Barry Smooth

Of course I have a list of things I want to write about, but rather than waiting to write about them in order, I'm going to spew this one out right now: The audiobook version of Barack Obama's book The Promised Land is so good.

I was excited to read it until I heard a commentator—was it Jason Johnson?—on MSNBC say it was only ok, not really great, and totally skippable. After that I wasn't sure I wanted to invest 29+ hours and one of my two precious monthly credits (I'm at the point where I'm waiting for the 15th to roll around every month for the new credits to arrive) in this book. After 13 hours of listening over the past 36 hours or so, I am so glad I did. Actually, I was sold after the first 10 minutes. All I can think of is that Jason skimmed the print copy rather than listening to Obama read his own words.

Obama's voice is captivating. I could did listen to him all day. I can't say for sure that the wry humor, exasperation, or frustration wouldn't be obvious on the page, but it's definitely present in the audiobook, and it's delightful. It's also so interesting to see his political career, and his early days in the White House, from his perspective. (I'm up to about the summer of 2009 at this point.) It's not like any of the information in the book (so far) is completely new, but the point of view definitely is. While pundits might be skeptical of Obama's take on his own presidency, I find his perspective as valuable—and perhaps more so—than any other. So interesting.

I thought about throwing the timer on and letting him read me to sleep last night, but in the end I decided against it because I didn't want to miss anything. It's really that good.

Posted by Lori in books at 10:08 PM on December 21, 2020