Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
The Schmooze

Barack Obama’s Favorite Book Of 2017 Was A Female Power Dystopia Written By A Jewish Woman

Like us here at the Schmooze, Barack Obama enjoys saluting the successes of Jewish women through a good old-fashioned listicle. The former president, who has been enjoying the end of his tenure with jury duty and attending Broadway shows, posted a list of his top 10 favorite books and songs of the year, complete with a few asides (which we believe qualifies it as a listicle.)

We couldn’t help but notice that Obama’s first selection is “The Power,” a book by British Jewish author Naomi Alderman, which imagines a future in which young women develop the ability to deliver electric shocks with their bodies and establishing themselves as the dominant gender. “The Power,” which was also a New York Times pick for the top ten books of the year, imagines a world where women don’t fear men. No more clenching your keys in your fist on the walk to your front door, no more second-guessing whether you “asked for it,” and no more harassment. Just men receiving electric shocks.

This is the new favorite book of America’s most recent president!

(For those concerned, rest assured that the book does not advocate torturing men, seizing the reins of society, and turning it into a violent matriarchy; rather it uses satire to imagine an extreme reversal of current gender relations.)

The rest of the list, released on Facebook just before the New Year, overwhelmingly featured Jewish authors. “Grant,” written by Ron Chernow, who famously penned the biography that inspired the smash Broadway musical “Hamilton,” made the list. (I didn’t read it, but my Dad did and he assured me that we will probably not be getting another hit musical out of the disorganized, hard drinking Grant.) Amy Goldstein’s “Janesville: An American Story,” which covers life in a small town in Wisconsin after a General Motors factory closes, was another of the former president’s favorite reads. And Jew-ish (by his own admission) James McBride, who wrote the short story collection “Five-Carat Soul” captured Obama’s attention this year as well.

All told, 40% of the books on the list were written by Jews. Yay, Jews! (We fared less well in the music section.) Happy New Years and merry reading to one and all.

Jenny Singer is a writer for the Forward. You can reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.