Back in 2016, with a lot of time on my hands while recovering from a bone marrow transplant, I posted a list of favorite books after a friend suggested that we exchange lists of books that had “moved us.” With one exception, I get all the books I read from a small group of friends whose judgment I trust. The exception is that once a year I look at Barack Obama’s annual list of favorite books (along with his list of favorite tunes). I count the former President as a member of the small circle whose judgement I trust when it comes to books. In any event, while I’m obviously no Obama, here’s a list, in no particular order, of my favorite fiction and nonfiction books over the past few years:


  • The Guest BookSarah Blake
  • The UnAmerican StoriesMolly Antopol
  • My Dear I wanted to Tell YouLouisa Young (the first in a trilogy)
  • Olive AgainElizabeth Strout
  • Jayber CrowWendell Berry
  • Washington BlackEsi Edugyan (also an Obama pick)
  • The Women in the CastleJessica Shattuck
  • Snow Falling on CedarsDavid Guterson (published in 1994, I just read and loved it)
  • The Essays of EB Whiteold but timeless (especially Here is New York)

Non Fiction

  • The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabbotarge, and Fear in the Cyber AgeDavid Sanger
  • The Fifth RiskMichael Lewis
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American CityMatthew Desmond
  • The Cut Out Girl: A Story of War and Family, Lost and FoundBart van Es
  • Churchill: Walking With DestinyAndrew Roberts
  • Leadership in Turbulent TimesDorris Kearns Goodwin
  • Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupJohn Carreyrou
  • Hitler: A BiographyIan Kershaw (disturbingly relevant today!)
  • Just MercyBryan Stevenson (2014– I should have read it long ago)
  • EducatedTara Westover (an Obama 2018 pick)

Please comment with your favorite books in either category, or with  thoughts about these picks. And if you want to see the books on my earlier list, click here