Barack Obama lists the books of 2019 that made the year a 'little brighter' for him

Former US President Barack Obama recommended 19 books, the titles of which ranged from biographies to fiction to essay compilations and sports-related books.

29th Dec 2019
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Former US President Barack Obama took to social media to share his list of favourite books of 2019. Continuing what has now become an annual tradition, the former US President recommended 19 books that, he said, "...made the last year a little brighter" for him.


The book recommendations, which included a mix of fiction and non-fiction, show Barack Obama continues to remain the avid reader that he is known to be. The latest list is in addition to the 19 titles he had recommended earlier this year.


Barack Obama

Talking about this annual tradition, Obama wrote on Instagram,

"While each of us has plenty that keeps us busy — work and family life, social, and volunteer commitments — outlets like literature and art can enhance our day-to-day experiences. They’re the fabric that helps make up a life — the album that lifts us up after a long day, the dog-eared paperback we grab off the shelf to give to a friend, the movie that makes us think and feel in a new way, works that simply help us escape for a bit. To start, here are the books that made the last year a little brighter for me."


Here's the full list of books Obama recommends:

  • The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff
  • The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company by William Dalrymple
  • Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
  • The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer
  • How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell
  • Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
  • Lot: Stories by Bryan Washington
  • Normal People by Sally Rooney
  • The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
  • The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
  • Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe
  • Solitary by Albert Woodfox
  • The Topeka School by Ben Lerner
  • Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino
  • Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
  • We Live in Water: Stories by Jess Walter
  • A Different Way to Win: Dan Rooney’s Story from the Super Bowl to the Rooney Rule by Jim Rooney
  • The Sixth Man by Andre Iguodala


Barack Obama



Barack Obama

Obama also shared a reminder of the books he had recommended earlier this year. They include:

  • American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson
  • The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power
  • Exhalation by Ted Chiang
  • Finding My Voice by Valerie Jarrett
  • Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh
  • How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu
  • Inland by Tea Obreht
  • Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
  • Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie Land
  • Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
  • The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates
  • The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  • The Shadow of Sirius by W.S. Merwin
  • The Shallows by Nicholas Carr
  • Toni Morrison's collected works
  • Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For by Susan Rice
  • The Warmth of Other suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel


And that's not all. Obama told fans and followers that he'd be sharing more annual lists of his favourites. He wrote,


"Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing my annual list of favorites — books, films, and music — with all of you. This has become a fun little tradition for me, and I hope it is for you, too."
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