Books Obama has been reading
just after World War II. Obama notes that it is “a meditation on the lingering effects of war on family”. It tells the story of two British children left by their parents in the care of a stranger. Reviewing the novel for The Post, Anna Mundow wrote, “All is illuminated, at first dimly then starkly, but always brilliantly.” 3. A House for Mr Biswas,
Naipaul (Vintage). by VS
Obama wrote, “With the recent passing of VS Naipaul, I reread… the Nobel Prize winner’s first great novel about growing up in Trinidad and the challenge of post-colonial identity.” This is a particularly timely choice – the writer died on August 11 – and it also demonstrates the former president’s willingness to ignore the winds of political correctness. Later in life, Naipaul was accused of Islamophobia and misogyny, but that needn’t blot out the artistry of his greatest books.
4. Tayari Jones (Algonquin).
An American Marriage,
Obama isn’t the only big name to give this novel a boost this year. Oprah Winfrey chose it for her book club in February, and she plans to make a movie adaptation. The story is a perfect blend of thoughtful drama and social issues. When a husband is sent to prison for a sexual assault he didn’t commit, he must deal with the horrors of incarceration, and his wife must deal with the challenges of living without him. Obama described it as “a moving portrayal of the effects of a wrongful conviction on a young African-American couple”. 5. Factfulness,
(Flatiron). by Hans Rosling
The subtitle of this non-fiction book is Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think,” which is a message we all could use now. Obama calls Rosling, a Swedish physician, “an outstanding international public health expert”, and notes that Factfulness is “a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases”. Given the huge cloud of distortion enveloping America, this is just what the doctor ordered. – The Washington Post