Barack Obama's Summer Playlist Shows Off His Encyclopedic Knowledge of Music

There are some seriously deep cuts on this mix.

It’s that time of year again, folks. Barack Obama, the renowned playlist curator, booklist creator, and former President of the United States, has just dropped his summer reading list. A time-honored American tradition by now, Barry O’s reading lists are as reliable as Punxsutawney Phil and his top-hatted entourage on Groundhog Day. Obama shared this year’s list on his Instagram earlier this afternoon, and it’s unsurprisingly full of poignant, dazzling reads, and a handful of unreleased books available now for pre-order. What can we say, the man is well-connected and has taste.

From To Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro’s tender novel about a humanoid robot named Klara—which also happens to be one of Esquire’s Best Books of 2021—to Rumaan Alam’s thrilling bestseller Leave the World Behind, to Patrick Radden Keefe's devastating exposé on the family behind the opioid crisis, Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, Obama’s got something for everyone on his list. So whether you’re beach-bound or still sitting on your living room couch and looking for a novel or some timely non-fiction, make like a former President and get reading.

1| At Night All Blood Is Black, by David Diop


2| Land Of Big Numbers, by Te-Ping Chen

3| Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, by Patrick Radden Keefe

4| Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir

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5| When We Cease to Understand the World, by Benjamin Labatut

6| Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future, by Elizabeth Kolbert

7| Things We Lost to the Water, by Eric Nguyen


8| Leave the World Behind, by Rumaan Alam

9| Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro

10| The Sweetness of Water, by Nathan Harris

11| Intimacies, by Katie Kitamura

This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Lauren Kranc
Lauren Kranc is an editorial assistant at Esquire, where she covers pop culture and television, with entirely too narrow of an expertise on Netflix dating shows.
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