Publication Dates and the Magic of Overlapping Narratives

Books, reading challenge 2019

One exciting benefit of reading Michelle Obama’s Becoming immediately after Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father: A story of race and inheritance is that I am able to cross reference the details of stories and interesting facts, reinforcing the things I would like to take away from both books. Through this process, I realized I had the timeline on the 44th president’s first memoir completely wrong!

As Michelle detailed the details of her husband’s first book, it did not align with what I had thought and posted about previously when discussing my first book of the year. I assumed his book came out prior to his initial entry into politics, but this is actually incorrect. The book was originally published in 1995, long before he became the political phenom that won the presidency in 2008. The book was, however, re-released in 2004 as his political career began to take hold.

It is interesting to read these 2 books in succession. Their overlapping narratives and 23 year publication date difference provides a really fascinating and fun comparison.

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!