Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

As bookworms, we are sometimes curious about what others are reading. We also tend to look at others’ TBR lists for more reads to add to our own. On his Facebook page, former U.S. President Barack Obama shared the books he’s read for the summer for us to explore. His list is a varied mix — from short story collections to historical fiction, to the works of recently departed Toni Morrison. Check out his recommended reads below.

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The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

The former president describes Colson Whitehead’s latest novel as “sometimes difficult to swallow” and “a necessary read.” The Nickel Boys details the lives of Whitehead’s protagonists in a real Florida reform school that operated during the Jim Crow era.
The Nickel Boys is available at Fully Booked branches and at Fully Booked Online.

Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang

Ted Chiang’s new collection of short stories take on the biggest and oldest questions on earth. Obama calls this collection “the best kind of science fiction,” as it will make us think and “feel more human.”
Exhalation: Stories is available at Fully Booked branches and Fully Booked Online.
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Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami

Seven tales are in this contemporary collection by Haruki Murakami, of men who find themselves alone. Obama mentions the lack of important women in these men’s lives; that these stories will move you and sometimes leave you with more questions than answers.
Men Without Women is available at Fully Booked branches and Fully Booked Online.
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The Shallows by Nicholas Carr

Nicholas Carr argues that our constant exposure to multiple data streams is affecting how we think, how our brains are wired. Obama points out how the arguments in this book, regardless how it’s been years since it was published, is still relevant to this day and age.
Limited copies of The Shallows are available at Fully Booked branches. Send us an e-mail to inquire and reserve a copy.
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American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

Obama describes Lauren Wilkinson’s Cold War novel as “a whole lot more than just a spy thriller, wrapping together the ties of family, of love, and of country.”
You may request a copy of American Spy here.
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Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Hope Jahren’s memoir chronicles her life as a woman in science, specifically in her field involving plant life. Obama describes it as, “terrific.”
Limited copies of Lab Girl are available at Fully Booked branches. Send us an e-mail to inquire and reserve a copy.
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How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu

Obama writes that “you’ll get a better sense of complexity and redemption,” in this story of a young Ethiopian immigrant couple searching for their new identity as Americans.
You may request a copy of How to Read the Air here.

Toni Morrison

The former president also paid tribute to Nobel laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author by recommending her works — Beloved, Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, Sula, among others — as he describes all of them as “transcendent.”
Toni Morrison’s books are available upon request. You can drop us an e-mail to inquire here.

You can find Barack Obama’s full post on these books here.

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