News World Barack Obama responds to Donald Trump with reading list
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Barack Obama responds to Donald Trump with reading list

Barack Obama
Barack Obama released a short list of books he's been reading. Photo: Getty
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Former US president Barack Obama has taken what is believed to be a thinly-veiled swipe at successor Donald Trump and his style of presidency by releasing a list of recommended reading.

In what the Washington Post described as the “most passive-aggressive move Barack Obama could make”, the former US leader posted a short list of books he has been reading to Facebook covering a range of voices and concerns for modern America.

“This summer I’ve been absorbed by new novels, revisited an old classic, and reaffirmed my faith in our ability to move forward together when we seek the truth,” he wrote.

Mr Obama’s book list comes after Mr Trump – who admitted he doesn’t have much time for reading – has been recommending a number of books to his Twitter followers.

The President’s list show a common theme of books portraying Mr Trump positively, or authored by Fox News anchors or friends and family of Mr Trump.

The books Mr Obama recommended are:

  • Educated by Tara Westover – “A remarkable memoir of a young woman raised in a survivalist family in Idaho who strives for education while still showing great understanding and love for the world she leaves behind,” Mr Obama said.
  • Warlight by Michael Ondaatje – which Mr Obama described as ” a meditation on the lingering effects of war on family”.
  • A House for Mr Biswas by V.S. Naipaul – Mr Obama wrote: “With the recent passing of V.S. Naipaul, I reread … the Nobel Prize winner’s first great novel about growing up in Trinidad and the challenge of post-colonial identity.”
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones – which the former president said is a moving portrayal of the effects of a wrongful conviction on a young African-American couple.
  • Factfulness by Hans Rosling – “An outstanding international public health expert, is a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases,” Mr Obama said.

In stark contrast in style and ideology, the books Mr Trump has recommended include:

  • The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump, by Gregg Jarrett – who Mr Trump called “a brilliant guy” and lauded the book as “hard work” from the author.
  • The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President, by Sean Spicer – “A friend of mine and a man who has truly seen politics and life as few others ever will, Sean Spicer, has written a great new book,” Mr Trump wrote.
  • 9 Rules of Engagement by Harris Faulkner – The President praised the memoir from the former Fox News Anchor as a “terrific new book”.
  • The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left’s Plot to Stop It by Andy Puzder – Mr Trump predicted the book by his former labor secretary nominee would be a “bit hit”.

Book World editor Ron Charles writing for The Washington Post summarised Mr Obama’s reading list as a plight against the current administration, but not by “raging against his enemies or attack the pillars of our democracy”.

“He didn’t call anybody a ‘dog’. He didn’t brag about his own bestsellers – or the size of his book-reading hands,” Mr Charles wrote.

“Instead, he just presented a small window into the mind of a man who appreciates how books can alter the pace of our lives and illuminate the world,” he said.

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