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Barack Obama’s Favorite Books, Movies, and TV Shows From 2019
Former President Barack Obama has made a habit of dropping lists of his favorite books, films, and music each year, and on Saturday he kicked off the latest edition by posting lineups of some of the best things he read and watched in 2019.
Sharing his ex-presidential picks has “become a fun little tradition for me,” wrote Obama, “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,” he wrote.
Obama recommended some of the year’s most acclaimed films, including Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. He also shouted out American Factory, the first project to emerge from his and Michelle Obama’s Netflix deal. (As the former president pointed out in his social media caption, the doc made the Oscars shortlist, so its inclusion seems fair enough.)
He also listed three TV shows—Fleabag, Watchmen, and Unbelievable—with the slightly shady note that he considered them “as powerful as movies.”
Among his favorite books of the year are poet and novelist Ben Lerner’s The Topeka School, investigative journalist Patrick Radden Keefe’s Say Nothing, which is about the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and Jia Tolentino’s essay collection Trick Mirror. He also included a reminder of books he cited as his favorites earlier in the year, including the memoir from his former senior White House advisor Valerie Jarrett and the collected works of the late, great Toni Morrison.
Gabrielle Bruney is a writer and editor for Esquire, where she focuses on politics and culture.