Art Imitates Life Imitates Art

The political season in our country lasts way too long and is way too divisive for my taste. So I choose to stay out of the fight. But, I am still intrigued by the political process. This election season I decided to delve into some shows and novels that fill that need for intrigue, although I'm still somewhat horrified that some of the plot lines have come a little too close to what I see in the newspaper headlines.

I decided to start off with Veep, thinking a little humor would help. I watched a few episodes and really didn't like any of the characters or the sense of humor, although I'm extremely fond of Julia Louis Dreyfus and really wanted to care about this show. Then I heard an interview on NPR's "Fresh Air" that changed my mind. Terry Gross was interviewing Amy Chozik who is a New York Times reporter covering the Clinton campaign. Terry is a fan of the show Veep, and when she asked Ms. Chozik about how much of the show rings true to what she sees as a reporter and there was a certain amount of laughter because it seems there are too many things that ring true, it made me look at Veep in a different light. I'm not sure it was a light that made me like politics any more, but it brought another layer to the whole show.

I realize I should have moved on to The West Wing, but instead I veered to the dark side and have jumped into House of Cards instead. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are the ultimate power hungry couple who will stop at nothing to get to their place in the White House. There are way too many spoilers for this series, so I won't share anything except to say all of the characters are pretty despicable, which makes me think it is probably the way things really do work in Washington D.C. Which is actually pretty depressing.

All this television watching made me hungry for a good book. When I went to an author panel at the Tucson Festival of Books this past spring, I was introduced to the work of author Mike Lawson. I had never heard of the guy before, but I really liked his energy and spirit. I also appreciated that he essentially based the way his main character, Joe DeMarco (starting in The Inside Ring) made decisions on how he, the author, would do things. Joe is essentially a fixer for a semi-corrupt, but still good at heart Speaker of the House. Joe's office is in the basement, and even though he gets paid, pretty much everything he does is completely off the books. I've read three in this series, and every one has been a page-turner. Think John Grisham meets Michael Connelly and Robert Ludlum and you'll get the idea - maybe not quite as many explosions and not as legally technical but still loads of fun.