Midday Margins Blog: The Reading Life Of Senator Tom Daschle

May 30, 2016

Photo Courtesy The Daschle Group

The way people read fascinates me. Most people don't think about it much, but there are as many different reading lives as there are people living them.

More and more, I am asking guests on Dakota Midday what they are reading. The answers are often surprising and delightful.

South Dakota Chief Justice David Gilbertson was reading about Teddy Roosevelt. Yoga teacher Jill Johnson was reading about communication with animals. The book? "The Cosmic Purr."

When I interviewed Senator Tom Daschle (founder/CEO of The Daschle Group) I asked not what book was on his nightstand - I asked him to describe his reading life.

It's a pretty personal question, when you think about it.

But I had a hunch Daschle would have a rich literary life. He was generous with his response.

No doubt there are apps that track your reading - prompting the achievement-oriented browsers of books to log their pages, swiftly rating each work, perhaps reducing Tolstoy or Dillard to a set number of stars or a heart-shaped Emoticon.

If I may lean my personal opinion against the topic for a moment, I would offer that nothing compares to a thoughtful reader's journal - one that leaves room for argument and celebration and copied-out excerpts.

I suspect most people don't take that kind of time with their reading these days.

Reading itself has become something of an act of rebellion. It's the devotion of hours away from commerce and email, away from distraction and achievement. Some days it feels like the ultimate luxury in a world flattened by overwork and overwhelm.

The full conversation with Daschle airs Tuesday on SDPB Radio at Noon, CT, 11 MT. We talked for more than 20 minutes and covered everything from the power of compromise to the role of the media in contemporary politics.

But my favorite moment was when we talked about books. Decades of journals. Chronicles of a life spent among letters, even when there is so much else to be done.  As the long weekend wraps up, curl up with a good book.

Steal some time.

A little rebellion, now and again, can be a very good thing.

                                                                                                         ~ Lori Walsh, host, Dakota Midday

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