In his memoir, Dreams from My Father (1995), Barack Obama tells the story of his unique childhood as the son of a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya, and the journey he made to find his place in American society. Laced with humor, this is a sometimes uncomfortable, strikingly honest view from the perspective of a man who is both an insider and outsider in a country and a world where color and history still influence individual identity. Local readers will also appreciate the descriptions of Chicago’s often-forgotten far south side, where Obama worked as a community organizer. What about this book touched you? Was there anything that surprised you? Did you find Senator Obama’s writing engaging?
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Lest you think signing the Declaration of Independence was the only event of importance to occur in the year 1776, you should pick up a copy of David McCullough’s latest book, aptly titled 1776. Rather than focusing on Philadelphia, McCullough’s book begins with a brief look at King George III, the British Monarch who implemented and supported a series of bad policies and did a great deal of underestimating the perseverance of his subjects in America.
The rest of the book focuses on two pivotal locations of the American Revolution, Boston and New York, and the ways in which George Washington grew into his role as commander of a seriously disorganized and undisciplined army. This book is a great example of narrative nonfiction, which means you’ll like it whether you read either novels or nonfiction. It’s a captivating story and one full of facts you might never have known before. If you’ve already read 1776, or any of Pulitzer-prize-winning McCullough’s other books, let us know what you think! Please submit your comments here.
She’s at it again! In early March one of Ireland’s most popular contemporary authors will release her new book, Whitethorn Woods. It’s been three years since she wrote her last book, Nights of Rain and Stars, and Maeve Binchy fans have been waiting with baited breath for this new novel. What I think fans appreciate most about Binchy is how finely she’s tuned the craft of storytelling. Binchy’s novels and short stories usually focus on ordinary people who live ordinary lives in the villages and cities of Ireland, but it is her humorous, observant way of bringing these characters to life that will endear you to the stories she weaves so masterfully. If you like well developed characters, honest portrayals of imperfect people trying to find their way in the world, and rich flavors of the Emerald Isle, then you have to try Maeve Binchy. If you’ve never read her books before I’d suggest you start with Echoes or the Lilac Bus, but truly they’re all great!