President Obama's 2016 summer reading list

President Obama's summer reading list
What's the president reading on vacation? The list has a little bit of everything: memoir, sci-fi, a twist on history and a serious page-turner.
Book covers courtesy of publishers

As has become tradition, the White House released President Obama's summer reading list for his vacation on Martha's Vineyard.

Have at it, bookworms. The presidential mix has a little bit of everything: memoir, sci-fi, a twist on history and a serious page-turner.

"Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life" by William Finnegan

Maybe Obama's missing his Hawaii days? Finnegan, who is best known for his war reporting, earned raves for his surfing memoir when it was released last year. Finnegan followed his obsession for catching waves around the world from Hawaii to Fiji, Tonga and Southeast Asia, and he writes about it with a mix of awe and nostalgia.

"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead

This book is on everyone's list — including Oprah. If the double endorsement of Winfrey and Obama doesn't win you over, what will?

In this stunning, catch-your-breath novel, Whitehead reimagines the Underground Railroad as an actual train, cutting through the earth, running from southern plantations to points north.

"H Is for Hawk" by Helen Macdonald

Macdonald's unusual memoir of grief and loss caught the literary world off guard when it came out in 2014. In it, Macdonald explores how grief can drive people to do strange things — like bring home a 10-week-old bird of prey.

Macdonald expertly winds together the stories of grappling with her father's unexpected death and raising a young goshawk. It's a story of taming birds, and taming grief.

"The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins

Way to get on the train, Obama. Hawkins' "grip lit" thriller is a publishing juggernaut. When it came out last year, it quickly became the bestselling adult hardcover debut ever.

To date, it's sold more than 11 million copies worldwide. The story starts innocently enough, with a woman who commutes into London each day on the train. She becomes obsessed with the "perfect couple" she can see from the window, fantasizing about their lives — until the wife goes missing.

We won't give away what happens next. A film adaptation, starring Emily Blunt, will hit theaters this fall. Maybe Obama's trying to cram the book in before the movie?

"Seveneves" by Neal Stephenson

"The moon blew up with no warning and with no apparent reason."

That's the premise of "Seveneves" — one of our favorite sci-fi books of last year. A freak lunar explosion triggers a series of disastrous events back on earth, and Stephenson follows society's attempts to maintain order and preserve the human race in the violent aftermath.

If the president needs something to take his mind off the current political fervor, I guess an exploding moon would do it.

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