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Entertainment Weekly

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Barack Obama names his favorite books and music of 2017

JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images

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Even after his presidency, Barack Obama is still pop culture enthusiast-in-chief.

While he was in office, POTUS 44 often posted reading lists (here’s every book he recommended during his two terms) and even earned the title “President of Playlists” for his dedication to sharing his favorite workout songs and lazy summer jams.

On New Year’s Eve, the former president continued the tradition by sharing the books and tracks he loved during his first year out of the White House. “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,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “With some extra time on my hands this year to catch up, I wanted to share the books and music that I enjoyed most.”

The former president’s book choices range from contemporary nonfiction, with Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City; to short fiction, with James McBride’s National Book Award winner Five-Carat Soul; to American history, in the form of Hamilton biographer Ron Chernow’s Ulysses S. Grant tome Grant; to buzzy literary fiction, like the National Book Award-winning Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward; to a special “bonus for hoops fans,” with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Coach Wooden and Me and Shea Serrano’s Basketball (and Other Things).

His music picks include classic Obama favorites like Chance the Rapper, Frank Ocean, and Kendrick Lamar, as well as some unexpected choices like Camila Cabello (who can resist “Havana”?), Harry Styles, and Portugal. The Man.

Read his full list of 2017 picks above.

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