Dear Mr. President,
My condolences for the extreme weather in DC. Seeing the reports online, and hearing from my friends who still live in the city, it sounds slightly magical, almost as though the Senate leadership really could be making snow angels out on the mall. Two years ago we had our own Snow-pocalypse in Seattle, and I remember it being anything but magical, so I'll try to reign in my whimsical envy of your real winter and appreciate the mild mid-50's and sunny that Seattle has been graced with.
During that unreasonable cold winter, I was reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road, not a book I'd recommend during weather that inspires comparison to the end times. That being said, McCarthy's writing is some of the most beautiful I've ever experienced. Working at a bookstore, I'm lucky to be constantly exposed to great writing, new and old, and the people who love it. Your own reading tastes often influence what people are buying- Team of Rivals, The Post-American World and Netherland all became very difficult to keep in stock after you were spotted reading them.
Having a President who regularly reads and engages the public in what he is reading is a nice change, after 8 years under President Bush. I'm sure President Bush did read books. Dick Cheney used to shop at the Book store I started at, on L street. The books I saw him buy were almost always by Tom Clancy or aspiring Tom Clancy-types. Thrilling books, with good guys and bad guys. Books that assured the reader of the righteousness of the protagonists and the absolute evil of the villains. I'm not saying that this makes you better or smarter than the former VP, but I do believe that what we read informs our worldview, and, in my mind, Vice-President Cheney did little to disprove this.
Just because it is my job, (and it may not be, forever,) and probably the thing I do best, in the world, I'd like to suggest a few books.
For First Lady Michelle, I'd suggest a memoir, The Bread of Angels by Stephanie Saldana. It is a beautiful book by a remarkable woman, and a really enjoyable read.
For Malia and Sasha, as I know they, like me, appreciate Harry Potter, I suggest UnLunDun, by China Mieville and Coraline, by Neil Gaiman. They are two of my favorite books for young readers, and both feature strong, original female characters.
If you, Mr. President, came to my bookstore looking for something to read, (this is assuming I regained my ability to speak long enough to put forth a suggestion,) I'd offer Aravind Adiga's White Tiger for enjoyment, Daniyal Mueenuddin's In Other Rooms, Other Wonders for beauty, and, because walking a mile in the shoes of another isn't always possible, I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti.
And that is absolutely the most presumptuous I'm prepared to be, at least for now. Thank you, for humoring me. Happy reading. Enjoy the snow.