Barack Obama Shares What Books He’s Been Reading

It’s always interesting to learn what other people are reading, even more so when they happen to have been one of the most powerful people on the planet. If you’ve been wondering what former US President Barack Obama has been reading since he left office then you’re in luck. As Harper’s Bazaar reports, Obama recently took to his official Facebook page to share what he’s been reading.

“I’m often asked what I’m reading, watching, and listening to, so I thought I might share a short list from time to time,” he wrote. There’s so much good writing and art and variety of thought out there these days that this is by no means comprehensive – like many of you, I’ll miss The Americans – but here’s what I’ve been reading lately. It’s admittedly a slightly heavier list than what I’ll be reading over the summer.”

Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging, by Alex Wagner

“I once wrote a book on my own search for identity, so I was curious to see what Alex, daughter of a Burmese mother and Iowan Irish-Catholic father – and a friend of mine – discovered during her own. What she came up with is a thoughtful, beautiful meditation on what makes us who we are – the search for harmony between our own individual identities and the values and ideals that bind us together as Americans.”

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The New Geography of Jobs, by Enrico Moretti

“It’s six years old now, but still a timely and smart discussion of how different cities and regions have made a changing economy work for them – and how policymakers can learn from that to lift the circumstances of working Americans everywhere.”

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Why Liberalism Failed, by Patrick Deneen

“In a time of growing inequality, accelerating change, and increasing disillusionment with the liberal democratic order we’ve known for the past few centuries, I found this book thought-provoking. I don’t agree with most of the author’s conclusions, but the book offers cogent insights into the loss of meaning and community that many in the West feel, issues that liberal democracies ignore at their own peril.”

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The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy, by Matthew Stewart, The Atlantic

“Another thought-provoking analysis, this one about how economic inequality in America isn’t just growing, but self-reinforcing – and what that means for education, health, happiness, even the strength of our democracy.”

Read it here



In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History, by Mitch Landrieu

“A few years ago, I eulogised the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who was slain by a white supremacist in his church in Charleston, South Carolina. And I’ll never forget something Clem said while he was alive: “Across the South, we have a deep appreciation of history. We haven’t always had a deep appreciation of each other’s history.” That’s something Mitch takes to heart in this book, while grappling with some of the most painful parts of our history and how they still live in the present. It’s an ultimately optimistic take from someone who believes the South will rise again not by reasserting the past, but by transcending it.”

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Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life, by Jennifer Kavanagh and Michael D. Rich, RAND Corporation

“The title is self-explanatory, but the findings are very interesting. A look at how a selective sorting of facts and evidence isn’t just dishonest, but self-defeating to a society that has always worked best when reasoned debate and practical problem-solving thrive.”
Certainly some very thought provoking titles. They may not be what you’d describe as ‘easy reading’ but no doubt they’re very interesting and informing.

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Obama Reveals What He’s Been Reading Prior to Visiting Africa

By | Discussion and Recommendations, News, Reading Habits | No Comments
For the first time since he left office, the former President of the United States, Barack Obama, has returned to Africa where he spent time in both Kenya (his ancestral home) and South Africa. There he met 200 young leaders from all over the continent and made a speech to commemorate the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela.

Prior to his visit, Obama published a post on his official Facebook page where he wrote about his love for his ancestral home, and revealed what books he’s been reading in the build up to his trip. As you would expect, the books are from and about the continent of Africa and show what a diverse, historic, sometimes troubled, but also extraordinary continent it is. Not only has Obama recommended the books, but also provided a quick insight as to why he found them interesting. Read More

Sense8, Bookshops and Some Reading Recommendations

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Is anyone else really sad that Sense8 is over? The Netflix show was a science-fiction drama created by Lana and Lilly Wachowski (of Matrix fame) following the lives of eight strangers from around the world linked by a sense of mental and emotional telepathy.

While a science fiction show, the series was very grounded in real issues such as race, sex, gender, and religion featuring a multi-national cast, various sexualities and a transgender character, played by a transgender actor (yay!).

I absolutely loved it, and I know much of the team did too and brilliant storylines aside, I loved the fact that Amanita, played by Freema Agyeman worked at the City Lights Bookstore, meaning it was featured in various episodes. And if you were hanging out for more bookstore references there was a second one with a mention for Shakespeare and Co in the finale too! Read More

George R.R. Martin Gives Us His Book Recommendations

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George R.R. Martin has shot to fame in recent years after his gritty fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire was adapted into a TV show by HBO. Called Game of Thrones, the series has become one of the biggest shows on TV and has helped newcomers discover Martin’s equally great novels. Game of Thrones‘ final season is set to air next year, but we’re still eagerly waiting for the next installment in the Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter. If you can’t wait for the next book, then why not check out this list of books Martin has recommended?

As the New York Public Library reports, Martin has given us not one, but two lists of books he feels we should read, fantasy and general fiction, so there should be something for everyone here.

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Barack Obama Shares What Books He’s Been Reading

By | Discussion and Recommendations, Political, Reading Habits | No Comments
It’s always interesting to learn what other people are reading, even more so when they happen to have been one of the most powerful people on the planet. If you’ve been wondering what former US President Barack Obama has been reading since he left office then you’re in luck. As Harper’s Bazaar reports, Obama recently took to his official Facebook page to share what he’s been reading.

“I’m often asked what I’m reading, watching, and listening to, so I thought I might share a short list from time to time,” he wrote. There’s so much good writing and art and variety of thought out there these days that this is by no means comprehensive – like many of you, I’ll miss The Americans – but here’s what I’ve been reading lately. It’s admittedly a slightly heavier list than what I’ll be reading over the summer.” Read More

5 Brilliant Books About Marilyn Monroe

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Marilyn Monroe was an actress, model and singer and by far one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century. Born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1st, 1926 she grew up to be the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s, perfecting the blonde bombshell persona still emulated by many today.

Monroe’s private life was not without controversy and she had documented struggles with substance abuse, depression and anxiety. Her second and third marriages to baseball star Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller were both highly publicised and both ended in divorce, then there were the rumours of an affair with the president. Read More

London Review of Books Dedicates Entire Issue to Grenfell Tragedy

By | Discussion and Recommendations, New Releases, News, Political | No Comments
For the first time in the history of the London Review of Books, the new edition contains just one article; a 60,000 word investigation into the Grenfell Tower tragedy and its political aftermath.

The edition is written by the London Review of Books editor Andrew O’Hagan and is entitled ‘The Tower’, described as “the fullest account yet” of the tragedy. Read More



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