I’ve got to admit, I only picked up a copy of Netherland last year because I heard President Obama was reading the book. Usually I’d give a book a fair go, but I couldn’t get into Netherland at all—I want to say it’s because the main character’s wife was named Rachel (which kept throwing me off), as well as there being too many cricket references in the book (a sport all-too familiar and exhausting for me!). These were incredibly petty reasons not to love the work, though they were enough to make me stop reading. But coming back to why I picked up a copy in the first place—it was because Obama was reading it; I think it’s fascinating to know what a public figure is reading. And not just any public figure, but a president.
So it’s no surprise that I loved this slideshow on the Huffington Post of some of the U.S. presidents’ favorite books. After evaluating their favorites, I think Bill Clinton sounds like the type of person I’d like to sit down and talk books with. And, George W. Bush—95 books read in 2006? That’s a lot of spare time for reading.
How do you rate the presidents’ book choices? And, have you picked up a book simply because a public figure was reading it?