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Happy Birthday, Michelle: A Former First Lady's Favorite Books

Happy Birthday, Michelle: A Former First Lady's Favorite Books

By Most Recommended Books

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About the list

This book list was curated for you by Friendspire on 17 January 2021 based on a list by Most Recommended Books.

Have you ever thought about why you like to read? What makes you so interested in reading books vs just "watching" a book? I mean the "Harry Potter" novels and films are about the same, right? (The answer to that question is no. Dear God, the answer is definitely no.) Well then, what makes you a bibliophile? Is it t
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Exit West

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2017 | Mohsin Hamid

Rated by 9 people

FINALIST FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 10 BEST BOOKS OF 2017, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW WINNER OF THE L.A. TIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR FICTION and THE ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE "A breathtaking novel...[that] arrives at an urgent time." --NPR "It was as if Hamid knew what was going to happen to America and the world, and gave us a road map to our future... At once terrifying and ... oddly hopeful." --Ayelet Waldman, The New York Times Book Review "Moving, audacious, and indelibly human." --Entertainment Weekly, "A" rating A New York Times bestseller, the astonishingly visionary love story that imagines the forces that drive ordinary people from their homes into the uncertain embrace of new lands. In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet--sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors--doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. . . . Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

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White Teeth

2000 | Zadie Smith

From the Publisher: On New Year's morning, 1975, Archie Jones sits in his car on a London road and waits for the exhaust fumes to fill his Cavalier Musketeer station wagon. Archie-working-class, ordinary, a failed marriage under his belt-is calling it quits, the deciding factor being the flip of a 20-pence coin. When the owner of a nearby halal butcher shop (annoyed that Archie's car is blocking his delivery area) comes out and bangs on the window, he gives Archie another chance at life and sets in motion this richly imagined, uproariously funny novel. Epic and intimate, hilarious and poignant, White Teeth is the story of two North London families-one headed by Archie, the other by Archie's best friend, a Muslim Bengali named Samad Iqbal. Pals since they served together in World War II, Archie and Samad are a decidedly unlikely pair. Plodding Archie is typical in every way until he marries Clara, a beautiful, toothless Jamaican woman half his age, and the couple have a daughter named Irie (the Jamaican word for "no problem"). Samad-devoutly Muslim, hopelessly "foreign"-weds the feisty and always suspicious Alsana in a prearranged union. They have twin sons named Millat and Magid, one a pot-smoking punk-cum-militant Muslim and the other an insufferable science nerd. The riotous and tortured histories of the Joneses and the Iqbals are fundamentally intertwined, capturing an empire's worth of cultural identity, history, and hope. Zadie Smith's dazzling first novel plays out its bounding, vibrant course in a Jamaican hair salon in North London, an Indian restaurant in Leicester Square, an Irish poolroom turned immigrant cafe, a liberal public school, a sleek science institute. A winning debut in every respect, White Teeth marks the arrival of a wondrously talented writer who takes on the big themes-faith, race, gender, history, and culture-and triumphs.

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Commonwealth

2016 | Ann Patchett

#1 New York Times Bestseller The acclaimed, bestselling author—winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize—tells the enthralling story of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes two families’ lives. One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families. Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them. When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another. Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together.

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An American Marriage

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2018 | Tayari Jones

Rated by 20 people

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB 2018 SELECTION LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION "One of my favorite parts of summer is deciding what to read when things slow down just a bit, whether it's on a vacation with family or just a quiet afternoon . . . An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is a moving portrayal of the effects of a wrongful conviction on a young African-American couple." --Barack Obama "Haunting . . . Beautifully written." --The New York Times Book Review "Brilliant and heartbreaking . . . Unforgettable." --USA Today "A tense and timely love story . . . Packed with brave questions about race and class." --People "Compelling." --The Washington Post "Epic . . . Transcendent . . . Triumphant." --Elle Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn't commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy's time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy's conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together. This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward--with hope and pain--into the future.

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Educated

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2018 | Tara Westover

Rated by 388 people

#1 NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, AND BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER • One of the most acclaimed books of our time: an unforgettable memoir about a young woman who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University   “Extraordinary . . . an act of courage and self-invention.”—The New York Times   NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW • ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR • BILL GATES’S HOLIDAY READING LIST • FINALIST: National Book Critics Circle’s Award In Autobiography and John Leonard Prize For Best First Book • PEN/Jean Stein Book Award • Los Angeles Times Book Prize   Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.   “Beautiful and propulsive . . . Despite the singularity of [Westover’s] childhood, the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow up?”—Vogue NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • O: The Oprah Magazine • Time • NPR • Good Morning America • San Francisco Chronicle • The Guardian • The Economist • Financial Times • Newsday • New York Post • theSkimm • Refinery29 • Bloomberg • Self • Real Simple • Town & Country • Bustle • Paste • Publishers Weekly • Library Journal • LibraryReads • Book Riot • Pamela Paul, KQED • New York Public Library

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The Grapes of Wrath

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2014 | John Steinbeck

Rated by 16 people

April 2014 marks the 75th anniversary of the first Viking hardcover publication of Steinbeck's crowning literary achievement First published in 1939, Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize?winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into haves and have-nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man's fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman's stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes the very nature of equality and justice in America. As Don DeLillo has claimed, Steinbeck ?shaped a geography of conscience” with this novel where ?there is something at stake in every sentence.” Beyond that?for emotional urgency, evocative power, sustained impact, prophetic reach, and continued controversy?The Grapes of Wrath is perhaps the most American of American classics. To commemorate the book's 75th anniversary, this volume is modeled on the first edition, featuring the original cover illustration by Elmer Hader and specially designed endpapers by Michael Schwab.

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The Snowy Day

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1976 | Ezra Jack Keats

Rated by 1 people

The magic and wonder of winter's first snowfall is perfectly captured in Ezra Jack Keat's Caldecott Medal-winning picture book. This celebrated classic has been shared by generations of readers and listeners, a must-have for every child's bookshelf. New York Public Library's #1 book on the list of "Top Check Outs of All Time" In 1962, a little boy named Peter put on his snowsuit and stepped out of his house and into the hearts of millions of readers. Universal in its appeal, this story beautifully depicts a child's wonder at a new world, and the hope of capturing and keeping that wonder forever. The quiet fun and sweetness of Peter's small adventures in the deep, deep snow is perfect for reading together on a cozy winter day. Ezra Jack Keats was also the creator of such classics as Goggles, A Letter to Amy, Pet Show!, Peter's Chair, and A Whistle for Willie. (This book is also available in Spanish, as Un dia de nieve.) Praise for The Snowy Day "Keats made Peter's world so inviting that it beckons us. Perhaps the busyness of daily life in the 21st century makes us appreciate Peter even more--a kid who has the luxury of a whole day to just be outside, surrounded by snow that's begging to be enjoyed." --The Atlantic Ezra Jack Keats's classic The Snowy Day, winner of the 1963 Caldecott Medal, pays homage to the wonder and pure pleasure a child experiences when the world is blanketed in snow.--Publisher's Weekly

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