Obama interrupts vacation to go book shopping


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President Obama interrupted his Martha’s Vineyard vacation for the first time Friday and took his daughters Malia and Sasha to a nearby bookstore, Bunch of Grapes. Exactly what books he left with wasn’t clear, and the bookstore declined to state what he may or may not have purchased. (I tried. It’s a privacy thing).

L.A. Times reporter Maeve Reston, who was there, writes that Obama was spotted carrying a stack of books. She writes on our blog Nation Now:


In a stack of at least four books, Obama had Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World,’ ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue, and ‘The Bayou Trilogy’ by Daniel Woodrell, the author of ‘Winter’s Bone.’ Sasha had a book called ‘Frost.’... It was unclear which books Obama ultimately purchased at Bunch of Grapes, but “Brave New World” was most likely for his 13-year-old daughter, Malia. The book is required reading for eighth-grade students at Sidwell Friends School, where she attends. After chatting with his girls about how many books they could finish during vacation, Obama paid at the counter (with his sunglasses on). By that point in his 20-minute visit, a huge crowd had gathered on Main Street -- alerted to his visit by the Secret Service and Massachusetts state police who had cordoned off parts of Vineyard Haven’s Main Street. The girls went ahead and jumped back into the SUV. Obama shook some hands as onlookers screamed and snapped pictures.

Obama visited the store last summer and came away with a copy of Jonathan Franzen’s ‘Freedom’ before its official release. Later, Franzen was invited to the White House. Maybe British writer Emma Donoghue or Daniel Woodrell, whose next book ‘The Outlaw Album’ comes out in October, might be in line for the same honor.

While some people might go straight home to read, after his visit to the bookstore President Obama headed off to play some golf.


President Obama’s 2009 beach reads

Jonathan Franzen visits the White House

Who shops at indie bookstores? President Obama does.


-- Carolyn Kellogg