Obama's favourite books and songs of 2017

On Mr Barack Obama's favourites list are Sign Of The Times by Harry Styles (above) and Exit West (left) by Mohsin Hamid.
On Mr Barack Obama's favourites list are Sign Of The Times by Harry Styles (above) and Exit West by Mohsin Hamid.ST PHOTO: ALOYSIUS LIM

CHICAGO • Former United States president Barack Obama - recently named the most admired man by Americans in a Gallup poll - is not wasting his time now that he has more free time.

Continuing his annual tradition of sharing his favourite diversions, he posted on Facebook on Sunday that he had "extra time on my hands" to indulge in a broader spectrum of whims after he left office in January last year.

Mr Obama, 56, said: "During my presidency, I started a tradition of sharing my reading lists and playlists. It was a nice way to reflect on the works that resonated with me and lift up authors and artists from around the world.

"With some extra time on my hands this year to catch up, I wanted to share the books and music that I enjoyed most."

Among the 12 books he gave a nod to are Grant (a biography of former US president Ulysses S. Grant, by Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow); Janesville: An American Story (upheavals in a Wisconsin town after it loses its major employer, by Amy Goldstein) and Dying: A Memoir (dealing with an untreatable illness, by Cory Taylor).

On the music front, Mr Obama came up with 22 hot picks, ranging from Harry Styles' Sign Of The Times (his debut solo single, whose lyrics are inspired by a mother dying after childbirth) to Jay-Z's Family Feud (the video features the rapper addressing the hurt of infidelity in a confessional booth opposite his wife Beyonce) to U2's Ordinary Love (a tribute to South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela that is featured in the 2013 film, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom).


TOP BOOKS

1. The Power by Naomi Alderman

2. Grant by Ron Chernow

On Mr Barack Obama's favourites list are Sign Of The Times by Harry Styles (above) and Exit West (left) by Mohsin Hamid.
On Mr Barack Obama's favourites list are Sign Of The Times by Harry Styles and Exit West (above) by Mohsin Hamid. PHOTO: RIVERHEAD BOOKS

3. Evicted: Poverty And Profit In The American City by Matthew Desmond

4. Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein

5. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

6. Five-Carat Soul by James McBride

7. Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

8. Dying: A Memoir by Cory Taylor

9. A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles

10. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

11. Coach Wooden And Me by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

12. Basketball (And Other Things) by Shea Serrano

TOP SONGS

1. Mi Gente by J Balvin & Willy William

2. Havana by Camila Cabello (feat. Young Thug)

3. Blessed by Daniel Caesar

4. The Joke by Brandi Carlile

5. First World Problems by Chance The Rapper (feat. Daniel Caesar)

6. Rise Up by Andra Day

7. Wild Thoughts by DJ Khaled (feat. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller)

8. Family Feud by Jay-Z (feat. Beyonce)

9. Humble by Kendrick Lamar

10. La Dame Et Ses Valises by Les Amazones d'Afrique (feat. Nneka)

11. Unforgettable by French Montana (feat. Swae Lee)

12. The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness by The National

13. Chanel by Frank Ocean

14. Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man

15. Butterfly Effect by Travis Scott

16. Matter Of Time by Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

17. Little Bit by Mavis Staples

18. Millionaire by Chris Stapleton

19. Sign Of The Times by Harry Styles

20. Broken Clocks by SZA

21. Ordinary Love (Extraordinary Mix) by U2

22. Born In The U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2018, with the headline 'Obama's favourite books and songs of 2017'. Print Edition | Subscribe