With the start of 2020 just days away, former President Obama is giving fans a look back at the best books he read over the past year. If you're looking for new material to read, Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2019 promises to start your new year off on the right foot. Here's everything he chose, from recommendations he previously shared like Valerie Jarrett’s Finding My Voice and Melinda Gates' The Moment of Lift to a historical account of Native Americans.
Every year, the former president looks back on the past twelve months with a list of some of his favorite titles, and 2019 was no different. On Saturday, Dec. 28, the 44th POTUS took to Instagram and Twitter to share his 19 picks from the past year, which included everything from essays and history books to fiction and biographies. In his Instagram post caption, Obama revealed that he'd be posting lists containing his favorite films and music from the past year as well to help his followers count down to 2020.
"Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing my annual list of favorites — books, films, and music — with all of you," he wrote. This has become a fun little tradition for me, and I hope it is for you, too."
His picks included The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff, The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company by William Dalrymple, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell, Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli, Lot: Stories by Bryan Washington, Normal People by Sally Rooney, The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson, The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom, Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe, Solitary by Albert Woodfox, The Topeka School by Ben Lerner, Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino, Trust Exercise by Susan Choi, and We Live in Water: Stories by Jess Walter.
He also included two titles for sports devotees, listing A Different Way to Win: Dan Rooney's Story from the Super Bowl to the Rooney Rule by Jim Rooney and The Sixth Man by Andre Iguodala as his selections.
In his caption, the former president reflected on the value of "outlets" like books and art, writing, "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. They’re the fabric that helps make up a life—the album that lifts us up after a long day, the dog-eared paperback we grab off the shelf to give to a friend, the movie that makes us think and feel in a new way, works that simply help us escape for a bit."
He concluded by telling his followers that he'd be doing the same thing for his favorite movies and songs in the coming days. "To start, here are the books that made the last year a little brighter for me," he wrote. "Most of them came out in 2019, but a few were older ones that were new to me this year. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did."
From the sound of things, Obama will be sharing his top picks in film and music in the coming days, but in the meantime, I'd check out his book recommendations and consider making a few of them a part of your reading list in 2020.