November 2011 | Nate Pedersen

Collecting Obama's Winter Reading List

The Phantom Tollbooth Image via Wikipedia
Earlier this year, I wrote about collecting Obama's summer reading list. Well, he's at it again. The President visited Kramerbooks, an independent bookshop in Washington DC this past Saturday, along with his daughters Sasha and Malia. The Obama family was shopping in support of the second annual "Small Business Saturday", a move by the retail industry to help small businesses in the aftermath of big-retailer-dominated Black Friday.

And thus, here it is, Obama and family's winter reading list, with comments on the collectability of the titles:

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, a children's novel about George Melies and his collection of mechanical figures called automata. It serves as the inspiration for the new Martin Scorsese film, Hugo, currently in theaters. Signed copies of the first edition with dust jacket start at $70.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever, by Jeff Kinney. Recent installment in the popular Wimpy Kids series. The single signed copy available online is rather arbitrarily priced at $100.

Tails by Matthew Van Fleet. A children's picture book featuring plenty of examples of wiggling, touchable animal tails. A signed copy of the book runs $44.

Descent into Chaos by Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid. The subtitle says it all in this bold purchase by a sitting President: "The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afganistan, and Central Asia." Signed, collectable copies start at $40.

The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht. A current bestseller in literary fiction and something of a bibliophile's book as the narrative centers around a worn copy of the Jungle Book. Fine, signed copies by this young author begin at $50.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. The perennial children's favorite and a classic of its genre. Now here's a collectable book: A signed copy, without a dust jacket, will set you back $1000. If you want a dust jacket thrown in, be prepared to toss another $500 onto the table.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2008. Signed copies of the first printing start at $50.

Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth. A children's picture book featuring a Taoist panda. Signed copies begin at $42.

So there we have it, the Obama family's winter reading list. Hands down the most collectable book on here is The Phantom Tollbooth, with respectable copies of the other books hovering pretty consistently between $40 and $70. That is, until the Obama family personal copies come onto the market ...

If images of a President in a bookshop warm your heart like they do mine, the Huffington Post has a video and slideshow of the First Family shopping in Kramerbooks.