Monday, November 10, 2008

Have You Read This?

The Bible
Collected Works by Abraham Lincoln
Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63
Gilead: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson
"Self-Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Tragedies ("Hamlet," "King Lear") by William Shakespeare

These are the works that Barack Obama says influence him. He told Katie Couric that "the bible is the book that shaped me and moved me the most. But, in addition to that, Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon might be one of my favorite books." He suggests that he reads Shakespeare's tragedies annually. (Don't know if he reads in languages other than English, but some time back he told "The Hill" that he also speaks “Indonesian and a little Spanish.”)

Any guesses which English translation(s) of the Bible the Obama family reads? Barack Obama does read, study, memorize, and quote the Bible. As an epigraph of one of his own books, he has this: "For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers." In speaking about the obligation to the needy, he quoted: "whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, which built his house on a rock . . . " and "I am my brother's keeper." And he ended his acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential nomination with this: "Let us hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess."

Others of Obama's favorite books (in English) are listed at And Michelle Obama's facebook site has this note: "We read a lot of kids books at our house. Recently, Harry Potter." I bet they read Where the Wild Things Are too.

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