Barack Obama’s 2019 Summer Reading List

barack obama 2019 summer reading list books

Obama has released his annual list of summer reads, and there’s a bunch of great titles on there. Toni Morrison is there, of course, for obvious reasons, and so is one of my favorite reads of 2019 so far, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead.

See below for all the titles that #44 is recommending in 2019!

Note that if you’re reading via the WordPress reader or an RSS feed, you may need to visit the actual page to view it properly! What do you think about these titles? Any that you plan on reading?

The Nickel Boys
Colson Whitehead | Fleet

What It's About: Winner of the 2020 Pulizer Prize for Fiction.

As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is “as good as anyone.” Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is a high school senior about to start classes at a local college...

Publication Date: September 17, 2020

Ted Chiang | Knopf

What It's About: This much-anticipated second collection of stories is signature Ted Chiang, full of revelatory ideas and deeply sympathetic characters. In The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate, a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances...

Publication Date: May 7, 2019

Wolf Hall
Hilary Mantel | Henry Holt and Co.

What It's About: Tudor England. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is charged with securing his divorce. Into this atmosphere of distrust comes Thomas Cromwell - a man as ruthlessly ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself.

His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.

Publication Date: April 30, 2009

The Bluest Eye
Toni Morrison | Vintage

What It's About: Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in. Yet as her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife...

Publication Date: June 1, 1970

Toni Morrison

What It's About: This rich and moving novel traces the lives of two black heroines from their close-knit childhood in a small Ohio town, through their sharply divergent paths of womanhood, to their ultimate confrontation and reconciliation.

Nel Wright has chosen to stay in the place where she was born, to marry, raise a family, and become a pillar of the black community...

Publication Date: Not Available

Song of Solomon
Toni Morrison | Vintage

What It's About: Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez...

Publication Date: June 8, 2004

Toni Morrison | Vintage

What It's About: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a spellbinding and dazzlingly innovative portrait of a woman haunted by the past.

Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad, yet she is still held captive by memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened...

Publication Date: September 16, 1987

Men Without Women
Haruki Murakami | Vintage

What It's About: A dazzling new collection of short stories--the first major new work of fiction from the beloved, internationally acclaimed, Haruki Murakami since his #1 best-selling Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.

Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone...

Publication Date: April 18, 2014

American Spy
Lauren Wilkinson | Random House

What It's About: What if your sense of duty required you to betray the man you love? One woman struggles to choose between her honor and her heart in this enthralling espionage drama that deftly hops between New York and West Africa.

It's 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI...

Publication Date: February 12, 2019

Lab Girl
Hope Jahren | Vintage

What It's About: National Bestseller

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography

A New York Times Notable Book

Winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science/Subaru Science Books & Film Prize for Excellence in Science Books

Finalist for the PEN/E...

Publication Date: March 1, 2016

Téa Obreht | Random House

What It's About: In the lawless, drought-ridden lands of the Arizona Territory in 1893, two extraordinary lives unfold. Nora is an unflinching frontierswoman awaiting the return of the men in her life--her husband, who has gone in search of water for the parched household, and her elder sons, who have vanished after an explosive argument...

Publication Date: August 13, 2019

The Shallows
Nicholas Carr | W. W. Norton & Company

What It's About: The best-selling author of The Big Switch returns with an explosive look at technology’s effect on the mind.

“Is Google making us stupid?” When Nicholas Carr posed that question in a celebrated Atlantic Monthly cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us...

Publication Date: June 7, 2010

How to Read the Air
Dinaw Mengestu | Riverhead Books

What It's About: A heartbreaking literary masterwork about love, family, and the power of imagination, which confirms Mengestu's reputation as one of the brightest talents of his generation.

Dinaw Mengestu's first novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, earned the young writer comparisons to Bellow, Fitzgerald, and Naipaul, and garnered ecstatic critical praise and awards around the world for its haunting depiction of the immigrant experience...

Publication Date: October 14, 2010

Stephanie Land | Hachette Books

What It's About: Evicted meets Nickel and Dimed in Stephanie Land's memoir about working as a maid, a beautiful and gritty exploration of poverty in America. Includes a foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich.

"My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter."

While the gap between upper middle-class Americans and the working poor widens, grueling low-wage domestic and service work--primarily done by women--fuels the economic success of the wealthy...

Publication Date: January 22, 2019

barack obama 2019 summer reading list books