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

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.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

A true classic of world literature, this novel paints a picture of traditional society wrestling with the arrival of foreign influence, from Christian missionaries to British colonialism. A masterpiece that has inspired generations of writers in Nigeria, across Africa, and around the world.

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A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o

A chronicle of the events leading up to Kenya’s independence, and a compelling story of how the transformative events of history weigh on individual lives and relationships.

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Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Mandela’s life was one of the epic stories of the 20th century. This definitive memoir traces the arc of his life from a small village, to his years as a revolutionary, to his long imprisonment, and ultimately his ascension to unifying President, leader, and global icon. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand history – and then go out and change it.

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Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

From one of the world’s great contemporary writers comes the story of two Nigerians making their way in the U.S. and the UK, raising universal questions of race and belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for identity and a home.

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The Return by Hisham Matar

A beautifully-written memoir that skillfully balances a graceful guide through Libya’s recent history with the author’s dogged quest to find his father who disappeared in Gaddafi’s prisons.

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The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes

It’s true, Ben does not have African blood running through his veins. But few others so closely see the world through my eyes like he can. Ben’s one of the few who’ve been with me since that first presidential campaign. His memoir is one of the smartest reflections I’ve seen as to how we approached foreign policy, and one of the most compelling stories I’ve seen about what it’s actually like to serve the American people for eight years in the White House.

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It would be fair to say that the vast majority of ‘classic’ literature has been written by white Westerners, so it’s great to see someone as influential as Barack Obama shed light on some great books from African authors. No doubt many bibliophiles will be short listing these titles on their ‘To Read’ pile.

The Bestselling Fiction of the Last One Hundred Years: 1918

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We’re starting a new blog series today, and it’s likely to be a while until we finish it. We’re going to cover the bestselling fiction of the last one hundred years, one year at a time.

Each list will be ten books, the ten bestselling books of the last one hundred years and as we’re still in 2018 (just) we’re starting with 1918.

As the lists continue you’ll see trends through the years as popular authors shine through, but for today it’s the ten bestselling books of 1918.

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6 Best Books About Pearl Harbor

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On December 7th, 1941 at 7:48am, the Japanese Navy launched an air strike on a United States naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. In the attack more than 2,400 American servicemen were killed forcing the United States into World War II.

To mark the date, we’re making some recommendations today, if you’d like to know more about this event with books that offer an in-depth look into the day, its personal impact and its place in history.

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The New York Times Best Books of 2018

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The New York Times is generally a respected source for those looking for book recommendations and we trust their judgement, so when we saw today they had announced their Top Ten Books of 2018 we knew we’d have to share it with you.

We’ve seen many of these books recommended across a variety of sources this year, including recommendations from you, so without further ado here are the top ten books of 2018, according to the New York Times.

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FRA Readers’ Choice Top 20: December 2018

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Another month has flown by and it’s time for a new Top 20, the final Top 20 of 2018. Each month we list your top 20 reads of the month, chosen by members of our reading group, The Cwts @ Reading Addicts.

This month is a mix-up of classic books, new releases and recommendations from the Cwts, including some books that have featured heavily in the Top 20 every month. We hope you find something that interests you. Here are the top 20 books for December, chosen by you! Read More

John Boyne Chooses His Favourite Reads of 2018

By | Authors, Discussion and Recommendations, Guest Blogs | No Comments
During an event for Birmingham Literature Festival with John Boyne, he explained that he reads around 120 books a year and believes it is a key part of being a writer. The books he reads each year include many published that year. As Christmas fast approaches, Boyne has taken to Twitter to treated us all to his pick of the best books published in 2018 that he has read this year. In no particular order, these are the book Boyne recommends:
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NYPL Best Books of 2018: Books for Kids

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Every year the New York Public Library curates a selection of recommended reads selected by their expert librarians. The books encompass an array of genres, diverse stories and inspiring ideas with the top ten books for adults, teens and kids included.

This weekend we’re going to feature all three lists to give you some recommendations. Today we have the kids list ranging from picture books to middle-grade fiction, graphic novels, folklore & fairy tales, poetry, and nonfiction.

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