The Non-Reader President-Elect

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In a column focused on the importance of reading Salon warns not to expect Summer Reading lists from Donald Trump.

Unlike President Obama who regularly posted what he was reading, Trump is unlikely to spend any time doing so. In a summer interview with The Washington Post he said that he has never been a big reader, “I never have. I’m always busy doing a lot. Now I’m more busy, I guess, than ever before.”

This is despite, as the Post points out, having multiple author credits himself, working with ghost writers, and publishing more than a dozen books, most of which are autobiographical and having claimed in those books to be a reader, offering suggestion to other of a number of titles.

Trump follows one of the most avid defenders of reading and the written word as Salon comments. President Obama, as well as the first lady have “been staunch advocates of the literary arts, opening the White House to poetry jams and student readings and supporting independent bookstores like Washington’s Politics and Prose.”

Salon outlines how reading has helped past presidents, perhaps most famously the lessons John F. Kennedy learned from Barbara Tuchman’s best seller The Guns of August, which influenced his decision-making during the Cuban missile crisis.

The expressed lack of interest in reading is not just a matter of personal choice concludes Salon. Trump’s “disavowal of reading telegraphs to our children and society that books — and the people who write them — are not to be valued. It undermines the young artists who need to know that their craft matters and the teachers attempting to instill a respect for reading in their students. In short, it sends the message that acquiring knowledge through slow, deliberate study is unnecessary.”

8 Responses to “The Non-Reader President-Elect”

  1. Elaine Kraimer Says:

    What else could be expected of this awful person….are we really going to see him in the office that John F. Kennedy occupied?

  2. Lori Fultz Says:

    Here we go again! Why was this slanted article even included?

  3. Joy Jones Says:

    Let’s keep this to books and be happy for those that ARE reading.

  4. Susan baker Says:

    Dear Nora
    Re: non reader Trump
    Reading is not a virtue; it’s a pastime. My family members learn more about current events, history and science from watching television and internet programs than I do reading my novels. I have friends who say they don’t have the patience to sit and read a book. It doesn’t mean they’re shallow. They’re doing other things like homemaking, volunteering, and exercising. While I cozy up to my stack of books to read, I’m aware of my indolence. But high achievers don’t enjoy resting when there’s work to be done.
    The fact that Trump does not read books should be a non-story on a book review website. I do not read earlyword for political editorials. Last summer the NYT Book Review published a large front page editorial cartoon satirizing Trump’s wife and kids. Now earlyword is doing the same thing, giving up traditional journalistic impartiality, to serve as a publicist for Hillary and the Left.

  5. Nora Rawlinson Says:

    The article is included because it is important to know how the President-elect feels about reading, which is an important part of libraries. If he doesn’t believe in reading, he may not believe in libraries.

  6. Lori Fultz Says:

    I think it is a stretch to infer that our President Elect doesn’t “believe” in reading and to suggest that he would influence children against reading and libraries just because he doesn’t spend time reading is ludicrous Please, for the people who value this site and have been following it for a while, reevaluate before including this type of information. It’s time to move on.

  7. Andrew Smith Says:

    Lori, Joy, and Susan,

    Mark Twain reportedly said, “A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.”

    Reading conveys accurate information, which Trump seems to be allergic to. His attitude towards conveying rumors and fake news definitely normalizes it, as witnessed by his credulous retweeting and the way his retweets spread across the internet. As a public person he creates an example for those who don’t know how to critically examine what he passes on as truth. That especially applies to children.

    Reading is one way of reflecting, growing, and changing. It requires readers to interact with other peoples’ ideas and critically examine their own worldviews. And yes, that is work. Mark Singer of the New Yorker cites an interview with Trump in which he asked, ‘”you’re in the bathroom shaving and you see yourself in the mirror. What are you thinking?” From Trump, a look of incomprehension.’ He told his biographer, Michael D’Antonio, “When I look at myself in the first grade and I look at myself now, I’m basically the same.”

    And as far as moving on: he’s not even been inaugurated and he’s already breaking multiple laws with impunity. There’s no moving on until he begins to comport himself within the law and the dignity and responsibility of his office.

    This is not normal!

  8. Lori L. Fultz Says:

    #1 I would love to know which laws he has broken.
    #2 Trump doesn’t raise my kids, I do.
    #3 I don’t want my president to have time to read.
    #4 Nora listed a few books for those who were having a hard time coping with the fact that their team lost, maybe you should read one.
    Merry Christmas!!