Once Upon a Time, Presidents Read Books. Here Are Obama’s Favorites From 2019.

“This has become a fun little tradition for me, and I hope it is for you, too.”

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

Former President Barack Obama took a moment out of his busy schedule of building media empires and having the 2020 Democratic nominees for president kiss his ring,to carry on a time-honored tradition he started during his presidency: Releasing his annual list of favorite books from the previous year.

“This has become a fun little tradition for me, and I hope it is for you, too,” Obama wrote in an Instagram post. “Because while each of us has plenty that keeps us busy—work and family life, social and volunteer commitments—outlets like literature and art can enhance our day-to-day experiences.”

This year’s list is predictably broad and includes Sarah M. Broom’s memoir, The Yellow House; Susan Choi’s latest novel, Trust Exercise; and NBA star Andre Iguodala’s memoir, The Sixth Man, which was co-written by Carvell Wallace. Also on the list was Trick Mirror, Jia Tolentino’s collection of essays about life on the Internet. If you’re looking for a few new titles to add to your own book list, this may be a good place to start. Here’s the whole list:

  • The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, by Shoshana Zuboff
  • The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company, by William Dalrymple
  • Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, by Casey Cep
  • Girl, Woman, Other,  by Bernardine Evaristo
  • The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present, by David Treuer
  • How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, by Jenny Odell
  • Lost Children Archive, by Valeria Luiselli
  • Lot: Stories, by Bryan Washington
  • Normal People, by Sally Rooney
  • The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson
  • The Yellow House, by Sarah M. Broom
  • Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, by Patrick Radden Keefe
  • Solitary, by Albert Woodfox
  • The Topeka School, by Ben Lerner
  • Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, by Jia Tolentino
  • Trust Exercise, by Susan Choi
  • We Live in Water: Stories, by Jess Walter
  • A Different Way to Win: Dan Rooney’s Story from the Super Bowl to the Rooney Rule, by Jim Rooney
  • The Sixth Man, by Andre Iguodala

 

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.