Former US President Barack Obama has just released the annual list of his favourite books, movies and TV shows of the year, something that’s become a tradition since the 58-year-old left office in 2017.
Writing on Twitter and Instagram that the recommendations have “become a fun little tradition for me,” Obama added, “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.”
He then kicked things off by dropping his top books of the year, a two-page list which includes poet and novelist Ben Lerner’s The Topeka School, investigative journalist Patrick Radden Keefe’s Say Nothing and New Yorker journalist Jia Tolentino’s essay collection Trick Mirror.
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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.
On the second page, Obama reminded his followers of the books he’d already mentioned earlier in the year, including Sally Rooney’s Normal People and The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction made Obama’s list in 2018, too).
When it comes to movies, Obama recommended some of the year’s most acclaimed films, including Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite.
He also included the first project from his and Michelle Obama’s Netflix deal, American Factory, which made the Oscars shortlist for 2020 and Greta Gerwig’s newly released adaptation of Little Women, which stars Timothee Chalamet, Meryl Streep and Emma Watson.
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Next up are my favorite movies and TV shows of 2019. This year’s list includes everything from explorations of class dynamics and relationships, to an inspired reboot of a classic graphic novel, to a portal back to one of the most special places in history — an Aretha Franklin concert. Of course, there’s also American Factory, a film from our own production company, Higher Ground, that was recently shortlisted for an Oscar. It’s our first offering in partnership with Netflix, and I’m excited about the other projects we’ve got in the works. Here’s the full list:
This year, Obama included an extra section at the end of TV shows he deemed “as powerful as movies,” including Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, Netflix’s Unbelievable and Watchmen.
So if you were wondering how to fill the next few ‘what-day-even-is-it?’ days, Obama has you more than covered.