Day 17: Books, America, Yeah- Keep Reading!

Books, My 500 Words, reading challenge 2019

It is day 17 of #my500words, and I am in a slump. I have a lot happening in my brain these days, but my day to day feels uneventful. I worked from my apartment all day every day last week and found the experience to be restorative mostly. I welcomed the arrival of my boyfriend home as I am much more likely to get out of my head and into the world when he or other friends are near.

I am reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow still and enjoying it. But, WOW it is so detailed that my library rental might be due before I can finish. I am only 15% finished with a few days left. I like the book a lot but find the material to be so dense that I cannot gulp it in for a few hours at a time. I am disappointed by this. But, there is still time left, so perhaps I will mark my spot in it if I don’t finish and wait a few weeks until I open the book again. That really would not be the worst outcome.

What shall I read in the likely middle time? I would like something fiction maybe, something I can absorb myself in. I have started 2019 with political books mostly, maybe there is a good fiction book that keeps with the unintended theme! I shall commence some research. Ideally, I could read 2 or 3 books before returning to good old “Hammy”, as I affectionately call the book. I am absorbing so much of the book though, that if I were doing this for a history class, I would be crushing it. However, reading it for a reading challenge, I think the choice was not as brilliant!

Last year, I started reading The Handmaid’s Tale and thought it was great. I never got going on it however, so I could restart that! Dystopian novels might fit the bill if I want to stick with my political theme but try some fiction.

There are, surprisingly, a lot of articles about what political fiction one should read and why it is a worthy genre. All The King’s Men comes first in every list, so maybe I will see what this book entails. It does make a little nervous, however, that it will be very dense material. I could use a fun page turner, and political fiction might not exactly produce that. I COULD BE WRONG THOUGH! Alas, I have a few days left of scrolling through Alex Ham’s life, so it doesn’t matter just yet. My confidence might just be a bit down after 2 weeks and not as much progress as I would have hoped.

The bright side to all of this is that I am reading MUCH more intently, challenging myself with the material, and honestly learning a lot. And, as those were my goals surrounding this reading challenge to begin with, I would say that I am and will be a success whether I hit 50 or whether I merely desperately try to hit 50.

 

Dreams from My Father- Thoughts and Takeaways

Books, reading challenge 2019

I finished Dreams from My Father, former President Barack Obama’s autobiographical narrative of his early years, earlier this week. It chronicles Obama’s childhood and family background as well as his years working as an organizer in Chicago and exploring what it means to be black, or white for that matter, in America.

I found the book to be an interesting look at the 44th president of the U.S. I knew very little about this important man’s background, and how much of that knowledge had come from inflammatory news and media outlets, both defending and defaming him. I knew that his election was historic, and I had even cried when it happened. I didn’t understand the truth behind his humble beginnings or his unique American story.

The book’s exploration of racial themes is insightful. As Obama explores his roots in America as well as Africa, the reader can peek at a new perspective of colonialism and of the inherited pain and struggle of generations past. I would recommend the book, although at times I can admit that my attention faded. I give 5 stars for teaching me to be more aware and critical of the information I consume. I give 3.7 stars for the book itself. Although it was very good and interesting, large sections of the book were a bit lost on me and felt convoluted. If the book was a memoir by anyone else, I cannot say that it would be an excellent book.

Grateful to start the year and the challenge off with a great read.

1/50

A Closer Look at former President Obama

Books, reading challenge 2019

This morning, without much deliberation or thought, I set a goal to read 50 books in 2019! I have no real measure of my normal reading habits or speed, so I am looking forward to crushing this goal and finally reading so many of the books I have been eager to find time for! First up is Barack Obama’s 1995 book Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.

I was, as so many were, utterly captivated by former President Barack Obama as a freshman in college in 2008, the year America elected its first black president. I had never voted before and believed deeply in his message and what his presidency might mean for all Americans.

I became interested in reading this after having read a review of Michelle Obama’s new book Becoming and wanting to read it. As a devoted local library reader, her new book was only available to be reserved for some undetermined future date. However, as my search continued it dawned on me that I had never read a single book by or about her husband and former president, THE Barack Obama. I knew then that I had a new book to start off the new year right.

As I work my way through it, I will be taking notes and will post my thoughts on the book and what surprised, interested, or bored me. I am really enjoying the book so far and am shocked by how little I knew about this very important man!

I look forward to sharing more soon!

Happy New Year!