Eight years of reading recommendations from our former prez and all around stand up guy, Barack Obama.
In case you were worried about satisfying the requirement of a reading challenge “book on a book list.” You’re welcome.
I adore looking at book covers, which is one of many reasons I prefer 50 Book Pledge to its mainstream counterpart Goodreads (but of course I have accounts with both). NPR put out a “best of” list of books from 2016, and it does not disappoint. You’ll find a multitude of represented genres here, from romance to kid lit. You’ll likely recognize many famous names. Maybe you have even had the pleasure of reading some of these gems.
Included below is my review of Colson Whitehead’s genius work The Underground Railroad: A Novel, first featured on CALS Bibliocommons (a great site, but one which you have to have a library card with Central Arkansas Library System to use):
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead uses a premise we’ve likely all imagined: that the underground railroad consists of real trains, deep in the earth, helping slaves to escape their bondage and forge ahead to better lives in the free states. While this elegant metaphor is sustained throughout the novel with a light hand and to poignant affect, there is nothing else fanciful about this book. Whitehead doesn’t turn away from the ugly evils of southern history. We see the cruelty of white slave-owners, the hatred and fear of lynch mobs, the insidious racism of whites who pity blacks for perceived deficiencies. But we are able to bear all this because of the courage and determination of our main character, Cora, who never gives up. We find in her the best of human goodness and a heroine we can be proud to believe in. Woven into and throughout our protagonist’s tale, we spy glimpses of generational narratives in family lines, grandmother to mother to daughter and father to son. In a time when people are treated like things, do we apologize to our children for bringing them into this awful world, or do we continue our lines in defiance of that wickedness, and toil toward, even give our lives, for a better tomorrow? In light of recent violence against people of color, too often resulting in fatalities, this book is extremely well-timed. Whitehead is master writer, and this book should be required reading in high schools nationwide.
J. Jobe (Central Arkansas Library System, Encyclopedia of Arkansas)
Everyone once in a while I like to draw attention to my favorite website for keeping track of book titles in the read, currently reading, and to-be-read pile: 50 Book Pledge. Plenty of people use GoodReads, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I prefer 50 Book Pledge because it has such a strong visual component, and I’m a sucker for good visuals. And since December is all about winding down, I figured I’d share with you the books I’ve read in 2016. In 2015 I did the PopSugar Challenge and read 50 books, then in 2016 I took things slower, and met my pledge of 25 books read. I plan to do the 2017 PopSugar Challenge and we have a facebook group for it, so let me know if you want to be added to that. Have you figured out what you’re doing for the upcoming reading year? Cheers,
As we near the end of the year and prepare to start fresh with new reading challenges and goals, it’s not a bad idea to look back. I found A List of Must-Reads (2015) and A List of Must-Reads from 2016 from Bustle. What do you think? How many have you read? What additions or changes would you make?
From the 2015 list, I was familiar with 14 of the authors. Probably everyone has seen the covers for Amy Poehler’s, of Tina Fey’s, and Mindy Kaling’s latest. I haven’t read Bluets by Maggie Nelson but I did read Argonauts, and it was very well done. I’d also read Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. From the 2016 list I was surprised to find I had not read any of the titles, and was only familiar with two of the selected authors.
This list from LifeHack might contain some more familiar titles and authors. Of this list from Real Simple I’ve read 5 and have another 2 on the to-read shelf. And I’ve read 6 of 14 from this list of Reader’s Digest.
If you had to pick just one book to recommend to everyone you know, which would it?
Until Next Time.