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.

Things Fall Apart US
Things Fall Apart UK

Submit a Review

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.

A Grain of Wheat US
A Grain of Wheat UK

Submit a Review

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.

Long Walk to Freedom US
Long Walk to Freedom UK

Submit a Review

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.

Americanah US
Americanah UK

Read a Review



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.

The Return US
The Return UK

Submit a Review

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.

The World As It Is US
The World As It Is UK

Submit a Review

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 Books of the Last One Hundred Years: 1934

By | Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
We started at 1918, bringing you the bestselling books of the last one hundred years. We’re moving along now, covering each year at a time and we’re well into the 1930s now. Today we’re documenting the ten bestselling books of 1934, and what you were reading instead.

1934 was the year that brought us Flash Gordon, more from Nazi Germany, and the Gothenburg prize for both Kipling and Yeats.

So here they are, the ten top selling books of 1934 and the heady days before World War II. We’re also featuring some well known books that didn’t make the cut!

Read More

The Bestselling Books of the Last One Hundred Years: 1933

By | Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
We started at 1918, bringing you the bestselling books of the last one hundred years. We’re moving along now, covering each year at a time and we’re into the 1930s. Today we’re documenting the ten bestselling books of 1933, and what you were reading instead.

Already we can see some hot authors and trends appearing now and as the years tick on it’s likely that you’ll start recognising some contemporary authors and others who have been publishing through the decades.

So here they are, the ten top selling books of 1933, the year construction started on the Golden Gate Bridge, and the year that ominously Hitler was voted into power.

We’re also featuring some well known books that didn’t make the cut!

Read More

The Bestselling Books of the Last One Hundred Years: 1932

By | Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
We started at 1918, bringing you the bestselling books of the last one hundred years. We’re moving along now, covering each year at a time and we’re into the 1930s. Today we’re documenting the ten bestselling books of 1932, and what you were reading instead.

Already we can see some hot authors and trends appearing now and as the years tick on it’s likely that you’ll start recognising some contemporary authors and others who have been publishing through the decades. This year we have the first top book to stay as the bestselling book for two consecutive years with Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth, a book that has more than stood the test of time.

So here they are, the ten top selling books of 1932 and the heady days before World War II. We’re also featuring some well known books that didn’t make the cut!

Read More

The Bestselling Books of the Last One Hundred Years: 1931

By | Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
We started at 1918, bringing you the bestselling books of the last one hundred years. We’re moving along now, covering each year at a time and we’re into the 1930s. Today we’re documenting the ten bestselling books of 1931, and what you were reading instead.

Already we can see some hot authors and trends appearing now and as the years tick on it’s likely that you’ll start recognising some contemporary authors and others who have been publishing through the decades.

But today, we have the ten top selling books of 1931 and the heady days before World War II. We’re also featuring some well known books that didn’t make the cut!

Read More

FRA Readers’ Choice Top 20: February 2019

By | Hit of the Lits! | No Comments
We gave our Top 20 a miss last month as we were concentrating on the FRA Book of the Year for 2018 but now it’s time for a new Top 20, the first Top 20 of 2019. 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 February, chosen by you!

With our new reading challenge for 2019 inspired by authors’ birthdays, you may find each month this affects the books voted for and we may see authors appearing in the Top 20 during their birthday months.  Read More

The Bestselling Books of the Last One Hundred Years: 1930

By | Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
We started at 1918, bringing you the bestselling books of the last one hundred years. We’re moving along now, covering each year at a time and today we move into a brand new decade as we mark the bestselling books of 1930.

Already we can see some hot authors and trends appearing now and as the years tick on it’s likely that you’ll start recognising some contemporary authors and others who have been publishing through the decades.

But today, we have the ten top selling books of 1930 and the heady days before World War II. We’re also featuring some well known books that didn’t make the cut!

Read More



Leave a Reply