It appears you are using an older browser. This site is optimized for modern browsers.
To get more out of your browsing experience upgrade your browser.

Adamic · Adichie · Alexander · Ali · Allen · Allende · Appiah · Asch · Bahnimptewa · Baldry · Banks · Bartlett · Baughman · Beckwith · Bell · Berlin · Berry · Blight · Braithwaite · Branch · Breytenbach · Bronfenbrenner · Brooks · Brown · Brown · Carter · Carter · Cayton · Chase · Chin · Cisneros · Clifton · Cofer · Cohn · Coles · Collier · Collins · Conroy · Dahlstrom · Danticat · Davidson · Davies · Davis · Dawidowicz · Dean · Deloria Jr. · Demby · Derricotte · Díaz · Dinnerstein · Dobzhansky · Downs · Drake · Duguid · Dumond · Dunn · Edugyan · Ellison · Eltis · Erdrich · Fabre · Faderman · Fernandes · Field · Fineberg · Fisher · Fladeland · Foxx · Franch · Franklin · Frazier · Fredrickson · Freyre · Furnas · Gaines · Gates Jr. · Genovese · Gibbons · Gibbs · Gimbutas · Girdner · Glazer · Gloria · Gordimer · Gordon · Gordon-Reed · Gosnell · Graham · Graham · Greene · Griffin · Haddon · Haley · Haller Jr. · Hamid · Harris · Hayes, ed. · Hedden · Hersey · Highwater · Hilberg · Holmes · Honour · Huddleston · Hughes · Hunt · Hurston · Huxley · Infeld · Isaacs · Jackson · James · Jess · Jones · Jones · Jordan · Jordan Jr. · July · Kahler · Kelley · Kendrick · Kennedy · Kibbe · Kiernan · Kincaid · King Jr. · Kingston · Kluger · Kozol · Krauss · Laming · Le · LeBlanc · Lee · Lee · Lepore · Levine · Lewis · Lewis · Lewis · Leyburn · Lipsitz · Loftis · Lomax · Loye · Lurie · Mabee · Mahajan · Marra · Marshall · Matejka · McBride · McPherson · Meeker · Mensh · Mensh · Mokgatle · Morris · Morris Jr. · Morrison · Mosley · Mowat · Moynihan · Murray · Myrdal · Nelli · Nelson · North · Olson · Ottley · Parks · Patai · Paton · Patterson · Phillips · Poliakov · Powell · Power · Powers · Rainwater · Rampersad · Richardson · Robinson · Rodriguez · Rosen · Sachar · Sachs · Said · Saitoti · Sams · Samuel · Saunders · Scheinfeld · Seibert · Shamsie · Shavit · Sheehy · Shepherd Jr. · Shetterly · Silver · Simpson · Smith · Smith · Snyder · Solomon · South African Institute of Race Relations · Soyinka · Staples · Stefaniak · Stegner with the editors of Look · Steiner · Sutton · Suyin · Takaki · Thernstrom · Tobias, ed. · Toole · Tucker · van der Post · Vazirani · Walcott · Wallace · Waniek · Ward · Weglyn · West · Whitehead · Wideman · Wilkerson · Wilson · Wilson · Winfrey · Wing · Wood · Wright · Wright · Wyman · X · Yinger

A Literary President: Obama Reflects On The Books That Gave Him Stamina And Resolve

President Barack Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia shop  at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., back in 2014. Official White House photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia shop at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., back in 2014. Official White House photo by Pete Souza

Late at night and through eight grueling years, literature helped sustain the outgoing president of the United States.
 
In a wide-ranging interview with New York Times chief book critic Michiko Kakutani, Barack Obama reflected on the centrality of reading and the titles that have given him insight and solace, particularly in fiction.  He mentions just completing Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” and putting Maxine Hong Kingston‘s “The Woman Warrior” on the Kindle of his older daughter Malia.
 
The conversation shows a deeply reflective man in the midst of shaping his second act. At 55, he leaves the White House a relatively young man, and he is eager to return to writing. Composing a memoir, drawn from journals Obama kept during his two terms as Commander-in-Chief, will be his first order of business. 
 
Before transitioning into private citizen, Obama invited five novelists to break bread — Colson Whitehead, Zadie Smith and Junot Diaz (all three Anisfield-Wolf award winners) along with Barbara Kingsolver and Dave Eggers — to hear their perspectives on the craft and compare notes on culture and storytelling.   
 
“I figured after all my criticism of his policies I wouldn’t be high on his list for anything but clearly there’s room at his lunch table for dissent,” Diaz wrote on Facebook. “He burned with optimism and faith invincible.” 
 
Much like Edith Anisfield Wolf, Obama believes in the power of the written word to better us:  “When so much of our politics is trying to manage this clash of cultures brought about by globalization and technology and migration, the role of stories to unify — as opposed to divide, to engage rather than to marginalize — is more important than ever.”
 

 

Tagged: , , ,
 

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*
*

↑ Back to Top