Conservative "intellectuals" examine the president's vacation book list -- and become concerned
Barack Obama is reading gritty rural neo-noir by an acknowledged master of the crime fiction genre, and the National Review is not happy with him. The president bought Daniel Woodrell’s “Bayou Trilogy,” along with a number of other novels, at a Martha’s Vineyard bookstore, and Tevi Troy, a “senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a former senior White House aide” (“senior fellow at the Hudson Institute” means “minor Republican apparatchik in need of a paycheck while his party’s out of power”) is analyzing the president’s reading list for you.
The reports are in about the books President Obama is looking at on his annual trip to Martha’s Vineyard. According to reports from the Los Angeles Times and the AP, Obama purchased five books on his trip to the Vineyard bookseller Bunch of Grapes: Marianna Baer’s Frost, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Daniel Woodrell’s Bayou Trilogy, Emma Donoghue’s Room, and Ward Just’s Rodin’s Debutante.
The second wave came when, according to Alexis Simendinger, White House aides listed for reporters the three books Obama brought with him to the Vineyard: two more novels — Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone and David Grossman’s To the End of the Land — and one nonfiction work — Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.
This “may constitute the oddest assortment of presidential reading material ever disclosed,” according to Troy. Because Woodrell’s books may be almost universally praised, but they are genre fiction, and genre fiction is too trashy for presidents to read. “Bill Clinton, for example, used to love mysteries, but he did not advertise the titles of what he once called ‘my little cheap thrills outlet.’” Even Bill Clinton knew better than to tell people he read books with crimes in them! (Can you imagine if Barack Obama was found to be hiding the fact that he read crime fiction? IMPEACHMENT.)
Also one of the novels is by an Israeli author, but it is by an Israeli author who criticizes Israeli policy, proving once again that Obama is no friend of Israel. “[R]eading this novel will likely not assuage those concerned about Obama’s views on the Middle East,” says Troy, and he should know, because he is the one using it to attempt to score an insane political point.
The best part (noted by Matt Yglesias) is when Troy asks why this bookstore’s online store doesn’t list horrible books written by National Review contributors as “in stock.”
Obama, like other Democratic presidents, has tended to read mainly liberal books, although he could stand to gain some insight from conservative ones. There could be many reasons for his selection bias, but buying his books at the “legendary” Bunch of Grapes probably is not helping matters. While I have never had the pleasure of shopping there, the store’s website highlights a variety of its offerings, with nary a conservative work. There may be some on the shelves there somewhere, but they are probably not staring Obama in the face when he visits the store.
According to the results of my completely unscientific survey of Bunch of Grapes’s website, Laura Ingraham’s Of Thee I Zing, Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, and Mark Steyn’s After America were listed as available for online ordering. Thomas Friedman’s Hot, Flat, and Crowded, which appeared as an Obama book selection twice, in 2008 and 2009, was listed as “In Stock.” This is not meant as a criticism of the bookseller; Bunch of Grapes is running a business, and they need to cater to the liberal crowd at Martha’s Vineyard in order to bring in customers. At the same time, if Obama wants to diversify his reading selections, Bunch of Grapes may not be the place to go.
Why would Bunch of Grapes stock Emma Donoghue’s “Room,” a novel Aimee Bender called “truly memorable” and “remarkable,” when they could stock Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism,” a book that the American Conservative says “reads less like an extended argument than as a catalogue of conservative intellectual clichés, often irrelevant to the supposed point of the book”? Liberal bias, that’s why. Liberal fascist bias.
Anyway, the president is “out of touch” and “in a bubble” because he can read, according to a conservative intellectual, at a “think tank.”
More Related Stories
- Could hackers destroy the U.S. power grid?
- David Vitter's hypocritical, punitive, horrible new amendment
- Democrats may be even worse than Republicans at regulating Wall Street
- Eric Holder versus journalism
- A progressive defense of drones
- There's no substitute for government disaster relief
- Holder signed off on search warrant for reporter
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Mike Judge: "Bowling for Columbine" made me pro-gun
- Closing Gitmo is not enough
- Murkowski: Palin too disengaged to run for Senate
- In IRS scandal, new GOP tactic is ignorance
- Code Pink activist berates Obama at national security speech
- Cuomo: "Shame on us" if New York City elects Weiner
- Coburn calls questions about tornado aid "typical Washington B.S."
- Conspiracy theorists clash over London attack
- Voting is not a right
- Destroying the planet for record profits
- Ahead of Obama's speech, U.S. acknowledges four American drone killings
- Pic of the day: Barack Obama at prom
- Anti-Islam backlash in London after machete attack
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11