True Story

Barack Obama Is Still Writing His Memoir

Hello and happiest of Fridays, fellow readers! This week we learned that Barack Obama’s highly-anticipated memoir likely won’t be out until 2020. One journalist, citing “a person familiar with the writing process,” broke the news on Twitter. USA Today also reported that the publisher, Penguin Random House, began “alerting foreign partners” about the status of the book.

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I’ve been listening to Becoming by Michelle Obama, where she talks a bit about the process Barack used writing his previous books – time alone, writing in long-hand on yellow legal pads. If that’s how he’s approaching his post-White House memoir, I can see it taking quite some time. And if it does come out in 2020, it’ll likely land right in the middle of the campaign. More to come on this one, I fully expect.

With that, let’s move on to some other interesting news of the week:

Ruth Reichl is a treasure, and her recent By the Book column in the New York Times is wonderful. The authors she mentions are varied and interesting, and her proposed slate of seven dinner party guests is a list I can totally get behind. Read it!

Nicole Chung is writing another book! I absolutely loved her first memoir, All You Can Ever Know, so I am thrilled to hear she’s writing more. The book is still untitled, but will be an “examination of class, grief, and healthcare inequality,” which sounds amazing.

Roxane Gay is everywhere and it is awesome. In addition to a podcast, she’s also hosting a book club that “might be on your TV this summer” and launched a new magazine on Medium. I am extremely intrigued about both. And speaking of a podcast, the first episode of Hear to Slay dropped this week. I’m still not totally clear on the platform they’re using, Luminary, but I think the first episode is available for free.

The collected speeches of a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist will be released as a book next month. Greta Thunberg began a worldwide school strike for the environment last year, and has since been a noted speaker. No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference includes 11 of her speeches. All of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to charity.

Daniel Halpern, publisher at Ecco and friend of the late Anthony Bourdain, was interviewed by Grub Street about their relationship and Anthony Bourdain Remembered. In the interview, he talks about the idea behind the book – originally a gift from CNN to Bourdain’s family that’s being published with their blessing. It’s a really thoughtful interview.

It’s been a great week of news! You can find me on Twitter @kimthedork, on email at, and co-hosting the For Real podcast here at Book Riot. Happy reading! – Kim