More than a dozen authors had something special to be extra thankful for over the Thanksgiving weekend: President Obama bought their books at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington during a shopping trip on Saturday.
The Associated Press reports that Obama and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, purchased 17 books, including “Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China,” by Evan Osnos; “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End,” by Atul Gawande; and “All the Light We Cannot See,” a historical novel by Anthony Doerr.
This was the second year in a row that Obama has come to Politics and Prose on what’s dubbed “Small Business Saturday.”
Virginia thriller writer David Baldacci and Washington scholar Azar Nafisi were also at Politics and Prose over the weekend — but not in their usual role as guest speakers. Along with several other well-known writers, they were working in the store as celebrity clerks — part of the Indies First program sponsored by the American Booksellers Association. Not surprisingly, their books were among the hottest sellers at the store this weekend:
• “All the Light We Cannot See,” by Anthony Doerr (Washington Post notable fiction of 2014).
• “The Narrow Road to the Deep North,” by Richard Flanagan (Washington Post top 10 book of 2014).
• “Being Mortal,” by Atul Gawande (Washington Post top 10 book of 2014)
• “The Escape,” by David Baldacci.
• “Empire of Sin,” by Gary Krist (Washington Post top 10 book of 2014).
• “The Stranger,” by Chuck Todd.
• “Let Me Be Frank With You,” by Richard Ford.
• “The Georgetown Set,” by Gregg Herken.
• “The Republic of Imagination,” by Azar Nafisi.
No matter what political struggles Obama may be enduring this season, the reader in chief is clearly in sync with the capital’s literary tastes. Doerr’s novel set during WWII and Gawande’s book about end-of-life medical care are on a winning streak across Washington. Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle reports that “All the Light We Cannot See” and “Being Mortal” were the bestselling fiction and nonfiction titles there, too. Other strong sellers at Kramer’s this weekend included “Redeployment,” a debut collection of stories by Iraq war veteran Phil Klay, which won a National Book Award last month, and “Suspended Sentences,” by recent Nobel Laureate Patrick Modiano. (Look for Michael Dirda’s review of three novellas by Modiano this Thursday.) Amy Poehler’s comic memoir, “Yes Please,” and Roxane Gay’s new collection of essays, “Bad Feminist,” sold briskly, also.
The managers of One More Page Books in Arlington sent this delightfully eclectic list of bestsellers in their store over the weekend:
• “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book,” by Diane Muldrow.
• “Lila,” by Marilynne Robinson (Washington Post notable fiction of 2014).
• “Unbroken: An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive,” by Laura Hillenbrand (the YA adaptation).
• “Diary of a Wimpy Kid #9: The Long Haul,” by Jeff Kinney.
• “Gone Girl,” by Gillian Flynn.
• “All the Light We Cannot See,” by Anthony Doerr.
• “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” the original adult version by Laura Hillenbrand.
• “Tabula Rasa,” by Kristen Lippert-Martin, a YA author who will be at the store for a panel discussion on Thursday.
• “Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction,” by Terry Pratchett.
• “Minecraft: Combat Handbook.” One More Page owner Eileen McGervey says, “All Minecraft books have been selling like crazy this fall.”
• “Yes Please,” by Amy Poehler.
• “Bleeding Edge,” by Thomas Pynchon.
• “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage,” by Haruki Murakami.
• And, of course, “All the Light We Cannot See,” by Anthony Doerr, who is having a very happy holiday indeed.