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CQ Roll Call’s 2012 Reading List

They may not be on a best-seller list, but the following are some books — fiction and non — published in 2012 and recommended by the CQ Roll Call editorial team. Agree or disagree? Let us know on Twitter: @rollcall

“Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo

Recommended by Shawn Zeller and Adriel Bettelheim

This lived up to its advance billing and proved to be a remarkable study of the bottom dwellers in one of India’s worst slums. — Adriel Bettelheim

“Do Not Ask What Good We Do” by Robert Draper

Recommended by Annie Shuppy and Jason Dick

Draper’s book is a lively read that takes the reader through the first year of the tea-party-dominated House during the 112th Congress and provides some valuable insight on why it’s still hard to get any major bipartisan legislation through the chamber. — Annie Shuppy

“The Lifespan of a Fact” by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal

Recommended by Rob Margetta

This 128-page account, told through the emails exchanged between a writer and a fact-checker, was one of the more interesting, frustrating reads of 2012. It’s the story of the copy editing job from hell, as D’Agata and Fingal clash over everything from sourcing to style, and by the end I wanted to knock both authors’ heads together. — Rob Margetta

“The End of Men” by Hanna Rosin

Recommended by Rebecca Gale

Rosin takes readers through examples of women out-earning, out-performing and out-shining their male partners. She gives apologies to her son and husband for the title, but her research and narratives show how the country has moved from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-based one. With a changing economy comes a changing marriage. — Rebecca Gale

“Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan” by Rajiv Chandrasekaran

Recommended by Mike Christensen

The United States has been its own worst enemy in Afghanistan — Marines fighting in the wrong place, civilian agencies building projects that won’t matter. It’s hard to come away from this fascinating account with much optimism about the outcome. — Mike Christensen

“The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965” by William Manchester and Paul Reid

Recommended by Shawn Zeller

The conclusion of Manchester’s epic trilogy, as completed by Reid after Manchester’s death. — Shawn Zeller

“Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians” by Robert W. Merry

Recommended by David Rapp and John Bicknell

The former editor-in-chief of CQ has a provocative — and fun — way to evaluate the success of a presidency. Makes you think twice about your own judgments. — David Rapp

“The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides

Recommended by Eliza Carney

A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, “The Marriage Plot” is an irresistible trip down memory lane for anyone who graduated from college, as I did, in the 1980s. — Eliza Carney

“The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas” by Jonah Goldberg

Recommended by John Bicknell

The columnist that liberals love to hate skewers the favored shibboleths of the left in this fun read that covers some of the same ground as his previous best-seller, “Liberal Fascism,” though in a less academic and more entertaining fashion. Sometimes, guys, war IS the answer (if you want to free the slaves or beat the Nazis). — John Bicknell

“The Submission” by Amy Waldman

Recommended by Amanda Becker

“The Submission” was first published in 2011 but the release of the paperback version in 2012 is reason enough to include this fictionalized account of collective versus personal grief, and the politicization that inevitably follows a national tragedy, on any list of the best books of last year. — Amanda Becker

“Life” by Keith Richards and James Fox

Recommended by Melinda Nahmias

Although a diehard Beatles fan in the day, I found myself fascinated by the candor with which Richards told his tale. He admits to making lots of stupid mistakes, and they got him into plenty of hot water. Perhaps one of the reasons I liked it so much is that it took me as far away from the pomp, ritual and artifice of Capitol Hill as one can get. From lawmakers to law-breaker, if you will. — Melinda Nahmias

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