President Obama is spending his Thursday on a Martha’s Vineyard beach, a perfect opportunity to get started on his long summer reading list.
The president picked six books to read during his 16-day vacation, most notably Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a memoir about being black in America.
The author, who writes for The Atlantic, has often been critical of Obama’s efforts to address racial inequality.
During a White House meeting in 2013, Coates reportedly pushed Obama to make race a bigger factor in his signature healthcare law.
After the meeting, Obama pulled Coates aside and told him he had been unfair to him in a piece where Coates criticized the president’s call for African-Americans to take more personal responsibility.
Obama told Coates “don’t despair,” according to an account published by New York magazine.
The other five books on Obama’s list are a mix of fiction and non-fiction, according to the White House: All That Is by James Salter, All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri and Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow.
Obama will have to read quickly to finish his entire list before he returns to Washington on Aug. 23.
The president has played three rounds of golf so far and dined with the First Lady, friends and White House advisers.
Obama is also spending some time on his vacation placing calls to lawmakers to discuss his nuclear deal with Iran, ahead of key votes expected in September.