What other six books would I recommend to President Obama?
Imagining the Leader of the Free World strolling from the Oval Office to the family residence at the end of the day, probably encumbered with treatises on the economy and briefs on world events, here’s what I suggest. These titles provide context for the current political climate but also have the capacity to nourish the President’s curiosity about regional diversity and bestow moments of relaxation and enjoyment. I can picture him reading poetry aloud to his family:
- The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand: reminds us that ideas do have the power to change the course of history and that “intellectual” isn’t a bad word
- A biography of LBJ (Robert Dallek, Robert Caro, and Doris Kearns Goodwin have authored good ones); lessons from the life of a master politician
- The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart by Bill Bishop: title says it all
- The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis: classic, very entertaining exploration of human motivation
- Ava’s Man or, All Over But the Shoutin’ or The Most They Ever Had (due out in October) by Rick Bragg: plain-spoken but powerfully eloquent prose offering insights into the Southern working man’s experience
- Sailing Alone Around the Room or another poetry collection by Billy Collins: Humorous and warmhearted riffs on topics that are mostly everyday themes but always satisfying. Other Poet Laureates of the United States would be excellent choices for the President and for the rest of us.
And here’s a bonus selection: If President Obama can also work in Isaac’s Storm: A Man, A Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson, he could join us for one of the Round Rock Reads! events. I promise to buy a round of lattes at both Star Co. and Friar Tuck’s Pantry if he does!