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Barack Obama (Former USA President)

According to the president’s Facebook page and a 2008 interview with the New York Times, these titles are among his most influential forever favorites:

  • Moby Dick, Herman Melville
  • Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Song Of Solomon, Toni Morrison
  • Parting The Waters, Taylor Branch
  • Gilead, Marylinne Robinson
  • Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam
  • The Federalist, Alexander Hamilton
  • Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois
  • The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene
  • The Quiet American, Graham Greene
  • Cancer Ward, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • Gandhi’s autobiography
  • Working, Studs Terkel
  • Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith
  • Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith
  • All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren

Amazon description

In this celebrated novel, Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison created a new way of rendering the contradictory nuances of black life in America. Its earthy poetic language and striking use of folklore and myth established Morrison as a major voice in contemporary fiction.

Song of Solomon begins with one of the most arresting scenes in our century's literature: a dreamlike tableau depicting a man poised on a roof, about to fly into the air, while cloth rose petals swirl above the snow-covered ground and, in the astonished crowd below, one woman sings as another enters premature labor. The child born of that labor, Macon (Milkman) Dead, will eventually come to discover, through his complicated progress to maturity, the meaning of the drama that marked his birth.

Toni Morrison's novel is at once a romance of self-discovery, a retelling of the black experience in America that uncovers the inalienable poetry of that experience, and a family saga luminous in its depth, imaginative generosity, and universality. It is also a tribute to the ways in which, in the hands of a master, the ancient art of storytelling can be used to make the mysterious and invisible aspects of human life apparent, real, and firm to the touch.

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