In order for the president's reading lists to be valuable, we have to believe the books are actually being read. Which is why this is so odd.
On his summer vacation in Crawford, Texas, George Bush read Albert Camus' novel The Stranger. I'm not sure what to make of this. It's usually college freshmen who suddenly take up the French existentialist's slim volume, and then usually to impress some literature major with wavy hair.
It's a novel steeped in philosophy, most notably Camus' existentialism, and delves into a not-so-subtle atheism (Meursault rejects any suggestion of embracing religion and believes there are no supernatural influences on humanity).
It's why, when White House officials say Bush was reading The Stranger in between brush-clearing and bike-rides, they're almost certainly not telling the truth.
--Guest Post by Steve Benen, The Carpetbagger Report