Bloomberg — If you’re looking for a few movies to watch or books to pick up in the quieter, last few days of 2021, former U.S. President Barack Obama has some suggestions.
The 44th president of the United States on Wednesday posted an infographic to his social media accounts detailing books released in 2021 that “left a lasting impression” on him as a reader. He followed it Thursday with a list of his favorite movies from 2021.
“Art always sustains and nourishes the soul,’’ he wrote on Instagram. “But for me, music and storytelling felt especially urgent during this pandemic year—a way to connect even when we were cooped up.”
Among his picks were “How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America” by Clint Smith, a book that covers the African-American experience from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Plantation to the Angola maximum-security prison in Louisiana. He also highlighted “Crying in H Mart,” the memoir by Michelle Zauner, an indie rock musician who reflects on her heritage and relationship with her mother; and “Harlem Shuffle,” a crime novel by Pulitzer Prize-winner Colson Whitehead.
Obama re-posted a summer reading list he released in June, which includes “Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty” by Patrick Radden Keefe and “Klara and the Sun” by Kazuo Ishiguro. Both books were also included in Bloomberg’s list of the best books of the year, as nominated by newsmakers across a number of industries.
As for films, he recommended Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story,” which opened to disappointing numbers last week; as well as the Netflix picture “Passing,” based on Nella Larsen’s novel of the same name; and the Black Panthers drama “Judas and the Black Messiah,” which was distributed by Warner Bros. Entertainment. The Bosnian war film “Quo Vadis, Aida?” also made Obama’s list. After premiering at the Venice International Film Festival in 2020, it was distributed online by Super LTD earlier this year.
To round out his lists of lists, Obama issued music recommendations on Friday for “Rumors” by Lizzo and Cardi B, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” by rapper Lil Nas X, and “The Only Heartbreaker” by indie singer-songwriter Mitski. The song “Gold Chains” by funk artist Genesis Owusu also made the list, as did “Volví,” a collaboration by Aventura and Bad Bunny. Of his wide taste, Obama said he “listened to a little bit of everything this year.”