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It includes Justin Timberlake’s “Pusher Love Girl” and Bob Dylan’s “Tombstone Blues.”

August 14, 2015

If you’re still perfecting your summer vacation playlist or mulling over your reading list, just relax: President Obama’s got you covered. While in the middle of a two-week family vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, Obama took some time this week to provide the ultimate guide to vacationing like a world leader — which involves a lot of books and two Spotify playlists for both day and nighttime listening.

First, yesterday the White House released the list of six books the president took with him to the beach, an epic list that the Washington Post calculated would take about 52 hours to read. It’s a mix of fiction and nonfiction, including the newly released bestseller on race in America by Ta-Nehisi Coates, whom Toni Morrison has described as the intellectual successor to James Baldwin. Here’s the full list of books:

• All That Is, James Salter
• All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
• The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert
• The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri
• Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
• Washington: A Life, Ron Chernow

But a presidential summer vacation also needs a soundtrack — or two. Today, “due to popular request,” he tweeted out links to his hand-picked daytime and night-time summer Spotify playlists with 20 tracks apiece. During the day, Obama’s list kicks it off with The Temptations classic “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and keeps the energy up with the Isley Brothers, The Rolling Stones, and Florence & the Machine. As with any good beach vacation mix, Obama has some Bob Marley on the list too with the song, “So Much Trouble in the World.”

Meanwhile, Obama’s evening mix gets a little more mellow and romantic with a lot more jazz from legends like John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, and Miles Davis. There’s also Van Morrison’s “Moondance,” Al Green’s “How Do You Mend a Broken Heart,” and Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” on there, too.

There’s a lot more to vacationing like a president than a diverse list of books and music. There also has to be plenty of golfing on the itinerary, as this Bloomberg photo essay of the Martha’s Vineyard vacation reveals. The Vineyard Gazette has also been tracking the Obamas stay in Martha’s Vineyard, where they have vacationed nearly every year that Obama has been in office, revealing dinners out at a restaurant named Alchemy in Edgartown and State Road restaurant in Chilmark.

But, as Politico points out, vacationing like a president isn’t always all that great: this is a working vacation. “If past is precedent,” the paper writes, “the president should assume his annual vacation will be interrupted or cut short, as it has been for the previous six summers he’s been in office.”

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