Barack Obama Shares His 2019 Summer Reading List

By Luis Diaz | September 10 2019 | Humanities & Social Sciences

Summer might be ending soon, but there’s still time to pick up some of Barack Obama’s seasonal reading picks!


Last month, former President Barack Obama continued his annual tradition of sharing his summer reading list on his Facebook Page, and many of his selections are published by Penguin Random House imprints.

Mr. Obama begins his post: “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. 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.”

Mr. Obama also recommended Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys; Ted Chaing’s Exhalation; Haruki Murakami’s Men Without Women; Lauren Wilkinson’s American Spy; Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl; Téa Obreht’s Inland; and Dinaw Mengestu’s How to Read The Air.



The Nickel Boys (Winner 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
A Novel
In this bravura follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.
$24.95 US
Jul 16, 2019
224 Pages

From the acclaimed author of Stories of Your Life and Others—the basis for the Academy Award–nominated film Arrival—comes a groundbreaking new collection of short fiction: nine stunningly original, provocative, and poignant stories. These are tales that tackle some of humanity’s oldest questions along with new quandaries only Ted Chiang could imagine.
$30.00 US
May 07, 2019
368 Pages

Men Without Women
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.
$17.00 US
May 01, 2018
240 Pages

Lab Girl
A Memoir
National Bestseller
$16.00 US
Feb 28, 2017
304 Pages

How to Read the Air
A "beautifully written"* (New York Times Book Review) novel of redemption by a prize-winning international literary star.From the acclaimed author of The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears comes a heartbreaking literary masterwork about love, family, and the power of imagination.Following the death of his father Yosef, Jonas Woldemariam feels compelled to make sense of the volatile generational and cultural ties that have forged him. Leaving behind his marriage and job in New York, he sets out to retrace his mother and father's honeymoon as young Ethiopian immigrants and weave together a family history that will take him from the war-torn country of his parents' youth to a brighter vision of his life in America today. In so doing, he crafts a story- real or invented-that holds the possibility of reconciliation and redemption.
$15.00 US
Oct 04, 2011
320 Pages
Riverhead Books