John Green, our beloved patron saint of stirring young adult fiction, is a voracious reader. I don't understand how the man has time for anything, let alone the thousands of books that occupy his home library. I remember being a Vlogbrothers viewer back in the late 2000s and watching the many bookshelf tour videos he would make and marveling at how any one person could be so well and widely read.
The closure of 2017 was commemorated by many readers, including Bill Gates, by means of celebrating their favorite reads of the year. One reader in particular just so happened to be former President Barack Obama.
The former U.S. president reflected on the books and songs that resonated with him in 2017, sharing the top songs that got him moving and the stories that inspired him throughout the year. The eloquent speaker started a tradition of sharing his reading lists and playlists throughout his presidency, he said on a Facebook post published on New Year’s Eve.
As listed in order by the former president himself, here are the best books Obama read in 2017:
1. The Power by Naomi Alderman
2. Grant by Ron Chernow
3. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
4. Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein
5. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
6. Five-Carat Soul by James McBride
7. Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
8. Dying: A Memoir by Cory Taylor
9. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
10. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
You can check out Obama’s top songs here. No word yet on Donald Trump’s favorite books of 2017.
Featured image courtesy of ‘Certified Politics’
Overwhelmed by choice and unable to decide what books to ask Santa for this year? Let this strange assortment of famous people influence your decision. Derived from lists assembled by the likes of Ranker and Glamour, this ultimate celebrity book recommendation list is all you need this holiday season. Note, as I have, the amusing differences between the gushing comments of the likes of J. K. Rowling, and the concise statements of those like Kit Harington.
Daniel Radcliffe: “The Master and Margarita is now my favorite novel—it’s just the greatest explosion of imagination, craziness, satire, humor, and heart.” That sounds genuinely great. I hear it also features an excellent personified cat character. Definitely on my TBR pile.
Anna Kendrick: “All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque; Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut; and The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien. They’re classics because they’re fucking great.” You tell ’em, Anna.
Zooey Deschanel: “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments, a book of essays by David Foster Wallace. One is about a cruise that turns out to be terrible. It’s delightfully astute.” Oh God, not a terrible cruise. SAY IT AIN’T SO, ZOOEY.
Bill Murray: “Well, my favorite author is Mark Twain. He’s smart, and funny. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, especially the chapter all the purists hate, in which Tom Sawyer stages an elaborate rescue of Jim, is a writer having as much fun as possible. But my favorite book is a two-parter by Laurens Van Der Post, A Story Like the Wind and A Far-Off Place. My favorite book used to be The Plague by Albert Camus.” A characteristically left-of-center list from Bill.
Rachel McAdams: “It’s not often that a writer makes me laugh out loud, but [David] Sedaris does. He brings me to tears. It’s to the point where I can’t read his writing in public because people think I’m having some kind of meltdown. In this collection of essays, When You Are Engulfed in Flames he has a way of finding humour in the strangest and most painful moments, like a week with a creepy baby-sitter, or the death of his mother.” This sounds great, I hear good things about David though I’ve never read him. Also a fan of his sister Amy. A good family, it seems.
Kerry Washington: “Shonda [Rhimes] is a rock star and a superhero, and if you have not read her book, it should be your New Year’s resolution. You should read Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person. It is one of my most favorite books I have ever read—and I like books. It’s so good.” You heard her, folks. She likes books, and I like the title of this one as well.
Keira Knightley: “I’ve pretty much read every one of Somerset Maugham’s books. And I love everything by Jeanette Winterson—The Passion is my favorite.” Jeanette Winterson is great in fairness.
Lady Gaga: “I read Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet every day.” Nice.
J.K. Rowling: “The Woman Who Walked into Doors is the most remarkable book. Roddy Doyle gets inside the head of his character so utterly, so completely. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such a believable, fully rounded female character from any other heterosexual male writer in any age. I should emphasize that I would feel the same way about the book if it had been written by a woman; I would still think it was the most remarkable achievement. But when I sit back and think, ‘A man wrote this?’—phenomenal. He has created a woman who, you imagine, will go to the bathroom and defecate. He also leaves her with her dignity, even though what she’s going through is a horrific thing. And he does it all in such a subtle way. I do think he’s a genius. His dialogue is irreproachable. And your heart…you’re totally drawn into his books. I’m very passionate about Roddy Doyle, and I’ve never met him, which is a frustration to me.” High praise indeed!
Kit Harington: “My favorite book is 1984 by George Orwell.” Cool!
Featured Image Via Gossip Bucket