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

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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.

4 Brilliant Leon Uris Books

By | Authors, Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
book of the month
Leon Uris (3rd August, 1924 – June 21, 2003) was an American author of historical fiction who wrote many bestselling books. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Uris was the son of Jewish American parents Wolf William and Anna Uris. His father was a Polish born immigrant, his mother a first generation Russian American.

Uris was six years old when he was first recognised for his literary skills when he wrote an operetta inspired by the death of his dog. He would go on to write many bestselling works, based around major political and historic events. Today we’re going to recommend four books you may like to try. Read More

FRA Readers’ Choice Top 20: August

By | Hit of the Lits!, Literature | No Comments
book of the month
Those who have been around a while will remember our Hit of the Lits feature, a top 20 of the books you’ve loved in the previous month. Well on popular request we’re giving this feature a reboot with a new name and a new layout.

Last month we created a poll in our reading group The Cwts, and that poll has run all month giving you the chance to add your favourite read from the last thirty days. With July now over we have our top 20 for August and here it is, the readers’ choice top 20 for August.

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

By | Discussion and Recommendations, News, Reading Habits | No Comments
book of the month
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

By | Discussion and Recommendations, Television | No Comments
book of the month
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

By | Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
book of the month
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
book of the month
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



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