Saturday, March 27, 2010
President Obama Shops at an Indie Bookstore in My Hometown!
You have to see this video. A man walks into a bookstore.
Actually, it's President Obama. He went shopping on Thursday at Prairie Lights Bookstore, an independent bookstore in my hometown, Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa and best known (perhaps) for the Iowa Writers Workshop.
Video: Who Shops at Indie Bookstores? President Barack Obama Does.
He's just a regular guy in his shirt sleeves, surrounded by Secret Service men, customers smiling at him in the background, while the cashier quietly rings up three books. His manner is low-key. He bought two books, Journey to the River Sea, by Eva Ibbotson and The Secret of Zoom by Lynne Jonell, for his daughters, and a pop-up Star Wars book for White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs' son.
I was moved to tears when I saw him walking down the street and people cheering as soon as they recognized him. Wow. Am I sentimental or what?
Iowa City is kind of a boutique-y town these days. When I was growing up there were two hip bookstores, Epstein's and The Paper Place, as well as a bookstore nicknamed Iowa Book & Crook and trashed during the anti-Vietnam war riots. It's actually Iowa Book & Supply and is the best of the indies there now, if you want to buy remainders of Sylvia Townsend Warner and other unusual books. Prairie Lights is hipper, does have a very good selection, and sponsors readings by excellent writers like Sherman Alexie. A very nice man there once recommended Riddley Walker, and I'm sorry to say I hated it. It's a post-apocalyptic novel, but not in the same class as my beloved The Day of the Triffids or I Am Legend.
There are countless used bookstores in Iowa City, too: my favorite is The Haunted Bookshop on Linn St., across from the Hamburg Inn.
I'm thrilled President Obama bought books. In this economy, the book is a simple, inexpensive pleasure. And if we bought more books we'd stay home cozily and spend less money.
By the way, he didn't buy anything for Michelle. What books would you recommend for President Obama and his family? I would recommend two books for President Obama and the First Lady: Virgil's Aeneid translated by Robert Fagles and Brenda Peterson's environmental memoir, I Want to Be Left Behind: Finding Rapture Here on Earth (reviewed here); and Suzanne Collins' Y.A. best-seller, Hunger Games; and E. Nesbit's classic, The Enchanted Castle for the girls!
Posted by Frisbee at 3:50 PM