What is President Obama Reading?

According to the New York Times, President Obama is heartily sick of dense briefing books.  While filled with facts and figures that demand solutions, required  presidential reading does not fire up the imagination.  Joseph O'Neill remedied all that with a ready to go book.  Netherland: A Novel is what Obama reads in his new Treaty Room office digs inside the private residence.

It is a meaty novel from an Irish author who explores the complexities of diversity in an immigrants traumatic life who shares his thoughts with some one so unlike himself that shares the immigrant experience.  Layered atop that is a touch of tilting at cricket windmills as the protagonist rebounds from the bumps in his life journey.  Book sales for the award winning book ought to jump significantly with the Obama acknowledgment.  Not sure yet of Obama will give books an Oprah-like swarm affect. The book is older than the Obama puppy by about 6 months.  In the past year several awards accrued to Netherland.

Not exactly sure where the book Hugo Chavez gave him falls in the line up.  One thing is clear, President Obama would have to get an English version if he was so inclined.

Other nonfiction books by Pultizer Prize Winner Steven Coll and Fareed Zakaria's latest, The Post-American World, have been seen in Obama's hands.  Click here for books that shaped Barack Obama's youthful thinking while living the life that led to his own Grammy-winning memoir, Dreams from My Father.

Books About Bo, The First Pooch

Okay, somebody may have found out the Obama family got a Portuguese Water Puppy, eventually Dog, this week. Malia & Sasha settled on Bo, rather than the Frank or Moose that distressed Michelle Obama enough to issue Mommy vetoes. Bo debuted showing he is going to be a bundle of energy, muscular by playfully pulling the president, the first lady and Malia around the South Lawn and now publishing GOLD. Notice Sasha was let nowhere near Bo's leash in front of the cameras. In Doggy years, the two youngest Obamas are almost equivalent.

Bo will learn in White House Puppy school that the late literate Socks wrote a book to answer the onslaught of tiresome fan mail before exile away from Buddy, the now dead Clinton chocolate Lab, and Barbara Bush was Millie's stenographer as outlaw Barney bit reporters and presidential staff. Newcomer Bo already has FOUR books dedicated to a puppy nobody knew anything about until a week ago today. Bo has poverty stricken publishers counting $ signs in hopes of igniting a barking Bo Boom that licks them into publishing's pearly gates. Doggy Breath is the least they will put up with in the search for a market niche.

Bo, the super photo magic celebredog, has to acquire an agent first. But that ain't happening. Michelle Obama has said no celebrity princesses (or princes) in her household. That goes for the newest and youngest Obama, Bo. Look around there's a publisher right now reading a query to do an unauthorized Bo biography... Ugh, just make it stop...

President Obama Signs Another Book Deal

A book deal received the President-elect's signature to do a modified version of Dreams From My Father for the young adult (YA) audience, making that best-selling memoir a franchise itself. Now that Barack Obama is the official 44th Commander-in-Chief, disclosures show that one nonfiction written work is also optioned for his post-presidency. That won't be discussed until near the end and the big green numbers for that book are going to be stratospheric no matter where he lands in the pantheon of presidential rankings. Bill Clinton can hug that $15 million he got for My Life as the record for just a bit longer. It will be interesting to see what Michelle's memoirs and her fashion creds bring in a stripped down, hand me down publishing market.

The craft of writing is masterful from a keyboard or pen wielded by President Obama, that is a bonus. The presidential memoirs touted most as literary works were from a dying and broke Ulysses S Grant who passed away just days after retiring his pen on the project. President Theodore Roosevelt was no slouch in the writing department either. Ronald Reagan wrote charming letters. One of the most unpopular presidents ever is doing his obligatory writing trying to explain some of his inexplicable decision-making. But had he had the gift of time, Abraham Lincoln may have gone down in history as the writer to which all aspire.

Last year's wheelbarrels full of dollars, just from books, for the First Family was a backbreaking $2.5 million. Yesterday, during President Obama's California town hall in one of the wealthiest counties in America, Orange County, he confessed to the fact that he would be raising taxes on himself as he was now part of the welthy class. Interesting for a community organizer guy who had holes in the soles of his shoes from all the walking during the campaign. Reading his take on life in the White House will be at a premium because he is seeing it through such a different lens with a background unlike any of his predecessors.

Ted Kennedy His Life in New Books

Senator Edward Kennedy is a prolific author and writer in his own right.  He wrote a children's book about
his two Portuguese Water dogs, Splash .  His life encompasses everything from cheating on a Spanish test getting him ejected from Harvard to the shameful Chappaquiddick to rising to become a gifted orator worthy of being the everyman Cicero from Massachusetts to the People's Champion on Labor, Health Care and Human Rights as well as passing the Camelot mantle to President Obama. Ted Kennedy comes form a richly storied and well chronicled family with an interesting take as the youngest son.  It occurs to me that, at times, he must have felt a bit like Ron Weasley minus the carrot top. 

At the time of John F. Kennedy's assassination, Robert Kennedy had had enough of their domineering mother and told Ted to go "call your mother and our sisters." Ted was the only Kennedy who seemed to relish his mother's daily notes about his grammar and appearance. He stopped being the baby of the family only when fate intervened. In the span of less than five years, Ted went from being the "other Kennedy" to being heir to the political legacy of his slain brothers, surrogate father to their children and head of the entire Kennedy clan.

Now his twilight years are upon us as he fights a malignant brain tumor, a number of people, including the remaining scribes at the Boston Globe, are writing their version of his story, Last Lion:  The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy.  Lisa Tucker McElroy's version, Ted Kennedy:  A Remarkable Life in the Senate,  is due out in April of 2009.I would love to see in the fullness of time what Caroline Kennedy would state for the record.  

Michelle Obama's Brother Pens New Book

In the age of books, where publishers fully own archaic business models, hot properties still motivate them to enter the 21st century.  Anything Obama is a big seller.  Look at the shelf of books devoted to Michelle Obama with her presidential husband making a best seller of anything with his name on it.  Now her Princeton alumn brother, former investment banker and Oregon State University head basketball coach, Craig Robinson has inked a deal to author a book way early in an Obama presidency, A Game of Character.  Is he going to get to do sequels too as long as the O brand remains durable?
"I've been privileged to know some extraordinary people in my life," Craig Robinson, whose "A Game of Character" will be published next year, said in a statement issued Thursday. "I've watched as my sister Michelle, a rock of a mother, became a leader in her own right. My brother-in law, President Barack Obama, who I knew from the first time I met him had something special, continues to inspire all of us."
Well, we alesady know the off cited story about Michelle insisting Barack play basketball with her brother because he would not be able to hide his true character from a top Ivy league player.  Its sort of a a combo Luke Skywalker meets Clark Kent mid-dunk with Michelle awaiting the ref's whistle to go ahead.  It worked out, but that's only worth a chapter, at its boring best.  What else will be in the book we wonder. A book that might be more interesting to me because her background is not as well known is Commander in Chief Obama's PhD sister, Maya Soetero-Ng with her Indonesian & American heritage and integration into a Chinese family.