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Join Barack Obama’s book club


This morning NPR listeners will have heard an item about Barack Obama’s love of books. It was short and sweet, and if you want to learn more about the books that the president-elect reads then you should check out this feature. I’ve attempted to list every book that Obama has spoken about or been seen carrying over the past 12 months.

In October, the New York Times asked Obama to provide a list of books and writers that were significant to him. Here goes – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, James Baldwin, W. E. B. DuBois’ Souls of Black Folk, Martin Luther King’s Letter From Birmingham Jail, Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory and The Quiet American, Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Cancer Ward, John Steinbeck’s In Dubious Battle, Robert Caro’s Power Broker, Studs Terkel’s Working, Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and Theory of Moral Sentiments, and also Robert Penn’s All the King’s Men – a novel about a corrupt Southern governor (Rod Blagojevich anyone?). And then there were his theology and philosophy influences – Friedrich Nietzsche, Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich.

I am not a fan of George Bush but I do feel a little sorry for him. Obama’s love of reading has earned him massive positive publicity over the past 12 months yet Bush is probably just as much of an avid reader. Karl Rove, Bush’s Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004 until 2007, said his boss read 95 books in 2006 and another 51 in 2007. Bush is even married to a librarian but all these literary facts are not going to help change his legacy.

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Richard Davies

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