The Books on Barack Obama’s Summer Reading List: Naipaul, Ondaatje & More

Pho­to by Pete Souza via

As the cur­rent pres­i­dent grinds his ax on Twit­ter, the for­mer one reads and reflects. Yes­ter­day, Barack Oba­ma post­ed on Face­book his sum­mer read­ing list, a mix of nov­els, mem­oirs, and instruc­tive non-fic­tion. He writes:

One of my favorite parts of sum­mer is decid­ing what to read when things slow down just a bit, whether it’s on a vaca­tion with fam­i­ly or just a qui­et after­noon. This sum­mer I’ve been absorbed by new nov­els, revis­it­ed an old clas­sic, and reaf­firmed my faith in our abil­i­ty to move for­ward togeth­er when we seek the truth. Here’s what I’ve been read­ing:

Tara Westover’s Edu­cat­ed is a remark­able mem­oir of a young woman raised in a sur­vival­ist fam­i­ly in Ida­ho who strives for edu­ca­tion while still show­ing great under­stand­ing and love for the world she leaves behind.

Set after WWII, Warlight by Michael Ondaat­je is a med­i­ta­tion on the lin­ger­ing effects of war on fam­i­ly.

With the recent pass­ing of V.S. Naipaul, I reread A House for Mr Biswas, the Nobel Prize win­ner’s first great nov­el about grow­ing up in Trinidad and the chal­lenge of post-colo­nial iden­ti­ty.

An Amer­i­can Mar­riage by Tayari Jones is a mov­ing por­tray­al of the effects of a wrong­ful con­vic­tion on a young African-Amer­i­can cou­ple.

Fact­ful­ness by Hans Rosling, an out­stand­ing inter­na­tion­al pub­lic health expert, is a hope­ful book about the poten­tial for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inher­ent bias­es.

POTUS’ pre­vi­ous lists of rec­om­mend­ed books can be found in the Relat­eds below.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Barack Oba­ma Shares a List of Enlight­en­ing Books Worth Read­ing

The 5 Books on Pres­i­dent Obama’s 2016 Sum­mer Read­ing List

A Free POTUS Sum­mer Playlist: Pres. Oba­ma Curates 39 Songs for a Sum­mer Day

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