August 2011 | Nate Pedersen

Collecting Obama's Summer Reading List

Barack Obama announced his summer reading list the other day.  While, of course, the list is likely only half the story (the half that's been vetted and field-tested for maximum public appeal), it's always interesting to hear what our political leaders read in their downtime.  

I thought we could take a look at the collectibility of the titles on Obama's list in this blog post.

First up is The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson, the only non-fiction title on the list, which covers the migration of African-Americans from the South to the North. The cheapest copy of a signed first edition, in fine condition, is $75 and the price goes up from there.
Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...

Image via Wikipedia

Next on the list is Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.  Signed, fine copies of Verghese's novel of conjoined twins in Ethiopia begin at $85.00.

Then we've got Robin's Debutante by Ward Just.  The novel follows the political awakening of a protagonist who moves to Chicago's South Side.  (Sound familiar?)  No signed copies are listed for sale on abebooks, but you can pick up a fine first edition for $25.00 or an advanced proof copy for $8.50.

Next is To the End of the Land by David Grossman, which is about a mother hiking the length of Israel while her son is at war.  Signed, fine copies of the first edition start at $55.00

Closing the list is The Bayou Trilogy by David Woodrell, a collection of country noir set in Louisiana.  A single, signed copy of the trilogy is selling on abebooks for $16.00.  The trilogy, of course, was originally published in separate volumes.  The first book (and Woodrell's first ever novel), Under the Bright Lights commands $150 for a signed copy.  A similar, signed copy of Muscle for the Wing will set you back $80, while The Ones You Do runs a scant $25.00.

The most expensive collectable copy of a book on Obama's list, therefore, is Woodrell's Under the Bright Lights (represented by proxy with The Bayou Trilogy) while the cheapest collectable copy is the $8.50 advanced proof copy of Robin's Debutante, by Ward Just.  Now if only Obama's personal copies would come on the market...

And there you have it, Obama's summer reading list, FB&C style.