Barack Obama’s annual best-of lists have become a thing. In lieu of formal speeches and State of the Union addresses, the public now anticipates the former president’s reading recommendations or which Bad Bunny album he liked more this year. And, just to be clear, we’re not being facetious — he’s got great recommendations, with both widely praised picks and lesser-known gems in the mix.
“As 2020 comes to a close, I wanted to share my annual lists of favorites,” Obama said before kicking things off with his favorite books of the year. In true form, he also slipped in quite the dad joke: “I’ll start by sharing my favorite books this year, deliberately omitting what I think is a pretty good book — A Promised Land — by a certain 44th president.” The literary list consists of socio-political reads, including Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste and Brit Bennett’s bestselling The Vanishing Half, which is already being developed into a limited series by HBO.
Obama’s favorite shows didn’t come as a surprise since he recently name-dropped many of them, like The Good Place and Better Call Saul, while discussing what he watched while writing his memoir. It is, however, nice to see Michaela Coel’s brilliant I May Destroy You continue to get the recognition it so deserves. His movie list, meanwhile, is incredibly dynamic and includes Pixar’s animated Soul, Oscar contender Nomadland, Brazilian cult favorite Bacurau, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which is the late Chadwick Boseman’s final film.
His music picks have yet to be shared — so TBD on the Bad Bunny reveal — but check out the rest ahead.