A Well Rounded President


President Barack Obama

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. From songs that got me moving to stories that inspired me, here’s my 2017 list — I hope you enjoy it and have a happy and healthy New Year.

The best books I read in 2017:
The Power by Naomi Alderman
Grant by Ron Chernow
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Five-Carat Soul by James McBride
Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
Dying: A Memoir by Cory Taylor
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
*Bonus for hoops fans: Coach Wooden and Me by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Basketball (and Other Things) by Shea Serrano

My favorite songs of 2017:
Mi Gente by J Balvin & Willy William
Havana by Camila Cabello (feat. Young Thug)
Blessed by Daniel Caesar
The Joke by Brandi Carlile
First World Problems by Chance The Rapper (feat. Daniel Caesar)
Rise Up by Andra Day
Wild Thoughts by DJ Khaled (feat. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller)
Family Feud by Jay-Z (feat. Beyoncé)
Humble by Kendrick Lamar
La Dame et Ses Valises by Les Amazones d’Afrique (feat. Nneka)
Unforgettable by French Montana (feat. Swae Lee)
The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness by The National
Chanel by Frank Ocean
Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man
Butterfly Effect by Travis Scott
Matter of Time by Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

Little Bit by Mavis Staples
Millionaire by Chris Stapleton
Sign of the Times by Harry Styles
Broken Clocks by SZA
Ordinary Love (Extraordinary Mix) by U2
*Bonus: Born in the U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen (not out yet, but the blues version in his Broadway show is the best!)





135 Responses to “A Well Rounded President”

  1. 1 GGAIL
    January 1, 2018 at 12:46 pm


  2. 9 GGAIL
    January 1, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    It is no surprise that PBO is so well loved 💕

  3. 10 GGAIL
    January 1, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Nerdy, thank you so much for your dedication.
    We Love You! ❤️

  4. 13 Judith Fardig
    January 1, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Hi Gail and HAPPY 2018!!!

  5. 16 Idon
    January 1, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Happy New Year TOD family. I love the reactions of the artist who wound up on President Obama’s end of year 2017 list. They make me smile BIG.

  6. 17 Dudette
    January 1, 2018 at 1:02 pm

  7. 18 Dudette
    January 1, 2018 at 1:07 pm

  8. 19 Dudette
    January 1, 2018 at 1:07 pm

  9. 21 Don
    January 1, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    That’s a pretty busy and eclectic playlist, my playlist is everything Gladys Knight and the Pips and Bobby Womack and a couple of more artist and that’s about it.

  10. 24 Dudette
    January 1, 2018 at 1:08 pm

  11. 27 Dudette
    January 1, 2018 at 1:09 pm

  12. 28 Dudette
    January 1, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    • 29 pkayden
      January 2, 2018 at 11:22 am

      Vote in each and every election. That should be the mentality of each Democrat-leaning voter. And the DNC has to run candidates in every single contest. Give Democrats and progressives candidates to vote for even in deeply red states. That’s the only way we’re going to reverse the tide of Republicanism.

  13. 30 Dudette
    January 1, 2018 at 1:17 pm

  14. 37 Dudette
    January 1, 2018 at 1:26 pm

  15. January 1, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Happy New Year TOD. Love to all.💖
    A special thanks to Nerdy Wonka for
    all her efforts to keep this lighthouse open.
    It sure helped to guide us through the endless
    fog of 2017.

  16. January 1, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    HNY to one and all survivors of this despotic regime!!
    PBO is an avatar in our time for truth, peace and justice and this one will love him till the end of time.
    Om lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu.

  17. 40 Ann_T
    January 1, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    I love how PBO still uplifts artists. I love “Feel It Still” by Portugal.The.Man. Their reaction was priceless. LOL

  18. January 1, 2018 at 3:44 pm

  19. January 1, 2018 at 3:44 pm

  20. January 1, 2018 at 3:50 pm

  21. January 1, 2018 at 3:50 pm

  22. January 1, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    • January 1, 2018 at 3:54 pm

  23. 48 Anna
    January 1, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Here’s to 2018 and taking back OUR country! Thank you Chips for creating a safe place and many more thanks to Nerdy for continuing to keep us safe. Without TOD I believe life would be much more difficult to face the “ugly” republicans. You tell it as it is and give me strength to stand up and fight. The best to all in 2018.

  24. January 1, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    • 51 99ts
      January 1, 2018 at 7:12 pm

      Reading the latest report on trump from the NYT seems the times and its editors/reporters are joining the movement. Never seen such a sycophantic revolting article. Wishing I hadn’t ever seen it.

      And then I read PBO’s annual lists – calmed me down like nothing else could.

    • 52 arapaho415
      January 1, 2018 at 7:53 pm

      GA Dr. Bob.

      This CNN story from Aug 23, 2016 dovetails with Louise Mensch’s latest theory (I was virulently anti-Mensch since Summer, and I know Nerdy W. posted her thoughts about Mensch’s validity):
      “First on CNN: FBI investigating Russian hack of New York Times reporters, others”

      So in addition to lucrative book deal in the works for Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush, looks like #kompromat on @nytimes — maybe even the editor who nixed anti-FUBAR stories close to Nov 2016 election. Looks like they are reacting to this #kompromat the same way Lindsey Graham is… bootlickers all.

      What a sorry state of affairs for this country — self-interest above the good of this country. #UnitedStatesOfTrumpistan


  25. January 1, 2018 at 3:58 pm

  26. January 1, 2018 at 4:01 pm

  27. January 1, 2018 at 4:03 pm

  28. 59 desertflower
    January 1, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    Interesting timeline of conversations here…the content of the conversations are also very interesting….

  29. 60 Nena20409
    January 1, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    GA, GE, GN, GM, to all TODville TODable TODbots across the Globe.
    Thank you, Nerdy Wonka!
    Congrats, to GGail on your Au ⭐ on 01Jan18!
    Happy New Year!
    My favorite Day of the year!
    The song Baby come back has been on my mind all day. 😉
    So, ❤ Sweet Lady Chips ❤ , Baby, come back to Us. You've been missed. Your humor, intellect and your Billy Joel dislike and your passion for your Football team. I even missed the 'snow flakes' coming down on this fabulous blog pages. Please come back, Chipsticks. I miss DannyO and his posts.
    Love this post.
    #ACA! Check! Thanks, Gaba!
    President Obama's Playlist, Check!
    Hollywood Women, They seem to be making a move to stop Idiotic behavior by some men, Check!
    Thank you, TOD!

  30. January 1, 2018 at 5:11 pm


    • January 1, 2018 at 6:20 pm

      Okay let’s speak English, some white person at NY Times sez that Trump has better people skills than aloof Barack Obama. Whoever said it was lying.

  31. 63 desertflower
    January 1, 2018 at 5:12 pm

  32. 64 Nena20409
    January 1, 2018 at 5:27 pm

  33. 65 vcprezofan2
    January 1, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    To ALL TODobots, friends and family,

    https://emojipedia-us.s3.amazonaws.com/thumbs/120/samsung/100/glowing-star_1f31f.png A VERY HAPPY & BLESSED 2018! https://emojipedia-us.s3.amazonaws.com/thumbs/120/samsung/100/glowing-star_1f31f.png

    • 66 vcprezofan2
      January 1, 2018 at 6:14 pm

      😦 So the stars didn’t work. Sigh! Was trying to highlight my New Year’s message to you guys and dolls, which was:

      “To ALL TODobots, friends and family,

      A VERY HAPPY & BLESSED 2018!’

      ❤ anyways. 🙂

      • 67 mtmarilyn
        January 1, 2018 at 8:55 pm

        Same to you and your son VC!

        • 68 vcprezofan2
          January 1, 2018 at 9:04 pm

          Thanks a lot, Marilyn. We’ve both of us been chilling out quietly today. 🙂 Hope you’ve been enjoying the very *cold* holiday weather.

          • 69 mtmarilyn
            January 1, 2018 at 10:34 pm

            We have been chillin’ out too. It’s been a very different holiday with our son in Singapore. Thank goodness for facetime and texting, we are in touch constantly. But we found out on Christmas Day it was the first time in his life he hadn’t been home for Christmas and he’s 42. It was a tough day but we talked twice. I just miss being able to hug him. He is where he is suppose to be so we are making do and making plans to fly to Singapore this next winter. I have always been a hugger, I miss my adult son.

            I truly believe 2018 will be a year of change. #WomenPower

            • 70 vcprezofan2
              January 1, 2018 at 10:41 pm

              {{{{ MtM}}}} Hang in there, the time will pass quickly until you guys visit.

              And yes, 2018 *has got to be* a year of change! Otherwise I think some people will likely *go crazy*. It’s too hard to watch the Idiot President’s reign while recognizing the amount of damage he is doing daily

  34. 71 99ts
    January 1, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    President Obama writes/tweets to lift people up

    the moron can’t read or write but he tweets to bring people down.

    • January 2, 2018 at 12:06 pm

      He is scum of the earth. Hate is a strong word, but I hate every fiber of his being. Just detestable. And it burns me to see him being treated as presidential. All he has going for him is white privilege. Happy New year 99.

  35. 73 jacquelineoboomer
    January 1, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    “I will start every conversation for the rest of my life with this.” — Shea Serrano

    OMG. Too funny! We’d all do the same thing if our book ended up on HIS list.

  36. January 1, 2018 at 7:54 pm

  37. January 1, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    My “GO TO HELL” tweet to @NYTimes a couple days ago remains the kindest advice it’ll ever get from me ……

    • 77 arapaho415
      January 1, 2018 at 9:53 pm

      Here’s another thread from Center for American Progress:

      The answer is “yes” to all these questions:

  38. January 1, 2018 at 8:01 pm


  39. January 1, 2018 at 8:05 pm

  40. January 1, 2018 at 8:17 pm


  41. 87 amk for obama
    January 1, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Get away from sidelines, get in line.

  42. January 1, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    View this post on Instagram


    A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

  43. January 1, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    • 91 arapaho415
      January 1, 2018 at 9:58 pm

      GE Sheila.

      Whoa, John Dean is en fuego, response should be “tell us how you really feel,” LOL. 😀

      This is a pretty good tweet, too:

    • 93 Sandy1110
      January 1, 2018 at 11:01 pm

      Happy New Year’s to all!

      John Dean knows a threat to democracy when he sees one.

      My hope is that there are some principled rich, like Gregg Popovich and Rick Steves, who will take their tax windfall from the GOP and funnel it into Dem races, or support Eric Holder’s anti-gerrymandering efforts.

    • 94 nathkatun7
      January 2, 2018 at 2:02 am

      Sheila, thank you for sharing John Dean’s tweet! I agree with him 100%! But not just the US House of Representatives. Democrats must regain the majority in the U.S. Senate to make sure that Trump does not pack the federal courts with unqualified right wing ideologues who will continue to inflict more harm to this country long after he is gone.

  44. 95 desertflower
    January 1, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    Thread:) We could do this, too. We just all have to VOTE

  45. 97 amk for obama
    January 1, 2018 at 10:34 pm

  46. January 2, 2018 at 12:03 am

    Goodnight TOD ….

  47. 99 desertflower
    January 2, 2018 at 8:46 am

    Wow. Get it together, NC! You’re better than this!

  48. 101 desertflower
    January 2, 2018 at 9:12 am

    This, please. There are many more where this one comes from. They are liars and traitors to their country. They can rot in jail for all I care. The list is long


  49. 102 desertflower
    January 2, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Shocked, I know.

  50. 103 desertflower
    January 2, 2018 at 9:54 am


    In my ten years as a speechwriter for Barack Obama, I’ve been fortunate to experience a few moments when it really did feel like the present gave way to the swirl of history. An electric evening in Grant Park when a young president-elect who looked like no other took the stage. A spontaneous assembly on Pennsylvania Avenue when word spread that the murderous boogeyman behind 9/11 was no more. A joyous June morning when the Supreme Court ruled that all marriage is equal.

    Each time, we took care to commemorate the people who made those moments possible—the countless individuals whose tranquil and steady dedication piled up until history’s walls could no longer hold. The civil-rights pioneers who braved beatings and fire hoses and walked the tread off their shoes so that voters could ultimately cast those ballots. The intelligence officers who hunted for years, across presidencies, and a new generation that signed up to serve so that special operators could carry out that mission. The courage of all the ordinary citizens who came out—and who chose to love those who did—because it pruned the path for activists to work the courts until justice ultimately prevailed.

    That’s the thing about history. It’s measured by the big moments. But the truth is, history is made every day.

  51. 105 desertflower
    January 2, 2018 at 9:59 am

    Thread. You know what they’re coming for next.

  52. January 2, 2018 at 10:01 am

    I like this idea:

  53. January 2, 2018 at 10:02 am


    • 111 desertflower
      January 2, 2018 at 10:07 am


    • 112 sherijr
      January 2, 2018 at 12:08 pm

      Years ago- like 30, I worked full time for San Joaquin County in N. CA, I worked in CPS on the 3rd floor- and received food stamps in the same bldg on the first floor. I was a single mom w/ 2 small kids… and was paid so little that food stamps were very necessary to make it each month.

  54. 113 desertflower
    January 2, 2018 at 10:18 am

  55. 114 desertflower
    January 2, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Look at the fear. They can not win without cheating and disenfranchising voters. They can’t.

  56. 117 desertflower
    January 2, 2018 at 11:12 am

    • 118 0388jojothecat
      January 2, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      Maybe these employers need to be threatened with grand theft, losing their jobs, and jail time. We don’t need a “WALL” we need prosecution and jail time for knowingly hiring someone under the table with without deduction of ss,fica, state taxes, etc.

  57. 119 amk for obama
    January 2, 2018 at 11:28 am

    after that nk nut and iranians, now even pakis are mocking the turd’s empty threats. way to #maga, assholes.

    • January 2, 2018 at 1:04 pm

      -amk you’re loved to pieces here. So pls don’t mind if I say that though ‘paki’ mayn’t be a pejorative in the U.S.A. so much (and
      in sports there’s ‘the paks and the canucks’)…It is very much an epithet across the water. (Conversely happy to know that Pakistan
      means Land of the Pure, so in that country where western forms of racism do not exist – it might be seen as a compliment!)
      All the best in 2018 to you + your family amk.

      • 121 amk for obama
        January 2, 2018 at 11:39 pm

        Thanks and wish you and your family a happy new year. About my use of the word, that’s limeys’ racist framing which I reject.

  58. 122 amk for obama
    January 2, 2018 at 11:39 am

    all these msm ‘journos’ have been so corrupted by money, influence and access. no wonder they kiss the thug’s and rethugs’ asses all the time.

  59. January 2, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    President Obama is the best there is, always trying to give us something to hold on to. Lord knows how many times I despaired last year, and every time, it was his dogged optimism that dragged me out of my black hole. He is truly my inspiration to be better, even when I find myself slipping. And for sure, last year I was a wreck. The best humanity has to offer.

  60. 124 Nena20409
    January 2, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    Happy New Year, beloved TODable TODbots community.
    Sunny and Very Cold in my neck of the woods.
    Thank you, TOD.
    ❤ ❤ ❤ TOD Village.

  61. 125 Nena20409
    January 2, 2018 at 12:19 pm

  62. 126 Nena20409
    January 2, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    A First in 2018?

  63. 128 Nena20409
    January 2, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    • 129 Nena20409
      January 2, 2018 at 12:46 pm

  64. 130 Nena20409
    January 2, 2018 at 12:51 pm

  65. 131 Nena20409
    January 2, 2018 at 1:06 pm

  66. January 2, 2018 at 1:15 pm

  67. 134 Nena20409
    January 2, 2018 at 1:22 pm

  68. January 2, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Please help spread the word.

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