Barack Obama Adds Travel Novels To His Top 10 Summer Reading List

By Stephanie Ogbogu


Every year, President Barack Obama releases a list of 10 books he suggests you read. This year, a few travel-related novels made the list.

“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,” he wrote on social media. Of course, the full collection of work from the late Toni Morrison was at the top of his recommended reading.

Here are 10 more suggested reads from Barack Obama and what he had to say about them. Inland and How To Read The Air are great travel novels to add to your collection.

Inland by Téa Obreht

Inland by Téa Obreht just came out yesterday, so I won’t spoil anything. But those of you who’ve been waiting for Obreht’s next novel won’t be disappointed.”

How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu

“You’ll get a better sense of the complexity and redemption within the American immigrant story with Dinaw Mengestu’s novel, How to Read the Air.”

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

“Sometimes difficult to swallow, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead is a necessary read, detailing the way Jim Crow and mass incarceration tore apart lives and wrought consequences that ripple into today.”

Exhalation by Ted Chiang

Exhalation by Ted Chiang is a collection of short stories that will make you think, grapple with big questions, and feel more human. The best kind of science fiction.”

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

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Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel is a very good historical fiction novel about Thomas Cromwell. This is the first in a series about the ambitious, intelligent man who rose from nothing into the English courts and helped Henry VIII in his struggle to marry Anne Boleyn. . This book has a real issue with loose pronoun referents. “He” always refers to Cromwell. It took me a long time to get used to this—our minds connect a pronoun to the last person who spoke or acted, rather than jumping to someone else. There are also a couple random references to an unidentified “we” throughout the text. This was frustrating, although I adapted to it eventually. But it was a puzzling and annoying grammar error to encounter, especially as this book won a Man Booker. . Overall, however, Wolf Hall was a great read. It is slow, very detailed, and about the political and legal side of the Tudor dramas. There are many books out there about the drama and intrigue: this shows the more realistic side, a world of persuasion and careful wordings, of gossip, rumors, and tricky politics. Cromwell is a fascinating character who makes an excellent protagonist, and I enjoyed how deep Mantel dug into the history. The characters were well fleshed-out, and despite the slower pace I never felt bored. I plan to pick up sequel Bring Up the Bodies in the future. ✨ #wolfhall #bringupthebodies #anneboleyn #thomascromwell #historicalfiction #bookreview #bookishphotography #hilarymantel

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Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel­’s epic fictionalized look at Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power, came out in 2009, but I was a little busy back then, so I missed it. Still great today.”

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami

“Haruki Murakami’s Men Without Women 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.”

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson is a whole lot more than just a spy thriller, wrapping together the ties of family, of love, and of country.”

The Shallows by Nicholas Carr

The Shallows by Nicholas Carr came out a few years ago, but its arguments on the internet’s impact on our brains, our lives, and our communities are still worthy of reflection, which is something we all could use a little more of in this age.”

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren is a beautifully written memoir about the life of a woman in science, a brilliant friendship, and the profundity of trees. Terrific.”

Maid by Stephanie Land

Maid by Stephanie Land is a single mother’s personal, unflinching look at America’s class divide, a description of the tightrope many families walk just to get by, and a reminder of the dignity of all work.

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Stephanie Ogbogu

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