Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What an Incredible Day!

Wow. Inauguration Day has finally come. How exciting was it to watch today's inauguration of Barack Obama?? Almost as exciting as watching the swearing in of the new president and vice-president and the activities before and after was watching the people watching the events -- whether it was the people who braved long lines and frigid temperatures to watch the events in person, or the shots of people in cities all over the world clustered together to watch the events on big screens, or the thoughts of people gathered together or individually in homes around TVs or radios or computers to follow along, no matter their age, race, gender, or location. It was just darned tootin' exciting.

As a bookseller, I'm particularly excited to have a president in the White House who is not only an avid reader but also a respected author, and someone who is proud to wear both labels. In our store we have books about Barack Obama, including the newly published A Long Time Coming: The Inspiring, Combative, 2008 Campaign and the Historic Election of Barack Obama by Evan Thomas of Newsweek and Obama: From Promise to Power by David Mendell. From Life Magazine and Little, Brown we have The American Journey of Barack Obama. And for younger readers there is Barack Obama: United States President by Roberta Edwards and Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope by Nikkie Grimes. And these are just a few of the many!

Then there are the books we've heard that President Obama has praised or used to guide him at different times in his life, including The Bible, the collected writings of Lincoln, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing, Shakespeare's tragedies, Melville's Moby-Dick, Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch, and -- most recently -- Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin and The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope by Jonathan Alter. Again, this is just a sampling of the many cited or that he has been seen reading.

And, finally, there are the books he has written himself. Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, his memoir, has been touted by many as a work of literature, as well as a wonderful story and view into his background. And Audacity of Hope: Thoughts of Reclaiming the American Dream has joined his first book as a consistent New York Times bestseller.

What a great time to be a reader. What a great time to be a bookseller. What a great time to be an American.

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