Barack Obama, who is all set to take off for his trip to Africa, revealed he will be visiting the place for the first time since he left office in 2016. Inspired by his expedition, he recommended a list of six books for summer reading, five of which have been written by African writers. The former President posted the list on his Facebook page and called the books a part of “Africa’s extraordinary literary tradition”.
He wrote, “This week, I’m traveling to Africa for the first time since I left office – a continent of wonderful diversity, thriving culture, and remarkable stories. I was proud to visit sub-Saharan Africa more times than any other sitting President, and I’ll return this week to visit Kenya and South Africa. In South Africa, the Obama Foundation will convene 200 extraordinary young leaders from across the continent and I’ll deliver a speech to mark the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. Kenya, of course, is the Obama ancestral home. I visited for the first time when I was in my twenties and I was profoundly influenced by my experiences – a journey I wrote about in my first book, Dreams from My Father.”
Obama further wrote about how African literature has inspired him and recommended six books for book lovers. He wrote, “Over the years since, I’ve often drawn inspiration from Africa’s extraordinary literary tradition. 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.”
This week, I’m traveling to Africa for the first time since I left office – a continent of wonderful diversity, thriving culture, and remarkable stories. As I prepare for this trip, I wanted to share a list of books that I’d recommend for summer reading: https://t.co/W4Jc0N23iy
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 13, 2018
Catch a glimpse of the six books that the former US President suggested for the readers:
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
“A true classic of world literature, this novel paints a picture of traditional society wrestling with the arrival of foreign influence, from Christian missionaries to British colonialism. A masterpiece that has inspired generations of writers in Nigeria, across Africa, and around the world,” wrote Obama.
A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
Talking about the book, Obama said, “A chronicle of the events leading up to Kenya’s independence, and a compelling story of how the transformative events of history weigh on individual lives and relationships.”
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Want to make history and change the world? Obama recommended this book for such people. He said, “Mandela’s life was one of the epic stories of the 20th century. This definitive memoir traces the arc of his life from a small village to his years as a revolutionary, to his long imprisonment, and ultimately his ascension to unifying President, leader, and global icon. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand history – and then go out and change it.”
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“From one of the world’s great contemporary writers comes the story of two Nigerians making their way in the U.S. and the UK, raising universal questions of race and belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for identity and a home.”
The Return by Hisham Matar
“A beautifully written memoir that skillfully balances a graceful guide through Libya’s recent history with the author’s dogged quest to find his father who disappeared in Gaddafi’s prisons,” wrote Obama.
The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes
Written by Ben Rhodes, this book is about Obama’s journey in the White House. “It’s true, Ben does not have African blood running through his veins. But few others so closely see the world through my eyes like he can. Ben’s one of the few who’ve been with me since that first presidential campaign. His memoir is one of the smartest reflections I’ve seen as to how we approached foreign policy, and one of the most compelling stories I’ve seen about what it’s actually like to serve the American people for eight years in the White House.”
Have you read any of the books mentioned by Obama? Let us know in the comments section.