As he has done regularly since 2015, former President Barack Obama has released his summer reading and music lists, highlighting authors and performers both new and established.
"I've read a couple of great books this year and wanted to share some of my favorites so far," Obama, who turns 61 on Aug. 4, wrote in the first of two social-media posts Tuesday. "What have you been reading this summer?"
The 14 books he recommended, primarily novels, included "The Candy House," Jennifer Egan's science-fiction sequel to her Pulitzer Prize-winning "A Visit from the Goon Squad"; Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Mexico City-set 1970s noir "Velvet Was the Night"; Jessamine Chan's Kafka-esque debut novel "The School for Good Mothers"; and the late espionage master John Le Carré's posthumously published "Silverview." Nonfiction included Sports Illustrated senior writer Chris Herring's "Blood in the Garden: The Flagrant History of the 1990s New York Knicks."
"This is wild. My book made this man's reading list. What on earth," Herring tweeted, later adding he had just learned that filmmaker Spike Lee is developing the book for a screen project.
"I can't speak … there are no words," tweeted Southern-noir novelist S.A. Cosby, whose "Razorblade Tears" made Obama's list. "I'm crying right now, not Razorblade Tears but Tears of joy. All. Things. Are. Possible!!!" Moreno-Garcia tweeted she was "[r]eally happy to see friend and fellow crime writer ... [Cosby] on this list." Other appreciative tweets included a thank-you from Canadian novelist-essayist Emily St. John Mandel, whose Obama pick "Sea of Tranquility" occupies the same universe as her 2014 post-apocalyptic novel "Station Eleven," recently adapted into an Emmy Award-nominated HBO Max miniseries.
Obama's 44 music picks ran the gamut from Bad Bunny to Lyle Lovett. Among the songs is "Dancing in the Dark" by Bruce Springsteen, with whom Obama has teamed on a podcast and a spinoff book. Other classic tunes included Prince's "Let’s Go Crazy," Aretha Franklin's "Save Me," Miles Davis' "Blue in Green" and Dave Brubeck's jazz-instrumental standard "Take Five." His more contemporary selections featured Beyoncé's "Break My Soul," Harry Styles' "Music for a Sushi Restaurant," Lil Yachty's "Split/Whole Time," Kendrick Lamar's "Die Hard" and Kacey Musgraves' "Keep Looking Up."