Barak Obama's Favorite Books of 2021

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Former President Barak Obama released his favorite books of 2021! 


Nadia Owusu
Description: This poetic, genre-bending work, blending memoir with cultural history, from Whiting Award winner Nadia Owusu grapples with the fault lines of identity, the meaning of home, black womanhood, and the ripple effects, both personal and generational, of emotional trauma.
Call Number: B Owu
Format: Audiobook
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
David Diop, Anna Moschovakis
Description: "A 'Chocolat' soldier with the French army during World War I, Senegalese Alfa Ndiaye's friend Mademba Diop is in the same regiment. Injured in battle, Diop begs Alfa to kill him and spare him the pain of a long and agonizing death in No Man's Land. Unable to commit this mercy killing, madness creeps into Alfa's mind. He sees this refusal as cowardice. To avenge the death of his friend and find forgiveness for himself, every night Alfa sneaks across enemy lines to find and murder a blue-eyed German soldier, returning with the German's severed hand. As rumors circulate that Alfa is a soul-eater, how far will he go to make amends to his dead friend?"--Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Dio
Format: Book
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Qian Julie Wang
Description: An incandescent and heartrending memoir about Qian Julie Wang's five years living undocumented after immigrating with her parents from China to New York City in 1994. In Chinese the word for the United States, Mei Guo, translates directly to "beautiful country," but when seven-year-old Qian is plucked from her warm and happy childhood surrounded by extended family in China, she finds a world of crushing fear and poverty instead. Unable to speak English at first, Qian is isolated and disregarded, put into special education classes because she doesn't speak the language and humiliated by teachers and classmates when she struggles to pay attention because of hunger or exhaustion. She encounters racism, and people of other races, for the first time, shocked at where her family fits in comparison to their status as educated elites in China. After school she works shifts alongside her mother in Chinatown sweatshops. There is so much about Qian's new home that doesn't make sense, but the rules of survival are drilled into her head: If you see a policeman, you must run in the other direction. If anyone asks--or even if they don't--you tell them you were born here. Do as you're told or we could be separated forever. Understanding impliclity the toll this has taken on her parents, Qian tries desperately to cheer them up and mediate their increasingly heated arguments, certain that if she is good enough, she can hold the family together. Wang channels her childhood perspective, illuminating the cruelty and indignity of America's immigration system, while also crafting a narrative of resilience from her family's small moments of joy: their first slice of pizza, "shopping days" when the family would unearth unlikely treasures in Brooklyn's trash, and the necessary escape she found in books at the local library.-- From statement provided by publisher.
Call Number: 974.71 Wan
Format: Book
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Anthony Doerr
Description: In the besieged city of Constantinople in 1453, in a public library in Lakeport, Idaho, today, and on a spaceship bound for a distant exoplanet decades from now, an ancient text provides solace and the most profound human connection to characters in peril. They all learn the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to the paradise of Cloud Cuckoo Land, a better world. Twelve-year-old Anna lives in a convent where women toil all day embroidering the robes of priests. She learns to read from an old Greek tutor she encounters on her errands in the city. In an abandoned priory, she finds a stash of old books. One is Aethon's story, which she reads to her sister as the walls of Constantinople are bombarded by armies of Saracens. Anna escapes, carrying only a small sack with bread, salt fish-and the book. Outside the city walls, Anna meets Omeir, a village boy who was conscripted, along with his beloved pair of oxen, to fight in the Sultan's conquest. His oxen have died; he has deserted. In Lakeport, Idaho, in 2020, Seymour, a young activist bent on saving the earth, sits in the public library with two homemade bombs in pressure cookers--another siege. Upstairs, eighty-five-year old Zeno, a former prisoner-of-war, and an amateur translator, rehearses five children in a play adaptation of Aethon's adventures. Konstance, encased on a spaceship decades from now, has never lived on our beloved Earth. Alone in a vault with sacks of Nourish powder and access to 'all the information in the world,' she knows Aethon's story through her father. She has never set foot on our planet. Anna, Omeir, Seymour, Zeno, and Konstance are dreamers and outsiders who find resourcefulness and hope in the midst of gravest danger. Their lives are gloriously intertwined. Doerr’s dazzling imagination transports us to worlds so dramatic and immersive that we forget, for a time, our own.
Call Number: FIC Doe
Format: Book
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Jonathan Franzen
Description: "It's December 23, 1971, and heavy weather is forecast for Chicago. Russ Hildebrandt, the associate pastor of a liberal suburban church, is on the brink of breaking free of a marriage he finds joyless -- unless his wife, Marion, who has her own secret life, beats him to it. Their eldest child, Clem, is coming home from college on fire with moral absolutism, having taken an action that will shatter his father. Clem's sister, Becky, long the social queen of her high-school class, has sharply veered into the counterculture, while their brilliant younger brother Perry, who's been selling drugs to seventh graders, has resolved to be a better person. Each of the Hildebrandts seeks a freedom that each of the others threatens to complicate. Jonathan Franzen's novels are celebrated for their unforgettably vivid characters and for their keen-eyed take on contemporary America. Now, in Crossroads, Franzen ventures back into the past and explores the history of two generations. With characteristic humor and complexity, and with even greater warmth, he conjures a world that resonates powerfully with our own. A tour de force of interwoven perspectives and sustained suspense, its action largely unfolding on a single winter day, Crossroads is the story of a Midwestern family at a pivotal moment of moral crisis" -- Book jacket flap.
Call Number: FIC Fra
Format: Book
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Michelle Zauner
Description: A memoir about growing up Korean-American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity. In this story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up the only Asian-American kid at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother's particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother's tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. As she grew up, moving to the east coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, performing gigs with her fledgling band--and meeting the man who would become her husband--her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother's diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.-- From statement provided by publisher.
Call Number: LP B Zau
Format: Book
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Patrick Radden Keefe
Description: The Sackler name adorns the walls of many storied institutions--Harvard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oxford, the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing a blockbuster painkiller that was the catalyst for the opioid crisis. -- jacket.
Call Number: LP 929.2 Kee
Format: Large Print
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Colson Whitehead, Dion Graham
Description: Ray Carney was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked. To his customers and neighbors on 125th street, Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably priced furniture, making a decent life for himself and his family. Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his facade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it. Cracks that are getting bigger all the time. Cash is tight, especially with all those installment-plan sofas, so if his cousin Freddie occasionally drops off the odd ring or necklace, Ray doesn't ask where it comes from. Then Freddie falls in with a crew who plan to rob the Hotel Theresa, the 'Waldorf of Harlem', and volunteers Ray's services as the fence. The heist doesn't go as planned; they rarely do. Now Ray has a new clientele, one made up of shady cops, vicious local gangsters, two-bit pornographers, and other assorted Harlem lowlifes.
Call Number: FIC Whi
Format: Audiobook
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Clint Smith
Description: 'How the Word is Passed' is Clint Smith's revealing, contemporary portrait of America as a slave owning nation. Beginning in his own hometown of New Orleans, Smith leads the reader through an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks--those that are honest about the past and those that are not--that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nations collective history, and ourselves.
Call Number: 973.0496 Smi
Format: Book
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Andrea Elliott
Description: This book follows eight dramatic years in the life of Dasani Coates, a child with an imagination as soaring as the skyscrapers near her Brooklyn homeless shelter. Born at the turn of a new century, Dasani is named for the bottled water that comes to symbolize Brooklyn's gentrification and the shared aspirations of a divided city. As Dasani grows up, moving with her tightknit family from shelter to shelter, her story reaches back to trace the passage of Dasani's ancestors from slavery to the Great Migration north. As New York City's homeless crisis is exploding amid the growing chasm between rich and poor, Dasani must lead her seven siblings through a thicket of problems: hunger, parental addiction, violence, housing instability, pollution, segregated schools, and the constant monitoring of the child-protection system. When, at age thirteen, Dasani enrolls at a boarding school in Pennsylvania, her loyalties are tested like never before. As she learns to "code-switch" between the culture she left behind and the norms of her new town, Dasani starts to feel like a stranger in both places. Ultimately, she faces an impossible question: What if leaving poverty means abandoning the family you love?-- From statement provided by publisher.
Call Number: 362.7756 Ell
Format: Book
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Kazuo Ishiguro
Description: "From her place in the store that sells artificial friends, Klara--an artificial friend with outstanding observational qualities--watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change forever, Klara she is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans. In this luminous tale, Klara and the Sun, Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro looks at our rapidly changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love?" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: LP FIC Ish
Format: Book
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Te-Ping Chen
Description: A debut collection from an extraordinary new talent that vividly gives voice to the men and women of modern China and its diaspora.
Call Number: FIC Che
Format: Audiobook
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Rumaan Alam
Description: Amanda and Clay head to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they've rented for the week. The houseowners, Ruth and G. H., arrive in the middle of the night in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe. Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple—and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one other? --Adapted from jacket
Call Number: FIC Ala
Format: Book
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Lauren Groff, Adjoa Andoh
Description: Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, deemed too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, seventeen-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease. At first taken aback by the severity of her new life, Marie finds focus and love in collective life with her singular and mercurial sisters. In this crucible, Marie steadily supplants her desire for family, for her homeland, for the passions of her youth with something new to her: devotion to her sisters, and a conviction in her own divine visions. Marie, born the last in a long line of women warriors and crusaders, is determined to chart a bold new course for the women she now leads and protects. But in a world that is shifting and corroding in frightening ways, one that can never reconcile itself with her existence, will the sheer force of Marie's vision be bulwark enough?
Call Number: FIC Gro
Format: Audiobook
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Andy Weir
Description: "Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission--and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it. All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company. His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery--and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species. And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he’s got to do it all alone. Or does he?" --Amazon.
Call Number: FIC Wei
Format: Book
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Dawnie Walton
Description: "Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can't imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job--despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar's amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records. In early seventies New York City, just as she's finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal's bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth. Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo's most politicized chapter. But as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatens to blow up everything" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: LP FIC Wal
Format: Large Print
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Amor Towles
Description: "In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served fifteen months for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett's intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother, Billy, and head to California where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden's car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett's future, one that will take them all on a fateful journey in the opposite direction--to the City of New York. Spanning just ten days and told from multiple points of view, Towles's third novel will satisfy fans of his multi-layered literary styling while providing them an array of new and richly imagined settings, characters, and themes" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Tow
Format: Book
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
Description: he great scholar, W. E. B. Du Bois, once wrote about the Problem of race in America, and what he called “Double Consciousness,” a sensitivity that every African American possesses in order to survive. Since childhood, Ailey Pearl Garfield has understood Du Bois’s words all too well. Bearing the names of two formidable Black Americans—the revered choreographer Alvin Ailey and her great grandmother Pearl, the descendant of enslaved Georgians and tenant farmers—Ailey carries Du Bois’s Problem on her shoulders. Ailey is reared in the north in the City but spends summers in the small Georgia town of Chicasetta, where her mother’s family has lived since their ancestors arrived from Africa in bondage. From an early age, Ailey fights a battle for belonging that’s made all the more difficult by a hovering trauma, as well as the whispers of women—her mother, Belle, her sister, Lydia, and a maternal line reaching back two centuries—that urge Ailey to succeed in their stead. To come to terms with her own identity, Ailey embarks on a journey through her family’s past, uncovering the shocking tales of generations of ancestors—Indigenous, Black, and white—in the deep South. In doing so Ailey must learn to embrace her full heritage, a legacy of oppression and resistance, bondage and independence, cruelty and resilience that is the story—and the song—of America itself.
Call Number: FIC Jef
Format: Book
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Nathan Harris, William Demeritt
Description: In the waning days of the Civil War, two freed brothers are hired to work on the farm of a husband and wife who are grieving the loss of their son in the war.
Call Number: FIC Har
Format: Audiobook
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Ann Patchett
Description: Ann Patchett reflects on home, family, friendships and writing in this deeply personal collection of essays.-- From statement provided by publisher.
Call Number: 814 Pat
Format: Book
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Eric Nguyen
Description: "When Huong arrives in New Orleans with her two young sons, she is jobless, homeless, and worried about her husband, Cong, who remains in Vietnam. As she and her boys begin to settle into life in America, she continues to send letters and tapes back to Cong, hopeful that they will be reunited and her children will grow up with a father. Over time, Huong realizes she will never see Cong again. While she copes with this loss, her sons, Tuan and Binh, grow up in their absent father's shadow, haunted by a man and a country trapped in their memory and imagination. As they push forward, the three adapt to life in America in different ways: Huong takes up with a Vietnamese car salesman who is also new in town; Tuan tries to connect with his heritage by joining a local Vietnamese gang; and Binh, now going by Ben, embraces his burgeoning sexuality. Their search for identity--as individuals and as a family--tears them apart, until disaster strikes and they must find a new way to come together and honor the ties that bind them"-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Ngu
Format: Book
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Elizabeth Kolbert, Rebecca Lowman
Description: Elizabeth Kolbert takes a hard look at the new world people are creating. She meets scientists who are trying to preserve the world's rarest fish, which lives in a single, tiny pool in the middle of the Mojave. She visits a lava field in Iceland, where engineers are turning carbon emissions to stone; an aquarium in Australia, where researchers are trying to develop 'super coral' that can survive on a hotter globe; and a lab at Harvard, where physicists are contemplating shooting tiny diamonds into the stratosphere in order to reflect sunlight back to space and cool the earth.
Call Number: 304.28 Kol
Format: Audiobook
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Benjamín Labatut, Adrian Nathan West
Description: "A fictional examination of the lives of real-life scientists and thinkers whose discoveries resulted in moral consequences beyond their imagining. When We Cease to Understand the World is a book about the complicated links between scientific and mathematical discovery, madness, and destruction. Fritz Haber, Alexander Grothendieck, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrodinger: these are some of luminaries into whose troubled lives Labatut's book thrusts the reader, showing us how they grappled with the most profound questions of existence. They have strokes of unparalleled genius, alienate friends and lovers, descend into isolation and insanity. Some of their discoveries reshape human life to the better; others pave the way to chaos and unimaginable suffering. The lines are never clear. At a breakneck pace and with a wealth of disturbing detail, Benjamin Labatut uses the imaginative resources of fiction to tell the stories of scientists and mathematicians who expanded our notions of the possible" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Lab
Format: Book
Date Added: Jan 4, 2022
Subscribe to New Best Fun List: Barak Obama's Favorite Books of 2021
Aftershocks : A Memoir
Nadia Owusu
B Owu
Leave The World Behind : A Novel
Rumaan Alam
FIC Ala
At Night All Blood Is Black
David Diop, Anna Moschovakis
FIC Dio
Matrix
Lauren Groff, Adjoa Andoh
FIC Gro
Beautiful Country : A Memoir
Qian Julie Wang
974.71 Wan
Project Hail Mary : A Novel
Andy Weir
FIC Wei
Cloud Cuckoo Land : A Novel
Anthony Doerr
FIC Doe
The Final Revival Of Opal & Nev
Dawnie Walton
LP FIC Wal
Crossroads
Jonathan Franzen
FIC Fra
The Lincoln Highway
Amor Towles
FIC Tow
Crying In H Mart : A Memoir
Michelle Zauner
LP B Zau
The Love Songs Of W.e.b. Du Bois : A Novel
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
FIC Jef
Empire Of Pain : The Secret History Of The Sackler Dynasty
Patrick Radden Keefe
LP 929.2 Kee
The Sweetness Of Water : A Novel
Nathan Harris, William Demeritt
FIC Har
Harlem Shuffle
Colson Whitehead, Dion Graham
FIC Whi
These Precious Days : Essays
Ann Patchett
814 Pat
How The Word Is Passed : A Reckoning With The History Of Slavery Across America
Clint Smith
973.0496 Smi
Things We Lost To The Water : A Novel
Eric Nguyen
FIC Ngu
Invisible Child : Poverty, Survival, & Hope In An American City
Andrea Elliott
362.7756 Ell
Under A White Sky : The Nature Of The Future
Elizabeth Kolbert, Rebecca Lowman
304.28 Kol
Klara And The Sun
Kazuo Ishiguro
LP FIC Ish
When We Cease To Understand The World
Benjamín Labatut, Adrian Nathan West
FIC Lab
Land Of Big Numbers
Te-Ping Chen
FIC Che