Book options for Obama

By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / August 17, 2011

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If President Obama again stops by Bunch of Grapes Bookstore on Martha’s Vineyard, what will he pick up? “Oh, I’m no good at that,’’ said Dawn Braasch, owner of the bookshop in Vineyard Haven. Braasch said she got into a little trouble last summer when the White House told reporters the commander in chief had bought a copy of Jonathan Franzen’s “Freedom.’’ That’s not true, she said. The book wasn’t out yet, but because Braasch had an advance copy, she gave it to the president. “I’m not allowed to charge for a book that hasn’t been released,’’ she said. So what titles might Obama be eyeing this summer? Here are a few new books he should read, and a few we know he won’t.

■ “Caleb’s Crossing’’ by Geraldine Brooks. The latest book by Brooks, a former Pulitzer Prize winner who lives on Martha’s Vineyard, is about Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, the first Native American to graduate from Harvard.

■ “The Submission’’ by Amy Waldman. This 9/11 novel is getting a lot of buzz, but might be a bit heavy for the beach.

■ “My Green Manifesto: Down the Charles River in Search of the New Environmentalism’’ by David Gessner. The president will be surrounded by water so why not read Gessner’s account of a rough-and-tumble paddle in search of a new environmentalism?

■“ Ethan Allen: His Life and Times’’ by Willard Sterne Randall. Allen was a farmer, businessman, land speculator, philosopher, writer, and patriot - all the constituencies Obama covets.

■ “The Magician King’’ By Lev Grossman. The author is a Lexington native and this novel could give Obama cred with fans of fantasy lit like “Harry Potter.’’