(Guest Columnist, journalist and educator living in Britain)
Now here's something remarkable, and perhaps unique. When was the last time a president or president-elect of the United States or any other country has had two books at the top of the bestseller lists on both sides of the Atlantic?
On the week-ending of 24 November, Barack Obama's two books, The Audacity of Hope and Dreams From My Father, were number one and two the New York Times (US) and the Observer (UK) non-fiction paperback bestseller lists.
Interestingly, the order is different for each list: on the NYT chart, Audacity is number one with Dreams at number two; on the Observer chart, Dreams (total UK sales 79, 919) is number one and Audacity (total UK sales 95, 950) is number two. The NYT doesn't give sales figures.
Of course, Obama will not be the first scholarly American president. Several towering intellectual figures have occupied that post, including Jefferson, Franklin and John Quincy Adams, and Ulysses S. Grant wrote a bestselling memoir; but none has dominated the bestselling charts as much as Obama. (Dreams has been on the NYT list for 122 weeks and Audacity for 47 weeks).
And here's a story to warm the cockles of all poetry lovers. (click here.)
The picture above, taken on 7 November, three days after the election, shows Obama carrying a copy of the Caribbean poet Derek Walcott's 500 page "Collected Poems 1948-1984". [Credit to AFP/GETTY IMAGES.]
So not only are you lucky people getting a literary (and literate!) president, you'll be having a poetry lover in the White House as well. Can it get any better?
Derek Walcott, by the way, is a native of St. Lucia in the Caribbean, and he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992.