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President Obama’s favorite films, books, and music of 2023

It’s time for one of our favorite traditions: President Obama’s annual list of top picks! From books to movies to music, check out some of the stories and art that resonated with President Obama in 2023.

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A white graphic with a multicolored blue-green border reads “Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2023: The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride; The Maniac by Benjamin Labatut; Poverty, By America by Matthew Desmond; How to Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair; The Wager by David Grann; The Vaster Wilds by Lauren Groff; Humanly Possible by Sarah Bakewell; King: A Life by Jonathan Eigh; The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese; The Best Minds by Jonathan Rosen; All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby; The Kingdom, The Power, and The Glory by Tim Alberta; Some People Need Killing by Patricia Evangelista; and This Other Eden by Paul Harding.”

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A white graphic with a multicolored blue-green border reads “Barack Obama’s Favorite Music of 2023: TQG by Karol G & Shakira; I Remember Everything by Zach Bryan ft. Kacey Musgraves; Sprinter by Dave & Central Cee; Since I Have a Lover by 6LACK; Cobra by Megan Thee Stallion; Joiner by Blondshell; Midnight Gospel by Alé Araya ft. Joseph Chilliams; America Has a Problem by Beyoncé ft. Kendrick Lamar; Water by Tyla; The Returner by Allison Russell; Unavailable by Davido ft. Musa Keys; My Love Mine All Mine by Mitski; Sittin’ On Top of the World by Burna Boy ft. 21 Savage; Vampire Empire by Big Thief; younger & Dumber by Indigo De Souza; Toxic Trait by Stormzy ft. Fredo; Where You Are by John Summit & Hayla; La Bebe (Remix) by Yng Lvcas & Peso Pluma; On My Mama by Victoria Monét; Cast Iron Skillet by Jason Isbel and the 400 Unit; WY@ by Brent Faiyaz; Amapiano by Asake & Olamide; Lose Control by Teddy Swims; Crazy Love by Rita WIlson & Keith Urban; Drink the River by Gabe Lee; Road to Freedom by Lenny Kravitz; It Never Went Away by Jon Batiste; and Me & U by Tems.”

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A white graphic with a multicolored blue-green border reads “Barack Obama’s Favorite Movies of 2023: Rustin, Leave the World Behind, American Symphony, The Holdovers, Blackberry, Oppenheimer, American Fiction, Anatomy of a Fall, Monster, Past Lives, Air, Polite Society, A Thousand And One, and The Color Purple.”

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The Center

President Obama has always believed that the arts are a powerful form of expression in a democratic culture and platform to fuel positive change.  That belief will be reflected in the future Obama Presidential Center, which will feature a community recording studio, auditorium, and a new branch of the Chicago Public Library! You can learn more about the Center here.

Learn about the Center