“Becoming” by Michelle Obama

By the time Michelle Obama’s book was published in November 2018, I’d gotten a part-time position at my dream job: I was FINALLY working as a bookseller in a bookstore. A few weeks had passed since I’d started, so I was still getting familiar with the process for books we weren’t allowed to sell before a specified date although customers would visit and call the store often asking “Is it there yet? Can I come by for a copy? Do you have it?”

It was the same with Obama’s book. There was a buildup of great excitement and expectation for her autobiography. People couldn’t wait to get it in their hands, and on the day it was released, we were sold out in minutes. Whenever we received another stack of books, they’d be gone in moments, sometimes before they even got on the shelves. It was even worse around Christmas time as people bought copies for themselves, friends, and family and would place five or 10 copies on hold at a time — all Christmas gifts, everyone in the family getting a copy. I also bought more than one copy. I bought one for myself and gave another to my aunt.

As usual, I didn’t immediately begin reading Obama’s autobiography when I got it. I don’t read many biographies, autobiographies, or even memoirs, and when I do, they’re never about political figures. I’m not a fan of politics, and I always mistrust political figures. But I liked the Obamas and really admired Michelle Obama. I loved her personality. What convinced me to finally purchase her autobiography was an interview she did with Oprah where she spoke about her book, growing up in Chicago, and her time as First Lady. I got curious. I wanted to know more. Furthermore, I loved how relatable Obama was in the interview. She seemed to just “tell it like it is” even when she was trying to be tactful or hold back a bit on some things, she came across as honest. I thought to myself, “I need to read her book.” And I’m glad I did.

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“Middle Passage” by Charles Johnson

A high seas adventure I didn’t expect to enjoy.

This is what I love about the library. I can visit, pick up a random book to try, and feel pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it and later buy myself a copy if I choose. If I didn’t like the book, I would be annoyed but not as upset as I would have been if I’d wasted my money on something I didn’t like. Luckily, in this case I liked the book so much that I had to buy myself a copy. This one is a keeper and one I’d love to reread because I’m sure I didn’t get as much out of it as the story had to offer.

Genre:

Historical fiction

Pubbed:

1990

Goodreads summary:

It is 1830. Rutherford Calhoun, a newly freed slave and irrepressible rogue, is desperate to escape unscrupulous bill collectors and an impending marriage to a priggish schoolteacher. He jumps aboard the first boat leaving New Orleans, the Republic, a slave ship en route to collect members of a legendary African tribe, the Allmuseri. Thus begins a daring voyage of horror and self-discovery.

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