Here’s Everything Barack Obama Read, Watched, And Listened To In 2018

From films like Black Panther and The Rider to books like An American Marriage and Becoming, Obama had a busy year.

When you’re no longer president, you finally have some time on your hands to watch movies or catch up on some reading.

So on Friday morning, former president Barack Obama revealed a long list of all his favorite things from 2018, including everything from music he enjoyed to the books he devoured over the course of the year.

Obama’s year-end lists, which have become something of a tradition, are a time for the former head of state to “pause and reflect,” he wrote.

“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,” Obama said.

Without further ado, here are Obama’s favorite things — 2018 edition:

When it came to Obama’s favorite books of the year, his wife’s memoir was at the top of the list. Becoming by Michelle Obama was “obviously” his favorite, he said.

The remaining books released in 2018 that the former president read were:

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

Obama shared other books he read this year that appeared on earlier lists:

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 Ngũgĩ 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

As far as movies, Obama listed a mix of box-office successes and indie flicks among his favorites.

They were:


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

Finally, Obama ended things on a high note by revealing his favorite songs of 2018, which included hits like "Apeshit" by Beyoncé and Jay-Z and Cardi B's "I Like It."

Other songs the president jammed out to were:

"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

"Kevin’s Heart" by J. Cole

"King For A Day" by Anderson East

"Love Lies" by Khalid and 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 featuring 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 featuring Kendrick Lamar

Obama also honored the great jazz singer Nancy Wilson, who died in early December, with an acknowledgment of her classic album The Great American Songbook.

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