Sally Rooney’s novel among Barack Obama’s favourite reads of 2019

Former US president also lists story about the Troubles among 19 top picks

Former US president Barack Obama in March   2013. Photograph: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Former US president Barack Obama in March 2013. Photograph: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

 

Normal People by Irish author Sally Rooney was among Barack Obama’s favourite reads of 2019 alongside a book about the Troubles .

He took to social media on the weekend to share his favorite reads of 2019 - a scholarly list that shows the former US president remains very much a bookworm.

The now traditional yearly list ranges across history, economics and award-winning literature and even singles out a couple of recommendations for sports fans.

Among the 19 books are two Irish picks - he lists Sally Rooney’s second novel Normal People, which won Best Novel at the Coasta Book awards. He also lists Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe which is set during the Troubles.

“As we wind down 2019, I wanted to share with you my annual list of favorites that made the last year a little brighter,” Mr Obama said in a posting on Twitter. “We’ll start with books today, movies and music coming soon. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.”

During his eight years in the Oval Office, Mr Obama was renowned as a voracious reader and regularly espoused the delights and benefits of the written word. In a longer posting on Instagram, he said the list had become a “fun little tradition.”

“Because while each of us has plenty that keeps us busy -work and family life, social and volunteer csally rooney ommitments - outlets like literature and art can enhance our day-to-day experiences,” he wrote. “They’re the fabric that helps make up a life.”

The full list:

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff

The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company by William Dalrymple

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep

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Girl, Woman, Otherby Bernardine Evaristo

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

Lot: Stories by Bryan Washington

Normal People by Sally Rooney

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe

Solitary by Albert Woodfox

The Topeka School by Ben Lerner

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusionby Jia Tolentino

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi

We Live in Water: Stories by Jess Walter

Mr Obama also listed two books for the sports fans.

A Different Way to Win: Dan Rooney’s Story from the Super Bowl to the Rooney Rule by Jim Rooney

The Sixth Man by Andre Iguodala

–Bloomberg