The President on Books and Reading

President giving a speech clipartAs one of the most literate United States Presidents, Obama discussed books with Michiko Kakutani, the chief book critic for the New York Times. In an interview as he leaves office,  Obama noted “…the power of words as a way to figure out who you are and what you think, and what you believe, and what’s important, and to sort through and interpret this swirl of events that is happening around you every minute.”

Citing books he has recommended for his daughter as she prepares for college – how many have you read? –  he included:

  • The Naked and the Dead
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • The Golden Notebook 
  • The Woman Warrior
  • The Moveable Feast

From some of his favorite authors, I found a few familiar names and two new ones I might try:

  • Marilynne Robinson
  • science fiction writer, Liu Cixin (The Three-Body Problem)
  • Lauren Groff (Fates and Furies)
  • Toni Morrison (Song of Solomon)
  • V.S. Naipaul (A Bend in the River)
  • Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Junot Diaz
  • and leaders: Mandela, Martin Luther King, Churchill, Gandhi, Teddy Rossevelt, Abraham Lincoln

And he offered a clue about what he might be doing after January 20th, when a new President will be inaugurated:

“…and so in my post-presidency, in addition to training the next generation of leaders to work on issues like climate change or gun violence or criminal justice reform, my hope is to link them up with their peers who see fiction or nonfiction as an important part of that process.”

Read the full interview – here

The Book Santa Brought

9780553459272_p0_v3_s192x300My favorite Christmas gift is always a book, and this year a good friend sent me Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores by Bob Eckstein.  A picture book with “true tales and lost moments from buyers, booksellers, and book lovers.” This book will always have a special place on my shelf.  Rizolli’s of New York City is in there – one of my favorites.  The store closed in 2014 after fifty years in midtown Manhattan, but happily it has relocated and reopened.

I plan to make a list of all the bookstores I have yet to visit – from all over the world – an itinerary for the future.

I Found This Post from 2011 – Merry Christmas!

9780971461222_p0_v1_s192x300When organizing categories for Christmas gifts – to help her calm the day’s frenzy – a friend with four children always included a game, a craft, something warm and fuzzy, and – of course – a book.  I remember finding a quiet corner to eat cookies and read my new book(s) on Christmas day.

In an article for USA Today, Darr Brieser asked authors to remember a Christmas book gift.  Chris Bohjalian, author of Secrets of Eden and more recently The Night Strangers, remembers his favorite Christmas book gift – The Joyous Season by Patrick Dennis, the author of Auntie Mame.

Michiko Kakutani for the New York Times offers some suggestions for Christmas gift giving that include The Art of Fielding and Moonwalking with Einstein – two of my favorite reads this year.


What books do you remember getting from Santa?

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