Dreams From My President

I just finished reading, “Dreams from My Father,” per the nudge of my pastor. If you haven’t read President Obama’s first memoir, and you like this genre or politics, I recommend adding it to your bibliophile list. The book is set up in three sections detailing his complicated childhood, race in America, Indonesia and Africa and how his perspective of family, faith and values developed with time. I kept thinking as I read his blunt honesty about the ugly times he recounted, “This dude had no idea he was going to be President.” It is a refreshing read for that if nothing else; how great is it to have someone in the White House who wasn’t prep-school, genetically groomed for the job from day 1? I like it. It gives me that now cliche sense of hope that in fact anyone can be President.

Two sections in particular rang true:

“There does s to be something different about this place [Africa]. I don’t know what it is. Perhaps the African, having traveled so far so fast, has a unique perspective on time. or maybe it is that we have known more suffering than most. Maybe it’s just ht eland. I don’t know. Maybe I’m also the romantic. I know that I cannot stay away from here too long. People still talk to each other here. When I visit the States, it seems a very lonely place.”  — a professor friend of Obama’s in Kenya

“Eventually, the rain stopped, and we found ourselves looking on a barren landscape of gravel and shrub and the occasional baobab tree, its naked, searching branches deocrated with the weaver bird’s spherical nests. I remembered reading somewhere that the baobab could go for years without flowering, surviving on the sparsest of rainfall; and seeing the trees in the hazy afternoon light, I understood why men believed they possessed a special power — that they housed ancestral spirits and demons, that humankind first appeared under such a tree. It wasn’t merely the oddness of their shape, their almost prehistoric outline against the stripped-down sky. “The look as if each one could tell a story,” Auma said, and it was true, each tree seemed to possess a character, a character neither benevolent nor cruel but simply enduring, with secrets whose depths I would never plumb, a wisdom I would never pierce. They both disturbed and comforted me, those trees that looked as if they might uproot themselves and simply walk away, were it not for the knowledge that on this earth one place is not so different from another — the knowledge that one moment carries within it all that’s gone on before.”

Four out of five bananas, absoloodle.

I am now reading and really enjoying, “The Syringa Tree.” It is a fictionalized tale of a child growing up in South Africa during Apartheid and trying to make sense of the politics from a 4-year-old’s perspective. Next up, “A Spot of Bother.” I also received a lovely box of books from Rachael this weekend. I cannot wait to dig in! Let the end of TV start today; I’m not upgrading my set. I’ve got too much great reading to enjoy instead.

~K