President Obama’s Summer Reading List 2016

By August 13, 2016News, Political, Reading Habits

This will be President Obama’s final summer as President of the United States, and who knows what will follow. As such, this is the final reading list from the man who made history and became the first person of colour to become president.

Those who have followed President Obama’s Summer Reading Lists from the White House in previous years will know that Obama likes a mix of books, and this year it’s a mix of fiction, and non-fiction, a Pulitzer prize winning memoir, a thriller and a science fiction novel. Here are the selections in full.

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life – William Finnegan

Barbarian Days is billed as an old-school adventure story and social history about a life spent chasing waves, and it won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography 2016.

Barbarian Days US
Barbarian Days UK

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The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad is salvation to many, including Cara, a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. This is a powerful historical novel, recreating the horrors of the pre-Civil War era.

The Underground Railroad US
The Underground Railroad UK

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H is for Hawk – Helen Macdonald

Costa Prize Winner, H is for Hawk is an unflinchingly honest account of Macdonald’s determination to become a falconer, taming the wildest of animals.

H is for Hawk US
H is for Hawk UK

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The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

Soon to be a movie, The Girl on the Train divided our readers and for everyone who said how brilliant it was, there was someone else calling it terrible. Personally I thought it was a fantastic psychological thriller, with horribly damaged and dislikeable characters.

The Girl on the Train US
The Girl on the Train UK

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Seveneves – Neal Stephenson

It looks like The PoTUS has been taking advice from Bill Gates as Seveneves appeared on his reading list a few months ago. Technical science fiction would be the best description!

Seveneves US
Seveneves UK

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So they are the five books making the cut for President Obama’s Summer Reading List 2016, and if you like these, then here are last year’s selections too if you missed them.

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

Now you can read like the President, until the upcoming elections at least.

Adaptation of The Miniaturist to Air This Christmas

By | Adaptations, News | No Comments
In the spring we brought you the news that filming had started for the BBC adaptation of Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist with filming taking place in Amsterdam, where the novel is set. The historical novel is set in 1686 and the judging by the photos released this is to be a lavish adaptation and now we can confirm it’s on the BBC Christmas schedule!

Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Nella Oortman, with Romola Garai playing her cold, domineering sister-in-law Marin. Nella’s husband will be portrayed by Alex Hassel of Cold Mountain fame and that’s just a small number of the excellent cast. Read More

Chris Riddell in War of Words with John Lewis over Moz Likeness

By | Authors, Children's Literature, News | No Comments
Author and illustrator Chris Riddell got into a little Twitter spat last week with retailer John Lewis over the Moz character from the new advertising campaign, and a week on it’s still rumbling on as the ever witty and creative Chris Riddell continues with a stream of monster talk.

The former children’s laureate, Riddell, pointed out that Moz the Monster bears a striking similarity to Mr Underbed, his own monster character. Riddell then went on to show blow by blow how the stories are almost identical, and even the monsters bear a striking resemblance. Read More

A Wrinkle in Time: Release Date and New Trailer

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A few months ago Disney announced that they’d be adapting the classic sci-fi A Wrinkle in Time and released a small first trailer to give a taste of what was to come. All we knew at that point was that the film was marked for a spring 2018 release but this week, Disney have released a first trailer for the movie, and we have a release date too!

If you are beyond excited, and don’t have the advantage of being able to create A Wrinkle in Time then you’ll have to wait a little while yet, March 9th is the release date for cinemas. Read More

National Book Award Winners 2017 Announced

By | Literary Awards, News | No Comments
The final winners of the National Book Awards 2017 was announced this week at the 68th National Book Awards ceremony. Last month we brought you the list of all the National Book Award finalists, and now we have the final winners in each category.

The National Book Awards is one of the oldest and most prestigious literary prizes known and each year honours winners in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature and this year also honoured Annie Proulx, and Richard Robinson, Chairman, President & CEO of Scholastic. Read More

Catch 22 To Get TV Adaptation, and George Clooney will Direct and Star

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Catch 22 is one of those novels everyone tells me I should read, but despite many (7 to date) attempts, I can’t get past page 100. So I for one am absolutely thrilled to hear there is to be a serialised adaptation of the black comedic satire that has become the most famous anti-war book ever written.

We haven’t seen Clooney on the small screen since ER, nearly twenty years ago but with Catch 22 he’ll not only star in the six episode series but he’ll be directing it too! Clooney won’t be taking the star role, he’ll be playing Yossarian’s commander, Colonel Cathcart. Read More

Orwell Statue Unveiled at BBC Broadcasting House

By | Authors, News | No Comments
On the 7th November this year, a brand new statue of one of my all time favourite authors was unveiled outside the BBC’s London Head Quarters, at New Broadcasting House.

Eric Blair had worked at the BBC as a producer for the “Empire Service” over 70 years ago and some suggest that it is this time at the BBC that gave him the inspiration for room 101, in his now famous novel 1984 which he penned under the more familiar name George Orwell.

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