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Barack Obama's Summer Reading List

5 Books | by Likewise User verified icon

Obama recently revealed his reading list on his Instagram account. See what our 44th POTUS loved this summer!

Beloved

Beloved

Books

PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An unflinchingly look into the abyss of slavery, from the acclaimed Nobel Prize winner. This spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.

Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall

Books

In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political powerEngland in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. The quest for the king's freedom destroys his adviser, the brilliant Cardinal Wolsey, and leaves a power vacuum. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell is a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people and a demon of energy: he is also a consummate politician, hardened by his personal losses, implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph? In inimitable style, Hilary Mantel presents a picture of a half-made society on the cusp of change, where individuals fight or embrace their fate with passion and courage. With a vast array of characters, overflowing with incident, the novel re-creates an era when the personal and political are separated by a hairbreadth, where success brings unlimited power but a single failure means death.

American Spy

American Spy

Books

“American Spy updates the espionage thriller with blazing originality.”—Entertainment Weekly“There has never been anything like it.”—Marlon James, GQ“So much fun . . . Like the best of John le Carré, it’s extremely tough to put down.”—NPRNAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY CHICAGO TRIBUNE AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • Time • NPR • Entertainment Weekly • Esquire • BuzzFeed • Vulture • Real Simple • Good Housekeeping • The New York Public LibraryWhat if your sense of duty required you to betray the man you love?  It’s 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She’s brilliant, but she’s also a young black woman working in an old boys’ club. Her career has stalled out, she’s overlooked for every high-profile squad, and her days are filled with monotonous paperwork. So when she’s given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic revolutionary president of Burkina Faso whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention, she says yes. Yes, even though she secretly admires the work Sankara is doing for his country. Yes, even though she is still grieving the mysterious death of her sister, whose example led Marie to this career path in the first place. Yes, even though a furious part of her suspects she’s being offered the job because of her appearance and not her talent. In the year that follows, Marie will observe Sankara, seduce him, and ultimately have a hand in the coup that will bring him down. But doing so will change everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, a sister, and a good American. Inspired by true events—Thomas Sankara is known as “Africa’s Che Guevara”—American Spy knits together a gripping spy thriller, a heartbreaking family drama, and a passionate romance. This is a face of the Cold War you’ve never seen before, and it introduces a powerful new literary voice.NOMINATED FOR THE NAACP IMAGE AWARD • Shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize“Spy fiction plus allegory, and a splash of pan-Africanism. What could go wrong? As it happens, very little. Clever, bracing, darkly funny, and really, really good.”—Ta-Nehisi Coates“Inspired by real events, this espionage thriller ticks all the right boxes, delivering a sexually charged interrogation of both politics and race.”—Esquire “Echoing the stoic cynicism of Hurston and Ellison, and the verve of Conan Doyle, American Spy lays our complicities—political, racial, and sexual—bare. Packed with unforgettable characters, it’s a stunning book, timely as it is timeless.”—Paul Beatty, Man Booker Prizewinning author of The Sellout

Exhalation

Exhalation

Books

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR • Nine stunningly original, provocative, and poignant stories—two published for the very first time—all from the mind of the incomparable author of Stories of Your Life and Others Tackling some of humanity’s oldest questions along with new quandaries only he could imagine, these stories will change the way you think, feel, and see the world. They are Ted Chiang at his best: profound, sympathetic, revelatory. Ted Chiang tackles some of humanity’s oldest questions along with new quandaries only he could imagine.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 second chances. In “Exhalation,” an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications that are literally universal. In “Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom,” the ability to glimpse into alternate universes necessitates a radically new examination of the concepts of choice and free will.

Men Without Women

Men Without Women

Books

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • Including the story "Drive My Car”—now an Academy Award–nominated film—this collection from the internationally acclaimed author "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" (Barack Obama).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. Here are lovesick doctors, students, ex-boyfriends, actors, bartenders, and even Kafka’s Gregor Samsa, brought together to tell stories that speak to us all. In Men Without Women Murakami has crafted another contemporary classic, marked by the same wry humor and pathos that have defined his entire body of work.

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