Every Book President Obama Has Recommended During His Presidency

Whether he’s reading to kids at the White House, hitting up local bookstores on Black Friday, or giving recommendations to his daughters, President Barack Obama may as well be known as the Commander in Books.

POTUS is an avid reader and recently spoke to the New York Times about the significant, informative and inspirational role literature has played in his presidency, crediting books for allowing him to “slow down and get perspective.” With his presidency coming to an end this Friday, EW looked back at Obama’s lit picks over the years — because it can’t hurt to read like a great leader. #ObamaForBookClubPresident2017, anyone?

Whether he’s reading to kids at the White House, hitting up local bookstores on Black Friday, or giving recommendations to his daughters, President Barack Obama may as well be known as the Commander in Books.

See a comprehensive list of every book Obama has recommended during his presidency:

Books for Daughters:

When asked what books he recommended to his 18-year-old daughter Malia, Obama gave the Times a list that included The Naked and the Dead and One Hundred Years of Solitude. “I think some of them were sort of the usual suspects […] I think she hadn’t read yet. Then there were some books that are not on everybody’s reading list these days, but I remembered as being interesting.” Here’s what he included:

Independent Bookstore Purchases:

In November 2014, Obama took a trip to D.C. independent bookstore Politics and Prose to honor small businesses and add to his personal library. Accompanied by daughters Malia and Sasha, POTUS picked up novels from the Redwall fantasy series by Brian Jacques, as well as some from the Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park. He also added these titles to his heavy bags:

1. Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson
2. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
3. Nora Webster, Colm Toibin
4. The Laughing Monsters, Denis Johnson
5. Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China, Evan Osnos
6. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Dr. Atul Gawande
7. Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, Katherine Rundell
8. The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan
9. Redwall series, Brian Jacques
10. Junie B. Jones series, Barbara Park
11. Nuts To You, Lynn Rae Perkins

Summer Reads 2016:

Just like us, the president enjoys a good beach read while relaxing in the sun. In 2016, he released his list of summer vacation books:

1. Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, William Finnegan
2. H Is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald
3. The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins
4. Seveneves, Neal Stephenson
5. The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead

Summer Reads 2015:

He also released a list of his summer favorites back in 2015:

1. All That Is, James Salter
2. The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert
3. The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri
4. Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
5. Washington: A Life, Ron Chernow
6. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr

Childhood Classics:

During a trip to a public library in Washington’s Anacostia neighborhood in 2015, Obama shared some of his childhood favorites with a group of young students.He also read (and acted out) Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak to kids at the White House in 2014.

1. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
2. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
3. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
4. Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak

All-time Favorites:

According to the president’s Facebook page and a 2008 interview with the New York Times, these titles are among his most influential forever favorites:

1. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
2. Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson
3. Song Of Solomon, Toni Morrison
4. Parting The Waters, Taylor Branch
5. Gilead, Marylinne Robinson
6. Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam
7. The Federalist, Alexander Hamilton
8. Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois
9. The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene
10. The Quiet American, Graham Greene
11. Cancer Ward, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
12. Gandhi’s autobiography
13. Working, Studs Terkel
14. Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith
15. Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith
16. All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren

Excellent Novels and Poetry collections:

As a devoted reader, the president has been linked to a lengthy list of novels and poetry collections over the years — he admits he enjoys a thriller: “I thought Gone Girl was a well-constructed, well-written book,” he told the Times. Obama is also a fan of sci-fi titles like Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem for the escapism they provide. “The scope of it was immense,” he said. “So that was fun to read, partly because my day-to-day problems with Congress seem fairly petty — not something to worry about. Aliens are about to invade!”

  1. Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese
    2. To the End of the Land, David Grossman
    3. Purity, Jonathan Franzen
    4. A Bend in the River, V. S. Naipau
    5. Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff
    6. Lush Life, Richard Price
    7. Netherland, Joseph O’Neill
    8. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, Salman Rushdie
    9. Redeployment, Phil Klay
    10. Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
    11. Plainsong, Kent Haruf
    12. The Way Home, George Pelecanos
    13. What Is the What, Dave Eggers
    14. Philosophy & Literature, Peter S Thompson
    15. Collected Poems, Derek Walcott
    16. In Dubious Battle, John Steinbeck
    17. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
    18. The Three-Body Problem, Liu Cixin
    19. Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling

Books About Other Presidents:

The Oval office can be a lonely place, so reading about your forefather’s experience could only help. “The biographies have been useful, because I do think that there’s a tendency, understandable, to think that whatever’s going on right now is uniquely disastrous or amazing or difficult,” said President Obama in an interview. He’s turned to these books for advice:

  1. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Edmund Morris
    2. John Adams, David McCullough
    3. Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer, Fred Kaplan
    4. Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, Jonathan Alte
    5. FDR, Jean Edward Smith
    6. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin
    7. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln

Informative Reads:

He may have the country’s finest experts at his fingertips, but it still doesn’t hurt to read up on environmental and economic issues.

  1. Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America, Thomas L Friedman
    2. Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001, Steve Coll
    3. Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age, Larry Bartels
    4. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, Robert A. Caro

Non-Fiction Titles:

Fact or fiction, the president knows that reading keeps the mind sharp. He also delved into these non-fiction reads:

  1. Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Evan Osnos
    2. Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman
    3. Moral Man And Immoral Society, Reinhold Niebuhr
    4. A Kind And Just Parent, William Ayers
    5. The Post-American World, Fareed Zakaria
    6. Lessons in Disaster, Gordon Goldstein
    7. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari
    8. The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin
    9. Andy Grove: The Life and Times of an American, Richard S Tedlow
    10. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, Katherine Boo

Additional Authors and Philosophers

Throughout his time in office, Obama has also recommended a dozen other authors and literary figures of note, even though he might not have named specific books. Check them out below:

  1. Langston Hughes
    2. Richard Wright
    3. Mark Twain
    4. Malcolm X
    5. Philip Roth
    6. Saul Bellow
    7. Junot Díaz
    8. Dave Eggers
    9. Zadie Smith
    10. Barbara Kingsolver
    11. St. Augustine
    12. Friedrich Nietzsche
    13. Jean-Paul Sartre
    14. Thomas Jefferson
    15. Ralph Waldo Emerson
    16. Abraham Lincoln
    17. Paul Tillich
    18. E.L. Doctorow

oobama

*Originally published on Time.

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