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Barack Obama’s 2022 Summer Reading List

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Always books. Never boring.

A great summer tradition continues as former president Barack Obama has shared his summer reading list for 2022 today on Instagram. As usual, Obama’s reading list for the summer is a mix of nonfiction and fiction, and is written by a diverse group of authors. A part from being a collection of great literature, the list is also a great snapshot of the former president’s inner workings.

Here are the 14 books Obama posted to his Instagram with the caption “I’ve read a couple of great books this year and wanted to share some of my favorites so far.”

  • Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel, in which an exiled teenager, a writer, and a detective exist in different places in space and time, but are all connected by an odd shared experience. 
  • Why We’re Polarized by Ezra Klein, an exploration of the polarization of politics in the U.S. by journalist Ezra Klein.
  • The Candy House by Jennifer Egan, a follow-up to Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad that imagines a world that may not be too far in the future, full of externalized memory and reflections on the human need for connection.
  • To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara, a lengthy novel spanning centuries that follows three different sets of people as they contend with everything from unsuitable betrothals to the AIDS epidemic.
  • Silverview by John le Carré, a great exploration of the spy world that connects the present with the past.
  • Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson, a novel about two estranged siblings finding out their mother’s secrets after her death, which involve everything from a suspicion of murder to a long-lost child.
  • The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang, a funny and satirical novel about how three sons contend with the death of a father who had many secrets
  • Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, a noir set in 1970s Mexico about a secretary and enforcer who are looking for the same missing woman.
  • Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson, about how two strangers’ paths become irrevocably intertwined in the art world after one saves the other’s life.
  • The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan, a novel set in a dystopia where mothers are overly controlled by the government, and one mother must prove herself worthy to parent her own child.
  • Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby, about two men, one Black and one white, whose sons were married to each other and were both murdered. The two men, both also formerly incarcerated, must contend with their homophobia and other failings as fathers as they search for their sons’ killers.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.