Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union, by [House Historian] Robert V. Remini. I’m not too far along. I just got it as a gift. And I just finished Never Been a Time: The 1917 Race Riot That Sparked the Civil Rights Movement [by Harper Barnes], which is about the East St. Louis race riots of 1917. I represent St. Louis, and [the book] tells the story of the influence of Southern migrant workers who came in and served as strike-breakers in the meatpacking houses. And it got to the point where, in early July 1917, they had the biggest race riots in our country’s history. They estimate between 100 and 200 were killed in the riots, women and children. And quite a few of them came over to St. Louis after and settled in what is now my district.
Regularly I read The New York Times, The Washington Post and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, in that order. And sometimes I’ll pick up Time magazine or Newsweek.
What’s your guilty-pleasure read?
I always like to read Golf Digest [magazine].
What do you consider the most important political books or authors?
Without a doubt, the one that comes to mind is John F. Kennedy [and his book] Profiles in Courage. And then, of course, the one by my dad [former Rep. William Lacy Clay Sr. (D-Mo.)] Just Permanent Interests: Black Americans in Congress, 1870–1991, about the history of African-Americans in the U.S. Congress going back to Reconstruction.
What are your favorite novels?
I’m a big Mark Twain fan — Mr. Samuel Clemens. I’d have to say Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are my two favorites of his.