Home Barack Obama Barack Obama’s Year-End Lists – Books, Movies, Music (e.g., Things That Make...

Barack Obama’s Year-End Lists – Books, Movies, Music (e.g., Things That Make Us Human, but That Trump Knows/Cares Nothing About)


See below for President Barack Obama’s year-end lists of books, movies and music that he “found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved” in 2018. What were your favorite books, movies and music of 2018? A few books I read in 2018 that I really liked were “Exit West: A Novel” by Mohsin Hamid; “World without mind: the existential threat of big tech” by Franklin Foer; “All our wrong todays: a novel,” by Elan Mastai; “A world in disarray: American foreign policy and the crisis of the old order” by Richard Haas; “It’s time to fight dirty: how Democrats can build a lasting majority in American politics” by David Faris; “President Carter: the White House years” by Stuart Eizenstat; and “Trumpocracy: the corruption of the American Republic” by David Frum. A few movies I really liked were Black Panther; The Post; Won’t You Be My Neighbor; Bill Nye: Science Guy; RBG; Trumbo; Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You; and Darkest Hour. And now, a bunch more ideas courtesy of the brilliant, cultured, erudite Barack Obama — the diametric opposite of Trump, who probably hasn’t read a book in years, who has zero appreciation for culture/the arts/science/nature, etc. It’s crazy how we went from such an amazing human being (Obama) to such an incurious, boorish philistine (Trump). Hopefully, just two more years of this embarrassing monstrosity…

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.

Here’s a reminder of the books that I read this year that appeared on earlier lists:
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

Here are my other favorite books of 2018:
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

My favorite movies of 2018:
Black Panther
The Death of Stalin
Eighth Grade
If Beale Street Could Talk
Leave No Trace
Minding the Gap
The Rider
Support the Girls
Won’t You Be My Neighbor

And finally, my favorite songs of 2018:
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


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