Thursday, June 21, 2018
Books

What's Darryl Rouson reading?

Nightstand

Darryl Rouson

Florida Rep. Rouson narrowly won a caucus vote Feb. 20 in Tallahassee to become the leader of House Democrats in 2014. In the unlikely event Democrats unseat Republicans as the majority party in next year's general election, Rouson, a lawyer and former Republican, would become speaker. Rouson, 58, was born in New Orleans, grew up in St. Petersburg and graduated from what was then known as Bishop Barry High School (now St. Petersburg Catholic). After receiving an undergraduate degree from Xavier University in Louisiana, he went on to earn a law degree at the University of Florida. Rouson, who has publicly struggled with drug addiction, is also a former president of the St. Petersburg chapter of the NAACP.

What's on your nightstand?

I have three books that I'm reading right now. I'm halfway through a book on Obama's leadership, Leading From Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him by Richard Miniter. I've got Home by Toni Morrison because it was the last book my mom read before she died Dec. 10. She really enjoyed it, and I told myself I'd read it. The third book is The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis. The premise is that people see (Parks) as a nice lady, a lady who was simply tired and didn't want to give up her seat, but really what she did on the bus was a demonstration of what she did in other areas of her life.

But this didn't surprise you, did it?

Nope.

As for the Obama book, what did you take away from reading it?

It talked about different leadership styles. Some people lead and pull others reluctantly along, and other people react to the circle around them. I like to be a combination, where you sometimes need to pull others in a direction that you believe in with your heart and mind is the right direction to go in, however reluctant they might be, but I also want to be a leader that listens.

What about Obama's style of leadership?

I believe his is more information gathering, trying to let others around him come to a decision, and then he stamps it with his approval. The book mentions him being aloof and solitary in his leadership decisions.

What book would you hope other Floridians have on their bookshelves?

Recently I bought 35 copies of From Yellow Dog Democrats to Red State Republicans by David Colburn, who runs the Askew Institute at University of Florida, and I mailed them to all the Democratic representatives in the House. In my new role as minority leader, I need to increase the number of Democrats and to create a powerful, relevant Democratic caucus. I recommend the book because it chronicles how the Democratic party lost its weight in terms of being the political machine in the state and how the Republicans took over. It talks about the prescription of what we might have to do to bring back the power. It's interesting how registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans, yet Republicans control the House, the Senate and up into the governor's mansion. But, Democrats are diverse and the big tent party, and therein lies the strength for all that is beautiful for Democrats, and therein lies the weakness of the other party.

Piper Castillo, Times staff writer

Comments
Review: Look inside the tent of a Gibsonton-based sideshow in Tessa Fontaine’s memoir ‘The Electric Woman’

Review: Look inside the tent of a Gibsonton-based sideshow in Tessa Fontaine’s memoir ‘The Electric Woman’

Grief can unhinge us, disconnect us from our daily lives, make us do things we’ve never done. Grief made Tessa Fontaine run away and join the circus.To be more exact, the sideshow: World of Wonders, the last traditional traveling sideshow in the coun...
Updated: 4 hours ago
5 fiction writers who've turned their attention to Donald Trump

5 fiction writers who've turned their attention to Donald Trump

He might not have intended it, but Donald Trump has been good for book publishing.
Published: 06/15/18
What’s Neal Thompson, author of ‘Kickflip Boys,’ reading?

What’s Neal Thompson, author of ‘Kickflip Boys,’ reading?

Neal ThompsonFor Father’s Day, we checked in with Neal Thompson from his Seattle office. In his new book, Kickflip Boys, Thompson weaves together a story on raising his two independent, passionate sons while giving us an honest look at the underbelly...
Published: 06/15/18
What is Jen Waite, author of the memoir

What is Jen Waite, author of the memoir "A Beautiful, Terrible Thing," reading?

Jen Waite It is June. Romance and weddings are in the air, and with that comes the paperback release of A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal by Jen Waite, 33. The book, based on Waite’s heartbreaking wedding story, fi...
Published: 06/07/18
Review: Jake Tapper’s ‘Hellfire Club’ a fictional thriller sharpened with real 1950s politics

Review: Jake Tapper’s ‘Hellfire Club’ a fictional thriller sharpened with real 1950s politics

Washington, D.C., is a city in crisis, the operations of the federal government all but paralyzed by the conspiracy theories of a powerful politician who behaves as if the bounds of protocol and decency don’t apply to him. As he distracts the nation,...
Updated one month ago
What’s Helen Rappaport reading?

What’s Helen Rappaport reading?

Helen RappaportWhile delving into archives and researching her new book about the murder of the Russian imperial family 100 years ago, The Race to Save the Romanovs, Rappaport celebrated the digital age. "I am able to go back so far in time and look ...
Updated one month ago
Review: Lauren Groff’s ‘Florida’ explores a state beyond the boundaries

Review: Lauren Groff’s ‘Florida’ explores a state beyond the boundaries

In "Flower Hunters," one of the stories in Lauren Groff’s stunning new book Florida, a character gets a reader’s crush on 18th century explorer William Bartram, an early chronicler of the state’s flora and fauna: "She’s most d...
Updated one month ago
Notable: Books for the beach

Notable: Books for the beach

NotableBooks for the beachSuit up: It’s time for a few new books built for vacation reading.By Invitation Only (William Morrow) by Dorothea Benton Frank is the latest serving of Frank’s trademark warm humor and engaging characters, set around two wed...
Updated one month ago
Judy Blundell brings on summertime on Long Island in ‘High Season’

Judy Blundell brings on summertime on Long Island in ‘High Season’

NightstandJudy BlundellSince it’s Memorial Day weekend, we decided to touch base with Judy Blundell, whose new book is High Season. The novel’s protagonist is Ruthie Beamish, director of a small museum who, to make ends meet, rents out her seaside ho...
Updated one month ago

Events: Pulitzer winner Jack Davis to discuss ‘The Gulf’ at Oxford Exchange

Book TalkUniversity of Florida historian Jack E. Davis (The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea) will discuss and sign his Pulitzer Prize-winning book at 1 p.m. May 27 at the Oxford Exchange, 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Admission $5, applicable towar...
Updated one month ago