Barack Obama Shares What He’s Been Reading This Summer

Every few months, former US president Barack Obama likes to share what books he’s been enjoying and what he’d recommend. If you’re feeling a little stuck for something to read right now, then why not take a look and see if Number 44 can suggest something that might pique your interest?


Before he began, Obama referenced the recent death of Toni Morrison by recommending several of her titles, including Beloved, Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, and Sula, describing them as “transcendent.” He then went on to commend several more books he’s read over the Summer, both fiction and non-fiction, via his official Facebook page.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead – “Sometimes difficult to swallow, a necessary read, detailing the way Jim Crow and mass incarceration tore apart lives and wrought consequences that ripple into today.

Exhalation by Ted Chiang – “a collection of short stories that will make you think, grapple with big questions, and feel more human. The best kind of science fiction.”

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – “[an] epic fictionalized look at Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power, came out in 2009, but I was a little busy back then, so I missed it. Still great today.”

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami – “Examines what happens to characters without important women in their lives; it’ll move you and confuse you and sometimes leave you with more questions than answers.”

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson – “a whole lot more than just a spy thriller, wrapping together the ties of family, of love, and of country.”

The Shallows by Nicholas Carr – “Came out a few years ago, but its arguments on the internet’s impact on our brains, our lives, and our communities are still worthy of reflection, which is something we all could use a little more of in this age.”

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren – “Is a beautifully written memoir about the life of a woman in science, a brilliant friendship, and the profundity of trees. Terrific.”

Inland by Téa Obreht – “just came out yesterday, so I won’t spoil anything. But those of you who’ve been waiting for Obreht’s next novel won’t be disappointed.”

How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu – “You’ll get a better sense of the complexity and redemption within the American immigrant story.”

Maid by Stephanie Land –  “Is a single mother’s personal, unflinching look at America’s class divide, a description of the tightrope many families walk just to get by, and a reminder of the dignity of all work.”

Any of these get your attention, or perhaps you’ve already read some of them? Either way, we’re always interested to learn what the former president has been reading and what he’d recommend.

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