Friday, February 4, 2011

50 in '11 Update: The Audacity of Hope

The good news is that I'm still on track to make my goal of 50 books this year, given that I'm four books into my list and about four weeks into the year. The bad news is that I've lost the head start I got by finishing The Road so early. It's not that I didn't love The Audacity of Hope—I definitely did. But one of the reasons that I had to list nonfiction as one of my categories for this year is that, when it comes to nonfiction, I'm a love-'em-and-leave-'em kind of gal.

I often enjoy nonfiction. Reading is my favorite way to absorb information, and I do love to learn. Besides, good writing is always good writing, whether it's about true events or not. But, unlike with really good fiction, it's a rare piece of nonfiction that I can't walk away from at any time. Fiction keeps me reading to find out what happens next; in nonfiction, I have to motivate myself to go back to that well of information and keep drinking.

And on weeks like the past few, when everything seems to be spinning out of control, and I can barely keep up with where I'm supposed to be and when, and what I owe to people in the in-between hours? I am so not going to that well.

So I made my way through The Audacity of Hope slowly, but I nonetheless enjoyed every minute that I did spend reading. It probably won't surprise anyone who's listened to even one of my feminist/pro-diversity/liberal-as-all-get-out rants that I'm already a big fan of our president, but I was still floored by the fluidity of his prose and the depth of his thought on every issue. He finds compromise where radicals on both sides insist there can be none, and behind all of his thinking on even the most touchy issues is a calm sense of reason. Here's someone who really believes that all of humanity, and especially Americans, are called to do good in the world. Here's somebody who's willing to have a real discussion about how to do it, and to question his own assumptions. He made me question mine.

Next up, I think I'll grab The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson. I'm craving some short fiction, and I think the quick reads will help me get my nightly page count back up so I don't fall behind!

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, I've been wanting to read some Shirley Jackson myself--I hear a lot of good things about her. I look forward to seeing what you have to say.