bama has a lot of reading to do during his Martha's Vineyard vacation this week, said John Dickerson in Slate. The President packed five books: The Way Home by George Pelecanos; Lush Life by Richard Price; Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman; John Adams by David McCullough; and Plainsong by Kent Haruf. Although Obama's list isn't quite "as ambitious as the stack Bill Clinton used to take with him to the Vineyard" (a dozen or so), or "as fun as the year Bush decided to read Camus' The Stranger," it is safely non-controversial.
Not so fast, said Samuel P. Jacobs in The Daily Beast. Obama brought along Tom Friedman's "environmental bestseller" Hot, Flat, and Crowded, but he "was reading the same book, talking about it, even quoting from it a year ago on the campaign trail"—it's "apparently become a renewable resource" for him. But still, "how seriously can one take" these presidential reading lists?
It's obvious that "Obama's choice of holiday reading has been concocted by a spin-doctor," said Daniel Hannan in the Telegraph. It's just too perfect: "A heavyweight (and brilliant) biography of John Adams by David McCullough is set off by a goody-goody eco-book and three novels." Obama clearly wants to send the message that he's "brainy, but still a regular guy." It's too bad, "because when Obama gave his all-time favorite reading list during the campaign, it rang true."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why I'm a pro-life liberal
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Why we can't stop procrastinating, according to science
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
- How Ukraine can fend off the Russians, in 7 simple steps
- These stunning travel photos remind us that we're all just amateurs with iPhones
- Israel and Russia are getting along. Have the neocons noticed?
- There's a number of reasons the grammar of this headline could infuriate you
Subscribe to the Week