Barack Obama, the former U.S President has shared his annual summer reading list, which includes How to Read the Air, a book by renowned Ethiopian-American novelist and writer, Dinaw Mengestu.
“It’s August, so I wanted to let you know about a few books I’ve been reading this summer, in case you’re looking for some suggestions,” Obama wrote in a Facebook post. “To start, you can’t go wrong by reading or re-reading the collected works of Toni Morrison. Beloved, Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, Sula, everything else — they’re transcendent, all of them. You’ll be glad you read them. And while I’m at it, here are a few more titles you might want to explore”.
The list is a mix of novels, short stories, and nonfiction works from celebrated writers from across the world, touching on, and interrogating various themes, and pertinent issues that continue to define, and affect the world. The books Obama recommend deal with diverse issues such as race, love, friendship, impact of technology on human life, immigration, identity, gender and class.
Apart from Toni Morrison, and Dinaw Mengestu’s books, Obama’s recommended reading list includes seminal works by various other writers including Téa Obreht, Colson Whitehead, Ted Chiang, Haruki Murakami, Lauren Wilkinson, Stephanie Land, Hope Jahren, Nicholas Carr and Hilary Mantel.
In his recommendation of How to Read the Air, which was published in 2010, Obama writes: “You’ll get a better sense of the complexity and redemption within the American immigrant story with Dinaw Mengestu’s novel”. The book chronicles the story of Jonas, the son of Ethiopian immigrants in the the Midwest, U.S and he struggles with understanding his past, his relationship with his parents, and his parents life in the Midwest.
Listed below are the books Obama recommends reading this summer:
The Collected Works Of Toni Morrison: Beloved, The Bluest Eye, The Song Of Solomon, Sula, Etc.
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Exhalation by Ted Chiang
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson
The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains by Nicholas Carr
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
Inland by Téa Obreht
How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu
Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay And A Mother’s Will To Survive by Stephanie Land