Excerpt from Maraniss’s new biography of the president. A look at Obama’s early twenties in New York, from the perspective of his girlfriend at the time:
Genevieve was out of her mother’s Upper East Side apartment by then. Earlier that spring she had moved and was sharing the top floor of a brownstone at 640 Second Street in Park Slope. The routine with Barack was now back and forth, mostly his place, sometimes hers. When she told him that she loved him, his response was not ‘I love you, too’ but ‘thank you’—as though he appreciated that someone loved him. The relationship still existed in its own little private world. They spent time cooking. Barack loved to make a ginger beef dish that he had picked up from his friend Sohale Siddiqi. He was also big on tuna-fish sandwiches made the way his grandfather had taught him, with finely chopped dill pickles. For a present, Genevieve bought him an early edition of The Joy of Cooking. They read books together and talked about what they had read. For a time they concentrated on black literature, the writers Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Toni Cade Bambara, and Ntozake Shange.