CULTURE & ARTS

The Surprising Novel Obama Chose As His Favorite Book Of The Year

It's a deeply personal story of marriage and secrets.

The "best books of the year" list is a time-honored tradition among media outlets and publishers, with selections rolling in just after Thanksgiving.

We've already seen a sampling of voice-driven narratives and sprawling sagas representing favorites among critics; just last week HuffPost staff writers selected a range of novels they thought stood out. Among them were Kazuo Ishiguro's strange fable-like fantasy, Alexandra Kleeman's wild satire, and, apparently, Barack Obama's favorite book of the year: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff.

Obama named the title, along with his and Michelle's favorite songs of the year -- "How Much a Dollar Cost" by Kendrick Lamar and "Uptown Funk" by Bruno Mars -- in an exclusive interview with People.

At first, the book seems an unconventional choice for the president. It's not political, and there's not a word in it about foreign relations. In fact, Groff's National Book Award-nominated story is deeply personal -- it's the story of a marriage from the secretive perspectives of both partners.  

But, Obama's been exploring literary territory even more than usual lately. Earlier this year, he interviewed another National Book Award nominee, Marilynne Robinson, about community, violence and othering in America. 

So thanks Obama -- and we mean that sincerely! -- for supporting great literature. 

 

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