Arts and Culture

5 books Barack Obama thinks you should read this summer

Former US President Barack Obama speaks during his town hall meeting for the Obama Foundation at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 18, 2018. Themba Hadebe/Pool via REUTERS

These five books are on the former US President's reading list. Image: REUTERS

John Haltiwanger
Professor, University of Maryland
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Former President Barack Obama released a new reading list on Sunday, recommending five books to help people end their summer on a thoughtful note.

"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," Obama wrote in a Facebook post.

Obama, an avid reader and author, often recommends books he's enjoyed reading to the public. The former president's reading lists tend to be topical and linked to issues he's focusing on at the time.

Before a trip to Africa earlier this summer, for example, Obama released a reading list centered around African literature.

Through his newest reading list, Obama may be emphasizing the need to place stock in facts over emotions or personal bias.


'Educated,' by Tara Westover

Image: Amazon

Obama described "Educated" as 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."

'Warlight,' by Michael Ondaatje

Image: Amazon

Obama called "Warlight," which is set after World War II, "a meditation on the lingering effects of war on family."

'A House for Mr. Biswas,' by Sir VS Naipaul

Image: Amazon

Obama said he reread "A House for Mr. Biswas" this summer, describing it as Naipaul's "first great novel about growing up in Trinidad and the challenge of post-colonial identity."

Naipaul, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, died on August 11 at the age of 85.

'An American Marriage,' by Tayari Jones

Image: Amazon

Obama characterized "An American Marriage" as "a moving portrayal of the effects of a wrongful conviction on a young African-American couple."

Have you read?

'Factfulness,' by Hans Rosling

Image: Amazon

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

Factfulness is the World Economic Forum Book Club's book of the month for September. You can join the book club here.

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