Barack Obama
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Former US president Barack Obama called his wife Michelle’s memoir his favourite book of 2018. Photo: AFP

Barack Obama names Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming his favourite book of 2018, adding: ‘obviously!’

  • Michelle Obama’s new memoir is about her life before, during and after her time in the White House
  • The former US president described the book by his wife as ‘obviously my favorite!’
Barack Obama

This story is published in a content partnership with POLITICO. It was originally reported by Garrett Ross on on December 28, 2018.

Former US president Barack Obama’s favourite book of 2018 was, in his own words, obvious. In a Facebook post listing his favourite books, movies and songs of 2018, the Democrat said Becoming, Michelle Obama’s new memoir about her life before, during and after her time in the White House, was “obviously my favorite!”

Though he noted that Becoming had appeared on previous lists of his must-reads this year, Obama said he was eager to share his top choices in several categories in what has become “a favorite tradition” as the year concludes.

The best books of 2018 – from Haruki Murakami to Keigo Higashino

“It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books, movies, and music that I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved,” Obama wrote. “It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors, artists, and storytellers – some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before.”

Becoming by Michelle Obama.

A common thread among the lists was the prominence of media created by black authors, filmmakers, actors and artists.

Among 11 books that he highlighted that he said did not appear on other lists he had shared were Arthur Ashe: A Life by Raymond Arsenault, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight and Washington Black by Esi Edugyan.

For the 15 films he said were his top choices for 2018, he included blockbusters and award favourites alike, including Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk, Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma and Won’t You Be My Neighbor, the documentary about Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

Obama's 23-song playlist of favourites included tracks from artists such as Beyoncé and Jay Z, Cardi B, H.E.R., J. Cole and Chance the Rapper, a Chicago native.

Barack Obama’s best of 2018


  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • American Prison by Shane Bauer
  • Arthur Ashe: A Life by Raymond Arsenault
  • Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
  • The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die by Keith Payne
  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • Factfulness by Hans Rosling
  • Feel Free by Zadie Smith
  • Florida by Lauren Groff
  • Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight
  • Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging by Alex Wagner
  • A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
  • A House for Mr Biswas by V.S. Naipaul
  • How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
  • In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History by Mitch Landrieu
  • Immigrant, Montana by Amitava Kumar
  • The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson
  • Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark
  • Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
  • The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti
  • There There by Tommy Orange
  • The Return by Hisham Matar
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  • Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
  • Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
  • Why Liberalism Failed by Patrick Deneen
  • The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes


  • Annihilation
  • Black Panther
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Blindspotting
  • Burning
  • The Death of Stalin
  • Eighth Grade
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Leave No Trace
  • Minding the Gap
  • The Rider
  • Roma
  • Shoplifters i
  • Support the Girls
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor


  • Apes**t by The Carters
  • Bad Bad News by Leon Bridges
  • Could’ve Been by H.E.R. (feat. Bryson Tiller)
  • Disco Yes by Tom Misch (feat. Poppy Ajudha)
  • Ekombe by Jupiter & Okwess
  • Every Time I Hear That Song by Brandi Carlile
  • Girl Goin’ Nowhere by Ashley McBryde
  • Historia De Un Amor by Tonina (feat. Javier Limón and Tali Rubinstein)
  • I Like It by Cardi B (feat. Bad Bunny and J Balvin)
  • Kevin’s Heart by J. Cole
  • King For A Day by Anderson East
  • Love Lies by Khalid & Normani
  • Make Me Feel by Janelle Monáe
  • Mary Don’t You Weep (Piano & A Microphone 1983 Version) by Prince
  • My Own Thing by Chance the Rapper (feat. Joey Purp)
  • Need a Little Time by Courtney Barnett
  • Nina Cried Power by Hozier (feat. Mavis Staples)
  • Nterini by Fatoumata Diawara
  • One Trick Ponies by Kurt Vile
  • Turnin’ Me Up by BJ the Chicago Kid
  • Wait by the River by Lord Huron
  • Wow Freestyle by Jay Rock (feat. Kendrick Lamar)

Album, in tribute

  • “The Great American Songbook” by Nancy Wilson
Read Politico story here.