Skip to main content

Book 36 of 52: Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

Hey-o! Out of the book funk...at least for now.

I've meant to read Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance since the election. I wanted to know more about the man who was to then-become President, but I'd also read reviews of the books that pegged it as a different kind of book than those typically written by candidates for higher office.

And there's a good reason why: Obama wrote this book in 1992, before he was even in politics. Instead of smarmy "this is why you should vote for me" books put out by every candidate (on both sides of the aisle), it's a book by a man of mixed race with an absent father. The fact that he then went on to become President is a footnote -- not even mentioned in the book (though it does have a 2004 epilogue).

I don't want to jump into politics too much, so this review will be short. As a memoir, it's good. Does it give you a better picture of where the President came from? Absolutely. But even if you don't like him, it's still a great read and well written book about one man's journey through the choppy racial waters of American and Africa (though I'd agree with Obama when he says in the 2004 introduction that he was a little verbose).

Why did I pick it up now? I don't know. It could have to do with the book funk, wide praise of the book, and the 20% off sticker at Target. Whatever it was, I'm glad I picked it up.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book 12 of 52: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi is an author and graphic novelist who grew up in Iran and, as a tween and teen, lived in the country through  the Iranian Revolution before her parents sent her to Europe for school, and for her safety.  As an adult, she wrote Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood ,  a nonfiction graphic novel, originally in French. I read the English translation, which was published in 2003, three years after the original. It was a critical success, won a slew of awards, and became a movie . I haven't read the sequel, Persepolis 2 , but I hope to (you can also  buy them in a set . I found Persepolis  in a Little Free Library, or I'd have bought them combined).  In the tradition of Art Spiegelman's  Maus , which is about the author's father talking to him about the Holocaust,  Persepolis  is a memoir of trauma told through a mix of images and words that when combined, combust into powerful, beautiful and soul cracking art.  For example, Satrapi portrays the 1978 Cinema R

Book 11 of 52: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

In my travels, I've accumulated photos in what I call the "Plants Where They Shouldn't Be" series. They're of weeds, flowers and trees growing in places that look uncomfortable: poking out of lava that's OK to walk on but warm enough to generate steam, growing around a mile marker on the road, sprouting on the back of a parking sign - that kind of thing. On the cheesy side, they're reminders that we can flourish in the most unlikely circumstances. On a more realistic end, they show that humans are constantly battling back nature, and that someday we'll probably lose the fight. I thought about those photos when I read  book 8 of 52 Station Eleven  (and watched  the HBO Max adaptation ), which show a world without 99.99 percent of our current human population. The story focuses on people, of course, but set them in a world where the things humans have created - electricity, internet, buildings, bridges, roads - are being taken back by nature. A Jersey Sh

Book 16 of 52: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris

I have generalized anxiety disorder and, on and off, dance with depression. I have done a lot of work to be able to not just function but live a full and rewarding life, including but not limited to therapy, medication, and running for hours at a time . However, in early 2020, COVID broke over those dams. I write about science and medicine, and I had panic attacks while interviewing doctors. That early March, I screamed at my dad to not get on a plane to Texas, and for my mom give up her tickets for the Philadelphia Flower Show - and then catastrophized when they did those things anyway. My friend said that I was a Casandra: shouting about the terror to come with no one believing me, until it was already here. In a gasp to find some relief, I tried meditation, first through the Calm app , and then Dan Harris book, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress without Losing My Edge, and Found Self Help that Actually Works   (quite a subtitle). I would sit at my dining r