Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Reading with Obama and a Thank You


First of all, I hope the new year is beginning well for all of you! Mine started out well with a walk in the freshly fallen snow followed by lunch with friends.
Natural springs melt enough show for a little stream.
On Monday, the New York Times published a list of the books that former President Barak Obama read in 2018 -- and I found that he and I read five of the same books:

-An American Marriage by  Tayari Jones. I listened to this one, and I enjoyed it a great deal. It's the fictional story of the marriage of two Black professionals and how their lives are affected when the husband is falsely convicted of a violent crime. This a well-written book with a compelling plot that has a lot to say about being Black in America today.
-Educated by Tara Westover. I listened to this one, too. A gripping story about growing up in a conservative Mormon family with a father who is both a survivalist and bipolar. Tara's journey to Cambridge is inspiring.
-How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt looks at history to relate how leaders can destroy democracies. A scary and essential read at this point in time.
- There There by Tommy Orange sounded like a book I would love. It follows a handful of characters in the Oakland, CA, area before a pow-wow. Everyone I know loved this book. I didn't even finish it. The characters just didn't sit well with me.
-Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday was possibly the most praised work of literary fiction in 2018. I'm not sure I can finish this one, either. Yes, the writing is strong, but the story of a 20-something aspiring writer and an elderly literary star is passionless and dull. Halliday herself had an affair with Philip Roth when she was younger.

My most-fun read of 2018 -- well, actually, listen-- was a book I would never have picked out if so many of my treasured blog friends hadn't talked it up. So my sincere thanks to all of you who recommended: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

I listened to this one, too, which I highly recommend. The reader captures the accents and inflections of the characters -- without taking on such a strong brogue that the dialogue is difficult to understanding. Listening to this book was sheer joy.



14 comments:

  1. I have not read An American Marriage - I've read mixed reviews on it. Maybe I should give it a try. I did not like Educated at all. And I've been waiting FOREVER for There There to come through on Overdrive. Currently I'm reading The Feather Thief and really enjoying it.

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  2. I liked "An American Marriage". I did not like "Educated". I do have Asymmetry and ThereThere on the Kindle and haven't gotten into them. And I think I'm about 15% into Elinor Oliphant and it didn't grab me but maybe I need to have another go.

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing this intriguing list! I loved An American Marriage - it was powerful and so beautifully written. I could not read Educated - it was far too painful to listen to. I have added How Democracies Die to my list. Thank you!

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  4. Your reading list is quite interesting and your comments thoughtful. I so enjoy reading bloggers' different reactions to books. Variety is the spice of reading life.

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  5. Oooo I love the book recap. I had another friend really enjoy Educated. I have put it on the list.

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  6. Nothing like a book report! It's nice to not have to finish a book if you don't want to, isn't it?!

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  7. Last night I was looking for a new listen without any luck. Thanks to you and Bridget I've got lots of good leads.

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  8. Fireman is reading born a crime. If he likes it i will readit next

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  9. When I read your post title, I expected to see that you were reading Becoming! Our DD gave us Educated and it's waiting on my Kindle, but first up is this month's book club title. However, I've fallen into a series of mysteries that take place long ago in Boston and they keep calling to me. Enjoy these last few days of the holiday season, and have a great new year!

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  10. I saw his list and need to add it to my list. Happy new year to you!! May it be a healthy one and more knitting and sketching :)

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  11. I m so glad to visit this blog.This blog is really so amazing
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  12. You do a great amount of reading! That's indeed great! I must say that I no longer read as much as I used to. Wonderful list of books you got there!

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  13. Fun fun to read your reads!!!! I want to read or listen to audio books a bit more this year!! Zach started teaching agan today, Hoping his classes were a bit better than prior to break.

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  14. Great reads! I was not a huge Eleanor fan but that being said I would read the author again. Have a great weekend.

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