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Obama's summer reading list

August 24, 2009 |  9:46 am

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha leave for their week-long summer vacation in Martha's Vineyard on Aug. 23, 2009

The list of books a president reads during vacation is often parsed for meaning.

And ever since former President Bill Clinton put mystery writer Walter Mosley in the big leagues, many is the author who has dreamed of having a president board Air Force One carrying a copy of his or her book tucked under his arm.

Today, Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton volunteered -- even before anyone could ask him -- that President Obama had brought along a pile of books on his family summer vacation to Martha's Vineyard.

Among the lucky authors, I mean important books, on Obama's list: 

"The Way Home," by George Pelecanos, described on Pelecanos' website as "a brilliant new novel about fathers and sons and the dangers of modern life" by an author the Associated Press describes as "one of the most literary of America's crime writers."

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman's latest book, "Hot, Flat and Crowded," about the dangers of global warming. Subtitle: "Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America."

"Lush Life," by Richard Price, which the New York Times describes as a novel in which "class and color collide on the tangled, once tenement-lined streets of New York City's Lower East Side."

"Plainsong," by Kent Haruf, which Salon once described as an understated novel about life in the High lains that shines with a sophisticated optimism and is infused with "a quiet, almost ingenuous triumphalism."

Historian David McCullough's latest triumph on John Adams.

-- Johanna Neuman in Washington D.C. and Christi Parsons in Martha's Vineyard

Photo: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama leaving for Martha's Vineyard with daughters Malia, right, and Sasha. Credit: Associated Press

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