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Barack Obama and Toni Morrison
Barack Obama and Toni Morrisoncourtesy of Instagram/@barackobama

Sally Rooney, Ben Lerner, Bernardine Evaristo make Obama’s books of 2019

Toni Morrison also gets a mention in the list of books that ‘made the last year a little brighter’

It’s that time of the year again: time for Barack Obama’s end of year lists, beginning with his best books of 2019. This year, as ever, Obama shows a diversity of reading in his end of year list, posted to Instagram with a caption promising film and music lists in the coming days.

Some notable mentions: Sally Rooney’s Normal People makes the list (as well as pretty much every Instagram booklist across the globe) although it was actually published in 2018. It did win an award for British Book of the Year in 2019 though – besides getting a forthcoming BBC adaptation – so fair enough.

Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other features too, after winning the author a Booker Prize split with Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.

Also getting a mention is Jia Tolentino’s book of essays about late capitalism, digital feminism, and the state of being Extremely Online, Trick Mirror: Reflections for Self Delusion, as does Dazed winter rec The Topeka School, by Ben Lerner.(Given who he is, it’s maybe unsurprising that Obama favours Lerner and Rooney’s novels, which come straight out of the world of competitive debating.)

Besides a few non-fiction books that helped tide him over, Obama also mentions some books (not necessarily new ones) that he recommended earlier in the year, including Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys, Haruki Murakami’s short story collection Men Without Women, and the (seminal) collected works of Toni Morrison, who died back in August.

View the entire list down below, and maybe dip into Dazed’s most recent recommendations while you sit tight for Obama’s film and music lists.