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

The Girl on the Train Review

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.

Charles Dickens’ Contribution to Science to Feature in Exhibition

By | Authors, Culture, Literary Events, Literary Places, News | No Comments
Charles Dickens: Man of Science is a current exhibition running at the Charles Dickens Museum until November 11th and the exhibition is looking at the author’s contribution to science, and notably medicine.

Dickens astute observations on human behaviours means he spotted many illnesses and their symptoms before they were recognised by the medical community and his descriptions so accurate that they can be used to build correlation between symptoms and disease.
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£2m Revamp Complete for National Centre for Writing

By | Culture, Literary Places, News, On Writing | No Comments
The National Centre for writing relaunches in Norwich this week following a £2 million revamp for the historic Dragon Hall. It was previously known as the Writers’ Centre, Norwich but now the facility is to be a “Physical and digital space to explore the artistic and social power of creative writing, and support the creation and enjoyment of world literature” according to a spokesman interviewed by The Bookseller this week.

Parts of the historic Dragon Hall date back to 1430, meaning any renovations had to be sympathetic. The project was given the go ahead back in 2016 and was backed by a number of high profile patrons including Margaret Atwood, Ali Smith, Elif Shafak, J. M Coetzee, and Sarah Perry.
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9 year old’s story about a refugee child is a competition winner

By | Children's Literature, News | No Comments
9 year old Frasier Cox won The Book People’s 2017 Bedtime Story Competition with his beautiful poem inspired by the theme of friendship.

The Book People ran the competition earlier last year and from the 1300 entries a shortlist of 3 stories were chosen from different age ranges- 5-7 years, 8-9 years, and 10-11 years. The shortlisters were respectively Jackson Mendoza, Frasier Cox, and Amy Chick. From those three winners one final overall winner had to be decided upon by three judges.

Frasier’s story was written in the style of a poem and is about a hypothetical friendship between himself and a refugee boy. His warmth, empathy, and humanity shone through and won him the coveted prize of having his book illustrated and published. After being told of his success, Frasier told The Book People:  “I’m really pleased and very excited to have won The Bedtime Story Competition and can’t wait for my story to be made into a real book. I love reading and writing stories and to know that my book will be read by children all over the country makes me very proud.”

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Mary Shelley to Be the Focus of ‘Genius’ Season 3

By | Authors, News, Television | No Comments
In 2017, National Geographic launched a new TV series called Genius, which explores the lives of famed historical figures one might well label a genius. The first season followed Albert Einstein, the second Pablo Picasso, and it has now been confirmed that a third season is in the works and will follow the gothic writer Mary Shelley.

“Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein left an indelible mark on generations of imaginations,” said Carolyn Bernstein, EVP, global development and production for National Geographic Global Networks. “Equally inspiring is the story of Shelley’s relentless innovation, coupled with her desire to live on her own unconventional terms despite immense societal and cultural obstacles.” Read More

Little Women is back with a modern twist!

By | Adaptations, News | No Comments
Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women 150 years ago and since September 30th, 1868 it has inspired and entertained readers all over the world.

Many adaptations have been made- from TV to radio to movies- and now we have something new: a modern retelling of the classic story of sisterly love. Directed and screen-written by Clare Niederpruem with Kristi Shimek, this tale of family, love, and growing up will hopefully spark a whole new generation of Little Women fans.

The movie will star Lea Thompson as Marmee, Sarah Davenport as Jo, Melanie Stone as Meg, Allie Jennings as Beth, Elsie Jones as Young Amy, and Taylor Murphy as Older Amy.

It is released on September 28th 2018.

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