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Former President Barack Obama’s White House Reading List

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Former President Obama's Reading List
Former U.S. President Barack Obama leaves Capitol Hill on the Marine One helicopter after the swearing-in ceremony for Donald Trump as 45th President of the United States in front of the Capitol in Washington on January 20, 2017. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)


Now that President Obama’s fully moved out of the White House (you never lose the moniker “president,” by the way), it’ll be interesting to see what he ends up doing in his post-presidential years. One thing he can definitely fall back on now that he’s no longer leader of the free world? Reading.

As his time in the Oval Office was winding down, Obama sat down with Michiko Kakutami, the chief book critic for The New York Times. They discussed the role books played in his time in Washington and throughout his life. A published author himself, Obama explained that “I loved reading when I was a kid, partly because I was traveling so much, and there were times where I’d be displaced, I’d be the outsider.” He continues: “[The] idea of having these worlds that were portable, that were yours, that you could enter into, was appealing to me.”

RealClearLife has curated the snippets of the interview where Obama name-drops his favorite books into a single list of our own. Take a peek at some of his choices below.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (buy it here)

The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer (buy it here)

The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing (buy it here)

The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston (buy it here)

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (the last novel Obama read; buy it here)

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (buy it here)

The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin (buy it here)

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (buy it here)

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (buy it here)

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (buy it here)

A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul (buy it here)

Collected Works: William Shakespeare; Abraham Lincoln; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Mahatma Gandhi; Nelson Mandela; Winston Churchill; Theodore Roosevelt; Junot Díaz; Jhumpa Lahiri; Philip Roth; Saul Bellow

Read the full Obama interview here.

—RealClearLife Staff