Michelle Obama recently surprised fans by announcing that she will be releasing her second book, The Light We Carry, this November. The new book will be the follow-up to Obama’s bestselling debut memoir, Becoming, and comes amid a turbulent and trying time in American politics and everyday life. While few details about the book have been released, the info we do know implies that Obama will be directly tackling some of the most pressing issues we face. As we await more information about Obama’s new book, here are five things we already know about The Light We Carry.
The book will focus on dealing with difficult times
In her official announcement posted on social media, Obama framed the book as a reflection on “how to stay centered in a world filled with so much uncertainty.” In a 90-second video posted on her official accounts, the former first lady discusses a host of recent crises and political struggles and asks “how can we channel our frustration into something positive?” She refers to the book as a toolbox of strategies and techniques that she has gathered throughout her life to keep herself centered.
These past few years, I’ve been thinking about how to stay centered in a world filled with so much uncertainty. And that process led me to writing my new book—The Light We Carry—coming out on November 15. Learn more at https://t.co/IZWLMRGTn5. #TheLightWeCarry pic.twitter.com/Eblo8Xoapc
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) July 21, 2022
Obama appears to be taking on politics and life
The new book’s release date, Nov. 15, will put it out just after the fall midterm elections. But this does not mean that the book will not be political, especially since excerpts from the book will no doubt circulate ahead of its official debut. Concerning potential topics, Obama’s announcement video directly references the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jan. 6 insurrection and “a rising tide of hate and bigotry and intolerance” as among the challenges that have inspired her to write the book.
Though she has in the past explicitly rejected the idea of running for office herself, Obama has often been one of the Democratic Party’s most effective operatives and spokespeople. This new book seems like it will at least touch on her opinions on some of the most pressing political issues in our country.
The book comes at a busy time for Obama
The launch of The Light We Carry represents a return to the spotlight for Obama, as she has kept a relatively low profile during the pandemic after being very active as first lady and during her book tour for Becoming. The release of her second book is one of several high-profile engagements. Later this fall, she will return to the White House for the first time since leaving it as first lady when the Obamas have their official portraits unveiled.
As Blavity previously reported, Obama has pledged through her When We All Vote campaign to register and mobilize new voters ahead of this fall’s elections. Her new book’s publisher, Penguin Random House, has renamed a writing award in her honor. The award, aimed at high school students, is now The Michelle Obama Award for Memoir.
Obama may have a royal showdown when her book is released
The Nov. 15 release date is also notable because it is the same day that another high-profile public figure is set to release his book. Prince Harry‘s highly-anticipated debut memoir, which is expected to share exclusive and potentially unflattering insights about the British royal family, is being released on the same day by the same publisher. Despite the British press playing this up as a competition, observers think the different nature of the two books will prevent them from competing with one another for readers. And neither Obama nor Harry are likely to have any bad blood over the shared release date, as Obama is friends with Harry and his wife Meghan.
"The Light We Carry" will almost certainly be a huge success
Expectations for Obama’s new book are sky-high after the success of Becoming. That book has been noted as one of the biggest best-sellers of all time, with 17 million copies sold worldwide. That total surpasses any book by a modern American president or first lady, including Michelle’s husband, Barack. Anticipating a highly successful second book, the publisher plans to initially release nearly 3 million copies of The Light We Carry in 14 languages.
Overall, it seems as though Obama’s new book will be a popular and timely commentary on her own life and the times in which we live. With a world that seems to make less and less sense for many of us each day, millions of people across the country and around the world could use some inspiration and tips on how to cope. If The Light We Carry fulfills those goals, it should be a big success and an important book for our times.