Barack Obama shares his favorite books of 2021

Like any good content creator, former President Barack Obama uses social media every December to recommend his favorite books of the year to his millions of followers. And this year’s list spans the gamut from heart-wrenching memoirs and historical fiction to gripping heist novels and socially conscious dramas.

Highlights include Dawnie Walton’s debut novel Opal & Nev’s final rebirth on the formation and demise of a fictional 1970s interracial rock band. This book garnered positive attention in just about all areas when it was released in the spring. Outlets ranging from NPR to The Washington Post gave the book rave reviews, while New York Times literary critic Alexandra Jacobs recently noted it as one of her favorite titles of the year.

Those looking for a dissertation are spoiled for choice in this list, but one of the more notable entries is Crying in H Mart by Japanese breakfast musician Michelle Zauner. This book was born from a 2018 New Yorker article written by the independent rockstar and explores ideas of food, identity and family in the face of grief. He debuted at No.2 on The New York Times List of best sellers in April.

There are plenty of other titles that made the cut, and you can check out all 13 below. After that, you can also see the 11 books President Obama recommended earlier this year as part of his summer reading list.

Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2021

  1. Matrix by Lauren Groff
  2. How the word got around: A review of the history of slavery across America by Clint Smith
  3. Opal & Nev’s final rebirth by Dawnie Walton
  4. Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
  5. Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, and Hope in an American City by Andrea Elliott
  6. Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead
  7. Cuckoo Earth Cloud by Anthony Doerr
  8. Those precious days by Ann Patchett
  9. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
  10. replicas by Nadia Owusu
  11. crossroads by Jonathan Franzen
  12. WEB Du Bois love songs by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
  13. Beautiful country by Qian Julie Wang

Barack Obama’s Summer 2021 Reading List

  1. At night all the blood is black by David Diop
  2. Land of great numbers by Te-Ping Chen
  3. Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe
  4. Hail Mary project by Andy Weir
  5. When we stop understanding the world by Benjamin Labatut
  6. Under a white sky: the nature of the future by Elizabeth Kolbert
  7. Things we lost in the water by Eric Nguyen
  8. Leave the world behind by Ruman Alam
  9. Klara and the sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
  10. The softness of the water by Nathan Harris
  11. Privacy by Katie Kitamura


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