“Dreams from my Father” Barack Obama (1995, 2004); 442 pages

Started reading in um… Primary Season. Yes, February. Finished August 21.

I know what you’re thinking. There is no way I could read 400+ pages in one week. (Actually, five days; refer to the “FAQ” page) So I confess. This one took six months to read. Not that it wasn’t engaging and wonderful, which it was. I just kept getting distracted by other books, Ben, trips, work, etc. (Yes, completing this book was one of the main considerations when starting the challenge) And now that I’m done, finally, I’m happy to report that I’m as excited about Obama now as I was when I started it, way back in primary season. (For proof on exactly how excited I was, see above: my birthday cake decorated by a very clever husband.)

I can not recommend this book highly enough– whether or not you are a supporter now, I’m guessing you will be when you finish it. OK, unless you’re a Republican, in which case you may not be converted into an Obama supporter, but I expect you’ll still find him likeable and the book to be extremely worthwhile. (And don’t be put off by the length of time it took me to read: my sister Rachel borrowed it during our vacation–while I was busy reading Amanda Hesser– and finished it in about four days. Rachel does have a reputation for being a fast reader, but no matter.) Barack Obama is a beautiful writer, and his personal history is fascinating. This, his first book, covers his childhood in Hawaii and Indonesia, his time spent as a community organizer in Chicago, and a journey to Kenya to meet the African side of his family and to learn more about his late father. The story is amazing and moving, and so well told that I feel like I know him and his family personally. Although he does’t discuss political aspirations in this memoir, obviously his life experiences have contributed signifcantly to the politician that he has become. And yes, he is a politician, but he’s also down to earth and self-aware. The idea that a man this articulate, intelligent and thoughtful could be our president makes me practically giddy.