everyday. indigo some insights on how to write everyday. john kirtley has a book about how it got its inspiration to be a writer called my imaginary girlfriend. his two passions in life, rustling, legitimate wrestling. now the entertainment kind, and
high school in writing, and writing. in the book he lists the 10 books that inspired him to be a writer. i think i got through half of them. he got me into grant green. it was irving that picked out a few the backup restored on graham greene who has quite a few books. if you're interested in writing, there are a lot of great writers share their secrets. >> host: do you practice writing? >> guest: some. i bite collins as my press secretary over your nods. i write these chapters that it is a triumph telling you about that we never see the light of day. >> host: stephen king spoke at the vibrant of of congress in the last couple of years. on his book on writing. did you ever get a chance to see or of the authors correctly i missed it. i would say that the series they could vibrant of congress when they bring in office, they are
usually bad history, stephen ambrose and others would come in. they are quizzed. is it referenced in? david rubenstein. thank you, david them for doing it. it's one of the most popular bipartisan events on capitol hill by far. he get to go to a nice dinner, you listen to david interviewing the author and then get a free copy of the book. it's a pretty good night. there's one coming up tonight. >> host: and thus no cameras allowed. we've managed to get into. that makes it nicer for your. >> guest: it's a book about churchill and roosevelt. i've read a couple and want to see what that's all about. >> host: senator dick durbin is the democratic whip in the u.s. senate, and we appreciate you being on booktv. >> guest: thanks. >> booktv records hundreds of other programs throughout the country all year long i and his look of some of the events we will be covering this week.
>> so much of the town revenue comes from stopping at arresting innocent citizens. 20,000 people in ferguson, 16,000 have words. it's a stunning number. can you imagine 20,010 and 16,000 having words? at the time this is. mike brown gets stopped. it wasn't because he stole something. that wasn't even an issue at the time of a stop. he was stopped for jaywalking. these are the types of fences people are stopped for, particularly black people in ferguson. a failed experiment of black by any measure, liberal and
conservative. all of those things let people to go to ferguson, let people do see what happened to mike brown. to some extent the story was a much deeper story than the story of jacob act of state of the as was going to send it out, we were back in new york and eric garner do it been killed, i should say daniel pantaleo, we often don't talk abou by the po, but the officer killed eric garner was not indicted and we are marching in the street. we were back in ferguson right or that because of the non-indictment of wilson. we went on this tour of the next year of high profile cases of state violence. eric garner, mike brown, walter scott who was shot in the back and sandra bland was found hanging. freddie gray who was beaten because you capacity to look at top in the eye which is why they chased in which is why he ran, et cetera, et cetera. in each of these cases i book tries to get underneath that.
public housing of joblessness, in the case of freddie gray does not the prosecutors office is. the way which public defenders have been disempowered in the public has come under assault. in the case of sandra bland him, about what black women in gaza criminalized, how mental illness is criminalized. going to enlist in each case to get a deeper issue disposability i think is partly about racism, it's largely indebted to the legacy of white supremacy but we can at any moment they ignore the fact all of these things exist within the context of the moment when it comes up ultimate decider, ultimate court of appeal to adjudicate competing worldviews. the market, hybridization, the regulations, the buzzwords we use the to become commonsense. as always live in the context of the class of any state we have these other things going on. my book is undergirded by the
latest dig at these cases to give the bigger story of what it means to be nobody in 20% to america. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> you are watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. >> c-span, crater by america's cable companies 35 years ago and brought to you as a public service by your local cable or satellite provider. >> next on "the communicators" a conversation with at&t chief lobbyist james cicconi. then the vice president of afghanistan addresses the united nations. and live at 9 a.m. consumer advocate ralph nader kicks off a daylong forum on citizen engagement and corporate influence in politics. >> ht: