President Obama Shares His 2016 Summer Reading List

Posted on August 15, 2016

President Obama shopping for books at Politics and Prose with Sasha and Malia

President Obama has released his 2016 summer reading list which has five books on it: Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and Seveneves by Neal Stephenson.

This year's list is a mix of fiction and nonfiction. Seveneves by Neal Stephenson is a speculative fiction novel that spans 5,000 years. When a catastrophic event makes it clear that soon Earth will be uninhabitable, nations put aside their differences to create a plan to save humanity by heading into space. Their descendants are are thriving 5,000 years later and they decide to head back to Earth. Only it's not the Earth they were told about.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead is the award-winning novel which imagines the journey of a slave in the antebellum South if the underground railway was a real railroad. Inspired by Gulliver's Travels, the novel has racked up awards and is Oprah's new book club pick.

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by the New Yorker writer William Finnegan is the winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography. Finnegan describes his life as surfer and the sport that many participants approach as a spiritual journey. President Obama's other nonfiction choice is H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. The book tells the story of how she adopted and raised a goshawk she named Mabel after her father's death. The book topped just about every best book of the year list and was a bestseller.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is a psychological thriller that is being made into a feature film starring Emily Blunt, Justin Theroux, Laura Prepon, Luke Evans and Allison Janney. It hits theaters on October 7th if you'd like to get the book read before you see the film.

Photo: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

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