Barack Obama And His Favorite Reads Of 2021

Former U.S. President Barack Obama shares the annual list of his pop culture favorites of the year, and what matters most to us are his favorite books of 2021.

Diversity Fiction Non-Fiction Recommendations

It is that time of the year again—Barack Obama has shared his favorite books of the year. It is no secret that Obama is an ardent reader; he has time and time again declared his love for books through his personal recommendations and, frankly, he has exquisite taste in books.

To Obama, books and the act of reading are agents of comfort, and we can all attest to that. In the caption on his post, Obama writes, “art always sustains and nourishes the soul” and isn’t that the truth. Especially through these past two years, we’ve sought out our own personal comforts through music, visual art, and books. We pursue a sort of art, specifically books within this context, that projects empathy when we need it most. And through reading and recommendations, like Obama’s list, our empathy becomes a shared collective that we can all connect with.

Now, here are his book recommendations for 2021.

  • Matrix by Lauren Groff
  • How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith
  • The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton
  • The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
  • Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City by Andrea Elliott
  • Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead
  • Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
  • These Precious Days by Ann Patchett
  • Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
  • Aftershocks by Nadia Owusu
  • Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen
  • The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
  • Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang

Obama also included his summer book recommendations.

  • At Night All Blood Is Black by David Diop
  • Land of Big Numbers by Te-Ping Chen
  • Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe
  • Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
  • When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamín Labatut
  • Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • Things We Lost to the Water by Eric Nguyen
  • Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
  • Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris
  • Intimacies by Katie Kitamura