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Eleanor Clift’s Tale of Love and Politics

Newsweek columnist Eleanor Clift likely wishes she didn’t have a reason to write her new book, Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death and Politics.

Two of her previous books were written with her late husband, Tom Brazaitis, Washington bureau chief of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The new one is Clift’s journal of Brazaitis’s last days, when he was in hospice care with cancer.

Those two weeks in 2005 coincided with Terri Schiavo’s right-to-die case in Florida; Schiavo died the day after Brazaitis did. Clift weaves back and forth between the two stories, one she was living, another she was watching.

Two days after her husband’s death, the liberal Clift returned to her panelist’s seat on The McLaughlin Group to talk about the political fallout from the Schiavo drama. Here she describes an encounter with one of her conservative counterparts on the TV shoutfest:

“Pat Buchanan upon seeing me in the Green Room before the taping offers his sympathy, saying quite memorably, ‘You took a big hit, kid.’ It was heartfelt and kind and rakish all at once, like Humphrey Bogart in the movie classic, ‘Casablanca,’ underscoring why Pat is so popular among both his ideological foes and friends.”

Other notable new books:

• NPR host Scott Simon’s new novel, Windy City, is a political tale set in his native Chicago.

“Like, Whatever”: The Insider’s Guide to Raising Teens contains chapters on subjects from single parenting to faith to sex. Local contributors include journalists Susan Kellam and Ann Cochran, fiction writer Susan Land, and Rebecca Kahlenberg, the book’s editor.

• Georgetown author and mother Holly Morse Caldwell has written City Baby DC, a guide for new parents in the area. Based on the New York edition, it lists everything from prenatal services to play groups to kid-friendly hair salons along with advice and tips.

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