Former President Barack Obama on Friday shared some of the books, movies and music he found most inspiring or thought-provoking in 2018, including works that he “just plain loved,” compiling them into a year-end list posted on Facebook.
It was a wide-ranging list that included songs by artists as varied as Cardi B, Janelle Monae and Nancy Wilson, who died this month. Unsurprisingly, ‘Becoming’, by Michelle Obama, topped his list of books, which featured multiple works by women and by authors of colour.
Obama started sharing his reading lists and playlists during his presidency and has continued that tradition into retirement. The selections are a carefully curated mix of works that have found critical acclaim or mainstream popularity, punctuated by nods to lesser-known artists.
A love of books has always been one of his defining features. Nearly every night in the White House, he would read for an hour or so, The New York Times’ former chief book critic, Michiko Kakutani, reported.
“Not since Lincoln has there been a president as fundamentally shaped — in his life, convictions and outlook on the world — by reading and writing as Barack Obama,” Kakutani wrote.
Obama’s Facebook post provided “a chance to highlight talented authors, artists, and storytellers — some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before,” he wrote.
Several of his favourite books, including ‘There There’, ‘Asymmetry’ and ‘Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom’, appeared on The Times’ list of the 10 best books of 2018.