Former President Barack Obama released his annual summer reading list and the late Toni Morrison featured prominently in his recommendations.
“It’s August, so I wanted to let you know about a few books I’ve been reading this summer, in case you’re looking for some suggestions,” he said in the Facebook Post.
“To start, you can’t go wrong by reading or re-reading the collected works of Toni Morrison. Beloved, Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, Sula, everything else — they’re transcendent, all of them.”
The Nobel laureate died Aug. 5 after a brief illness, her family announced.
“It is with profound sadness we share that, following a short illness, our adored mother and grandmother, Toni Morrison, passed away peacefully last night surrounded by family and friends,” her family said in a statement shared by USA Today. “She was an extremely devoted mother, grandmother and aunt who reveled in being with her family and friends. The consummate writer who treasured the written word, whether her own, her students or others, she read voraciously and was most at home when writing. Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well-lived life.”
After Morrison’s death, Obama shared a remembrance on social media. “Toni Morrison was a national treasure,” he wrote. “Her writing was not just beautiful but meaningful — a challenge to our conscience and a call to greater empathy. She was as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page.”
In 2012, he awarded Morrison the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the two highest honors the U.S. government presents to civilians.
To read Obama’s other recommendations, including works from Colson Whitehead, Téa Obreht, Lauren Wilkinson and Ted Chiang, check out his list here.