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Leading Reads

Birmingham's mayor shares his recent favorite books

Article by Mayor Randall Woodfin

Photography by Provided

Originally published in Birmingham Lifestyle

It’s not unusual for me to have a book within arm’s reach throughout the day. I love a great biography or an “ideas” book by a favorite writer such as Malcolm Gladwell. Books provide a break in a busy day. They inform, educate, inspire and prompt deeper thinking or a great discussion. In my role as mayor, I have promoted the benefits of reading for all ages. Read with Woodfin is a book club started on my social channels. Through Page Pals, we partnered with Birmingham City Schools to encourage volunteers to read to third graders. Reading to a child is one of the most important things any of us can do in our community.
by Prince Harry 

I didn’t know a lot about Prince Harry other than the coverage we all saw on TV. As I read his story in Spare, I appreciated the opportunity to understand his perspective as a royal. He provides a deeper dive into the life beyond what the tabloids may tell you. The most compelling part of this book, for me, deals with his military service. He writes that sharing his experience, which includes two tours of duty in Afghanistan, helps him heal and hopefully will help others. Those stories, along with observations from his worldwide travels, made me appreciate him as a person.
His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, A Life 
by Johnathan Alter 

I’ve read so much about Presidents Kennedy, Clinton and Obama. Like many, I know Jimmy Carter as a man of deep faith with a purpose-driven post-presidency. Alter’s biography describes Carter as very misunderstood. I am amazed by his story from Georgia farm boy to a Naval nuclear engineer who resigned his post to run the family business when his father died. The motivations that led to his political life fascinate me. Complete with consideration of success and failure, the story of Carter’s rise from outsider to president and 40 years of service after the White House will inspire you.

Both titles are available at Thank You Books in Birmingham.