Former President Barack Obama was known for releasing summer book lists, and the tradition hasn't stopped since he left office.
On Friday, Obama took to Facebook to tell followers about his upcoming trip to Kenya and South Africa and recommend some related reading.
"Over the years since, I've often drawn inspiration from Africa's extraordinary literary tradition," Obama wrote in the post. "As I prepare for this trip, I wanted to share a list of books that I’d recommend for summer reading, including some from a number of Africa’s best writers and thinkers – each of whom illuminate our world in powerful and unique ways."
"Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe
Chinua Achebe's book takes readers to a society in Nigeria battling tensions with missionaries and colonialism, ending in an emotional downturn that is hard to see coming. Of the novel, Obama says it "has inspired generations of writers in Nigeria, across Africa, and around the world."
"A Grain of Wheat" by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
This historical novel is set during Kenya's fight for independence. Obama said it's a story that shows "how the transformative events of history weigh on individual lives and relationships."
"Long Walk to Freedom" by Nelson Mandela
The story of Nelson Mandela's life is pretty well-known, but this memoir gives readers a more personal account of the icon's life. Obama deems it "essential reading for anyone who wants to understand history – and then go out and change it."
"Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
If you haven't read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's work yet, this might be a good place to start. Her stories take readers through borderlands of identity, and Obama notes that "Americanah" grapples with "universal questions of race and belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for identity and a home."
"The Return" by Hisham Matar
Hisham Matar's autobiography centers on Libya and "the author’s dogged quest to find his father who disappeared in Gaddafi’s prisons."
"The World As It Is" by Ben Rhodes
The last book on Obama's list hits very close to home for him. Written by one of his former staffers, the book documents the Obama White House. While Obama notes that Rhodes "does not have African blood running through his veins," the former president calls Rhodes new memoir "one of the smartest reflections I’ve seen as to how we approached foreign policy, and one of the most compelling stories I’ve seen about what it’s actually like to serve the American people for eight years in the White House."
Mentioned in the post but not included on his official list was Obama's own memoir about his family and time in Africa, "Dreams From My Father."