Seventy five years ago, before Theodor Geisel rocked the culinary world with green eggs and ham or put a red-and-white striped top hat on a talking cat, Geisel (who you probably know better as Dr. Seuss) was stuck on a boat, returning from a trip to Europe.
For eight days, he listened to the ship's engine chug away. The sound got stuck in his head and he started writing to the rhythm. Eventually, those rhythmic lines in his head turned into his first children's book: It was called And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.
To spend a day in the life of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore, there are a few things you have to get used to. Really long drives, for one. Tigers charging at you. And, of course ... well ... messes.
"I'm the only studio portrait photographer I know whose subjects routinely poop and pee on the background right in front of me," he says from behind the lens.
Surely I am not the only one who has harbored secret dreams of being an heiress — not the nouveau riche kind with a reality television crew trailing behind me, but the sort with a full staff, gobs of silver and afternoons spent on the hunt. Though I've come around to my untitled American life, I still adore reading books about drafty old houses and the privileged people who inhabit them.
A burly beast of a man bursts into a presidential press conference and is shot in the leg by secret police. Two days later, the White House reveals that the befuddled intruder with a handlebar mustache is really former President William Howard Taft.
So begins Taft 2012, a novel that gives a satirical take on contemporary politics through the eyes of a president who served a century ago. Author Jason Heller places Taft in a 21st-century election campaign, where he is forced to sit in bars on New Year's Eve and master Twitter along the way.