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Reading lists reveal the reader

Reading lists reveal the reader

Irrespective of the time and place, it is always difficult deciding what one should read. But that ought not to be such a worry. Let the 44th and 45th Presidents of the United States be your guides, for a change. Barack Obama put out a short list of books he's been reading. "This summer I've been absorbed by new novels, revisited an old classic, and reaffirmed my faith in our ability to move forward together when we seek the truth," Obama wrote in a post. The books Obama recommended are: "Educated" by Tara Westover, a memoir about a woman who leaves her survivalist Idaho roots behind; "Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje, a post-World War II novel that Obama says is "a meditation on the lingering effects of war on family"; "An American Marriage" by Tayari Jones, about a newlywed black attorney wrongly convicted of rape; "Factfulness", a tome by Swedish academic Hans Rosling on the "secret silent miracle of human progress," and; "A House for Mr. Biswas," considered to be the first, great novel by the late V.S. Naipaul. Obama also put out a reading list back in June, which included works such as "The New Geography of Jobs" and "Why Liberalism Failed."

President Trump said he does not have much time to read these days, but he's been making book recommendations on Twitter. There's a common theme among the books that have Trump's approval. They either focus on the President in a positive light or have been authored by Trump supporters, friends or anchors on his favorite channel, Fox News. The list of books Trump has recommended this year include: "The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump," by Gregg Jarrett. Trump lauded this book as "hard work" from Jarrett, a Fox News legal analyst who Trump called "a brilliant guy"; "The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President," by Sean Spicer. "A friend of mine and a man who has truly seen politics and life as few others ever will, Sean Spicer, has written a great new book," Trump wrote, adding that the account from his former White House press secretary is a "story told with both heart and knowledge." Then, "9 Rules of Engagement," by Harris Faulkner: Trump praised this memoir by Fox News anchor Faulkner as a "terrific new book"; "The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left's Plot to Stop It," by Andy Puzder: Trump gave a nod to his former labour secretary nominee Puzder's new book, predicting that it will be a "big hit."

In an age when book reading is on the sharp decline, these lists reveal far more than concealing the readers and their proclivities.

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