Joshua M. Glasser is the author of The Eighteen-Day Running Mate: McGovern, Eagleton, and a Campaign in Crisis (August 1, 2012, Yale University Press). He works as a researcher at Bloomberg Television in New York and is a graduate of Amherst College, Eagleton's alma mater.
On your nightstand now:
I have been trying to catch up on the popular nonfiction that I missed while at work on my book. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg are at the top of my list. I have also been pushing myself to read more fiction, and I've been enjoying it. On this front, Jonathan Franzen's Freedom is up next. I just finished The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides, and I highly recommend it--especially for its compelling portrayal of how one, albeit fictional, character experienced manic-depression in the period shortly after my book takes place and how the illness was treated at that time.
Favorite book when you were a child:
When I was very little, the Arthur books by Marc Brown. In my middle school years and beyond, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Interestingly, George McGovern's dog--a Newfoundland retriever--was named "Atticus."
Your top five authors:
Robert A. Caro, Joseph J. Ellis, Philip Roth, Theodore H. White and Tom Wolfe.
Book you've faked reading:
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I had to read it in high school and didn't have enough time to do a thorough job. I ended up skimming most of it.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Lately, it's been Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I've been telling all my friends to read it, if they haven't yet already. It's a brilliant character study pinned to the historical context. And it offers a phenomenal conception of so many fascinating businesses and industries that have shaped our society, culture and lives today.
Book you've bought for the cover:
The first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling, in fifth grade, before it became a hit.
Book that changed your life:
The Boys on the Bus by Timothy Crouse. It was my first real exposure to the journalists and politicians of '72, and it drove me to explore the era further.
Favorite line from a book:
Oddly enough, it's the opening line of Anna Karenina: "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." I did get that far....
Also, "We see on the theater of the world a certain number of scenes which succeed each other in endless repetition.... The past should enlighten us on the future: knowledge of history is no more than an anticipated experience." It's originally from Charles Pinot Duclos' Histoire de Louis XI, but I read it quoted in Carl Becker's The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers. I guess lines stand out more when you haven't read the whole book.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Anna Karenina. Come to think of it, I should add it to my nightstand.