Take a Look, It’s in a Book: Our Forever President Drops His 2019 Summer Reading List

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I spend a lot of time studying successful people.

I want to know where they went to school, who their mentors are, what their daily routine consists of, what they eat, hell, what brand of toilet paper do they use?


But one of the things I’m most curious about is what books they’re reading. And on Wednesday, our forever President Barack Obama was kind enough to bless his Instagram followers with his 2019 summer reading 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. “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.”

While I’m sure our toddler-in-chief bides his time by deviating between airbrushing his forehead and thumbing through literary classics like Curious George, 44’s tastes are a bit more cultured and refined.

Here’s what you’ll find on his nightstand:

  • The collected works of Toni Morrison
  • 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 by Nicholas Carr
  • Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
  • Inland by Téa Obreht
  • How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu
  • Maid by Stephanie Land

“Ok, this is fantastic,” one user commented. “Totally joining your book club, Mr. Obama.”


“Goodness. A president that makes us RAISE our game,” added another. “You inspire us.”

And of course this gem: “Remember when the president could read?”

Let me update my Amazon Wish List and soak up some of this residual black excellence.



Interesting that he’s reading Carr’s “The Shallows” as it deals with the challenges of navigating the overwhelming amount of information on the Internet (and information in general). It’s a good text to use for reflection on the nature of critical thinking and the extent to which it has become more and more difficult to demonstrate.

Seems like a perfect fit for anyone who is trying to wade through this moment of state-backed disinformation campaigns.