Here Are My Favorite Books, Movies, and Music of 2023

Barack Obama
3 min readDec 29, 2023

As I usually do during this time of year, I wanted to share my favorite books, movies, and music of 2023.

First up, here are the books I’ve enjoyed reading. If you’re looking for a new book over the holidays, give one of them a try. And if you can, shop at an independent bookstore or check them out at your local library.

Favorite Books of 2023:

The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store — James McBride

The MANIAC — Benjamin Labatut

*Poverty, By America — Matthew Desmond

How to Say Babylon — Safiya Sinclair

*The Wager — David Grann

Chip War — Chris Miller

The Vaster Wilds — Lauren Groff

Humanly Possible — Sarah Bakewell

*King: A Life — Jonathan Eig

The Covenant of Water — Abraham Verghese

The Best Minds — Jonathan Rosen

*All the Sinners Bleed — S.A. Cosby

The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory — Tim Alberta

Some People Need Killing — Patricia Evangelista

This Other Eden — Paul Harding

*Books that were also on my Summer Reading List

Favorite Movies of 2023:

Earlier this year, writers and actors went on strike to advocate for better working conditions and protections. It led to important changes that will transform the industry for the better.

Here are some films that reflect their hard work over the last year — including some like Rustin, American Symphony, and Leave the World Behind that we were proud to release through Higher Ground.

I’m biased since these movies were produced by Higher Ground, but these are in fact three of the best films I saw this year:


Leave the World Behind

American Symphony

My other favorite movies of 2023:

The Holdovers



American Fiction

Anatomy of a Fall


Past Lives


Polite Society

A Thousand and One

The Color Purple

Favorite Music of 2023:

Here are some of my favorite songs from this year:

TQG — Karol G & Shakira

I Remember Everything — Zach Bryan ft. Kacey Musgraves

Sprinter — Dave & Central Cee

Since I Have a Lover — 6LACK

Cobra — Megan Thee Stallion

Joiner — Blondshell

Midnight Gospel — Alé Araya ft. Joseph Chilliams

America Has a Problem — Beyoncé ft. Kendrick Lamar

Water — Tyla

The Returner — Allison Russell

Unavailable — Davido ft. Musa Keys

My Love Mine All Mine — Mitski

Sittin’ On Top Of The World — Burna Boy ft. 21 Savage

Vampire Empire — Big Thief

Younger & Dumber — Indigo De Souza

Toxic Trait — Stormzy ft. Fredo

Where You Are — John Summit & Hayla

La Bebe (Remix) — Yng Lvcas & Peso Pluma

On My Mama — Victoria Monét

Cast Iron Skillet — Jason Isbell & 400 units

WY@ — Brent Faiyaz

Amapiano — Asake & Olamide

Lose Control — Teddy Swims

Me & U — Tems

Drink the River — Gabe Lee

Crazy Love — Rita Wilson & Keith Urban

Road to Freedom — Lenny Kravitz

It Never Went Away — Jon Batiste