Barack Obama digs Denver author Kent Haruf

Hard to imagine the press minions who worked for the previous administration releasing a list of books George W. Bush planned to read on vacation -- probably because those liberal smartypants types would bring their overt prejudice to bear against titles such as The Pet Goat. In contrast, Barack Obama's handlers seem excited to let everyone know what the Prez plans to peruse during his week of R&R, and that makes sense, since he seems to have fine taste in popular literature. Thumbs up to selections by Richard Price (Lush Life) and George P. Pelecanos (The Way Home), both of whom have been previously profiled in Westword. (Click here to read our 2004 piece on Price, and here for highlights from our 2003 chat with Pelecanos.) And the same goes for Plainsong, by Colorado author Kent Haruf, which the U.K.'s Telegraph newspaper describes as a "quiet, gently uplifting novel" about "a year in a small fictional town near Denver" that represents Obama's "gesture towards literary seriousness."

Westword has urged the folks in charge of the One Book One Denver campaign to make a similar gesture in both 2008 and 2009, but to no avail. It'd be great if Obama's advocacy gave Plainsong a chance to be chosen in 2010 -- because we're still not ready to turn the page.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts