Obama to Spend His Summer Vacation Reading About Nazis, Racism, and Mass Extinction

U.S. President Obama holds a book of poetry given to him by Ireland's PM Kenny during their meeting in the Oval Office as part of a St. Patricks Day visit at the White House in Washington
Photo: JONATHAN ERNST/© Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

With President Obama vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard for another ten days, his summer reading list passes for White House news. Here it is: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between The World and Me, James Salter’s All That Is, Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See, Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction, Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland, and Ron Chernow’s Washington: A Life. None of those books — which deal, variously, with America’s structural racism, Nazi-occupied France, India’s communist uprising, and the end of the world as we know it, among other things — seem like beach reads, exactly, so we’ll just go ahead an assume that at least one of those covers is concealing a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey.