You can look forward to a few things each summer — beach days spent with loved ones, big summer blockbusters, and former President Barack Obama’s summer reading list. An annual tradition started during his presidency, it’s one we’re happy he has continued well into his time out of office.
In a Facebook post, the former president shared his list saying, “It’s August, so I wanted to let you know about a few books I’ve been reading this summer, in case you’re looking for some suggestions.” Filled with fiction, non-fiction, and short stories, with a blend of newly-released titles sure to become favorites as well as beloved classics, there’s something for everyone on this list.
Keep scrolling to learn more about Barack Obama’s 2019 summer reading picks, in his own words.
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Toni Morrison Collected Works
The Collected Works of Toni Morrison
Beloved: $10.23 (Originally $16), Amazon
Song of Solomon: $11.43 (Originally $16), Amazon
The Bluest Eye: $9.45 (Originally $14.95), Amazon
"To start, you can't go wrong by reading or re-reading the collected works of Toni Morrison. Beloved, Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, Sula, everything else — they're transcendent, all of them. You’ll be glad you read them."
The Nickel Boys Colson Whitehead
The Nickel Boys — Colson Whitehead
Where to buy: $12 (Originally $24.95), Amazon
"Sometimes difficult to swallow, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead is a necessary read, detailing the way Jim Crow and mass incarceration tore apart lives and wrought consequences that ripple into today."
Exhaltation Ted Chiang
Exhalation — Ted Chiang
Where to buy: $17.11 (Originally $25.95), Amazon
"Exhalation by Ted Chiang is a collection of short stories that will make you think, grapple with big questions, and feel more human. The best kind of science fiction."
Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel
Wolf Hall — Hilary Mantel
Where to buy: $12.34 (Originally $18), Amazon
"Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel’s epic fictionalized look at Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power, came out in 2009, but I was a little busy back then, so I missed it. Still great today."
Men Without Women Haruki Murakami
Men Without Women — Hakuri Murakami
Where to buy: $10.87 (Originally $16), Amazon
"Haruki Murakami’s Men Without Women examines what happens to characters without important women in their lives; it'll move you and confuse you and sometimes leave you with more questions than answers."
American Spy Lauren Wilkinson
American Spy — Lauren Wilkinson
Where to buy: $15.66 (Originally $27), Amazon
"American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson is a whole lot more than just a spy thriller, wrapping together the ties of family, of love, and of country."
The Shallows Nicholas Carr
The Shallows — Nicholas Carr
Where to buy: $12.62 (Originally $15.95), Amazon
"The Shallows by Nicholas Carr came out a few years ago, but its arguments on the internet’s impact on our brains, our lives, and our communities are still worthy of reflection, which is something we all could use a little more of in this age."
Lab Girl Hope Jahren
Lab Girl — Hope Jahren
Where to buy: $12.53 (Originally $16), Amazon
"Lab Girl by Hope Jahren is a beautifully written memoir about the life of a woman in science, a brilliant friendship, and the profundity of trees. Terrific."
Inland Tea Obreht
Inland — Tea Obreht
Where to buy: $18.90 (originally $27), Amazon
"Inland by Téa Obreht just came out yesterday, so I won’t spoil anything. But those of you who’ve been waiting for Obreht’s next novel won’t be disappointed."
How To Read The Air Dinaw Mengestu
How to Read the Air — Dinaw Mengestu
Where to buy: $12.06 (Originally $15), Amazon
"You’ll get a better sense of the complexity and redemption within the American immigrant story with Dinaw Mengestu’s novel, How to Read the Air."
Maid Stephanie Land
Maid — Stephanie Land
Where to buy: $15.93 (originally $27), Amazon
"Maid by Stephanie Land is a single mother’s personal, unflinching look at America’s class divide, a description of the tightrope many families walk just to get by, and a reminder of the dignity of all work."