Books and Culture

Barack Obama shares his 19 favorite books of 2019

Former President Barack Obama
Chip Somodevilla

On Dec. 28, former President Barack Obama revealed his annual year-end list of favorite books. Later in the weekend, he also shared his favorite movies and TV shows of the year, including "Booksmart," "The Irishman" and "Fleabag." He said he'll release his favorite music of the year as well.

"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 wrote in a post on Instagram. "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."

This year's book list consisted of 19 reads that "made the last year a little brighter for me," he wrote. "Most of them came out in 2019, but a few were older ones that were new to me this year."

Notable selections include Sally Rooney's novel "Normal People," which is being adapted for Hulu and set to premiere next year, and Bernardine Evaristo's 2019 Booker Prize-winning novel, "Girl, Woman, Other."

Here's the full list of Obama's favorite books of 2019. The last two are "for the sports fans," he noted.

  1. "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism" by Shoshana Zuboff
  2. "The Anarchy" by William Dalrymple
  3. "Furious Hours" by Casey Cep
  4. "Girl, Woman, Other" by Bernardine Evaristo
  5. "The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee" by David Treuer
  6. "How to Do Nothing" by Jenny Odell
  7. "Lost Children Archive" by Valeria Luiselli
  8. "Lot: Stories" by Bryan Washington
  9. "Normal People" by Sally Rooney
  10. "The Orphan Master's Son" by Adam Johnson
  11. "The Yellow House" by Sarah M. Broom
  12. "Say Nothing" by Patrick Radden Keefe
  13. "Solitary" by Albert Woodfox
  14. "The Topeka School" by Ben Lerner
  15. "Trick Mirror" by Jia Tolentino
  16. "Trust Exercise" by Susan Choi
  17. "We Live in Water" by Jess Walter
  18. "A Different Way to Win" by Jim Rooney
  19. "The Sixth Man" by Andre Iguodala

Obama started the tradition of sharing his reading lists and playlists during his presidency as a "nice way to reflect on the works that resonated with me and lift up authors and artists from around the world," he said in 2017.

Check out his list of favorites from 2018.

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