Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


The Obamas' summer reading list

By / August 25, 2009



What will the First Family be reading on Martha's Vineyard this summer? The president's reading list has already been announced. White House spokesman Bill Burton listed five titles that will be traveling with Obama.

Skip to next paragraph

Recent posts

The five books (all of which will undoubtedly see sales increases this week) are "The Way Home" by George Pelecanos, "Hot, Flat, and Crowded" by Thomas Friedman, "Lush Life" by Richard Price, "Plainsong" by Kent Haruf, and "John Adams" by David McCullough. It's a good mix (one thriller, one global explicator, one novel set in a big city, one novel set on the prairie, and one biography) but taken together it means a lot of reading. As CNN points out, the president will have to read 300 pages a day if he really intends to finish all five books during his one-week vacation.

It's also a monochromatic list when it comes to authors – all white males. Slate made the snarky suggestion that, "[G]iven his aides' penchant for cleaning up little things like this, we'll soon see the president with a copy of Kate Walbert's A Short History of Women."

As for the rest of the family, we don't really know. There is the list someone put together of books that Michelle has been known to read to children, and that includes "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel, "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" by Judith Viorst, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See" by Bill Martin Jr., "The Cat in the Hat" by Dr. Seuss, "Olivia" by Ian Falconer, and "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak.

"The Life of Pi" is a book that Michelle and Malia were said to be reading together, but other than that we don't know much about the reading tastes of the Obama girls. Too bad – given the propensity of any book seen with Obama to shoot to the top of the bestselling list, I have to think that there are some young adult authors who would be extremely gratified to get the nod from Sasha or Malia.

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story