Former US president Barack Obama has named British author Naomi Alderman’s The Power as one of his favourite books of 2017.
The feminist dystopian novel, set in a world where women can electrocute men at will, topped the list of Obama’s “best books” of the year, shared on his Facebook page. Published by Viking in the UK, it scooped the £30,000 Baileys Prize in June as well as the fiction choice for Foyles’ Book of the Year in November.
Obama said he wanted to share the books he had “enjoyed the most” in 2017, along with songs which “got me moving” in a list which has been shared 124,712 times since being posted on Facebook on 31st December.
Many of the selected novels were published by Penguin Random House imprints in the UK. He chose a collection of stories by Elizabeth Strout, Anything Is Possible set in small-town America (Viking) as well as the comic historical novel A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Hutchinson). He also cited Exit West (Hamish Hamilton) by Mohsin Hamid, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
Obama also listed short story collection Five-Carat Soul by James McBride (Penguin Random House) and Mississippi-set novel Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (Bloomsbury), described as a “must read” by Margaret Atwood.
Other titles in the 12-strong list include non-fiction titles about US history and politics such as Grant by Ron Chernow (Head of Zeus), Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond (Allen Lane) and Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein (S&S UK). An exploration of mortality, Dying - a Memoir (Canongate), by Australian writer Cory Taylor was also listed.
As a “bonus for hoops fans”, the former US president recommended sports books Coach Wooden and Me by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Grand Central Publishing) and Basketball (and Other Things) by Shea Serrano (Abrams).
In his post, Obama wrote: “During my presidency, I started a tradition of sharing my reading lists and playlists. It was a nice way to reflect on the works that resonated with me and lift up authors and artists from around the world. With some extra time on my hands this year to catch up, I wanted to share the books and music that I enjoyed most.
“From songs that got me moving to stories that inspired me, here's my 2017 list — I hope you enjoy it and have a happy and healthy New Year."
In January 2017, he revealed the books which had helped him during his presidency including Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad (Fleet, Little, Brown), Liu Cixin's sci-fi epic The Three-Body Problem (Head of Zeus) and V S Naipaul's A Bend in the River (Picador).
Obama's last day in office was 19th January 2017 after which Donald Trump was inaugurated.