Barack Obama Has Better Taste in Books Than You
Summer is a great time to catch on your to-be-read pile, or at least that’s always my hope that I never get around to accomplishing because I buy so many books and my pile will never be shorter than I am. This is the life I have chosen for myself. Hey, it’s a better addiction to have than some I could name. Anyway, I’ve read some top-notch titles over the Summer, including the debut essay collection by Jia Tolentino and Linda Holmes’s super comforting Evvie Drake Starts Over (which Dustin reviewed for the site). We weren’t short of books to talk about this year, but we can always use a few more recommendations, and you know who I trust with that duty? Barack Obama.
Ah, remember the days when we had a literate President who took joy in culture and the arts? Obama took to Facebook to remind everyone that he’s smart and interesting and worth listening to. It turns out he’s got great taste in books too!
Of course, he recommends some of the late, great Toni Morrison’s most famous work, as well as one of the year’s most hyped titles, Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys. Then there are the tried-and-tested book club favourites like Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell books, which Obama didn’t read until now because they came out in 2009 and he ‘was a little busy back then’. Plenty of pundits will dissect these choices, from Murakami’s Men Without Women — recommend because it ‘examines what happens to characters without important women in their lives’ — to Dinaw Mengestu’s How To Read the Air, which takes on the American immigrant narrative. What jumps out the most to me is that this guy is a serious reader with his finger on the pulse and taste befitting of his stature. I’m thrilled he’s a fan of Téa Obreht because I was obsessed with The Tiger’s Wife and have waited too long for her follow-up.
Ultimately, it’s a great list and a reminder that literature and the arts in general matter. It’s good to have someone telling us that now and then.
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