“Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion,” the sensational collection of essays by prolific cultural critic Jia Tolentino of the New Yorker, has landed on former President Barack Obama’s list of favorite books released in 2019.
The New York Times best-seller from the 31-year-old Filipina American writer has been praised for providing fresh, nuanced perspectives on scammer culture, the commodification of female social mobility and the millennial identity shaped by precarity and narcissism.
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Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing my annual list of favorites — books, films, and music — with all of you. This has become a fun little tradition for me, and I hope it is for you, too. Because while each of us has plenty that keeps us busy—work and family life, social and volunteer commitments—outlets like literature and art can enhance our day-to-day experiences. They’re the fabric that helps make up a life—the album that lifts us up after a long day, the dog-eared paperback we grab off the shelf to give to a friend, the movie that makes us think and feel in a new way, works that simply help us escape for a bit. To start, here are the books that made the last year a little brighter for me. Most of them came out in 2019, but a few were older ones that were new to me this year. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Posted annually to his social media accounts, the 44th President of the United States also shared his lists of favorite songs, movies and television shows. On the Instagram post of his favorite 2019 books, he said, “Because while each of us has plenty that keeps us busy — work and family life, social and volunteer commitments — outlets like literature and art can enhance our day-to-day experiences.”
Tolentino, ever the witty purveyor of millennial Internet parlance, simply responded to the news with a series of skull emojis.
Released in August, “Trick Mirror” joins other best-selling books by Asian and Asian American writers listed as Obama favorites and recommendations: “Trust Exercise” by Susan Choi, “Exhalation” by Ted Chiang, “Men Without Women” by Haruki Murakami and “Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee.