Riverhead; Doubleday; Grove Press
By Sarah Begley
August 12, 2016
IDEAS
Sarah Begley is a staff writer for TIME.

President Obama is on Martha’s Vineyard for his annual vacation, and he’s packed a hearty and diverse book bag for the beach.

Obama has taken Oprah’s advice and picked up Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, a new novel that imagines a physical railroad under the ground during American slavery. According to Reuters’ Jeff Mason, his reading list also includes several memoirs: Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk, about the author deciding to raise a goshawk in the wake of her father’s death, and William Finnegan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life.

The presidential reading list also includes two big page-turners: Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves, a sci-fi adventure about space explorers returning to a post-apocalyptic planet Earth, and Paula Hawkins’ thriller The Girl on the Train, new in paperback and soon to appear on the big screen.

Altogether, these books tally up to more than 2,000 pages of reading—but if he doesn’t finish them this vacation, he’ll surely find the time in January.

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