Are We Really Parsing the President’s Summer Reading List Now?

 

Over on the main page, Tevi Troy looks through the list of books President Obama has bought on vacation. The list is heavy on fiction, which might be taken as a sign that Obama was in the mood to read some novels. But Troy finds grave import in the novel-heaviness of the list, which he says “sets [Obama] up for the charge that he is out of touch with reality.”

Among Troy’s complaints about the list, beyond its excess of fiction:

  • One of the listed novels is a mystery, and mystery is an insufficiently serious genre for the president to disclose that he is reading.

  • Another novel has a plot revolving around two people trapped in a small room, a poor reading choice “for someone trying to escape the perception that he is trapped in a White House bubble.”

  • A third novel is written by an author with the wrong views on Israeli policy.

  • The President bought his books from the wrong store, a Martha’s Vineyard bookseller that doesn’t even carry books by Laura Ingraham.

  • Finally, he quotes Mickey Kaus, noting that the list is “heavy on the wrenching stories of immigrant experiences, something the President already knows quite a bit about.” (Does this refer to Obama’s immigration to Illinois from Hawaii?) In any case, the point seems to be that the president knows enough about how tough it is to be an immigrant, so he should read about something else to demonstrate intellectual curiosity.

This stuff is in the same genre as complaints about the President’s vacation plans, or golf hobby, or (in the case of George W. Bush) spending too much time on the ranch. And like those complaints, it is silly. If the president wants to read novels about people trapped in little rooms on his down time between intelligence briefings, he should go ahead.

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