Obama's summer vacation reading list

President Obama kicked off his vacation with a trip to a Martha's Vineyard book store. What's Obama reading?

Carolyn Kaster/AP
President Barack Obama, with his daughters Malia Obama, right, and Sasha Obama, center, leave the Bunch of Grapes book store in Vineyard Haven, Mass., Friday, Aug. 19, 2011, during a family vacation.

On his first day of a 10-day vacation on Martha's Vineyard, President Obama and his daughters hit the Bunch of Grapes bookstore.

He emerged with four to six books, according to The Los Angeles Times and other media outlets. At least two books were for his daughters. Thirteen-year old Malia has Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" on her private school's summer reading list. Sasha, age 10, was carrying a book called "Frost."

The only other two books identified by media reports were "Room" by Emma Donoghue, and "The Bayou Trilogy" by Daniel Woodrell.

"Room" is the story of an abducted mother being held prisoner in a soundproof room by a sex offender. It's told through the eyes of her five-year old son, who is also a prisoner.

While the story echoes the real-life abduction of Elizabeth Smart, The Christian Science Monitor's reviewer wrote "there's nothing lurid or prurient about this story of a young mom who is determined to create the best life she can for her son, no matter how horrifying her circumstances."

The book was short-listed for the 2010 Booker Prize.

"The Bayou Trilogy" is three crime novels under one title, which follow the exploits of Louisiana detective Rene Shade.

The Los Angeles Times describes Daniel Woodrell as "a backcountry Shakespeare." Kirkus describes his work as "a gritty, atmospheric slice of crime fiction . . . a superior piece of narrative noir."

Assuming these books are for Obama, and not his wife, Michelle, then the president appears to be looking for some standard summer beach fare. That's a shift from the last family vaction in Hawaii over the Christmas holiday. Then, the president had "President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime," by Lou Cannon on his bedside table.

The Associated Press notes that this is "Obama's third straight summer on the island off Cape Cod, and his visit to the Bunch of Grapes was a reprise of how he started last year's vacation. Once again, it was a father-and-daughters outing, with first lady Michelle Obama elsewhere on the island."

A year ago, The Daily Beast put together a list of books that have been reportedly read by President Obama during the campaign and since taking office.

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