We think one of the small pleasures of browsing in a bookstore should be to do your shopping in peace, without someone looking over your shoulder to see what you’re reading. It’s a form of privacy sitting presidents don’t enjoy, as we were reminded when President Barack Obama stopped in the Bunch of Grapes bookstore near Martha’s Vineyard on his vacation.
According to press reports, the president’s vacation reading included “The Bayou Trilogy,” a series of three detective novels, by Daniel Woodrell, set in the Louisiana swamplands; “Rodin’s Debutante,” a novel by Ward Just; “Cutting for Stone,” an epic yarn about twin brothers, by Abraham Verghese; “To the End of the Land,” a novel about an Israeli mother, by David Grossman; and “The Warmth of Other Suns,” Isabel Wilkerson’s nonfiction account of the decadeslong migration of African-Americans from the South to the North in the 20th century.
Like the rest of us, the president apparently thought he would read more on vacation than we suspect he actually did.
In summer reading, perhaps even more than in politics, most of us depend on the audacity of hope.