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Move Over Oprah: New Reader-in-Chief


I'm not sure that Oprah Winfrey realized, when she gave Barack Obama a big boost early in his campaign, that she might be putting herself out of a gig as the country's #1 book reader (and recommender). Back during the primaries, a photo of Obama walking from his airplane with his finger holding his place in Fareed Zakaria's Post-American World helped push that book, already a bestseller, even higher in our top 10. (And our little post on that photo is one of our most linked to in recent months...)

A week ago, when he mentioned in his 60 Minutes interview that he'd been reading about FDR's first 100 days, he started a run on Roosevelt books (his press office later clarified that he was talking about Jean Edward Smith's 2007 bio, FDR, and Jonathan Alter's The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, from 2006, but he might also take a look at Adam Cohen's upcoming (and even better-timed than he could have imagined) Nothing to Fear: FDR's Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created Modern America). And his (and everyone else's) repeated mentions of Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals, especially with the apparently imminent nomination of Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State, has sent that book back into our top 20 (and has already made James Fallows cliche-crazy).

And now here's a new what-I'm-reading photo, showing Obama in Chicago on Saturday carrying Fred Kaplan's new Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer (a reading choice that sets off so many circles of self-consciousness on O's part that I get a little dizzy). So far the book is only at #1,247, but I expect as the photo starts to circulate that number will get a lot smaller...

I have no doubt that publicists at all major publishing houses are currently being tasked with the responsibility of getting their books into the president-elect's hands. And if my colleagues over on our ebook team are on the job, I am sure they have already sent that noted BlackBerry addict a Kindle. After all, it worked for Oprah. --Tom


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Heartwarming, to say the least. As a fellow book-addict, I love to see the person in charge of my country's future carrying a book as a necessary accessory (so unlike the buffoon currently in charge)!

A Kindle would ruin the fun of the what-I'm-reading photos, though.

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