10 of Barack Obama's Favorite Novels
10 books in list
The Sweetness of Water (Oprah's Book Club)Nathan Harris
In this debut novel selected by Obama for his 2021 summer reading list, Harris captures the tumultuous aftermath of emancipation in the post-Civil War South. The book is an important portrait of the racism and emotional suffering experienced by formerly enslaved Black people.
Sea of TranquilityEmily St John Mandel
Spanning over 500 years, from Vancouver Island in 1912 to a dark colony on the moon centuries later, Mandel's intricately woven narrative draws the resilient threads of human history and future into one captivating tapestry. A pick from Obama's 2022 Summer Reading list.
Snow CrashNeal Stephenson
Neal Stephenson's cyberpunk classic follows a freelance hacker in a dystopian future controlled by corporations. Praised by Obama on his 2018 summer reading list, this wildly inventive and thought-provoking novel is a must-read for sci-fi fans.
Klara and the SunKazuo Ishiguro
Obama joins Ishiguro superfan Bill Gates in his love of this novel that imagines a future where the distinction between artificial and natural life is blurred by advancements in artificial intelligence. This one was on Obama's 2021 Summer Reading list.
At Night All Blood Is BlackDavid Diop
In this 2021 International Booker Award-winner, Diop immerses readers in the tormented psyche of a WWI Senegalese soldier, teetering on the precipice of his own humanity amidst the savagery of war. Obama picked this one for his 2021 Summer Reading list.
Razorblade TearsS. a. Cosby
Cosby's visceral narrative thrums with retribution and atonement as two formerly incarcerated fathers embark on a blood-soaked path to avenge the murder of their sons. This one was a pick by Obama on his 2022 Summer Reading list.
The Candy HouseJennifer Egan
Mixing digital dystopia and nostalgic introspection, Egan's novel imagines the influence of a new technology that allows you access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to exchange that access with others. Obama picked this one for his summer reading list in 2022.
Black CakeCharmaine Wilkerson
In this novel picked by Obama for his summer 2022 reading list, two estranged siblings unfold their recently departed mother's hidden past by way of their confounding inheritance: a traditional Caribbean black cake.
Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist)Min Jin Lee
Min Jin Lee chronicles the enduring spirit of a Korean immigrant family over four generations as they navigate societal expectations and prejudices in Japan, and later, the United States. In a Facebook post, Obama called it "a powerful story about resilience and compassion."
The Three-Body ProblemCixin Liu
This groundbreaking sci-fi novel explores humanity's first contact with an alien civilization, blending philosophical speculation with the threat of climate change Obama picked this one for his 2019 summer reading list.