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Obama goes book shopping

By Scott Wilson

VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass. -- The first trip out from Blue Heron Farm was to Bunch of Grapes, a book store tucked among the quaint shops on Main Street.

President Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia, just back from a month at camp, motorcaded from their bayside home for a little morning browsing. Obama had yet to pick his reading list when he arrived Thursday for this beach vacation, and Bunch of Grapes seemed like the spot to fill it out.

His purchases? John Steinbeck's "The Red Pony" and Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird." And for him: "Freedom," the new novel by Jonathan Franzen.

A small crowd cheered the president and the first daughters, and Obama appeared in vacation apparel (White Sox hat, sunglasses, jeans, sandals and a navy blue polo shirt.)

Bunch of Grapes is a local fixture, popular with past presidents who vacationed on this island. The store owner would send books out to Bill Clinton when he visited for rest and relaxation.

After the sojourn downtown, Obama headed off for the links at Vineyard Golf Course.

In Obama's foursome were Marvin Nicholson, the White House trip director; Eric Whitaker, one of the president's closest friends; and Rep. James Clyburn, the South Carolina Democrat.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

By Scott Wilson  |  August 20, 2010; 12:23 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Barack Obama  
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He also had one of his kids pick up "U.S. Presidency for Dummies"...

Posted by: epmurphy | August 22, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

"But Congress is on Vacation!"

Hard to know what to do when your Masters are out!

And, of course he had to get some more Books;

he's already colored in the others!

Posted by: SAINT---The | August 21, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

TKMB is a great choice, especially for the girls, as their home in Chicago is near the neighborhood where the story takes place.

I read the book and saw the film for high school lit. I was a clueless north-suburban (Jewish) kid, who did not know about the "Great Migration", ("why do black folks have a 'southern' accent?").

My family was also given the "exclusive" neighborhood treatment; we told the sales agent to take down their American flag and put up a Swas. so people would know what they were getting into.

Posted by: stekker | August 21, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Anywhere he goes, whether it's a short weekend in Maine or 24 hrs on the gulf coast, his duties to us & this country are there with him. He's NEVER off.

Posted by: Parsley1 | August 21, 2010 1:00 AM | Report abuse

Loser, your Messiah has NEVER BEEN ON. But I'm sure it's hard for him to be POTUS, especially since it's the first real job he's ever had to be accountable.

Barack Hussein Obama as POTUS is like making the janitor CEO!

Posted by: InmanObama | August 21, 2010 4:05 AM | Report abuse

In 2007-2008 when the country was going into its devastating financial cyclone I don't recall W missing any of his precious time in Crawford. Doesn't W have the infamous reputation of spending the most vacation time of all time for presidents?

I know if McCain/Palin were in the WH with all of the conditions the country is presently facing they would be vacationing without a peep of discontent from those on the GOP/Tea Party/Libertarian side.

I can assure you the President is going to spend the time on the Vineyard to devote much needed time to Michelle & their daughters outside the orbit of the WH.

Anywhere he goes, whether it's a short weekend in Maine or 24 hrs on the gulf coast, his duties to us & this country are there with him. He's NEVER off.

Dontcha think if $arah was President (God Forbid) she'd be using any & every weekend to jet around with her brood to explore America? The entourage would be triple Obama's because of the need for aide upon aide to keep her informed of everything that would be going on. There would be an official Sharpie aide who would display all the colors available & the requisite wipies. Each Sharpie color would coordinate with a particular issue or talking point but I'm afraid she wouldn't remember the colors after the ninth. Maybe it would help if each nail was colored with the 10 different colors!

In addition to receiving all the daily briefings he will be synthesizing ideas from any reading he does, whether nonfiction or fiction. The most important thing of the photo of the Obamas at the book store is THEY ARE READING! What a concept! I believe The Red Pony & TKAM is for the family to read aloud together! Again, what a concept! I can only imagine the conversations this family will have while reading to each other every evening.

If the Obamas decided not to take a vacation they would be villified as pandering & using the unemployed as a prop for their own advantage. Because, of course, even if they're NOT vacationing there's SO much to do in Washington they're ALWAYS on a vacation.

Here's what I want to know. Tell me where the following people are vacationing this summer:




Mitch McConnell



Bill Kristol - (he discovered Sarah while on an Alaskan cruise in 2007!)

Karl Rove

Sarah Palin

John Boehner


Andrew Breitbart

Ann Coulter

Haley Barbour

Jeb Bush

Michael Steele

Laura Ingraham

I'm willing to bet NONE of them vacationed on the Gulf Coast. (I DID hear Rush say on his show that he picks up tar balls on his private beach on the Atlantic coast because this is part of Mother nature & has nothing to do with any oil spills.)

I hope the Obama family has a wonderful, restful & rejuvenating vacation. They deserve nothing more.

Posted by: Parsley1 | August 21, 2010 1:00 AM | Report abuse

The Oathkeepers march on the DC mall with chants of "NO you can't" and the orders they refuse to obey posted all over the entire Nation, is the planned vacation stop for millions, and millions, and millions, and millions, and millions of unemployed homeless Americans who plan to bring a tent for the circa 1930's photo op and participation in Democracy.
Preppers and TEA will be there enmasse too.
Now that sounds like fun to me.

Posted by: dottydo | August 20, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

The Oathkeepers march on the DC mall with chants of NO you can't and the orders they refuse to obey is the planned vacation stop for millions, and millions, and millions, and millions, and millions of unemployed homeless Americans who plan to bring a tent for the circa 1930's photo op and participation in Democracy.
Preppers and TEA will be there enmasse too.

Posted by: dottydo | August 20, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Unemployment is running about 50% in real numbers, and business doors are folding up and shutting down over obamacare, and No Confidence in the People run Preppers Depression to force this Fed out of Business.

Only Fools shop when they are being thrown out of a job.

Millions lost their homes, and so will the Obama become homeless and discarded like the people have been, soon.

The newly seated coming in Congress know what their job description is.

Posted by: dottydo | August 20, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

to all you people obsessed with any and all things obama GET A FREAKING LIFE. the first family is on vacation, like all other presidents and their families have in the past, never with this much scrutiny, however.
to samhimself and all the interested parties in the release date of a particular book, i'll bet when you're the leader of the free world you will in all likelihood get a copy of a book directly from the author or publisher a week before it is released to the masses.

Posted by: ninnafaye | August 20, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

The Red Pony? For a 10(?)-year-old? Bad choice, dude.

I had to read that story in the fourth grade, too, but I lived in Seaside then, just about 10 miles from Carmel Valley.

To Kill a Mockingbird isn't one I ever read, on purpose.

Posted by: BigTrees | August 20, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

GENABULELE, Bush didn't read books. That was Laura's job. Bush could barely focus on the National Security daily briefing summary long enough to read it.

Posted by: xtrump42 | August 20, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

jenmom, could it be The Red Pony and To Kill a Mocking Bird are for the girls to read? Makes more sense to me than your snap conclusion.

Posted by: xtrump42 | August 20, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Another vacation? Is this man trying to out-vacation GW? Our country is in a major crisis and Obama is book shopping and playing golf. I guess royalty has it's privileges and to hell with the rest of us.

Posted by: larrypoke | August 20, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

So, first you said the books were for his kids, then you removed this statement. What's that about? It apparently gave a large number of people who like to do on-line trash talk a new comment: He hasn't read the classics.

I am increasingly amazed at the number of people who use comment posting to inflict their personal animosity toward the President on everyone else. Seek treatment.

Posted by: pbkritek | August 20, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

I am dumbfounded...our first black president hasn't read Lee's TKAM. He just lost my vote. This says to me, a white mother of four under 13, of which this is required reading, that this president appreciates neither history or justice. Every attorney know, black, white , yellow, or blue sees this book as required reading.

Posted by: jenmom | August 20, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama only reads books that have pictures in them. You can tell that by the way his presidency is going. Mr. I don't know what the heck I'm doing. Oh yeak, Bush did it.

Posted by: farmsnorton | August 20, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Obama only reads books that have pictures in them. You can tell that by the way his presidency is going. Mr. I don't know what the heck I'm doing. Oh yeak, Bush did it.

Posted by: farmsnorton | August 20, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Dog sniffs Obama's croth, film at 11:00

Posted by: screwjob20 | August 20, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what books BUSH read during his 8 years in the White House, Iam so sure they had nothing to do with effective leadership or intergrity especially concerning Iraq, and strategic thinking when talking about Afganistan and the US economy.
Obama is the president, so it is his responsibility to clean up this mess of USA's economy, 7 million unemployment before he took office. But it would be intellectually dishonest for someone to come here and vent it all on the guy because he chooses to buy a book.
Bush piled the debt on the US, TWO WARS to pay for, TAX CUTS to pay for and a long list of etceteras that made wall st. richer at tax payers expense.
Painful watching a nation shot itself on the foot, because a large part of the population are too lazy to do real thinking free from your Network spin and can someone say today that Obama was born in Kenya and is a moslem, see what I mean when I say INTELLECTUAL LAZINESS.
More tax cuts to small businesses, more credit to this sector that creats 80% of the jobs; That is the way to go, NO is no longer an option, and the world is not waiting any longer to follow US lead, so THINK.

Posted by: GENABULELE | August 20, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

At least he isn't reading My Pet Goat.

Posted by: bs2004 | August 20, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Congress isn't doing anything, why not take a vacation. Congress can't even pass the Small Business Investment bill.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | August 20, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

He should have picked up
Holy War by Peter Bergen
and Why America Slept by Gerald Posner.

Why America Slept tells of all the things, that they kept from the public.

Holy War tells of the reasoning why the Islamic extremists hate the Zionist Machine.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | August 20, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Who cares where BO is or what he is reading, doing or looking at. The good news is he is not in DC messing up anything at the moment - these are precious moments!!

Posted by: jimkearney19761 | August 20, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

How would we know what leadership looks like? We didn't have any under Bush Jr. and we certainly don't have much in Congress, left or right, so in my eyes, Obama is doing a heck of a better job leading than most. Doesn't Congress take the entire month of August for vacation? And Mondays and Fridays for travel? How many days do they actually work a year? Let's not bemoan the President for taking a few days to relax and be with his family and friends.

Posted by: tootsie11 | August 20, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Six vacations in a row for Barry the incompetent boob Obama, the inept bungler.

Posted by: screwjob20 | August 20, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Ooops. "Freedom" hasn't been released yet. Did this article's "author" simply copy a press release from the WH or what? And if this info came from the WH, they might want to be a little more careful.

By the by, I can't help but wonder why this Harvard grad didn't already have a copy of the "To Kill A Mockingbird" on his shelf somewhere. How does a man so obsessed with race get so far without owning a copy of the quintessential race relations novel?

Posted by: imfree | August 20, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

For everyone belly aching about his taking a vacation, tell me the truth - if you were making 400 grand a year, wouldn't you be taking a vacation, regardless of the state of the economy?

Posted by: DrFish | August 20, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

JamesRaider, I don't understand. Why is it the President's job to help Wall Street? And you say Americans don't want coddling but you earlier said Americans want a leader to tell them what to do. Why can't we just continue to be independent people and make our own decisions, make our own happiness?

Posted by: paul5301 | August 20, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Another vacation as our economy is going further into the drink. (look at the economic reports since his backyard meeting in Ohio!!) I do hope he enjoys reading his books while golfing, boating, eating, or whatever he wants to do with his vacation time. So many working men and women of america forced vacation but they are spending their time looking for a job. Let focus on getting america turn around economically and the office of the president is a good place to start.

Posted by: thebrowns9 | August 20, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey--Pres...get a book on basic economics...might---just might learn something...then get a REAL job and see what it is like..

Posted by: rw62827 | August 20, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Obama needs a book on how to be a president. He's already read the book on how to lie.

Posted by: farmsnorton | August 20, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Didn't George Jr. buy a book once while on vacation? I'm pretty sure I remember reading an article where he bought Curious George. He thought it was his autobiography. (yes, for you neo-cons, I intentionally used the word auto-biography.)

It is rather depressing that I feel I MUST explain my jokes to the dim-witted on the right.

Posted by: inverse137 | August 20, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

How did the President get a copy of "Freedom"? I didn't think Franzen's book was coming out until August 31st!

Posted by: SamHimself | August 20, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he should try a book on "How to Be an
Effective Leader"?!

Posted by: ohioan | August 20, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

1 in 5 americans believe obama is buying a new koran...3 in 5 americans believe he is buying another 'liberals for dummies'

Posted by: JWx2 | August 20, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Any books on Leadership? What is Really needed......

A teachable moment for Obama.

Leadership means pointing to clear defined goals and energizing Main Street. It means stating confidence in the bearing - clear heading and clear direction.

What's Obama doing exactly? America is yearning for Leadership. . . .

It is not the nature of the average American to want coddling by big government.

Posted by: JamesRaider | August 20, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting that he purchased "Freedom" by Jonathan Franzen. According to the publisher, Amazon and Barnes and Noble, this title isn't available until August 31. Do books get released earlier on Martha's Vineyard?

Posted by: pandes | August 20, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

When these columns are "updated" they should keep the original column since comments are based on what is written at a particular.

In the column I read and posted the writer said that the books were for his children and I disagreed, of course, now my comments based on the revised column makes no sense.

Posted by: rlj611 | August 20, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Obama in McDonald's.

Obama in Starbucks.

Obama on a park bench.

Can we please stop this inanity? He's on vacation ... one much shorter than the Bushies ever took!

Posted by: bs2004 | August 20, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Those are also adult books.

Posted by: rlj611 | August 20, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

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