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Barack Obama Just Released His Favorite Films, Songs and Books of 2018, and People Miss Him Even More

Solid lists.

Barack Obama Just Released His Favorite Films, Songs and Books of 2018, and People Miss Him Even More
Former US president Barack Obama delivers the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, urging young people to fight to defend democracy, human rights and peace, to a crowd of 15,000 people at the Wanderers cricket stadium in Johannesburg on July 17, 2018, as the centrepiece of celebrations marking 100 years since Nelson Mandela's birth. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)

Former President Barack Obama posted a list of the best books he read, films he watched, and songs he listened to in 2018, prompting many to express how much they missed his presence in the White House.

Obama posted the following message on Facebook:

As 2018 draws to a close, I’m continuing a favorite tradition of mine and sharing my year-end lists. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books, movies, and music that I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved. It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors, artists, and storytellers – some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before. Here’s my best of 2018 list - I hope you enjoy reading, watching, and listening.

The complete list is below.


The books the former president read this year include the critically acclaimed memoir Educated, the classic novels A House for Mr. Biswas and Things Fall Apart, and books on political and socioeconomic theory, including How Democracies Die and The New Geography of Jobs.

  • Becoming by Michelle Obama (obviously my favorite!)
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die by Keith Payne
  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • Factfulness by Hans Rosling
  • Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging by Alex Wagner
  • A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
  • A House for Mr Biswas by V.S. Naipaul
  • How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
  • In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History by Mitch Landrieu
  • Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
  • The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti
  • The Return by Hisham Matar
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  • Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
  • Why Liberalism Failed by Patrick Deneen
  • The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes
  • American Prison by Shane Bauer
  • Arthur Ashe: A Life by Raymond Arsenault
  • Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
  • Feel Free by Zadie Smith
  • Florida by Lauren Groff
  • Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight
  • Immigrant, Montana by Amitava Kumar
  • The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson
  • Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark
  • There There by Tommy Orange
  • Washington Black by Esi Edugyan


The films the former president watched this year include Alex Garland's science fiction thriller Annihilation, Armando Ianucci's satire The Death of Stalin, Bo Welch's indie hit Eighth Grade, Barry Jenkins's adaptation of James Baldwin's If Beale Street Could Talk, and Debra Granik's acclaimed Leave No Trace.

  • Annihilation
  • Black Panther
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Blindspotting
  • Burning
  • The Death of Stalin
  • Eighth Grade
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Leave No Trace
  • Minding the Gap
  • The Rider
  • Roma
  • Shoplifters
  • Support the Girls
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor


The songs the former president listened to this year include a mix of different genres and styles, featuring everything from "Bad Bad News" by Leon Bridges to "I Like It" by Cardi B to "Nina Cried Power" by Hozier and "Wait by the River" by Lord Huron.

  • "Apes••t" by The Carters
  • "Bad Bad News" by Leon Bridges
  • "Could’ve Been by H.E.R." (feat. Bryson Tiller)
  • "Disco Yes" by Tom Misch (feat. Poppy Ajudha)
  • "Ekombe" by Jupiter & Okwess
  • "Every Time I Hear That Song" by Brandi Carlile
  • "Girl Goin’ Nowhere" by Ashley McBryde
  • "Historia De Un Amor" by Tonina (feat. Javier Limón and Tali Rubinstein)
  • "I Like It" by Cardi B (feat. Bad Bunny and J Balvin)
  • "Kevin’s Heart" by J. Cole
  • "King For A Day" by Anderson East
  • "Love Lies" by Khalid & Normani
  • "Make Me Feel" by Janelle Monáe
  • "Mary Don’t You Weep (Piano & A Microphone 1983 Version)" by Prince
  • "My Own Thing" by Chance the Rapper (feat. Joey Purp)
  • "Need a Little Time" by Courtney Barnett
  • "Nina Cried Power" by Hozier (feat. Mavis Staples)
  • "Nterini" by Fatoumata Diawara
  • "One Trick Ponies" by Kurt Vile
  • "Turnin’ Me Up" by BJ the Chicago Kid
  • "Wait by the River" by Lord Huron
  • "Wow Freestyle" by Jay Rock (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
  • And in honor of one of the great jazz singers of all time, who died this year, a classic album: The Great American Songbook by Nancy Wilson

Obama's post prompted an outpouring of support from Americans who appreciated the time he spent crafting the list.

They also reminisced on his years in the White House.

Obama has made an effort each year to compile a list of his favorite books, films, and songs that had a profound emotional or visceral impact on him. This habit lies in stark contrast to President Donald Trump, who, it has been noted before, doesn't appear to read much, if at all.

Trump has, however, used his Twitter feed to stump for books by conservative authors who are sympathetic to him and his administration, as evidenced below.

The opposite is true for those who are critical of the president's administration, as was the case with Fear: Trump in the White House, by Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward.

Woodward based the book, in part, on interviews he had with White House insiders who described the president as tempestuous and ill-prepared for the challenges of leading the nation.