Summer Reading

Every summer former President Barack Obama shares his favorite books. Below are his selections for this year. There are two that we do not have in our collection, but they are listed here if you would like to find them elsewhere.

SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Emily St. John Mandel

DB 107705

At scattered points across time and space, overlapping occurrences of violin music and a mysterious forest emerge. They are experienced by a young man in the Canadian wilderness, a famous writer visiting Earth from a moon colony, and a detective hired to investigate an anomaly in time. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2022.

WHY WE’RE POLARIZED by Ezra Klein

DB 98738

A political journalist argues for the inevitability of President Trump’s election given the partisan state of politics in early twenty-first century America. The author traces polarization in politics in the late twentieth century and feedback loops that he perceives between polarized political identities and political institutions. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

THE CANDY HOUSE by Jennifer Egan

DB 107786

Tech mogul Bix Bouton’s company, Mandala, has developed a new platform called “Own Your Unconscious” that allows you access to every memory you have ever had, and to share every memory in exchange for access to the memories of others. While some embrace this new technology, others–including Bix’s son—reject it. Strong language. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2022.

A LITTLE DEVIL IN AMERICA: IN PRAISE OF BLACK PERFORMANCE by Hanif Abdurraqib

DB 103276

The author of GO AHEAD IN THE RAIN (DB98408) presents a collection of essays connected by the topic of black performance in America. Combining personal stories with history, he explores how African Americans have contributed to American culture while facing racism and stereotyping. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2021.

TO PARADISE by Hanya Yanahihara

DB 106323

A townhouse in Greenwich Village ties together three stories of love and loss. In an alternative version of 1893, same-sex marriage is commonplace. In 1993, a young Hawaiian man lives with an older lover while the AIDS epidemic rages. In 2093, the world is ravaged by plagues as a woman seeks her missing husband. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2022

SILVERVIEW by John le Carré

DB 105799

Julian Lawndsley has left a high-flying job in the city for a simpler life running a bookshop in a small English seaside town. A few months later, he is approached by a Polish émigré with dangerous knowledge of Julian’s family. Julian is soon approached by a spy chief. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2021.

BLACK CAKE by Charmaine Wilkerson

DB 106558

In present-day California, Eleanor Bennett’s death leaves behind a puzzling inheritance for her two estranged children, Byron and Benny: a traditional Caribbean black cake and a voice recording. In the message, she shares the story of escaping her island home under suspicion of murder. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2022

THE FAMILY CHAO by Lan Samantha Chang

DB 106766

The residents of Haven, Wisconsin, have dined on the Fine Chao restaurant’s delicious Americanized Chinese food for thirty-five years, content to ignore any unsavory whispers about the family owners. But when the three sons are all back in Haven, the Chao family’s secrets and simmering resentments erupt at last. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2022.

VELVET WAS THE NIGHT by Sivlia Moreno-Garcia

DB 104794

Mexico City, 1971. Maite is a secretary who lives for the next issue of Secret Romance. She envies the apparent intrigue and romance of her next-door neighbor Leonora. But when Leonora disappears, Maite searches for her. Maite’s path crosses with criminal Elvis, who is also hunting Leonora. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2021.

THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD MOTHERS by Jessamine Chan

DB 106410

Set in near-future America, the School for Good Mothers is a government-run reform program where bad mothers are retrained using robot children with artificial intelligence. Single-mother Frida Liu is turned in by a neighbor and must spend a year at the newly created institution to regain custody of her daughter. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2022.

RAZORBLADE TEARS by S.A. Cosby

DB 104101

Ike Randolph knows as a Black man to be cautious with the police at your door. He is not expecting news of his son Isiah’s murder and that of Isiah’s white husband, Derek. Both victims’ fathers are intent on getting revenge for their sons. Violence, strong language, and some explicit descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. 2021.

BLOOD IN THE GARDEN: THE FLAGRANT HISTORY OF THE 1990S NEW YORK KNICKS by Chris Herring

DB 106707

A sports journalist looks at the origin, evolution, and eventual decline of the New York Knicks basketball team, focusing on the 1990s. The Knicks hired coach Pat Riley in 1991, who radically changed the culture of the franchise—turning them into a team often looking for a fight. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2022.

MOUTH TO MOUTH by Antoine Wilson

(Not in NLS collection)

THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: WHY DIVERSE DEMOCRACIES FALL APART AND HOW THEY CAN ENDURE by Yascha Mounk

(Not in NLS collection)