Friday, 17 April 2009


My birthday season has now come to an end! No more exciting times out, booked for a couple of weeks. So a nice quiet weekend ahead of me and depending on the weather will depend on how much I get from it.

Today though I'm still thoroughly enjoying one of my presents. Kit knows how much I love being brought books, even though are tastes are very different.... him really intelligent hard core books, by authors with unspellable Russian names. Whilst his mother just loves a ripping yarn she can escape into. I also love getting CDs of his choosing as we do like similar music. But this birthday he surpassed himself as he got me three audio books for me to listen to in the car, on some of the many miles I travel weekly.

The first one I have listened to has blown me away. I first heard about this man a few years ago, long before he became as world famous as he is now. I have followed his career with an interest almost bordering on passion, even though he comes from America I have been enthused with him and his politics long before most people in Britain had even registered that a black man was running for President.

So to have Barack Obama reading out loud- Dreams of my Father, in my car is just inspirational. The man is such a natural orator. His words have a wonderful normality about them. Now I, as a white English woman, cannot even begin to understand what it must mean to be a black American, but hearing his book as he struggles to come to terms with who he is over time, is just humbling. The man hides nothing, he swears, he admits to smoking reefers, he even sings. I have never enjoyed listening to a story as much as this.

I have laughed, cried, being moved beyond words, felt warmth, compassion, anger, goosebumps and most of all love towards a man who in this book is an almost touchable human being. There are a couple of times when knowing how history has unfolded that his words stopped me in my tracks to the point that I had to switch off and just stay with the thought of the magnitude of what has happened to this mere mortal since he wrote his words initially.

There are six discs and I'm on the fifth one at the moment, and I already feel a sense of forthcoming loss for when I have listened to them all. I have a habit of not holding on to my books. I give them away, I leave them lying around, I always believe that someone else may enjoy them. And there is no need for me to hang on to them possessively when I will never read them again. But I'm really torn about this CD. If I give it away, will I regret it as I might want to listen to it again (unlikely) Do I keep it, and deny someone else this profound pleasure. And what if they didn't like it, or didn't engage with what Barack says, that would feel awful.

So this is what I think I should do, rather than just hand it over to any old friend, if you want it let me know, and I will give it to you. But I want to know why you want it. And just cause it might be a good read is not the right answer.

I gave a book I was given at Christmas a while back to someone who I really thought needed to read the words it contained, she has said she has someone in mind to pass it on to. This I think is wonderful.

I guess what I'm doing then is almost like a competition, and I shall decide should anyone play along, whose answer I like the most. So either write a comment or email me and I'll get back to you as soon as I've finished listening. And you may be the person who gets to share Barack's words with me.


BenefitScroungingScum said...

If you don't have any other plans you're very welcome to come walking on the beach here this w'd...I'll trade you coffee/lunch for the book. BG x

lakeviewer said...

What a generous spirit you are. Remember, though, that shipping things will cost more than the value of the item! So, I pass on the offer, though my comment may not even count here. But, you have convinced me to get the set for myself and enjoy it while I drive off on a slow coast lane. HIs and Michelle's income tax was revealed in the paper yesterday: their current wealth comes from the sales of his books.

Didn't he write them before he even ran for the Illinois'congress, while he was deciding to attend law school?

Sage said...

I love audio books, they occupy your mind when your body is otherwise doing something else like ironing.. or if like me you have trouble sleeping then they are there in the depths of darkness a friendly voice reading a story to you.

I was so hoping that Barack Obama would get elected as President, not because he is black but because he has vision, drive and is willing to go the extra mile to do what he thinks is right even though many may disagree with him. His is one of the biographies I want to read/listen to in the future and look back on his achievements to date.

ps I don't have beach, but we have very nice walks around here :-)

Helen said...

Hello there! I have discovered you through Rosaria's blog ~ I feel most fortunate to make your acquaintance. I have lots of reading to do and look forward to reading many more of your posts.

Lola said...

You are so generous, Mandy! I will pass on your kind offer because I live far from you, and it is very expensive to ship. I don't want that. But what I *do* want is to get that CD set for myself and devour it while I drive in the madness of Rome. And always with this sweet post in mind.

You are a wonderful person.

Barbara said...

You know it was a good read when you really dread coming to the end. That's the way I felt about the Harry Potter books, which I read back-to-back over the course of a month.

I thoroughly enjoyed Obama's book, loaned to my by Reya. It gave me such insight into him as a person.

Lori ann said...

What a great post! and a great way to recycle.
Back in October 2008, I worked for the Democratic Campaign(volunteer). I might have a tshirt or tote bag somewhere around here still Mandy, if you like we can trade and then If you pick me I will pass it on to another of your readers(listeners). That was an incredibly moving time. I would love to hear him.
I like to do that with certain books too, i've left them behind on airplanes,buses,trains and even park benches.Hopefully someone was happy to find them!I like to think that :)

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

I bought the book for D for Christmas and am waiting to read it. I love the idea of giving books away like this - do you know there is a site/network where people do just this. They leave books in particular places for other people to find see Bookcrossing" - it's like a huge global library come scavenger hunt! :-)

nitebyrd said...

I read a long article about Barack Obama's mother. It was very enlightening. I'm very unpolitical but I'm a bit worried about the recent events in South America with our new President. I do hope he knows what he's doing.

I'm glad you're enjoying his book. He is a wonderful speaker.