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President Obama's Reading List -- February

This topic was continued by President Obama's Reading List -- March.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Jan 23, 2017, 6:45pm Top

Edited: Jan 26, 2017, 9:55am Top

Welcome all you fans of President Obama!! This challenge is a chance to read one of his books, or several; independently or following a monthly theme. Just have fun and let us know what you are reading and what you think about it!

For February I am suggesting the theme of Non-Fiction Books

February--Non-Fiction Titles
1. Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Evan Osnos
2. Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman
3. Moral Man And Immoral Society, Reinhold Niebuhr
4. A Kind And Just Parent, William Ayers
5. The Post-American World, Fareed Zakaria
6. Lessons in Disaster, Gordon Goldstein
7. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari
8. The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin
9. Andy Grove: The Life and Times of an American, Richard S Tedlow
10. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, Katherine Boo

And anytime, any month
By President Obama
1. Dreams from My Father
3. The Audacity of Hope
3. Of Thee I Sing a truly beautiful children's book

By Michelle Obama
1. American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America
2. Michelle Obama: In Her Own Words
3. We Rise: Speeches by Inspirational Black Women by Michelle Obama, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Rosa Parks
4. Michelle Obama: Speeches on Life, Love, and American Values by Michelle Obama, Stacie Vander Pol (Editor)
5. Michelle Obama: Our First Lady

And here are some other links:




Edited: Feb 20, 2017, 9:47am Top

And this is a complete look at the themes from the below link. I just decided which one to read when...but make sure to read what you want!


February--Non-Fiction Titles (repeat of above list)
1. Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Evan Osnos
2. Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman
3. Moral Man And Immoral Society, Reinhold Niebuhr
4. A Kind And Just Parent, William Ayers
5. The Post-American World, Fareed Zakaria
6. Lessons in Disaster, Gordon Goldstein
7. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari
8. The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin
9. Andy Grove: The Life and Times of an American, Richard S Tedlow
10. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, Katherine Boo

March--All-time Favorites
1. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
2. Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson
3. Song Of Solomon, Toni Morrison
4. Parting The Waters, Taylor Branch
5. Gilead, Marylinne Robinson
6. Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam
7. The Federalist, Alexander Hamilton
8. Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois
9. The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene
10. The Quiet American, Graham Greene
11. Cancer Ward, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
12. Gandhi’s autobiography
13. Working, Studs Terkel
14. Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith
15. Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith
16. All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren

April--Excellent Novels and Poetry collections
(Coinciding with Mark's Poetry Month)
1. Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese
2. To the End of the Land, David Grossman
3. Purity, Jonathan Franzen
4. A Bend in the River, V. S. Naipau
5. Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff
6. Lush Life, Richard Price
7. Netherland, Joseph O’Neill
8. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, Salman Rushdie
9. Redeployment, Phil Klay
10. Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
11. Plainsong, Kent Haruf
12. The Way Home, George Pelecanos
13. What Is the What, Dave Eggers
14. Philosophy & Literature, Peter S Thompson
15. Collected Poems, Derek Walcott
16. In Dubious Battle, John Steinbeck
17. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
18. The Three-Body Problem, Liu Cixin
19. Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling

May--Books About Other Presidents
1. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Edmund Morris
2. John Adams, David McCullough
3. Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer, Fred Kaplan
4. Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, Jonathan Alte
5. FDR, Jean Edward Smith
6. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin
7. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln

June--Summer Reads 2016
1. Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, William Finnegan
2. H Is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald
3. The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins
4. Seveneves, Neal Stephenson
5. The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead

Edited: Jan 25, 2017, 9:01pm Top

July--Summer Reads 2015
1. All That Is, James Salter
2. The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert
3. The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri
4. Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
5. Washington: A Life, Ron Chernow
6. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr

August--Independent Bookstore Purchases
1. Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson
2. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
3. Nora Webster, Colm Toibin
4. The Laughing Monsters, Denis Johnson
5. Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China, Evan Osnos
6. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Dr. Atul Gawande
7. Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, Katherine Rundell
8. The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan
9. Redwall series, Brian Jacques
10. Junie B. Jones series, Barbara Park
11. Nuts To You, Lynn Rae Perkins

September--Childhood Classics
(Back to School Dontcha Know!)
1. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
2. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
3. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
4. Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak

October--Additional Authors and Philosophers
1. Langston Hughes
2. Richard Wright
3. Mark Twain
4. Malcolm X
5. Philip Roth
6. Saul Bellow
7. Junot Díaz
8. Dave Eggers
9. Zadie Smith
10. Barbara Kingsolver
11. St. Augustine
12. Friedrich Nietzsche
13. Jean-Paul Sartre
14. Thomas Jefferson
15. Ralph Waldo Emerson
16. Abraham Lincoln
17. Paul Tillich
18. E.L. Doctorow

November--Informative Reads
1. Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America, Thomas L Friedman
2. Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001, Steve Coll
3. Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age, Larry Bartels
4. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, Robert A. Caro

December--Books for Daughters
(Because this is my daughter's birthday month)
1. The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer
2. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
3. The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing
4. The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston

Jan 24, 2017, 3:58am Top

Wow, THAT is a great list.

I have to read up on the "february" list to see if there's any I want to read.

But for sure I'm joining in March - already I'm thinking of rereading Gilead as I also want to read the remaining Robinson-novels I haven't read. Also The Quiet American have been on my wish-list for some time.

Edited: Jan 24, 2017, 4:21am Top

OK, I made a quick tour of the non-fiction for february. Two grabbed my attention: Age of Ambition - seems like an interesting read on different Chinese people trying to make it in "an age of ambition".

And The Fire Next Time - Baldwin's book "galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement", as it states.

I'll yet have to decide if I join in february.

Jan 24, 2017, 4:22am Top

If you used touchstones it would be much easier to see which books we have on our own lists.

Jan 24, 2017, 5:53am Top

I'll probably use February to finally get to Sapiens which has been on my TBR pile for ages now. I'm looking forward to it.

Jan 24, 2017, 7:16am Top

>5 ctpress: Maybe February will work for you...if not...see you in March!

>7 MarthaJeanne: Done! I think most of touchstones are correct. Let me know if you find one that doesn't work. ; )

>8 lunacat: That's what I am doing! For February I plan to read Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers , which has been in my TBR stack forever.

Jan 24, 2017, 7:41am Top

OMG this is amazing. Nice work setting it up Kim. I will have to take a harder look at the reading choices and see how to work this into my plans.

Jan 24, 2017, 7:43am Top

Fine job on this Kim. Plenty of choices too. I am sure I will be able to select something, for each month.

Jan 24, 2017, 7:52am Top

>10 lauralkeet: >11 msf59: Yay! Thanks. I was going through the list: "and I want to read that one, and that one, and..."

Jan 24, 2017, 8:15am Top

This is a terrific idea. Thanks for setting it up. I will have a closer look and see how many I can fit into my own reading this year. There are some titles I've already read but plenty that I haven't, so lots of choice here.

Jan 24, 2017, 10:15am Top

It is either Sapiens or Fareed Zakaria for me next month as I have both on the shelves.

Thanks for setting this up Kimmers


Jan 24, 2017, 11:02am Top

Kudos, Kim. A great setup.

For February, I'm going to have a go at Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. It's been on my TBR for several years.

Jan 24, 2017, 1:41pm Top

I probably don't have time for another challenge, but I already have so many of the books listed on my shelves already, I might as well join you folks! I've already started Thinking, Fast and Slow, but put it down due to other deadlines.

It's nice to see I've actually read 15 of his books, and a number of the authors listed!

Jan 24, 2017, 2:29pm Top

I've just reserved The Post-American World. It's available, but I was at the library today, so I won't get back for a few days. This way it will be waiting at the desk for me.

Jan 24, 2017, 3:57pm Top

What a welcome idea! Thank you, Kim! Maybe I'll read Sapiens --- we'll see.

Jan 24, 2017, 4:26pm Top

Oh la la.
Is all I can say right now :)

Jan 24, 2017, 4:36pm Top

>13 jessibud2: Welcome Shelley--(How did you come up with "jessibud2"!?) I look forward to seeing what you choose.

>14 PaulCranswick: Paul! Yay! Both of those will be great reads. Are you going to do a coin flip to decide? ; )

>15 weird_O: Thanks, Bill. This thread is largely due to you. ; )

Edited: Jan 24, 2017, 4:46pm Top

>16 ffortsa: Judy--Perfect! You already have the book in hand and now the excuse to get back to it. ; )

>17 MarthaJeanne: MarthaJeanne--Glad to see you here and pleasure to meet you! Your library pickup timing should be spot on for this February thread.

>18 LizzieD: Lizzie--Glad you like this! And you choice, Sapiens, is another one that is calling to me. It's just that I REALLY want to get Behind the Beautiful Forevers behind me, if you know what I mean. It's been looking at me accusingly from the shelves for quite a while.

>19 LovingLit: Megan--Oh, just face it. You're a goner. Hurry up and decide what you are going to read!! The Bowie Challenge was so much fun with you. Keep me company!

Jan 24, 2017, 5:58pm Top

Great idea, Berly. I saw those lists and found lots I've wanted to read. Thanks for putting this together.

Jan 24, 2017, 6:45pm Top

>20 Berly: - LOL! It's almost embarrassing, actually. Back when I first joined the cyber world, and had no idea what was out there, I wanted a name that would not reveal my identity. So, not being all that creative, I used the names of the cats I had at the name, Jessie and Buddy. Since that became the name I used for the first book site I joined (bookcrossing), I just added the *2* when I came to LT since I knew there were lots of bookcrossers here and that would be an easy way to find me, if they were looking. Buddy and Jessie are long gone now, bless their furry little heads, but they live on! :-)

Jan 24, 2017, 6:52pm Top

>20 Berly: - Just to add, after looking through the lists, above, I want to focus first and foremost this year, on reading books that are already in my house, and from that list, sadly, there is only one, Plainsong but I am on the waiting list at the library and expect a call sooner rather than later for The Underground Railroad. I have already read 8 of the others on the various lists and at least some works of 6 of the authors listed. Not a stellar record, on my part, but a start, at least!

Jan 24, 2017, 7:01pm Top

Very interesting lists. I was very surprised by some of the books he's read. I expected a lot of nonfiction and political theory/history books, but the science fiction Seveneves and the crime Gone Girl, among others, really surprised me.

How about the rest of you? Any surprises on the lists? How about books you thought would be there but aren't?

Jan 24, 2017, 9:55pm Top

The Three Body Problem, one of my faves from last year, was a bit of a surprise. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that our geek prez read it! :)

Jan 24, 2017, 10:02pm Top

Great thread!

Edited: Jan 24, 2017, 10:29pm Top

What a cool idea! Now is there a Michelle Obama reading list out there anywhere?

Jan 24, 2017, 10:34pm Top

>20 Berly: I'll probably see which one I am in the mood for at the time. I heard the Sapiens author interviewed on BBC radio and reckon that one will be fascinating.

Edited: Jan 24, 2017, 11:44pm Top

>22 lindapanzo: Linda! Glad to have you on board. : ) There are one or two months where I think I'll make a substitution from another theme, but I found a lot of great books to read.

>23 jessibud2: Shelley--Well, now your LT name makes perfect sense! Thanks for the explanation. Plainsong is supposed to be a good one--I haven't read it yet, nor do I own it, so that WON'T be one I'm reading for the same reasons you have--trying to use what I have!

>25 arubabookwoman: Deborah--I was surprised that The Golden Notebook made the list.

>26 drneutron: Dr N--What was that book about? And do you have to be a geek to understand it? LOL

>27 BLBera: Thanks, Beth. Nice to see you here. Do you have any books calling to you?

Jan 24, 2017, 11:47pm Top

>28 kac522: Kathy--Welcome and nice to meet you! I don't know, but that's a great question. Off to look...

>29 PaulCranswick: Paul--I reckon you're right!

Jan 24, 2017, 11:50pm Top

Thanks for setting this up! I will look for The Fire Next Time--I have been wanting to read it.

Edited: Jan 24, 2017, 11:59pm Top

>28 kac522: From People Magazine: "For her part, Michelle Obama praised The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander as her favorite book of the year (2015). The Obamas are clearly a fan of Alexander, as she was the poet Barack chose to read at his 2009 inauguration, and her recent memoir flows like beautiful poetry. It describes Alexander’s turmoil and reflections on the sudden death of her husband, artist Ficre Ghebreyesus."

I couldn't find much else in the way of adult books. There were some children's books mentioned including: Goodnight, Moon by Margaret Wise Brown; Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak; Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison; Camp Confidential series by Melissa J. Morgan and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Eric Carle.

Jan 25, 2017, 12:00am Top

>32 banjo123: Hi Rhonda! My pleasure. Glad you have a book in mind. : )

Jan 25, 2017, 5:24am Top

Great thread Kim. Starred. Will dip in and out through the year and read a couple of books from the lists. I read both his own books, before he became President, he writes well and I can recommend them.

Edited: Jan 25, 2017, 1:07pm Top

>35 Caroline_McElwee: - I just wanted to put this out there, as I think it may not be as well-known as his first 2 books. Barack Obama also wrote a truly beautiful children's book in 2011 called Of Thee I Sing, to his daughters. The illustrations are lovely and gentle but very excellent. In it, he highlights 13 famous Americans and the qualities that make them stand out, and he relates all of this to his daughters. At the end of the book, there is a short bio of each of the thirteen. It is a book that engenders inclusiveness, creativity, perseverance, in short, all the qualities that we know the current leadership doesn't/can't/won't tolerate. Of course, having written it when he did, there was no way that could have come into play but it is just such an outstanding example, in my view, of the very quality of human being Obama is. Although it is a children's book, it sits prominently on my coffee table in my living room. :-)

Jan 25, 2017, 8:49am Top

Thanks, Kim, great idea! I think I'll read Sapiens in February.

Jan 25, 2017, 9:13am Top

>30 Berly: Nah, but it certainly appeals to geeks. It's an English translation of a very popular science fiction book in China. Some Chinese history, some politics, some science, some aliens. Was very good!

Jan 25, 2017, 9:41am Top

>35 Caroline_McElwee: Hi Caroline. Perfect! Dipping in and out sounds great. I should add his books (and Michelle's) to the list...

>36 jessibud2: Shelley. I will add it above. : )

>37 DianaNL: Diana--Yay! I can't wait to hear about all of these books.

>38 drneutron: Jim--The Three Body Problem sounds like a fun book! And who am I kidding? With a Neuroscience background, I qualify as a geek!

Jan 25, 2017, 2:06pm Top

>30 Berly: Many books are calling. Many.

Jan 25, 2017, 2:13pm Top

Thanks for posting this list, Kim!! I'll now scroll back up and choose 1 per month...........then keep my fingers crossed I can slide them into my reading schedule.

Edited: Jan 25, 2017, 7:04pm Top

>40 BLBera: Beth--Excellent! Just excellent!

>41 Carmenere: Lynda--You are most welcome. I see you posted on my personal thread that you found your 11 books--nicely done! What did you choose for February? And anytime I can help you whittle down your books-on-shelf, just let me know. ; )

Edited: Jan 26, 2017, 6:32am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Jan 25, 2017, 7:49pm Top

Thank you so much for doing this, Kim! As a fed in real life, I've been a bit pre-occupied this week, and not on LT much, but I was so thrilled to see this when I dropped in to visit the threads tonight. Now to make some choices about what to read in February.

Jan 25, 2017, 10:13pm Top

>43 MarthaJeanne: MarthaJeanne--I have not been able to fix What is the What up above yet, although it works just fine here. I managed to fix H is for Hawk and All That Is seems to work fine on my end. Thanks for checking!! : )

>44 lalbro: Hi Liz! Hope life settles down for you soon and I look forward to seeing your pick for February.

Jan 25, 2017, 10:35pm Top

>33 Berly: I did a little digging, too, and you found exactly what I did about Michelle Obama's reading. I've wanted to read the Alexander book, so might add it to the list.

Jan 25, 2017, 11:03pm Top

Choices, choices, choices! Thanks Kim! I'm debating between the James Baldwin and the book on Mumbai for February... but I have Giovanni's Room on the reading pile, so I think that will be my Baldwin.

Jan 25, 2017, 11:53pm Top

>46 kac522: Kathy--I think you should!

I have added something to >2 Berly:. They are books written by either President Obama or by Michelle Obama. I think they are fair game for any month. ; )

Jan 25, 2017, 11:57pm Top

>47 cammykitty: Katie--Well, I'd personally like you to read the Mumbai so we can gab about it, but I understand using one you already have. ; )

Jan 26, 2017, 7:08am Top

>48 Berly: - Just fyi, for your addition to >2 Berly:, Barack Obama also wrote 2 other books (for adults): Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope, as well as the sweet children's book, Of Thee I Sing. I own and have read all three but will be looking for one of the books by Michelle!

Edited: Jan 26, 2017, 9:58am Top

>50 jessibud2: Shelley--Dang!! You beat me to it. I ran out of juice last night. Thanks! And done. : )

And no wonder you knew--you've already read all three of Barack's!! Nicely done.

Jan 26, 2017, 10:25am Top

This might make you smile: An article with Pete Souza's favourite photos of Obama. (Souza was the White House official photographer for Obama).


Jan 26, 2017, 11:51am Top

>52 lunacat: Those are awesome! My favorites are the first one with the funny face, the Spider Man one, and the two of them holding hands.


: )

Jan 26, 2017, 1:48pm Top

I was going to read Parting the Waters, the first of the MLK trilogy, in February, but I think I'll push it back to March since it's on the March list.

For Feb, I might read either: The Post American World or else Lessons in Disaster. I haven't read a Vietnam War book in quite awhile so I'm leaning towards the latter.

Jan 26, 2017, 3:34pm Top

>54 lindapanzo: Linda--That sounds like an excellent plan. Although to be honest, Parting the Waters, Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois, and The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (and I am sure there are others on the list) would be great reads for February because it also happens to be Black History Month. So if you want to stick to your original plan, do it!!

I was just hoping that by narrowing the field and making a few selections per month we might get some overlap on books which might result in a few conversations.

I am about 100 pages into The Invisible Man, which is a re-read for me, and I started it before I even made this thread. It doesn't come up on the list until April, but I can't stop now. It is an audible book narrated by Joe Morton and he does an amazing job! Such an emotional, raw book. I will just have to find something else for April. And I still want to fit in Behind the Beautiful Forevers in February.

Edited: Jan 26, 2017, 3:38pm Top

>55 Berly: One of my recent ER wins is the Coretta Scott King memoirs or autobiography so I'll probably read that in February. It's My Life, My Love, My Legacy. I just finished an overdue ER book that arrived in August and I'm trying to get caught up on all of them. The one I just finished, a book about the British and the Confederacy during the Civil War, was my first 5 star book of the year and now I'm wondering why I waited so long to read it.

I just glanced through the rest of the year and it seems like there's something appealing for every month on these lists.

Jan 26, 2017, 3:41pm Top

>56 lindapanzo: Excellent! I am glad you like the selections each month! You can thank President Obama for that. ; )

Speaking of ER books, I should go check my list. I think I have one or two outstanding...

Edited: Jan 26, 2017, 4:03pm Top

>57 Berly: I think I have 3 more left now. One about The Monkees (the musical group, not the animals), the Coretta Scott King one I'm eager to read, and another one that's sort of hard to describe.

It's about New York City, its financial troubles, and austerity politics. Sometimes I ask for things that sound good from the ER system and then, when I get them, I ask myself why I ever asked for it. This last one might fit into that category.

Down the road, I'll probably try to fit in an Abraham Verghese in two of the months. i read something by him once and loved it but have never read Cutting for Stone for instance.

Jan 26, 2017, 4:29pm Top

>52 lunacat: - This is why I love this guy so much. Such personality!! Thanks for that link

Jan 26, 2017, 4:32pm Top

>58 lindapanzo: - I have read many by Verghese and LOVE his writing. If you want to give yourself a real treat, though, see if you can find Cutting for Stone at your library on audiobook. The narrator is my all time favourite narrator, Sunil Malhotra. He positively inhabits the characters. He nails the accents, nuances and very early on, despite how many characters there are, you will always know, just by the voice, who is speaking, without even having to have their names identify them. He is that good.

Jan 26, 2017, 6:27pm Top

I'll definitely participate, Jenn, although maybe not every month. I read Team of Rivals several years ago because he had recommended it so highly and found it very interesting. And I'll move Three Body Problem onto my short list too. I have it buried on my Kindle.

Jan 26, 2017, 8:01pm Top

Great idea, Kim! Thanks for setting this up. The theologian and political philosopher Reinhold Niebuhr was influential to several American presidents, including Barack Obama. I don't own the book you mentioned, but I intend to read Why Niebuhr Matters by Charles Lemert and The Irony of American History by Niebuhr later this year, although I don't think I'll have time to read either book in February, due to previous committments and plans.

I'll try to join in by reading All the King's Men in March.

Jan 27, 2017, 12:54am Top

>58 lindapanzo: I used to love the Monkees! Did you watch their TV show? ER books...it's a gamble isn't it? LOL And I would love to try another Verghese. That's a great idea!

>59 jessibud2: : )

>60 jessibud2: Jessi--You almost make me want to read Cutting for Stone again, with that rave review of the audible narrator Sunil Malhotra! Wow.

>61 ronincats: Roni--Jump in when you can. I think I have Team of Rivals somewhere around here. My link on LT says I do, but I can't think where I put it! Three Body Problem is also calling to me.

>62 kidzdoc: Darryl! Welcome aboard. It will be fun to see you here when your book schedule opens up a bit. The books you mention all sound interesting to me. I can already see this thread is going to be a problem! Too many great ideas. Not enough time. The usual.

Jan 27, 2017, 5:33pm Top

>2 Berly:
And anytime, any month
By President Obama
1. Dreams from My Father
3. The Audacity of Hope
3. Of Thee I Sing a truly beautiful children's book

By Michelle Obama
1. American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America
2. Michelle Obama: In Her Own Words
3. We Rise: Speeches by Inspirational Black Women by Michelle Obama, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Rosa Parks
4. Michelle Obama: Speeches on Life, Love, and American Values by Michelle Obama, Stacie Vander Pol (Editor)
5. Michelle Obama: Our First Lady

Oh dear. I have my work cut our for me picking just one here.......get back to me at Christmastime and see how Ive done ;)

Edited: Jan 27, 2017, 5:51pm Top

>63 Berly: I liked their music but rarely watched the TV show. I was only 6 or 7 when it started, I think. I haven't started the book yet but it's in the nature of "an analytical look at the role of The Monkees in popular culture." It could be very good or it could put me to sleep. If the latter, I won't read far and just say so.

Thinking about black history month, I saw that, just today, there are news reports that Emmett Till's accuser, the woman who claimed the 14-year old whistled at her, and physically and verbally harassed her, now admits that she lied about her part of the story. More than 60 years after the fact.

>60 jessibud2: I don't listen to audiobooks but, if I did, that would be a good one to start with, sounds like.

Jan 27, 2017, 6:03pm Top

>63 Berly: - Yes, if you are a person who rereads, I would highly recommend it.
>65 lindapanzo: - Well, if you ever change your mind... :-)

Edited: Jan 28, 2017, 3:29am Top

>64 LovingLit: Oh, I think I will keep a closer eye on you than that!! Choices are good. LOL

>65 lindapanzo: I await your verdict. Hope it doesn't put you to sleep!!

Why on earth would she have been moved to lie? Pressure from her husband. And why, since she admitted this surgery in an interview in 2007, is it just now being made public? Hmmmm.

I just started listening to audiobooks last year, thanks to Mark, and I now love them on my commute to and from work. They have to have the right narrator and not ones I would want to bookmark passages. It has really increased my reading #s!

>66 jessibud2: Yes and Yes! ; )

Jan 27, 2017, 6:59pm Top

>67 Berly: In my life, I've listened to one audio book. It was a British woman reading a Sara Paretsky book. She kept mispronouncing all of our Chicago street names.

I note that I can read the "how we found her" article on their website and so so.

As I look at that Monkees book, I am very disappointed that it focuses on the TV show and not the music. I need to pay closer attention when asking for ER books.

As for Till, ironic that his killers acknowledged their guilt in a paid Look magazine article a few months after they were acquitted but this woman never admitted her part until now. I've never subscribed to Vanity Fair but they are definitely doing unexpected, at least to me, kinds of articles.

Edited: Jan 27, 2017, 10:07pm Top

>68 lindapanzo: Yes, I can see how that would be annoying, mispronouncing the names. And sorry the Monkees are not going to make the cut. I saw that Till's killers confessed a few months after their trial and then couldn't be prosecuted because of Double Jeopardy. And I can't believe that is a Vanity Fair article!! I let my subscription expire because I wasn't enjoying the articles much. Maybe I'll get next month's newsstand one and see what I think.

Jan 29, 2017, 2:18pm Top

I read that article in our local newspaper here in Alabama. I can tell you why she lied. She lied because she, and her KKK member husband and friends, didn't think that a wolf whistle was enough to justify what they did to that kid. And because they all knew they would get away with it.

Jan 30, 2017, 2:59am Top

>70 benitastrnad: Despicable.

Edited: Feb 10, 2017, 3:37pm Top

It's almost February so time to get cracking on Feb. book. I've chosen Lessons in Disaster by Gordon Goldstein. I was a kid towards the tale end of it and in my history classes in school, we rarely ever got beyond World War 2. I'd like to learn more about the Vietnam War.

Also establishing a placeholder for future Obama Reading List books, to be filled in as I decide which to read. Naturally, some months are obvious for me whereas others are not.

February: Lessons in Disaster, Gordon Goldstein--COMPLETED on 2/10/17
March: Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch
April: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
November: The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro

Jan 31, 2017, 10:17pm Top

Here's what I am going to read in February:

At my request, I got this book for Christmas five years ago. Then I never read it. Zzzzzzt! So at the behest of he who is still MY president, I'm gonna do it.

Edited: Jan 31, 2017, 11:53pm Top

Just cracked my book tonight!!

>72 lindapanzo: I am going to wait each month to see what calls to me. It feels less like an assignment to me that way. ; ) But you go girl!! Get organized. And I know exactly what you mean about school history petering out after WW2.

>73 weird_O: It's about time that one made it off your shelf! : ) Curious to see what you think of it.

Feb 1, 2017, 9:19am Top

I found Behind the Beautiful Forevers to be a terrific and deep book, Kim. I look forward to hearing your reactions.

Feb 1, 2017, 11:43am Top

>74 Berly: I'm not necessarily limiting my choices or locking them in. Just giving myself a spot to keep track of my likely choices.

With only 28 days this month, I need to get cracking.

Feb 1, 2017, 11:52am Top

The Post American World is supposed to be available at my library, but I have reserved it and not gotten the mail saying it is ready for me. I should have gone to the library today, and would have searched for it myself, but too much snow fell over night. There's always tomorrow.

Feb 1, 2017, 1:48pm Top

>75 jnwelch: A positive endorsement, Joe! It's on the docket for later today.

>76 lindapanzo: Linda--"Likely choices" appeals to me. I have no doubt you will conquer the short month with no problem at all!

>77 MarthaJeanne: MJ--How much snow did you get? Today is really windy and tomorrow we are supposed to get more snow, too. Followed by freezing rain and then more snow. Everyone is over winter here. Hope you get your book soon!

Feb 1, 2017, 5:15pm Top

>78 Berly: Only 12-15 cm. but this is the first major snowfall this winter, which always plays havoc with the traffic. And today the parking spaces will not have been cleared. My husband cleared off the cars, paths to the drivers' side doors, and behind my car so that I can get out if I need to.

Even if I had driven over half an hour across the city - and today would probably have taken quite a bit longer, and even if I had found a parking space that was feasible, I still would have had to try to manouver my walker through the mush on the sidewalk. Not fun. I probably need to wait until Friday. At least the temperatures made it above freezing today, and are expected to continue to be positive during the day for the next few days. Any more precipitation is supposed to be rain.

Of course, even if I get there, there is no guarantee that the English copy of the book will be found.

Feb 1, 2017, 5:31pm Top

>79 MarthaJeanne: Hoping for warmer weather, clear sidewalks and an English copy of the book!! : )

Edited: Feb 3, 2017, 12:22pm Top

>80 Berly: No such luck. Both the English copy and one of the German copies are missing. And I am not willing to read this one in German. We'll see if it shows up in a few weeks.

Temps are positive, so everything is wet and dirty, but the snow is disappearing fast.

I'll try Behind the Beautiful Forevers if they can find that one.

Edited: Feb 3, 2017, 4:47pm Top

>81 MarthaJeanne: Ha! They found it! The first one, that is. So do I cross the city again tomorrow?

Feb 3, 2017, 11:35pm Top

>82 MarthaJeanne: Good news! Only if you and the walker are up to it. ; )

Feb 4, 2017, 1:06am Top

I'M IN!! Thanks for setting this up, Kim!

Feb 4, 2017, 1:15am Top

>84 EBT1002: Awesome!! What book is calling to you?

Edited: Feb 4, 2017, 1:19am Top

Well, maybe not anything for February but I purchased The Audacity of Hope right after November 9.
I mean, that is the best title. Ever. So, next month....

Feb 4, 2017, 1:45am Top

>86 EBT1002: Ellen--Yes, that one absolutely gets points for title worthiness!! I know life has been crazy for you. Hope it settles down. Thanks for hosting such a thoughtful and respectful thread. Happy February!!

Feb 4, 2017, 4:38pm Top

Alright - I think I'm going to read The Fire Next Time this month!

Feb 4, 2017, 6:41pm Top

All the King's Men is one of my favorite novels of all time, and it's due for a re-read. Maybe I'll get to it in March.

Feb 4, 2017, 11:30pm Top

I've ordered The Fire Next Time from my library system but it hasn't shown up at my local branch yet.

Feb 5, 2017, 12:33am Top

>88 lalbro: Liz--I think you are not alone in your choice. It sounds like a good one.

>89 laytonwoman3rd: Linda--Well, favorite novels of all-time definitely deserve a re-read!

>90 ronincats: Roni--Hope it shows up soon--than you can compare notes with Liz ^^.

Feb 5, 2017, 12:55am Top

I started Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forever, my February Obama read, and I am already struck by some of the passages of this book about a make-shift town "built in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport."

"Everything around is roses" is how Abdul's younger brother, Mirchi, put it. "And we are the shit in between."

"True, only six of the slums three thousand residents had permanent jobs. (The rest, like 85 percent of Indian workers, were part of the informal, unorganized economy.) True, a few residents trapped rats and frogs and fried them for dinner. A few ate the scrub grass at the sewage lake's edge. And these individuals, miserable souls, thereby made an inestimable contribution to their neighbors. They gave those slumdwellers who didn't fry rats and eat weeds, like Abdul, a felt sense of their upward mobility."

And then, not for the faint-of-heart:

"Abdul had seen a boy's hand cut clean off when he was putting plastic into one of the shredders. The boy's eyes had filled with tears, but he hadn't screamed. Instead he'd stood there with his blood-spurting stump, his ability to earn a living ended, and started apologizing to the owner of the plant. "Saab, I'm sorry," he'd said to the man in white. 'I won't cause you any problems by reporting this. You will have no trouble from me.'

"For all Mirchi's talk of progress, India still made a person know his place..."

This is a life I can scarce imagine and one I know I would not do well in if it was my reality.

Edited: Feb 10, 2017, 3:45pm Top

I finished my Feb Obama Book Club book, Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam by Gordon M. Goldstein. It was very well done but, unfortunately, I'm not as familiar with the Vietnam War as I am with many of America's other wars and I'm afraid that much of this flew over my head. At some point, I think I'd like to read The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam to get a better understanding of what was going on.

Even so, the book provides an interesting look at horrible wartime decisionmaking, in both the JFK and the LBJ administrations, particularly in LBJ's. These advisors were incredibly smart and shrewd yet they provided incredibly stupid, uninformed, poorly thought out advice.

The author was working with JFK/LBJ security adviser, McGeorge Bundy, on a book about 30 years after the fact and was garnering insights in order to write a retrospective look at the war with Bundy. Alas, Bundy died and his estate refused to let the book get published. Even so, the author generally would talk about what was happening, what Bundy and the other advisers suggested, and also, somewhat, what Bundy said about those decisions in hindsight, during the mid 1990s.

Of most interest to me was the chapter involving what might've happened in Vietnam had JFK not been assassinated. When JFK died, I think American casualties in Vietnam numbered only in the hundreds but, by the end of the war, I think they exceeded 50,000.

What Bundy thought in hindsight doesn't excuse his poor leadership/organization regarding the Americanization of the Vietnam War but he was honest 30 years later and willing to consider what could be learned from his 1960s actions.

For a knowledgeable reader, this would probably be an excellent book. For me, just very good.

Feb 12, 2017, 12:08pm Top

I just found this thread (thanks, Roni!) I'll definitely be keeping an eye on it and will join in as I have time.

Feb 12, 2017, 12:23pm Top

I wasn't planning to participate in this challenge, but one of my February TIOLI books was a book by Barack Obama, so I will share my review here:

book 47: Dromen van mijn vader by Barack Obama
from the library, translated English, non-fiction, autobiography, original title Dreams from my father, TIOLI #15, 415 pages

I wasn't aware that Barack Obama wrote this long before he became president of the USA.
Describing his life from his early years in Hawaï until his return to university (Harvard, 1988). As a descendant from a black man from Kenya and a white American woman, growing up with his mother and her parents, he struggles with racial identity. His upbringing was "privileged white", society is seeing him as "black". When his mother married an Indonesian, he lived some years in Indonesia.
After graduating in 1983 he went to work in Chicago as community organiser. That same year, Harold Washington had become the first black mayor of the city. He worked there for 3 years, when he decided he could do more if he went back to university to learn more a bout law.
Before continuing his education on Harvard Law School, Obama went to Kenya to meet his family. There he finds his "black" roots and sees the struggle of a country that has to come to terms with its colonial history.

Feb 12, 2017, 4:31pm Top

>92 Berly: wow.
That type of situation is why I can't bring myself to go to the resorts on the Pacific Islands that so many people I know seem to be able to do in when it is winter here. I don't think it is nearly as bad as that, but hotel complexes are hardly representative of the country that they are plonked down in, and I am convinced that the bulk of the money made there isn't earned by locals. And i bet most of the negative impacts of having the resort there are borne by the locals, lack of drinking water etc because it all got used by tourists having 15 minute showers.....
It sounds like an amazing book, I shall have to WL it.

Feb 12, 2017, 5:48pm Top

>93 lindapanzo: Linda--A very thoughtful review of a tough book and a tough time. The Vietnam War is also the American war I know least about.

>94 streamsong: Hi streamsong! Glad to see you here. I hope you find something that appeals to you. Each month has a different set of suggestions, but you don't have to stick to it.

And Thanks Roni for the connection!

>95 FAMeulstee: Hey Anita--Don't you love when you can use a book for TWO challenges at once?! Nicely done. Dreams from My Father sounds quite interesting. I already learned things about Obama from your brief writeup.

>96 LovingLit: Hi Megan--Yeah. It is a harsh life. They only had running water for a brief period in the morning and then again in the evening. Sometimes. I am about a third of the way through and I keep folding down pages to mark passages that make my jaw drop. You should definitely get it!!

Feb 12, 2017, 6:11pm Top

I'm about 1/4 of my way through Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and so far I'm loving it, learning a lot and feeling both astonished and appalled at the way homo sapiens have changed the world. I know these feelings will only increase now I've reached the agricultural revolution. Such a good book.

Feb 12, 2017, 6:16pm Top

My March book, Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch is quite lengthy so I'll probably be starting it soon. Over a thousand pages, I beiieve.

I think I may have a copy of the Studs Terkel book and also All the King's Men but I would like to read the Branch book.

Edited: Feb 12, 2017, 8:16pm Top

>98 lunacat: Jenny--glad you are enjoying Sapiens. I am cringing a little bit about your comment "astonished and appalled at the way homo sapiens have changed the world." Yeah. I just hope trump doesn't roll back environmental restrictions we have in place.

>99 lindapanzo: Linda--You ambitious woman, you! Go for the Tome!! I need to check the list again. I am pretty sure I have one or two already in the shelves...

some time later...

I have read 5 of March's list (and have yet to enter some of them on LT)

Moby Dick, Herman Melville
Song Of Solomon, Toni Morrison
Gilead, Marylinne Robinson
Cancer Ward, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren

and actually have none waiting for me on my shelves! So, I think the one that is calling to me is Self-Reliance, by Ralph Waldo Emerson. I better find a copy!

Feb 12, 2017, 8:02pm Top

Here I was thinking that I have Dreams from My Father, when actually, what I have is The Bridge!! Oops. And The Bridge is loooong. And not current......I might need to pick a less taxing one from the list(s).

Feb 12, 2017, 8:17pm Top

>101 LovingLit: Less taxing is good. Unless you are >99 lindapanzo: and opt for a brick. ; )

Feb 12, 2017, 9:19pm Top

>100 Berly: well, I was going to read the massive Alexander Hamilton bio before I went to see Hamilton next month. That's not gonna happen.

Feb 13, 2017, 12:12am Top

>103 lindapanzo: Well...two tomes at once might be a bit much. You can always read Hamilton after? ; )

Feb 13, 2017, 11:27am Top

>82 MarthaJeanne: I picked the books up today, not a week ago, so now I have both Post-American World and Behind the Beautiful Forevers waiting to be read. (Also Conclave which I read about elsewhere on LT.)

Feb 13, 2017, 5:31pm Top

>105 MarthaJeanne: Ha! When it rains it pours!! Or snows. ; ) Glad you have some reading options now. Which one are you going to dive into first?

Edited: Feb 13, 2017, 6:05pm Top

I also borrowed four other books while I was at it. I generally keep 3-4 books on the go at once.

English nonfiction - just finished The Lion's World, so I'll start Post-American World. That will get it read this month.

German nonfiction - working on Versteckspieler about football (soccer) and homosexuality. Don't know what I'll follow this with.

Fiction - just rereading Owlsight, but really looking forward to Das Sacher, which the library finally had today - this was on television recently, and a few details weren't quite clear to me. Also a 'Bestseller' so it has a short borrowing period and can't be renewed.

(eBook) - right now Atwood's Stone Mattress, which I may give up on.

Feb 17, 2017, 10:06pm Top

How's the reading going for everyone? I am about halfway through mine. Still amazed at the corruption and poverty in Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope.

>107 MarthaJeanne: You have a lot of reads going on right now! I haven't read Atwood's Stone Mattress, but I generally like anything written by her.

Feb 18, 2017, 3:14am Top

>108 Berly: Handmaid's Tale is one of my all time favourite books. But I haven't liked anything else by her. Time to stop trying.

More on topic, I'm getting on well with Post American World . Interesting book, but published in 2008, so lots of things look different now. His comments on how several economic measurement are in the danger zone, but it probably doesn't mean anything because the world has changed ... The comments on America's poisonous political system still seem very valid.

Feb 18, 2017, 7:56am Top

Finished The post-American world. I have added the final words to CK as they seem important.

"For America to thrive in this new and challenging era, for it to succeed amid the rise of the rest, it need fulfill only one test. It should be a place that is as inviting and exciting to the young student who enters the country today as it was for this awkward eighteen-year-old a generation ago."

Feb 18, 2017, 11:10am Top

I'll be starting my long Taylor Branch book soon but first want to finish my Coretta Scott King memoirs.

Feb 18, 2017, 4:57pm Top

>111 lindapanzo: I'll be looking to see what you think of the Taylor Branch, as I have the trilogy staring at me, and have had it for a while, Linda.

Feb 18, 2017, 5:11pm Top

>107 MarthaJeanne: I find its good to have several genres at once, but I haven't had to add into that melee any other languages!

Edited: Feb 18, 2017, 5:17pm Top

>113 LovingLit: The Vienna public library has a fair number of books in English, but a lot more in German. Also buying books is easier in German, and I am interested in local topics, so I try to keep more or less balanced in nonfiction. In fiction I tend to be lazy, and stick to English. Without the library it would be very expensive keeping me in reading material.

Feb 19, 2017, 1:02pm Top

I stand in admiration of you. I have wanted to read the Taylor Branch books for a long time. You go girl!

Feb 19, 2017, 10:07pm Top

Book #28 The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (106 pp.)

This is my February nonfiction read for the President Obama Reading List challenge (at http://www.librarything.com/topic/247375). Two relatively shore writings by Baldwin, written in the early 60s. Looking at them, one is able to both see how much has changed--and how little has! Very good!

Feb 19, 2017, 10:15pm Top

>115 benitastrnad: Thanks. I've had Taylor Branch book #1 on my Kindle for probably 6 years or so. I really don't want to get going til I finish the Coretta Scott King memoir, which, since it's an ER book, I'd like to do this month.

Feb 19, 2017, 10:55pm Top

I'm just checking in to say that February reading has been hit-or-miss these past couple of years. I'm 20% into Sapiens and finding it both fascinating and easy reading. Oh dear! I got sucked into Conspirator by C.J. Cherryh, and I'll have to finish it before I can settle to anything else. I trust this will happen in the next couple of days so that I can get back to the Haran. Oh dear. Oh dear.

Feb 19, 2017, 11:02pm Top

I'm planning on reading A kind and just parent. I've read the intro, and am interested to see that phrase "kind and just parent" to refer to a juvenile justice system started with Jane Addams and Hull House because I just read her Twenty Years at Hull House last month.

Feb 25, 2017, 2:25pm Top

Finished!! I read Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. I am glad I read it, but it was a hard read. This is a life I can scarce imagine and one I know I would not do well in if it was my reality. The writing is gorgeous, the characters are vivid, and the story is compelling. But life is hard here! Poverty is everywhere, corruption abounds, love is scarce.

"...he had tried to be honorable in his final years as a boy, but wouldn't be able to sustain it now that he was pretty sure he was a man. A man, if sensible, didn't make bright distinctions between good and bad, truth and falsehood, justice and that other thing.

"For some time I tried to keep the ice inside me from melting," was how he put it. "But now I'm just becoming dirty water, like everyone else. I tell Allah I love Him immensely. But I tell Him I cannot be better, because of how the world is."

This is a neighborhood and a life I am only too happy to be apart from. People truly live like this. At times, I did not want to read this book, but I knew I had to be open to these images (see >92 Berly:) and people, their lives; to see it and be moved by it. 4.5 stars.

Feb 25, 2017, 2:37pm Top

How is the reading going for February? Should I make a new March thread or just keep this one going?

I have decided to read Self-Reliance, by Ralph Waldo Emerson for March. And I am feeling pretty proud because I have read 5 off the list already. (It was none in February, lest you think I boast too much!!)

March List

1. Moby Dick, Herman Melville ✔ ✔
2. Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson--planned read for March
3. Song Of Solomon, Toni Morrison ✔ ✔
4. Parting The Waters, Taylor Branch
5. Gilead, Marylinne Robinson ✔ ✔
6. Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam
7. The Federalist, Alexander Hamilton
8. Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois
9. The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene
10. The Quiet American, Graham Greene
11. Cancer Ward, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn ✔ ✔
12. Gandhi’s autobiography
13. Working, Studs Terkel
14. Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith
15. Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith
16. All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren ✔ ✔

What are you going to read?

Feb 25, 2017, 2:51pm Top

If you wait until this thread has 150 posts (doable by March 1, I would think) you could do an automatic continuation and retitle the thread for March.

Edited: Feb 25, 2017, 3:00pm Top

I'll get around to Behind the beautiful Forevers soon, but probably not in February. (I read The Post-American World this month.)

For March, I own the two Greenes and Gandhi's Autobiography, but haven't read any of the since joining LT, so I'll take at least one of those.

Feb 25, 2017, 6:48pm Top

I might try to re-read All the King's Men in March. It's one of my favorite novels of all time.

Feb 25, 2017, 7:07pm Top

>110 MarthaJeanne: That is an important thought--that we draw to us new and innovative thinkers, and excite them to be here.

>111 lindapanzo: How's the LOOOONG book going? And Coretta Scott King? : )

>112 Caroline_McElwee: Hi Caroline!

>113 LovingLit: Hi Megan!

Feb 25, 2017, 7:17pm Top

>114 MarthaJeanne: Hi again , MJ!

>111 lindapanzo: >115 benitastrnad: Linda--everyone is pulling for you to finish this one!! Hi Benita!!

>116 ronincats: Hi Roni--I love James Baldwin! And it is always nice to have a shortie every once in a while. : )

Feb 25, 2017, 7:20pm Top

>118 LizzieD: Hi Lizzie--Did you make it back to Sapiens yet? I mean it is a good thing when something grabs you so hard you can't let it go, but that's when I find I have more books going at once than I like. LOL

>119 cammykitty: Hey Katie--I am really interested to hear your thoughts on A kind and just parent and I know you will have some!!

Edited: Feb 25, 2017, 7:21pm Top

>122 ronincats: I am working it Roni!! ; )

127, 128...

Edited: Feb 26, 2017, 2:56am Top

>123 MarthaJeanne: It sounds like you have more than 1 option for March. Always a good thing!

>124 laytonwoman3rd: That is a classic. I vote for the re-read of All the Kings Men! Not that I really have a say. ; ) If I didn't already have one picked out, I might be tempted.

Feb 25, 2017, 7:59pm Top

>126 Berly: Thanks. I've finished Coretta Scott King and will get cracking on the Taylor Branch book now.

Feb 25, 2017, 8:26pm Top

I saw Sapiens featured prominently at Costco yesterday, but I resisted because I plan on getting it through the library. I don't know what I am going to read for March. I haven't read any of them except Moby Dick.

Edited: Feb 25, 2017, 10:53pm Top

>131 ronincats:, >129 Berly: You might want to check your touchstones.

Feb 26, 2017, 2:58am Top

>132 MarthaJeanne: ✔ ✔ ed!! Thanks.

Edited: Feb 27, 2017, 5:04pm Top

I finished A Kind and Just Parent and wrote quite a bit about it on my thread. Sadly, it was written in the 90s and not much has changed in the juvenile justice system since then. The slang seems to have changed more quickly than the student types and teacher approaches. It's a quick read with a lot of deep, unresolved questions - like what exactly do we want for these kids in the justice system. Do we want to punish them and take them out of society, or do we think we can help them get out of gangs, quit doing drugs and take responsibility for their lives.

Ayers follows two teachers in particular who teach in that purgatory between arrest and sentencing. The teachers are saints with seemingly inexhaustible patience. The children remind me so much of the kids I work with. I hear "I was just playing" as a defense all the time and "I was just playing" doesn't work any better at Audy Home in Chicago (referring to shooting a girl with a bb gun) than it does with me. It was kind of dismaying to hear so many conversations about not having done the crime they were being charged with, about leaving the gang, combined with slang conversations that meant basically he was on my turf or he disrespected me so he had to pay (die). So, yes these kids were very young and had been put into situations that they may not have fully understood or felt able to control themselves, but... A lot of them were steeped in that odd street justice that doesn't get anyone anywhere but dead.

So what do you do with these kids? My gut tells me it's a case by case decision, and that our country can't/won't devote the resources needed to resolve this humanely. Good book, but on some level I don't feel any more closer to having answers than when I started it. However, I do understand the problems much better than I did before reading it.

Feb 27, 2017, 7:01pm Top

>134 cammykitty: Really great review, here and on your thread! Truly tough to call what the solution is and so depressing that the answer seems no closer today. I think case by case is the only way and kudos to the teachers who still try to teach these kids and to the ones who actually manage to reach a few of these kids and turn them around. Not a book I want to read right now. : (

Feb 27, 2017, 7:01pm Top

Okay guys...write something so I can get this thread up to 150 posts and start a new one for March!! : )

Feb 27, 2017, 7:17pm Top

Yesterday's NY Times had a list of all the books Chelsea Clinton was reading, recently read, or would recommend. We could probably start a new book club with those.

Feb 27, 2017, 7:30pm Top

I've been dithering as to which book to read for March, but I've now committed to The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois and have it on my Kindle.

Feb 27, 2017, 8:08pm Top

This month had so many good choices, I'm eager to see the March ones. Anyone reading February book that isn't quite finished yet? I was worried I wasn't going to finish in February.

Feb 27, 2017, 9:29pm Top

>137 lindapanzo: That's a great idea! Tag you're it. Remember it for 2018. Or you can spearhead it this year. : )

Feb 27, 2017, 9:29pm Top

>138 ronincats: Nice! All ready to go! I will look forward to hearing what you think of that one.

Edited: Feb 27, 2017, 9:32pm Top

>139 cammykitty: I just squeaked mine in. And I chose a shorter one for March: Self-Reliance, by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Just to make my life easier. ; )

The March list is at the top of this thread and again in >121 Berly:.

Feb 28, 2017, 12:31am Top

I finished The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. My thoughts:

I had been meaning for some time to pick this up, and I did so for the Obama' reading challenge. It's just a great essay on race and America, a very good companion to Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me. Sad how much is still the same.

Here's a passage I liked:

“To accept one's past - one's history - is not the same things as drowning in it. An invented past can never be used; it cracks and crumbles under the pressures of life like clay in a season of drought.”

Feb 28, 2017, 12:39am Top

>143 banjo123: I really appreciated that one this month too. Always meant to read it, and this finally was the impetus to do so. And then I saw the clips of James Baldwin in the documentary on Maya Angelou on PBS this month.

Feb 28, 2017, 12:40am Top

Not sure what I will read for March, but let me encourage anyone who has not yet read Gilead to take the opportunity to read it. And to entice, here is a interview of Marilynne Robinson by President Obama.

Feb 28, 2017, 2:15am Top

>143 banjo123: Rhonda--Love that quote. Wow.

Feb 28, 2017, 2:17am Top

>144 ronincats: Roni--I'll have to see if I can find that documentary on PBS--I love Maya Angelou and would be interested to see more about James Baldwin, too. Glad this was the push you needed! ; )

Feb 28, 2017, 2:19am Top

>145 banjo123: I didn't write a review when I read Gilead, but I gave it 4 stars. Thanks for the link!

Edited: Feb 28, 2017, 3:36am Top

I just had my April selection of Invisible man confirmed by a recommendation in Attending Others. I wish I could remember how I came across this book, as it is really superb.

Edited: Feb 28, 2017, 7:24am Top

>143 banjo123: - I read that Baldwin book eons ago but wanted to reread it now, for obvious reasons. I couldn't find it in 2 bookstores I looked in so I went to the library. I am on a wait list for it, both the physical book as well as the audiobook version of it. I almost never reread but wanted this one because there is a new book out called The Fire This Time and I think it makes sense to read the Baldwin first. Also, I did buy the book and will see a new film (which was up for an Oscar the other night!) called I Am Not Your Negro which is based on Baldwin's writings.

Feb 28, 2017, 9:52am Top

>149 MarthaJeanne: What is Attending Others about? What is the connection to Invisible Man, which I just finished re-reading?

Feb 28, 2017, 9:53am Top

>150 jessibud2: You get points for persistence! Hope you enjoy the re-read and your new book. And the movie!

Feb 28, 2017, 10:15am Top

>147 Berly: Here's the link for the program on Maya Angelou.

I seriously thought about Gilead for this month.

Looks like the continuation link is available now to set up the March thread--don't forget to change the name right away.

Edited: Feb 28, 2017, 10:36am Top

>151 Berly: It's a fascinating memoir by a pediatrician/writer. He has worked with Hopi and Navaho people, in Honduras, as well as in major US cities. I saw one chapter somewhere, and went and bought the e-Book, something I almost never do. I'm only letting myself read one or two chapters a day, because I want it to last. It is more or less about how his encounters have shaped him, as a doctor, as a writer, as a father, as a human being.

Anyway, he mentions several books that have helped him understand his patients better. Invisible Man was one of them. It's not just that he mentioned it, but I find that if something keeps coming up, there might be a reason for it. I'm quite sure I have read it before, but decades ago. Maybe, even probably, 50 years ago growing up in India, when I read a lot of things that were probably too old for me, but my parent's books were all I had access to during the long holiday from late October through early January. Somehow it seems that it is time to read it again at the other end of my life.

Feb 28, 2017, 11:47am Top

I'm not too far into Parting the Waters but I'm liking it. I seemingly read for an hour and the Kindle thingy leaps from 2 to 3%.

Feb 28, 2017, 12:10pm Top

Grrrr, there is no way I'm going to finish Sapiens in February but hopefully I will do so in March. Trust me to have a single reading goal in the month and not complete it - I'm just too easily distracted!

Feb 28, 2017, 12:55pm Top

>153 ronincats: Thanks for the link Roni. So "thought" is past tense. Did you give up on it?

>154 MarthaJeanne: That sounds like a book I would like.

>155 lindapanzo: LOL. In other words it isn't moving much?! Glad you are liking it.

>156 lunacat: February. March. No worries!

Feb 28, 2017, 12:58pm Top

The March thread is up!! What are you going to read? : )

Click below for the link...

This topic was continued by President Obama's Reading List -- March.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

411 members

172,371 messages


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