Another tough election season in the rearview mirror - especially tough for all those soon-to-be-former Democratic Congress members. But in politics, there's always a vote just a few calendar pages away. Another chance for voters to get it right.

So with an eye to the future, and the knowledge that reading is the key to self-improvement, Notebook would like to offer some suggested books for the new year to some of our favorite politicians.

• President Obama: "Discipline Without Distress: 135 Tools for Raising Caring, Responsible Children Without Time-out, Spanking, Punishment or Bribery." Not to equate Congress with a bunch of unruly children, but with all due respect, Mr. President, we might suggest practicing first on your own caucus before branching out to the other side.

• U.S. Sen. John McCain: "Meditation as Medicine: Activate the Power of Your Natural Healing Force." Maybe that will help banish your grumps, which have been lingering since (melodramatic whisper) 2008. We suggest it might be followed by "The Book of Secrets: 112 Keys to the Mystery Within." (And once you unravel the mystery that is you, let us know, because we get asked about it all the time.)

• U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords: "Yoga Bible." All that straddling of positions - running the gamut from conservative and progressive - can really torque the joints if not done properly.

• U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva: "Cat in the Hat." Our protagonist creates chaos throughout the House, breaks the rules and nearly gets caught. But in the end, gets away with it.

• U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl: "Patterns and Worksheets to Whip Your Sock Knitting Into Shape." Given the senator's title, we're partial to any gratuitous reference to "whip." But with all those filibusters of late, some new time-twiddling skills might come in handy.

• Gov. Jan Brewer: "One Thousand Ways to Make $1000." Rinse and repeat several times to close the budget gap, but it's a start.

• Mayor Bob Walkup: "Taking Off Her Rose Colored Glasses," a novel, promises to "resonate with anyone going through difficult times" and discovering a "more real" way of life.

• City Council members: "A User's Guide to the Universe: Surviving the Perils of Black Holes, Time Paradoxes and Quantum Uncertainty." Seems apropos given the environs.

• Jonathan Paton: "Hindsight: The Promise and Peril of Looking Backward." Through the pain of the what-went-wrong, comes insight and wisdom. Look how much we've learned in retrospect about ships and icebergs, for example.

• Independent Redistricting Commission: "How to Stop Heartburn: Simple Ways to Heal Heartburn and Acid Reflux." We didn't read it. But we're fairly certain one of the tips is not serving on the Independent Redistricting Commission.

• State Democrats: A couple of oldies but goodies for the shrinking legislative caucuses - "Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life" or the DVD "Reality Bites."

• State Republicans: "The 48 Laws of Power." Learn laws such as "Crush Your Enemy Totally" or "Conceal Your Intentions." Certainly, real-life applications can be gleaned from thousands of years of warfare.

• Brian Miller, the new Pima GOP chairman: "The Book of Tea: Revised and Updated Edition" for new ways to stew and brew.

• Janet Napolitano: After the Department of Homeland Security chief said her department is working 364 days a year to keep us safe, we might suggest a calendar is in order. Or, if she really meant it, perhaps a batch of good movies, some fuzzy slippers and high-end hot chocolate for that 365th day of downtime.

• The Tucson voter: "The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook." With chapters explaining, for example, how to fight sharks, grizzly bears and mountain lions without weapons or how to escape from quicksand, it might come in handy in a year that will bring both presidential maneuvering and city elections.

Contact reporter Rhonda Bodfield at rbodfield@azstarnet.com or 573-4243. Contact reporter Andrea Kelly at akelly@azstarnet.com or 807-7790.