Today in books and publishing: Questioning the stories of Obama in a new book; free, unlimited Potter for Amazon Prime subscribers; Alice Walker protests Israel's treatment of Palestine, won't allow Hebrew translation of The Color Purple.
Questioning Barack Obama. The Washington Post's David Maraniss has a book out on Barack Obama in which he "claims to document the many ways — some very small, a few large — in which Mr. Obama’s youthfully constructed narrative appears to be contradicted by the people and events in his life." More succinctly: Did Obama lie? And if so, how so? The New York Times' Michael D. Shear points out that these kinds of questions showcase the downside for politicians who document their lives in memoirs to introduce themselves to the American public. Quite obviously, what a politician puts in his memoir will come up against scrutiny, particularly in a presidential year. And so, "Now, Republicans are poised to try and portray Mr. Obama as having been less than truthful in his recollections about his life. Party officials and aides to Mr. Romney’s campaign are scouring Mr. Maraniss’s book to find ways in which they can use it to their political advantage."
As for Maraniss' book, it seems to indicate, maybe, that Obama's life was just a little more humdrum and routine than he may have made it out to be, for what appear to be thematic book reasons. (Obama of course, admitted in his book that it as "an approximation" and that characters had been "compressed or combined.") Also, says Maraniss, the death of Obama's step-grandfather, said to be killed while fighting Dutch troops in Indonesia, was a complete myth—"he died trying to hang drapes." [NYT]