Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Canadian Author Emily St. John Mandel Makes Barack Obama’s 2022 Summer Reading List
Obama's list includes everything from fiction to books on politics, cultural exploration and basketball. / BY Mike Crisolago / July 26th, 2022
Barack Obama released his annual summer reading list on Tuesday, which was topped by B.C.-born writer Emily St. John Mandel’s latest novel Sea of Tranquility.
Mandel, 42, who penned the award-winning 2014 tome Station Eleven, which was adapted into an HBO Max mini-series, released Sea of Tranquility in April of this year. It’s since become a bestseller.
Described by its publisher as “a novel of art, time travel, love, and plague that takes the reader from Vancouver Island in 1912 to a dark colony on the moon five hundred years later, unfurling a story of humanity across centuries and space,” Sea of Tranquility joins Mandel’s 2020 novel, The Glass Hotel, as the second book by the author to appear on one of Obama’s book lists. The 60-year-old former president included The Glass Hotel on his 2020 list of favourite books.
Meanwhile, Obama’s 2022 summer list also includes The Candy House, the latest novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan. The book, which explores the intersection of technology and memory, had already landed the 59-year-old on many “Most Anticipated” books lists for 2022 and serves as a sequel to her 2010 novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad, which nabbed her the Pulitzer.
Silverview, the final, posthumous novel from John le Carré — who died in 2020 at age 89, the year before the book was released — also made Obama’s list, as did Black Cake, Charmaine Wilkerson’s bestselling debut novel about siblings exploring their mother’s past that is already being developed into a Hulu series.
Obama’s reading list also expanded into non-fiction — and offered a possible glimpse into what’s on the mind of the former POTUS — with titles like Why We’re Polarized by Ezra Klein and The Great Experiment: Why Diverse Democracies Fall Apart and How They Can Endure by Yascha Mounk. As well, Obama indulged other interests such as basketball (Blood in the Garden: The Flagrant History of the 1990s New York Knicks by Chris Herring) and cultural exploration (A Little Devil in America: In Praise of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib).
Obama’s full list of 14 books was accompanied, on social media, by the caption, “I’ve read a couple of great books this year and wanted to share some of my favourites so far. What have you been reading this summer?” The 14 books are:
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
Why We’re Polarized by Ezra Klein
The Candy House by Jennifer Egan
A Little Devil in America: In Praise of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib
To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara
Silverview by John le Carré
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson
The Great Experiment: Why Diverse Democracies Fall Apart and How They Can Endure by Yascha Mounk
The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan
Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby
Blood in the Garden: The Flagrant History of the 1990s New York Knicks by Chris Herring