Barack Obama has revealed that Tara Westover’s Educated, Michael Ondaatje's Warlight and An American Marriage by Tayari Jones are among his favourite summer reads of 2018.
In a post shared on Facebook yesterday (19th August), the former US president said: "One of my favourite parts of summer is deciding what to read when things slow down just a bit, whether it’s on a vacation with family or just a quiet afternoon. This summer I've been absorbed by new novels, revisited an old classic, and reaffirmed my faith in our ability to move forward together when we seek the truth."
Proceeding to post a list of five books he has been reading this summer, Westover’s Educated (Hutchinson, February 2018) was featured and described by the former US president as "a remarkable memoir of a young woman raised in a survivalist family in Idaho who strives for education while still showing great understanding and love for the world she leaves behind".
Ondaatje's Man Booker longlisted novel Warlight (Jonathan Cape, June 2018), set after the Second World War, was said to be "a meditation on the lingering effects of war on family".
Prompted by the recent passing of V.S. Naipaul, Obama revealed he had reread A House for Mr Biswas (Picador), the Nobel Prize winner's "first great novel about growing up in Trinidad and the challenge of post-colonial identity", originally published in 1961.
His summer recommendations continued with An American Marriage by Jones (Oneworld, Apri 2018), a book also selected for Oprah's Book Club 2018, which Obama hailed "a moving portrayal of the effects of a wrongful conviction on a young African-American couple".
Factfulness (Sceptre, April 2018) by the international public health expert Hans Rosling, who died of cancer last year, rounded off his list. After already earning a prominent fan in Bill Gates, who earlier this summer featured the book in an e-book giveaway for US graduates, Obama described it "a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases".
Obama's wife, former first lady Michelle Obama, will be publishing her forthcoming memoir Becoming on 13th November with Penguin Random House. Details of Barack Obama's book, brokered in the same deal, have yet to be released.