The presidential library: 10 books Trump recommended this year

Donald Trump in the Oval Office on 27 August 2018. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The president has endorsed at least a dozen books this year – despite claiming he ‘doesn’t have the time’ to read – and they all have one thing in common.

When it comes to reading books, Donald Trump has protested: “I don’t have the time.”

Nonetheless, the president has made at least a dozen personal recommendations on Twitter this year for a shelf full of books written by his supporters and polemicists of the right and far right that he has found to be “excellent”, “fantastic” or even “great”.

Here are 10 of the president’s picks, and all of them have a common theme.

The Faith of Donald J Trump: A Spiritual Biography by David Brody and Scott Lamb

This examination of the “spiritual journey” of the thrice-married, tax-evading billionaire takes 375 pages to build the hopeful argument that by surrounding himself with people of faith, Trump has become religious. Failing that, the authors write: “Clearly, God is using this man in ways millions of people could never imagine. But God knows and that’s good enough.”

The reviews:

“Holy crap!” Los Angeles Times

“A very interesting read. Enjoy!” Donald J Trump

Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy by Stephen Moore and Arthur B Laffer PhD

Huge tax cuts boost economic growth, claims Arthur Laffer, who memorably scribbled his Laffer curve on a napkin over cocktails with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld in 1974. It didn’t work out well for Kansas when they tried it and some of the optimism for the US economy is looking premature.

The authors, Trump’s economic advisers in 2016 and both still members of his economic advisory council, write: “The NeverTrumpers were fantastically wrong … No, he hasn’t ‘destroyed the world’s economy’. No, the stock market hasn’t crashed. No, there is no recession.”

The reviews:

“Two very talented men have just completed an incredible book on my Economic Policies.” Donald J Trump

The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump by Gregg Jarrett

Fox News legal analyst examines “Hillary Clinton’s deep state collaborators” who, he claims, include sacked FBI chief James Comey and special counsel Robert Mueller.

The reviews:

“In defending Trump, Jarrett makes a number of claims that raised our eyebrows.” Politifact

“It is indeed a HOAX and WITCH HUNT, illegally started by people who have already been disgraced. Great book!” Donald J Trump

Liars, Leakers and Liberals by Judge Jeanine Pirro

Another Fox News presenter offers another takedown of “a conspiracy by the powerful and connected to overturn the will of the American people”. Perpetrators, she writes, include but are not limited to the FBI, NSA, Pentagon, Hollywood, “fake news media”, Democratic party, Fisa courts and some Republicans (in name only).

The reviews:

“Our great Judge Jeanine Pirro is out with a new book … which is fantastic. Go get it!” Donald J Trump

Why We Fight by Sebastian Gorka

The far-right former White House adviser and Breitbart writer is not only concerned about people ganging up on Trump but the threats to Judaeo-Christian civilisation posed by jihadists, communists, China or “tomorrow’s unknown threat”.

The reviews:

“A very talented man who I got to know well while he was working at the White House, has just written an excellent book … much will be learned from this very good read!” Donald J Trump

Read the complete list on The Guardian newspaper here. Hint: Most reviews are by Donny himself.


Author goes into a tizzy over amateur response

Globe and Mail columnist Russell Smith penned an article about author Kathleen Hale’s obsessive hunt for an amateur reviewer who had expressed an intense dislike for her book.

From the article:

Conventional wisdom has it that an author should never even respond to a negative review, let alone show up unannounced at a stranger’s house, looking for a fight. The intellectual level at Goodreads is known to be embarrassingly low, and most serious authors will claim to never even look at it, let alone engage with it. So why would a successful writer stoop so low? But the issue is a little more complicated than that. It’s not just about one writer’s hypersensitivity. The fact of the false identity and pictures is particularly intriguing. Posing as someone you’re not is fundamentally fraudulent, and we all have a natural urge to try to expose such frauds. When a friend of mine was harassed with anonymous hate messages and vague threats, I, too, wanted to hire a hacker to try to track down and identify such a cowardly person. (I was persuaded not to pursue it.) I completely understand the urge for justice. We all fantasize about the gotcha moment.

There’s something else going on here, too, and it’s a new phenomenon in literature. It’s not just the democratization of comment, the fact that average or illiterate readers now have public forums just like professional reviewers, nor is it even the commercial power of such forums. It’s the fact that authors are actually pressured to respond to amateur comment, to “engage,” as the PR jargon goes. This is the new wisdom of publishing, particularly for some reason in genre fiction such as YA: It helps to sell your work if you respect the “community” of readers (meaning online community, of course), if you make yourself accessible, if you tweet and blog frequently so as to make yourself as interesting as your writing. The idea is that readers will follow a charismatic person with more excitement than they will follow a body of work.

Read the full piece on the Globe and Mail here.

Ted Summerfield now at Goodreads.

When a friend asked if I was on Goodreads I answered, “What’s Goodreads?” I shouldn’t have asked, for there was no end to the exaltation.

I highly recommend Goodreads whether you love books or enjoy reading a book now and then, or whether you are an author or an aspiring author.

If you are looking for recommendations for a book by a author but can’t remember the title, just type the authors name – Ted Summerfield for example, and a list of books by that author will appear along with any reviews by Goodreads members.

You can add a list of books you’ve read, and list a book you are reading. You can join groups, post your review of a book and, oh heck, join me here find out for yourself.