Memorial Day is only a couple of weeks away, which means the unofficial start of vacation season is fast approaching. Hopefully, you'll soon be enjoying a few lazy summer breaks. (Really, take a vacation! Science shows it's essential for both productivity and psychological well-being.)
You'll need a few books to pass the time. Barack Obama wants to help.
As president, Obama embraced the role of bookworm-in-chief, regularly offering recommendations based on his own voracious reading. He hasn't given up the habit since leaving the oval office. Recently he took to Facebook to offer a short but eclectic list of must read titles for spring. Get ready to fill up your e-reader or beach bag.
1. The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates
"When you lift up women, you lift up everybody--families, communities, entire countries. That's not just the right approach; it's backed up by research and countless real-world examples," insists Obama.
It's an argument Melinda Gates makes in detail in her new book, which combines powerful stories from her work as philanthropist with hard data to persuade readers the key to improving the world for everybody is improving the lives of women.
2. The Shadow of Sirius by W. S. Merwin
And now for something totally different from the usual policy and economics titles you'd expect from an ex-president: a book of poetry by the late W.S. Merwin.
"This collection offers a good sampling of his work. I've drawn inspiration from Merwin's writing because it teaches us about ourselves, our world, and how we as humans connect to nature. Most of us don't spend a lot of time on poetry but Merwin's death reminded me of how a good poem can inspire and instruct. So if you're in the mood, give one of them a try," Obama writes, trying to win over poetry skeptics.
3. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Got an early beach vacation coming up and in need of a page-turner? This epic about a Korean family living in Japan might not be all smiles (or even mostly smiles) but it's pretty much guaranteed to keep you entertained. I personally couldn't put it down.
"This is a captivating book I read at the suggestion of a young staffer on my team," reports Obama. "Min Jin Lee draws you in from the first line, 'History has failed us, but no matter,'" and then takes you "through four generations and each character's search for identity and success. It's a powerful story about resilience and compassion."
What books are you excited to read this spring?