Somebody better explain.

There are a lot of things that don't make sense here. Things don't add up, they don't match, they're not in alignment. Is there a reason or solution for this mess, or will it ever be sorted out? As in the new book "What Were We Thinking" by Carlos Lozada, can the answer be determined?

As the nonfiction book critic for The Washington Post, Lozada has seen his share of political books — specifically, books on Donald Trump. In early 2016, he proposed that reading them become an official part of his job. Surely, there was some sense to be made of politics then, and maybe it was inside those books.

Four years later, Lozada says, perhaps not surprisingly, "The most essential books of the Trump era are scarcely about Trump at all."

In what Lozada calls "heartland literature," some of them attempt to explain the 2016 election by categorizing voters, using the stories of blue-collar workers who were hardest hit by poverty in years prior. "Race versus class" appears quite often in these books — as does one same interviewee, in several books.

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Some authors who use "resistance writing" focus on the Trump policies with which they disagree, and they "rarely look beyond activist communities on the left." Books written by conservatives and supporters are largely (and fawningly) complimentary toward All Things Trump, while Never Trumpers are more concerned about the future of the Republican Party.

Most books written by immigrants understandably focus on their own stories rather than on policy; others feature a collection of individual tales of coming to America. Books that were written about Trump's lies all include "a hefty dose of personal attacks..."; some include discussions about the word "lie." And then there are the books about Trump's ties with Russia, work that has "suffered from unplanned obsolescence...."

You might be asking yourself now if there are any books about the Trump presidency that are worth reading, and the answer is yes. In "What Were We Thinking," Lozada has a dozen of them you can try.

Be warned, however, that there's room for argument.

Since this book was written, at least a dozen others in various genres have joined it on the shelves, and most of them fall neatly into any one of Lozada's loose categories, but readers will undoubtedly have their own favorites on which to lean in attempts to understand today's politics.

Even so, Lozada offers intelligent assessments and a balanced, fair explanation as to why many of the most popular titles can be swatted away. His literary reasoning is often very funny — he's the master of the burn — but he's also relatively even-handed, though readers will easily be able to ascertain how Lozada leans, politically.

There are many days left until the election, but so little time, and if you've already been reading up on the subject, here's more for your political TBR pile. What you need to know is that "What Were We Thinking" is a thinking person's read, and that explains everything.

Book notes

“What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era” by Carlos Lozada is available through online booksellers.

"The Bookworm" is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on the prairie in Wisconsin with one man, two dogs and 16,000 books. Look for her at or bookwormsez on Twitter.