If Obama is elected, he’ll be one of the most literary presidents in recent memory. Although his boyhood and youth in Hawaii and Indonesia were not especially bookish, Obama the reader blossomed as an undergraduate at Occidental College in California and, especially, during the two monkish years he spent finishing up his degree at Columbia University in New York. “I had tons of books,” he told his biographer, David Mendell (“Obama: From Promise to Power”), about this time in his life. “I read everything. I think that was the period when I grew as much as I have ever grown intellectually. But it was a very internal growth.” Even after he left New York to work as a community organizer in Chicago, Mendell reports, Obama lived so much like a retiring writer — spending many hours holed up in a spartan apartment with volumes of “philosophy and literature” — that some of his colleagues assumed he was gathering material for a novel.