Books | December 19, 2020 7:00 am

Barack Obama Shares His Favorite Books, TV and Movies of 2020

Plenty of intriguing recommendations from the past year

Former President Obama Holds Rally For Joe Biden On Eve Of Election In Miami
Former President Barack Obama on November 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As the end of the year approaches, plenty of people turn to social media to share the movies. books and television shows that they’ve most enjoyed in 2020. Barack Obama is no exception; the former president has regularly kept people up to date on what creative works have impressed him as of late.

It’s not something you see most politicians do — Bernie Sanders’s meme-worthy thanking of bands notwithstanding — but given that Obama has conversed with author Marilynne Robinson and co-founded the production company Higher Ground, which produced the Oscar-winning documentary American Factory.

Obama has announced his favorite books, movies and television for the year — and, like a lot of us, he’s not entirely sure where the borders between the second and third categories can be found.

His preferred books of the year include a solid cross-section of genres and writers, from debut novelist Raven Leilani’s Luster to Pulitzer Prize-winner Anne Applebaum’s Twilight of Democracy.

His list of favorite television shows and movies for the year ventures into unexpected territory. There are some selections you might expect, including The Queen’s Gambit and Better Call Saul. But there are also some that you might not have expected, including the surreal action film Bacurau and Selah and the Spades, about warring factions within a high school.

As with many a year-end list, Obama’s selections might point you in the direction of something you’ve been meaning to watch or read — or turn you on to something you might never have dreamed of experiencing. There’s plenty to ponder in these lists.

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