Reader In Chief

As a reader, librarian, and citizen, I’m going to miss this “reader in chief,” as John McMurtrie of the San Francisco Chronicle calls him:

As is amply manifest in his writing, Obama is someone who has done a lot of thinking about his place in the world, his upbringing, his uniquely American story. And, as president, he has proved himself to be just as reflective, viewing the world, as he says, in shades of gray, with nuance — qualities enhanced by a lifetime of reading.

It’s been really nice having a president who not only knows who Marilynne Robinson and Ta-Nehisi Coates are, but can have intelligent, in-depth conversations with her and him. (It’s also really nice to have a new Librarian of Congress now, rather than next year or beyond. Don’t want to think about who PEOTUS would have nominated.)

And what of Obama’s successor? McMurtie:

Despite all the books that bear his name, the next president, in fact, seems to care very little about books. He tweets obsessively, at all hours, about the most trivial matters, yet he claims he doesn’t have the time to read.

“I’m always busy doing a lot,” he told the Washington Post in July. “Now I’m more busy, I guess, than ever before.”

When asked by Megyn Kelly of Fox News to name the last book he read, he answered, “I read passages, I read areas, chapters. I don’t have the time.”

God help us all.

3 responses to “Reader In Chief”

  1. Because someone sits and listens and converses and reads their books doesnt mean they are ” actually ” listening. We’ll never know how any interaction with a book or person or poem or tree or whatever has affected someone. They usually keep such things to themselves. Over time these interactions may be absorbed into our personage. Your mom is a veracious reader and she used to pass on paragraphs and chapters to me regarding parenting, etc. I happily read them and tried to incorporate such readings into my behavior and attitude and thinking regarding you kids. We had many discussions and observations about parenting for your entire life and still do as we move along in our path of life. I really didnt have time to read much until after you all left the house and started your own lives as novice adults. I was too busy ” raising ” you kids and felt it was the most important job in the world including being POTUS. Being busy isnt a bad thing. Reading isnt a bad thing. Having counselors and advisors isnt a bad thing. Being observant isnt a bad thing. Quietly or not so quietly incorporating what we learn in our lives isnt a bad thing. Cant really measure a person by the quantify or quality of the books they have read. Indeed God help us all to listen, learn, be patient, support, criticize with compassion and help each other as we read and romp through life. Au

  2. […] the place where Obama nevertheless has remained by all appearances a loving father and husband, an avid reader, and an admirable public servant. Here at the dusk of one administration and the dawn of another, […]

  3. […] I do like the idea of including a branch of the Chicago Public Library. That won’t assuage all the other local concerns about the Obama Library, but it would go a long way to keep what can easily become an isolated, self-contained operation connected with the community that feeds it. All the better it will be for the former Reader in Chief. […]