Barack Obama’s summer reading list for 2018 has finally arrived. Released Friday (Jul. 13), some of Africa’s most powerful voices are among the featured authors on 44’s highly- anticipated list, and the inspiration for his selections stems from his preparation for an upcoming trip to the continent.
“Over the years since, I’ve often drawn inspiration from Africa’s extraordinary literary tradition,” our former (but forever in our hearts) President wrote on his Facebook page. This is his first time back to Africa since leaving office. “As I prepare for this trip, I wanted to share a list of books that I’d recommend for summer reading, including some from a number of Africa’s best writers and thinkers – each of whom illuminate our world in powerful and unique ways.
The recommendations include Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Things Fall Apart by China Achebe, The Return by Hisham Matar, Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o, and The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes. While the last author is not African, Obama says that his memoir was both a “smart” and “compelling” reflection of the world.
“Few others so closely see the world through my eyes like he can,” he wrote. “Ben’s one of the few who’ve been with me since that first presidential campaign. His memoir is one of the smartest reflections I’ve seen as to how we approached foreign policy, and one of the most compelling stories I’ve seen about what it’s actually like to serve the American people for eight years in the White House.”
Hopefully, his highly-anticipated summer music playlist also makes an appearance into public consciousness soon.