- Former president Bill Clinton released a list of books he thinks everyone should read.
- The list also includes the late Toni Morrison’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech.
- He recommends both fiction and nonfiction works, though it’s clear he especially enjoys mystery novels.
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Bill Clinton, like other successful individuals, likes reading.
Clinton tweeted out a list of his favourite pieces of writing in 2019 so far. Most of them are books, but the former president also included a speech by the late Toni Morrison.
While Clinton doesn’t usually release his reading recommendations like he did on Wednesday, former president Barack Obama has an annual list of the best books and music he consumed that year. Bill Gates – who says he reads 50 books a year – recommends books routinely.
Here’s what former president Bill Clinton has been reading this year, along with an Amazon summary and a short comment about the books the former commander-in-chief included within the recommendation.
Toni Morrison’s Nobel Prize Speech
This isn’t a book, but Clinton said he read it “two or three times.” The iconic American writer died on August 5.
“This America: The Case for the Nation” by Jill Lepore
Amazon summary: At a time of much despair over the future of liberal democracy, Jill Lepore makes a stirring case for the nation in “This America,” a follow-up to her much-celebrated history of the United States, “These Truths.”
Clinton’s thoughts: “Short powerful call for inclusive nationalism.”
“How Do We Look: The Body, the Divine, and the Question of Civilisation” by Mary Beard
Amazon summary: Conceived as a gorgeously illustrated accompaniment to “How Do We Look” and “The Eye of Faith,” the famed “Civilisations” shows on PBS, renowned classicist Mary Beard has created this elegant volume on how we have looked at art.
Clinton’s thoughts: “How we see things.”
“The Widow Washington” by Martha Sexton
Amazon summary: “The Widow Washington” is the first life of Mary Ball Washington, George Washington’s mother, based on archival sources.
Clinton’s thoughts: “George’s mother bore the burdens and strained at the confines of womanhood in 18th century Virginia.”
“Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire – A 500-Year History” by Kurt Andersen
Amazon summary: In this sweeping, eloquent history of America, Kurt Andersen shows that what’s happening in our country today – this post-factual, “fake news” moment we’re all living through – is not something new, but rather the ultimate expression of our national character.
Clinton’s thoughts: “An irreverent look at our long embrace of fantasy for better and worse.”
“Beyond Charlottesville: Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism” by Terry McAuliffe
Amazon summary: In “Beyond Charlottesville,” [former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe] looks at the forces and events that led to the tragedy in Charlottesville, including the vicious murder of Heather Heyer and the death of two state troopers in a helicopter accident.
Clinton’s thoughts: “On that fateful day, he spoke for America.”
“The Fifth Domain: Defending Our Country, Our Companies, and Ourselves in the Age of Cyber Threats” by Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake
Amazon summary: This is a book about the realm in which nobody should ever want to fight a war: the fifth domain, the Pentagon’s term for cyberspace.
Clinton’s thoughts: “Read this and you’ll see what we’re all up against in cyberspace.”
“One Good Deed” by David Baldacci
Amazon summary: When a murder takes place right under Aloysius Archer’s nose, police suspicions rise against the ex-convict, and Archer realises that the crime could send him right back to prison
Clinton’s thoughts: “One of his finest books. Great character, great story, great portrait of an era.”
“The New Girl” by Daniel Silva
Amazon summary: At an exclusive private school in Switzerland, mystery surrounds the identity of the beautiful raven-haired girl who arrives each morning in a motorcade fit for a head of state.
Clinton’s thoughts: “Gabriel Allon never fails and this one explains Israel’s view of the neighbourhood.”
“The Wolf of Sarajevo” by Matthew Palmer
Amazon summary: Twenty years after the Srebrenica massacre that claimed the life of his friend and colleague, Eric Petrosian is back in Sarajevo at the American embassy, and the specter of war once again hangs over the Balkans.
Clinton’s thoughts: “Compelling tour of Bosnia by a seasoned diplomat and first-class storyteller.”
“Unsolved” by James Patterson and David Ellis
Amazon summary: To FBI special agent Harrison “Books” Bookman, everyone in the FBI is a suspect – particularly Emmy Dockery (the fact that she’s his ex-fiancee doesn’t make it easier).
Clinton’s thoughts: “America’s storyteller keeps finding good ones to tell.”
“The Inn” by James Patterson and Candice Fox
Amazon summary: The solitary inhabitants of the Inn will have to learn, before time runs out, that their only choice is between standing together – or dying alone.
“A Better Man: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel” by Louise Penny
Amazon summary: The air is unbearably tense as Armand Gamache returns to the Sûreté du Québec for his first day of work since his demotion from its command to head of homicide. Amid blistering personal social media attacks, Gamache sets out on his first assignment – to find a missing woman.
Clinton’s thoughts: “She never gives up on Gamache and he keeps coming through.”
“The Dry” by Jane Harper
Amazon summary: A small town hides big secrets in “The Dry,” an atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper.
Clinton’s thoughts: “This book makes the Australian Outback come alive and breeds respect for its survivors.”
“The American Agent” by Jacqueline Winspear
Amazon summary: Beloved heroine Maisie Dobbs investigates the mysterious murder of an American war correspondent in London during the Blitz in a page-turning tale of love and war, terror and survival.
Clinton’s thoughts: “Maisie Dobbs is ageing well.”
“Conviction” by Denise Mina
Amazon summary: The day Anna McDonald’s quiet, respectable life exploded started off like all the days before: Packing up the kids for school, making breakfast, listening to yet another true crime podcast. Then her husband comes downstairs with an announcement, and Anna is suddenly, shockingly alone.
“Someone Knows” by Lisa Scottoline
Amazon summary: Best-selling and award-winning author Lisa Scottoline reaches new heights with this riveting novel about how a single decision can undo a family, how our past can derail our present, and how not guilty doesn’t always mean innocent.
“The Last Widow” by Karin Slaughter
Amazon summary: New York Times best-selling author Karin Slaughter brings back Will Trent and Sara Linton in this superb and timely thriller full of devious twists, disturbing secrets, and shocking surprises you won’t see coming.
“The Better Sister” by Alafair Burke
Amazon summary: From Alafair Burke-New York Times bestselling author of the runaway hit, The Wife- comes another twisty tale of domestic noir. When a prominent Manhattan lawyer is murdered, two estranged sisters-one the dead man’s widow, the other his ex-must set aside mistrust and old resentments … but can they escape their past?
Clinton’s thoughts (regarding the last four books): “In different ways, all these books deal with both current and age-old challenges women face. The characters and plots are good, and there are some interesting takes on the role of social media in shaping our perceptions of reality.”
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