In the spirit of summer, reading lists have become a big trend that the literary community cannot do without.
Former President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, loves to read. He made that clear throughout his presidential term and is still doing so, even after leaving the White House.
Throughout his terms as president, he released annual reading lists and book recommendations totalling over 79 books. Readers, worldwide, have come to anticipate these lists, which have determined speedy book sales off the shelves.
Once again, Obama has released his annual summer reading recommendations, which highlight a number of African writers and thinkers, including renowned classic authors Chinua Achebe and Ngugi wa Thiong’o and contemporary novelist and activist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
In a post on Facebook on Friday, Obama announced that he would be travelling to Africa this week for the first time since leaving the presidential seat. He went ahead to describe Africa as "a continent of wonderful diversity, thriving culture, and remarkable stories" while also adding that he had often drawn inspiration from African literature.
In light of this, he shared book recommendations for the summer. In his own words:
“As I prepare for this trip, I wanted to share a list of books that I’d recommend for summer reading, including some from a number of Africa’s best writers and thinkers ― each of whom illuminate our world in powerful and unique ways.”
On his list are six astounding books, five of which have plots in Africa. These are: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Return by Hisham Matar and The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes.
This list follows closely a list by The Guardian, published only a week ago, where the author of Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, as well as other prolific writers, gave recommendations and a peek into what they would be reading for the summer. Americanah was recently announced to be adapted into a mini-series with the likes of Lupita Nyong'O and Danai Gurira starring in it.
Barack Obama is not only an avid reader, but he has also penned down three books of his own. According to a recent calculation by Forbes, Obama has earned more than $15.6 million as an author.