No seriously, there’s a facebook event page and everything.
Thomas Jefferson famously proclaimed “I cannot live without books.” His personal collection was so vast and so impressive that it became the core around which the Library of Congress was built. In contrast, Donald Trump has come under repeated fire for the interviews in which he talks about being a great reader, loving books, and being a total intellectual… but not being able to back up his claims with any information about anything he has ever read.
In fact, despite claiming to have co-authored more than a dozen books, his literary aptitude is pretty questionable. In 2015 reports were circulated by his ex-wife that Donald Trump kept a collection of Hitler’s speeches by his bed, which he read aloud from with regularity. He has suggested that his favourite book may be the seminal, emotional and paradigm-shifting First World War novel All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, in an interview– but struggled to remember any of the details.
Barack Obama famously released his summer reading list every year, ahead of his vacation, and throughout his presidency he made an effort to engage with small independent bookshops. Many presidents before him were renowned for their bibliophilic tendencies. Indeed, it has been suggested that reading widely and having a keen interest in history are the best ways to develop a sense of empathy and the broad perspective needed when dealing with political issues on a national scale. You can find out more about what earlier presidents kept by their bedsides in the very interesting book What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House, which was written by former White House aide and Presidential scholar Tevi Troy.
The group Leaders Are Readers kicked off the idea for the event in the hopes that it might encourage Donald Trump to read more widely. They also aim to give protesters a way of communicating with each other about their literary ideals, which I think is an amazing idea. It’s like some kind of enormous activist book club.
Check out the Facebook event page for comments by supporters about which books they intend to send to Trump and why. The organisers recommend texts like The Lorax, (Dr. Seuss) or The Jungle (Upton Sinclair), but supporters have picked everything from Nineteen Eighty-Four (George Orwell) to The Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank).
Do you have better suggestions for books that Trump needs to read? I’d love to hear about them, so comment below or find The Slow Pulse on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Books mentioned in this post:
Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front.
Dr. Seuss, The Lorax.
Upton Sinclair, The Jungle.
George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl.