Current Issue

June10, 2009

Vol. 109, No. 15

book shorts

The Democracy Index: Why Our Election System Is Failing and How to Fix It

By Heather K. Gerken ’91
Published in the June10, 2009, issue

(Princeton University Press)

The author diagnoses what is wrong with our election system and proposes a first step toward reform: creating a democracy index that would rank states and localities based on how well they run elections. Akin to the U.S. News & World Report rankings of colleges, the democracy index would focus on problems such as how long voters wait in line, how many ballots get discarded, and how often voting machines break down. Gerken is a professor at Yale Law School.


By Jean Hanff Korelitz
Published in the June10, 2009, issue

(Grand Central)

The main character of this novel set at Princeton, Portia Nathan, is an admission officer struggling with her role as gatekeeper to the University and with a buried secret from her past. Her professional standards are challenged when she meets a talented but undisciplined high school student. The story explores the college admission process, Nathan’s difficult relationship with her mother, and her breakup with the Princeton English department head who leaves her. Korelitz was a part-time reader for Princeton’s Office of Admission.

Shadows Still Remain

By Peter De Jonge ’77
Published in the June10, 2009, issue


This crime thriller is about a scrappy and headstrong homicide detective, Darlene O’Hara, who puts her job on the line to solve the murder of a beautiful and mysterious college student. The action follows O’Hara from gritty dive bars and strip clubs to the provost’s office and library at NYU. The Washington Post called the novel “first-rate crime fiction.” De Jonge has co-authored three novels with James Patterson, including The Beach House.

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