Barack Obama released his annual favorite books & favorite movies lists

Former President Obama Campaigns for Florida Democrats Gillum and Nelson In Miami

Former president Barack Obama has always been a nerd. I love that about him. When he was in office, he would often share his end-of-the-year lists of favorite movies and books. I love that about him too, but let’s be real: it’s super-nerdy. I say all of this with an enormous amount of affection. I miss this nerd. I miss having a nerdy president. I miss having a president who is a voracious consumer of literature and news and culture. I miss having a president who can string together three full sentences. I miss having a president who can READ three full sentences.

Another thing I love is Obama’s cultural taste and his taste in art. I don’t always agree with him about art or books or movies, but I like that he’s capable of reading 100 books a year and culling down a list of a dozen of his favorites. I’m sure someone’s probably already written a piece about an “Obama bump” in book sales after he features certain books on his end-of-year list, and I’m sure it’s a real thing too. I might even be more likely to pick up a certain book or watch a certain TV show if I know he likes it. So here are Obama’s listicles of his favorite 2019 books and movies/TV shows:

God, he’s such a nerd! Bless his heart. I actually imagine him sitting there with a longer list and taking hours to cull it down to his absolute favorites. For the books: a lot of nonfiction, and a good group of male and female writers (Jia Tolentino was freaking out that he included her book). As for movies/TV: he loved Little Women, I guess I have to see it now. I love that he enjoyed The Farewell, it’s a really great little movie. Ford v. Ferrari is Peak Dad Movie, and Barack Obama is Peak Dad so it checks out. And he loved Fleabag Season 2!! He likes the Hot Priest!! And he’s fine with Phoebe Waller-Bridge wanking to a clip of one of his speeches in Season 1, presumably. Also: no superhero movies, huh? Very interesting. It looks like Obama is on Team Scorsese in the battle of Marvel Movies Are Theme Parks.

Barack Obama greets the media in NYC

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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41 Responses to “Barack Obama released his annual favorite books & favorite movies lists”

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  1. Pixie says:

    Um I CANNOT believe he started the list off with the Age of Surveillance Capitalism. The book blames his administration for the fortification of Surveillance Capitalism and all of its many dangers. What a mind boggling choice.

    • Noodle says:

      I haven’t read the book, but I like to think that the philosophical issue of surveillance is a really important and relevant one. Perhaps he liked the book for the questions it raised, because they are really important questions. Or, perhaps he feels regret for his administration’s role in the issue, in hindsight. Sometimes you do what you think is best in the short-term, and it ends up being a regret in the long-term. I actually like him more for picking a book that doesn’t prod his ego or is far up his a$$; it shows his ability to think critically about matters, even if he doesn’t 100% agree with the ideas.

    • anon says:

      That’s because it’s an intellectual choice, not an emotional one. It shows that he can live with criticism, unlike the current Faulknerian Idiot Man-Child in the oval office.

    • Mumbles says:

      Agreed. It is highly critical of the revolving door between the Obama administration and Google. Did he actually read it?

  2. Bettyrose says:

    Is he on Goodreads? I’d love to read his reviews of each book.

  3. Bella DuPont says:

    And just to make sure that no source of vulgarity is left untapped, I’d like to point out that Fleabag season 1, has a scene with The main character mastubating to an Obama speech…..if he’s recommending season 2, he *must* have seen that scene right?

    Very naughty, Obama. Very naughty. 😊🤭

  4. minx says:

    Love that he loved Fleabag.

  5. Lightpurple says:

    Oh, the days of having a President who reads, watches films, including documentaries, and, gasp, has good taste!

  6. Donn says:

    I saw an article on CNN yesterday comparing to Trumps’ list. Trumps list contained only books about conspiracies about him, how great he is and how democrats/liberals were destroying the United States. How did we sink so low in 2016? It was an opinion article on CNN but sounds completely plausible, if we really believed Trump read books.

    • Bella DuPont says:

      I would bet my left foot that Trump hasn’t read anything more than 5 pages long, cover to cover in the last decade.

  7. stepup says:

    He’s certainly repping his new employer, Netflix.

  8. MC2 says:

    I love his lists & now have Watchmen on mine!

    • Mac says:

      I was surprised to learn that Watchmen is where most Americans learned about the Tulsa Massacre. I have not had time to watch the series, but it is definitely on my list.

  9. anon says:

    His previous list actually induced me to pick up Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan. Holy cow, what a fantastic book. If you haven’t read it, run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore (notice I’m not plugging Amazon here) and read it as soon as you can.

    Truly, her writing is a wonder.

  10. Lina says:

    It’s so funny that he picked Fleabag! In season 1 she masturbates while watching him give a speech!

  11. Peanutbuttr says:

    Watchmen is based on a comic book and deals with superheroes

  12. Adrien says:

    The books are the only ones he probably read. No one has time to read that many books and even pick the best ones from all the year’s releases. I bet his favorite movies are really The Joker, Endgame, John Wick Parabellum and Always Be My Maybe from Netflix but they seem too light and mainstream. His favorite series is really The Affair but tells everyone he loves Chernobyl. Well actually, the last one is me. In other words, Prez Obama is just like us in our dating profile.

    • Bettyrose says:

      There’s also a difference between the books you secretly love and the ones you recommend to others. I was up all night finishing a mass market suspense novel with zero social relevance, but I think America should read Flint: The Poisoned City.

    • McMe says:

      My husband does. No less than a book a week. He has a very stressful job and reading is how he relaxes..

    • lucy2 says:

      I read Michelle Obama’s book, and she talked about how much he reads. I have no problem believing he reads a ton and had this large of a “best of” list.
      I have friends who are in the triple digits for books they’ve read this year.

    • SKF says:

      I disagree. My mother, who is retired but does a lot of volunteer work, read 144 books this year (she logs them on Book Buddy). She’s a former librarian / English teacher and reading is her form of meditation. She is super busy, always out and about, very social, etc. but she dedicates significant spare/down time to reading and always has. I could easily read triple the number of books in Obama’s list in a year, and I work long hours, have a busy social life, and also watch tv and movies, etc. Some people read a lot. I can see Obama being one of them.

  13. Chickadee3 says:

    Not that my endorsement has more weight than Obama’s, but ‘Say Nothing,’ ‘Furious Hours,’ and ‘How to Do Nothing’ are all astounding books and I am so pleased that he picked them! Definitely recommend for those looking for New Year reading!

  14. Lillian says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Cool and wholesome. Made my week better.

  15. Yeah, I don’t love all his picks but I still think the world of him and miss him so much. I am looking for some great reads about now. Some light, some thought-provoking. And a great winter classic. (And haha definitely need some new movies or tv shows, seriously, I just watch the same old sitcoms all the time.) Hope you are all well, and happy reading everybody!

  16. papier mache says:

    The influencer president. Thoroughly done with this guy.

  17. msd says:

    I find it depressing that some people’s first reaction is that he hasn’t read these books or seen these films. He was a major bookworm and film buff years before he was president. He genuinely loves these things. It’s like we’ve forgotten what an intelligent leader is. We also assume no one actually cares about culture anymore; they just pretend to. I could make a list like this. It wouldn’t be as comprehensive as his, especially with the books, but it wouldn’t be that far off either. I’ve read Normal People and Wolf Hall! I’ve seen Atlantics and Parasite! I’ve watched Unbelievable! And more. I’m normal. I’m not elite.