Barack Obama shares his favorite books list for 2021

December 16, 2021
USA TODAY's best-reviewed books of 2021.
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The end of the year is often a time of reflection for many — and former President Barack Obama is no exception.

Adding on to his personal tradition of sharing his pop culture favorites, Obama released a list of his favorite books for the year on his Instagram on Wednesday.

“Art always sustains and nourishes the soul,” Obama captioned the post. “But for me, music and storytelling felt especially urgent during this pandemic year—a way to connect even when we were cooped up.”

Some of Obama’s literary favorites were Lauren Groff’s “medieval masterpiece,” “Matrix”; the “domestic epic,” “Crossroads,” by Jonathan Franzen; and Ann Patchett’s essay collection “These Precious Days.” Other featured titles included Amor Towles’ “absorbing” 1950s road trip tale, “The Lincoln Highway,” as well as the ’60s-based crime novel, “Harlem Shuffle,” by Colson Whitehead.

Since leaving office in 2017, Obama has shared lists of his end-of-year favorites (and some summertime ones, too) from music to books and TV shows.

More:Barack Obama recommends Drake, Bob Dylan, ‘The Sweetness of Water’ and more for summer

Obama’s favorite books of 2021

  • “Matrix” by Lauren Groff
  • “How the Word Is Passed” 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
  • “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

Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff



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