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Tea Partiers' Summer Reading

8:00 AM, Jun 18, 2011 • By KATE HAVARD
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In time for summer, two dispatches of interest from the world of publishing.

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First, Adam Bellow, son of Saul and a former HarperCollins editor, has launched a new publishing venture, Broadside Books, and its first major project is an experimental digital and print pamphlet series called Voices of the Tea Party. Bellow describes the pamphlet’s writers as “everyday Americans who have taken to the streets in an effort to make our government more responsive to the needs of its citizens." So far, the “voices” of the Tea Party include President Obama’s cousin on “Why the Hippocratic Oath Requires [Him] to Oppose ObamaCare” and a descendant of Patrick Henry on how his famous ancestor's life influences his political activism.

Bellow sees e-books as the natural evolution of the polemical pamphlets of the Revolutionary era. As he recently told National Review Online, “From the early Christian apologists to the Protestant Reformation, from the English Civil War to the American and French Revolutions, polemical pamphlets have been the means by which these movements worked out ideas and practical programs. . . . E-books are certainly the future [but] they represent at the same time a reversion to the past—a return to the roots of political culture by way of 21st-century technology.”

Meanwhile, the demand for e-books seems to be growing across genre lines as well: The mystery editor and publisher Otto Penzler has just announced that he will be partnering with Open Road Integrated Media to launch MysteriousPress.com, an e-book venture featuring reissues of classic mystery novels such as James Grady’s Six Days of the Condor and Mark McShane's Séance on a Wet Afternoon. MysteriousPress will also be e-launching a series of original novels by mystery greats such as Lorenzo Carcaterra (author of Sleepers, on which the 1996 film was based) and Charles McCarry (The Tears of Autumn).

All of which is to say that e-publishing, wherever it ultimately leads us, keeps company with the latest news—and vacationing Tea Partiers looking for a little escapist fare.

Kate Havard, a student at St. John's College, is an intern at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

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