Monthly Archives: January 2009

Are you as well-read as the President-Elect?

Today’s New York Times, in preparation for tomorrow’s big event of course, featured a number of articles about President-Elect Barack Obama, the inauguration and the current political situation overall.  One article I found to be particularly interesting though was “From Books, New President Found Voice” by Mitchiko Kakutani.  

The article talks about how through books Obama learned about the power of the written word to inspire and transform our world. This strong feeling toward the power of words and speech is unsurprising considering the praise Obama has recieved for his own eloquence and ability to move an audience with his words.  It makes sense that he is an ardent reader and shows once again the importance of reading and the impact it can have. 

In addition to the article the Times included a Presidential reading list to highlight some of the books that have personally inspired Obama. This list includes:

  • The Bible
  • “Parting the Waters” Taylor Branch 
  • “Self-Reliance” Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Gandhi’s autobiography
  • “Team of Rivals” Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • “The Golden Notebook” Doris Lessing
  • Lincoln’s collected writings
  • “Moby-Dick” Herman Melville
  • “Song of Solomon” Toni Morrison
  • Works of Reinhold Niebuhr
  • “Gilead” Marilynne Robinson
  • Shakespeare’s tragedies

I myself cannot say that I have read the majority of the books on this list, but I do find them inspiring and books to consider when my current book of choice is complete.  I will probably not read the entire list but I plan to hit a few and perhaps will then understand our new President from a new perspective.  And hey, who knows, maybe I will find some of my own inner eloquence as well 🙂


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