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The 21 books Obama bought on D.C. shopping trip

President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha, center, and Malia, pays for his purchase the the local bookstore Politics and Prose in northwest Washington, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) President Obama, with daughters Sasha, center, and Malia, buy books at Politics and Prose in D.C. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Obama went book shopping on Saturday with daughters Malia and Sasha, taking recommendations from the staff of Politics and Prose in Northwest Washington and walking out with 21 books (see list below) that were presumably for gifts, as they were aimed at a wide age-range of readers.

The president strolled in with virtually no warning to the bookstore staff on what is known as “Small Business Saturday,” a three-year-old promotion started by American Express to give visibility to locally owned stores between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On the past two Small Business Saturdays, he shopped at other area bookstores.

Some members of the Politics and Prose staff — Mark LaFramboise, chief book buyer, and Alice Garber, chief children’s book buyers, as well as co-owner Lissa Muscatine — offered book suggestions to the president, which Obama accepted.

Here’s a list of the books the president purchased from a White House list reported by the Christian Science Monitor:


“Half Brother” by Kenneth Oppel

“Heart of a Samurai” by Margi Preus

“Flora and Ulysses” by Kate DiCamillo

“Jinx” by Sage Blackwood

“Lulu and the Brontosaurus” by Judith Viorst and Lane Smith

“Ottoline and the Yellow Cat” by Chris Riddell

“Moonday” by Adam Rex

“Journey” by Aaron Becker

“The Lowland” by Jhumpa Lahiri

“Red Sparrow” by Jason Matthews

“Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson

“A Constellation of Vital Phenomena” by Anthony Marra

“The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance” by David Epstein

“Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football” by Nicholas Dawidoff

“Ballad of the Sad Cafe: And Other Stories” by Carson McCullers

“My Antonia” by Willa Cather

“Ragtime” By E.L. Doctorow

“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini

“Buddha in the Attic” by Julie Otsuka

“All That Is” by James Salter

“Wild: From Lost to Found On the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed



Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.



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Valerie Strauss · November 30, 2013

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