Barack Obama's Summer Reading List Features Some Of Africa’s Best Writers

The former president suggested books like "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe.

Former President Barack Obama has released his annual summer reading recommendations, which highlight a number of African writers and thinkers.

On Friday, Obama said that he would be traveling this week to Africa ― “a continent of wonderful diversity, thriving culture, and remarkable stories” ― for the first time since he left the White House.

“I’ve often drawn inspiration from Africa’s extraordinary literary tradition,” he wrote on Facebook.

“As I prepare for this trip, I wanted to share a list of books that I’d recommend for summer reading, including some from a number of Africa’s best writers and thinkers ― each of whom illuminate our world in powerful and unique ways.”

Obama shared six books on his list, five of which take place in Africa: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Return by Hisham Matar and The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes.

The last book was written by Obama’s former foreign policy adviser and speechwriter. Rhodes’ memoir explores Obama’s views on a range of topics, including but not limited to President Donald Trump. The book is also slated to become a 2020 film.

Americanah won the One Book, One New York award launched by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and BuzzFeed Books last year. The program offered New York City dwellers the chance to vote for one of five books nominated by five celebrities. Adichie’s novel beat out Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Sellout by Paul Beatty, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.  

Obama’s new list follows the one he shared last month of six books he’d been reading recently:

You should now have enough reading suggestions to last until fall ― thanks, Obama!



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