USA Today reporter Richard Wolf's Tuesday news story on President Barack Obama's vacation book reading list flattered Obama for his “smart” and “exquisite” choice in the five books the White House announced Monday he had picked to read. “Taken together, they are a smart collection for 'someone who really appreciates the written word,' says Susan Mercier, manager of Edgartown Books here,” Wolf wrote from Martha's Vineyard island. “'I would not classify any of those as light fiction. They're pretty meaty works,' Mercier said. 'I hope he has time to sit and read them, because he's a busy guy.'”
In the article in the August 25 newspaper, “President's reading list a hefty one: From 'upscale thrillers' to a Pulitzer winner,” which ran below a montage of the covers of the five books, Wolf also relayed more effusive praise: “Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said the list shows that Obama 'has exquisite taste. All five of his picks are classics.'”
On Monday night, a NewsBusters item recounted, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams trumpeted how “we also learned the President's reading list.” He proceeded to list the five books the White House said he brought “to read on vacation,” including New York Times columnist Tom Friedman's Hot, Flat and Crowded. “When you add it all up, that's 2,300 pages of reading,” Williams noted, but “then again, he does have ten days of vacation.”
The five books, as listed by USA Today:
- Hot, Flat, and Crowded, by Thomas Friedman, which urges a “green revolution.”
- John Adams, by David McCullough, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2002.
- Lush Life, by Richard Price, a murder novel set in New York City.
- Plainsong, by Kent Haruf, a novel set in Colorado that became a TV special.
- The Way Home, a crime thriller set in Washington by George Pelecanos.