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Obama's summer reading list includes lots of fiction

The White House shared five titles the president has with him in Martha's Vineyard, Mass., and they're all fiction set in places ranging  from the Louisiana Bayou to Ethiopia.
Obama shops for books in Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts
President Barack Obama walks out of the Bunch O Grapes bookstore with his daughters Malia and Sasha  in Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts on Friday. Kevin Lamarque / REUTERS

President Barack Obama brought along some reading material on his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.

On Friday, he ventured into the Bunch of Grapes bookstore in Vineyard Haven, Mass., with his daughters. In addition to buying books for Malia, 13, and Sasha, 10, the president picked up two books for himself.

He bought the “Bayou Trilogy,” a collection by Daniel Woodrell, and “Rodin’s Debutante” by Ward Just. The Bayou trilogy are crime novels set in the parish of St. Bruno, La. The Chicago Tribune described the novels as “really cool,” which seems fitting for a president —and candidate —who needs to come across as “cool” to young voters.

“Rodin’s Debutante” is about a boy coming of age in mid-20th-century Chicago, Obama’s hometown and campaign headquarters.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the president also picked up Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” presumably for his oldest daughter because it’s required reading going into the eighth grade at Sidwell Friends, the private Quaker school in Bethesda, Md., that both girls attend.

President Barack Obama and his family will visit Martha's Vineyard while on vacation during the last week of August. Click through our slideshow and take visual tour of some of the island’s better-known draws.

In addition to his new purchases, the president also brought three books with him for his 10-day vacation: “Cutting for Stone,” a novel by Abraham Verghese set in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; David Grossman’s “To the End of the Land,” about a mother whose younger son, an Israeli soldier, is at war and whose husband and elder son are away in South America; and “The Warmth of Other Suns,” a novel by Isabel Wilkerson about the migration of some 6 million black Americans who fled the South for the urban North and West.

The first family visited the same local bookstore during their 2010 trip to Martha’s Vineyard.

The president will probably be diving into these novels in the afternoons. The White House has said the president’s days will typically start with briefings and that he’ll have family time and downtime each afternoon.