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Obama's Favorite Book and Reading List

What's President Obama reading these days?

In an interview for the upcoming issue of the New York Times magazine, the president said he's grown tired of briefing books and has been spending his evenings with Joseph O'Neill's 2008 novel "Netherland."

The acclaimed book, published last May, tells the story of Hans van den Broek, a Dutch financial analyst living in lower Manhattan who grows increasingly alienated from his wife following the September 11 attacks. During their separation, the main character spends a summer alone in New York and strikes up a friendship with a wily Trinidadian businessman named Chuck, who helps Hans re-discover his childhood love of cricket.

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When President-elect Barack Obama appeared on “60 Minutes” on CBS on Sunday in his first interview since winning the election, he mentioned having read “a new book out about F .D. R.’s first 100 days” without specifically naming a title or author.

That tantalizing reference set off a scramble for the claim to First Reader rights all day Monday before a spokesman for Mr. Obama disclosed what the president-elect had actually read.

...The mystery persisted for most of the day until a spokesman for Mr. Obama said late on Monday that the president-elect was actually referring to two books: Mr. Alter’s and “F D R” by Jean Edward Smith, a biography published last year by Random House that covers far more than the first 100 days.

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The often repeated claim that Barack Obama will be America’s most bookish president is probably a little harsh on the 43 past residents of the White House. Recently Karl Rove, George Bush’s Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004 until 2007, revealed his boss read 95 books in 2006 and another 51 in 2007 but no-one is praising Mr Bush’s devotion to the written word.

Still, Barack Obama is clearly an avid reader and literature has massively influenced his politics. He talks about books at the drop of a hat, is frequently seen with a book in his hand and, of course, has penned two worldwide bestsellers himself.

What’s Barack Obama’s favorite book? is a common question posed on the Internet search engines every day. Below are Obama's reading list:

Q: Three books that really inspired you.
Barack Obama: "Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, the tragedies of William Shakespeare and probably Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls."
  1. For Whom the Bell Tolls

    Book Cover: For Whom the Bell Tolls
    (literature and fiction, classics)

  2. Song of Solomon

    Book Cover: Song of Solomon
    (literature and fiction, girl fiction)

  3. Tragedies by William Shakespeare

    Book Cover: Tragedies by William Shakespeare
    (literature and fiction)

  4. The Souls of Black Folk

    Book Cover: The Souls of Black Folk
    (history, literature and fiction, nonfiction)

  5. Letter from the Birmingham Jail

    Book Cover: Letter from the Birmingham Jail
    (history, nonfiction, religion and spirituality)

  6. The Quiet American

    Book Cover: The Quiet American
    (literature and fiction, classics)

  7. The Power and the Glory

    Book Cover: The Power and the Glory
    (literature and fiction, classics)

  8. The Golden Notebook

    Book Cover: The Golden Notebook
    (literature and fiction, classics, girl fiction, mystery and thrillers)

  9. In Dubious Battle

    Book Cover: In Dubious Battle
    (literature and fiction, classics)

  10. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York

    Book Cover: The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
    (business books, history, nonfiction, management, science)

  11. All the King's Men

    Book Cover: All the King
    (children books, classics, literature and fiction)

  12. Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer' by Fred Kaplan

    Book Cover: Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer

    "Later in November, Barack Obama left his Chicago home carrying a hardcover copy of Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer by Fred Kaplan – clearly getting in some last-minute homework before beginning the process of naming his cabinet."

  13. Moby Dick

    Book Cover: Moby Dick
    (literature and fiction, classics)

  14. Self-Reliance by Emerson

    Book Cover: Self-Reliance by Emerson
    (self-help, happiness, literature and fiction, nonfiction, religion and spirituality)

  15. Gilead

    Book Cover: Gilead
    (literature and fiction)

  16. The Autobiography of Malcolm X

    Book Cover: The Autobiography of Malcolm X
    (literature and fiction, nonfiction, religion and spirituality)

  17. The Wealth of Nations

    Book Cover: The Wealth of Nations
    (economics, business books)

  18. Where the Wild Things Are

    Book Cover: Where the Wild Things Are
    (baby books (Ages 0-3), children books, children books (Ages 4-8), adventure, sci-fi)

    "I can't say as a child what book influenced me most. My favorite book continues to be one of my favorite books are "Where the Wild Things Are"

    I love that book. And my wife still thinks that I'm max. that I'm getting into mischief all the time. but as I evolved , as I got older. I think that what had the greatest impact on me rather than one single book was my mother's love of books. And that's part of the reason why I think I emphasize parents so much in this process, because as much trouble as I got into as an adolescent, She would constantly send me books. That's what I got every birthday were books. you know. I was holding out for the basketball or the bike. And I'd get these big stacks of books. I'd be dissapointed initially, but She knew that eventually i'd end up picking them up and reading them. That, I think, really laid the foundation for my subsequent success."

  19. A Kind and Just Parent

    Book Cover: A Kind and Just Parent
    (nonfiction, parenting)

  20. The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

    Book Cover: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

    "In May, President Barack Obama was photographed carrying Fareed Zakaria’s The Post-American World as he walked across the tarmac at an airport in Bozeman, Montana. The book outlines America’s declining influence in international politics – was he formulating policies for dealing with rising powers like China, India and Brazil?"



Barack Obama Who?

Barack Obama was born to a white American mother, Ann Dunham, and a black Kenyan father, Barack Obama, Sr., who were both young college students at the University of Hawaii. When his father left for Harvard, she and Barack stayed behind, and his father ultimately returned alone to Kenya, where he worked as a government economist. Barack's mother remarried an Indonesian oil manager and moved to Jakarta when Barack was six. He later recounted Indonesia as simultaneously lush and a harrowing exposure to tropical poverty. He returned to Hawaii, where he was brought up largely by his grandparents. The family lived in a small apartment - his grandfather was a furniture salesman and an unsuccessful insurance agent and his grandmother worked in a bank - but Barack managed to get into Punahou School, Hawaii's top prep academy. His father wrote to him regularly but, though he traveled around the world on official business for Kenya, he visited only once, when Barack was ten.

Obama attended Columbia University, but found New York's racial tension inescapable. He became a community organizer for a small Chicago church-based group for three years, helping poor South Side residents cope with a wave of plant closings. He then attended Harvard Law School, and in 1990 became the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review. He turned down a prestigious judicial clerkship, choosing instead to practice civil-rights law back in Chicago, representing victims of housing and employment discrimination and working on voting-rights legislation. He also began teaching at the University of Chicago Law School. Eventually he ran as a Democrat for the state senate seat from his district, which included both Hyde Park and some of the poorest ghettos on the South Side, and won.

In 2004 Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat, representing Illinois, and gained national attention by giving a rousing and well-received keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. In 2008 he ran for president as a democrat and won. He is set to become the 44th president of the Unites States and the first African-American ever elected to that position.


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