Seems like President Obama left most of the memos and state briefs at the White House when he (or whoever manages the president’s wardrobe) packed for the First Family’s nine-day vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. Instead, he has over 6,000 pages of mostly fiction to keep him entertained on his beach lounger, while Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha frolic in the surf.
1. The Bayou Trilogy, a mystery series set in St. Bruno parish (New Orleans) and written by Daniel Woodrell, whose style New York’s David Edelstein likens to that of Cormac McCarthy, and whose “prose, stark as it is, carries traces of Mark Twain’s sly wit and wonder.”
2. Rodin’s Debutante is Ward Just’s seventeenth novel and is a coming-of-age story set in Chicago’s South Side, where Obama had his own political awakening.
3. Cutting for Stone is about two boys born in Ethiopia, linked by their shared love of medicine and a woman. It is Abraham Verghese’s first novel.
4. To the End of the Land by David Grossman is about an Israeli mother who, to prolong her soldier son’s life, hikes the length and width of this little embattled nation, never home to receive bad news if it rings the doorbell. Last year, The New Yorker scribe George Packer explored the book and Grossman’s own wrenching visit “from the town major’s office.”
5. The Warmth of Other Suns is the only nonfiction work Obama took with him — by Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson — and chronicles the early twentieth-century migration of American blacks from the South.
Pleasant summer reading, Mr. President.