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

What It's About: This follow-up to The Underground Railroad brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys unjustly sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.

When Elwood Curtis, a black boy growing up in 1960s Tallahassee, is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, he finds himself trapped in a grotesque chamber of horrors...

Publication Date: July 16, 2019
historical fiction book club audiobook

Ted Chiang

What It's About: Alternate cover for this ISBN can be found here

The universe began as an enormous breath being held.

From the acclaimed author of Stories of Your Life and Others — the basis for the Academy Award-nominated film Arrival — comes a ground-breaking new collection of short fiction: nine stunningly original, provocative, and poignant stories...

Publication Date: May 7, 2019
short stories sci fi science fiction

Wolf Hall
Hilary Mantel

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
historical fiction historical history

The Bluest Eye
Toni Morrison

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
classics historical fiction books i own

Toni Morrison

What It's About: Sula and Nel are two young black girls: clever and poor. They grow up together sharing their secrets, dreams and happiness. Then Sula breaks free from their small-town community in the uplands of Ohio to roam the cities of America. When she returns ten years later much has changed. Including Nel, who now has a husband and three children...

Publication Date: June 8, 2004
classics historical fiction books i own

Song of Solomon
Toni Morrison

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: August 12, 1977
classics historical fiction books i own

Toni Morrison

What It's About:

Publication Date: June 8, 2004

Men Without Women
Haruki Murakami

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
short stories murakami japan

American Spy
Lauren Wilkinson

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
historical fiction mystery book club

Lab Girl
Hope Jahren

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
non fiction science memoir

Téa Obreht

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
historical fiction western dnf

The Shallows
Nicholas Carr

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
science technology sociology

How to Read the Air
Dinaw Mengestu

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
africa obama ethiopia

Stephanie Land

What It's About: An alternate cover edition for this ISBN can be found here.

At 28, Stephanie Land’s plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer, were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy...

Publication Date: January 22, 2019
non fiction memoir audiobook

barack obama 2019 summer reading list books

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