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Way to be the sheep and not a shepherd.

Posted by puhleeze | August 28, 2008 8:45 AM

girl, i've been listening to that shiz on my ipod for the last couple weeks on my walk to and from work. i don't ever want it to end. i only allow myself 3 or 4 chapters a day. it makes me feel warm inside. i love how naked it is.

Posted by kim | August 28, 2008 8:49 AM

a billion... really? I think not.

is there any book that's been read by a billion people, white or otherwise, outside the bible and the koran? Maybe the phone book if you count them all together.

Posted by really | August 28, 2008 8:59 AM

Sorry, I meant a trillion.

Posted by Jen Graves | August 28, 2008 9:03 AM


hyperbole = literary device

(maybe only 500,000 which makes it totally unimportant)

do you correct spelling in blog posts?

Posted by john | August 28, 2008 9:03 AM

How come he never "Dreams" of his brother who is living in a shack in near poverty? Or how about sending some money...something...

Posted by John Bailo | August 28, 2008 9:05 AM

I wasn't planning on reading it but maybe now I will.

(John Bailo, what exactly is wrong with you, anyway?)

Posted by elenchos | August 28, 2008 9:08 AM

@6: So . . . you're either the executive director of an international non-profit poverty fighting agency or a giant asshole.

Posted by Ziggity | August 28, 2008 9:11 AM

@ 8: My money is on "Giant asshole"

I'm reading it too. I haven't gotten to the angry young black man part yet, but I'm anxious to get there.

"Anger is a gift."

Posted by Mike in MO | August 28, 2008 9:17 AM

That book was my first real exposure to Barack...and I fell in love with the way he thinks. His honesty and self-described struggle to become more self-aware was enough for me to believe.

I can NOT wait for tonight.

Posted by Stephanie | August 28, 2008 9:19 AM

How about Toni Morrison, for starters?

Posted by Brendan Kiley | August 28, 2008 9:19 AM

George Obama says fuck you, John Bailo.

[George] said that he was furious at subsequent reports that he had been abandoned by the Obama family and that he was filled with shame about living in a slum. “It seems there are people who want to destroy me and my family,” he said.

“They say I live on a dollar a month, but this is all lies by people who don’t want my brother to win.”

Posted by tsm | August 28, 2008 9:20 AM

John Bailo is a conservative troll.

Posted by w7ngman | August 28, 2008 9:22 AM

Lindy West give ecce homo bite of giant alien fungus, ecce homo eat fungus, freak out, John Bailo out, ECCE HOMO BECOME JOHN BAILO!


And no, I don't feel like letting it go.

Posted by The Incredible Sulk | August 28, 2008 9:28 AM

Brendan: Toni Morrison isn't a bestseller. She's an English class writer. Hence, my distinction from academia.

But you said for starters: What else?

Posted by Jen Graves | August 28, 2008 9:31 AM

it's also Felix Day! Hurrah!

Posted by jonns | August 28, 2008 9:32 AM

it's also Felix Day! Hurrah!

Posted by jonns | August 28, 2008 9:33 AM

Sorry, I meant to say he was living in the penthouse suite at the W hotel. Here's a picture of his digs:

Posted by John Bailo | August 28, 2008 9:39 AM

I've also been listening to Barack reading his own book to me, on my iTunes and it's really great.

Posted by Just Sayin' | August 28, 2008 9:40 AM

To Kill A Mockingbird.

Posted by DOUG. | August 28, 2008 9:40 AM

"What’s the last book that a billion white people read that was even marginally about race, and that wasn’t treated academically?"

Harry Potter. Duh!

Posted by Hernandez | August 28, 2008 9:46 AM

I have no idea what Hernandez is talking about, so I will consider myself clueless on that score.

But to you others: No literature, people. Nothing assigned in English class.

Posted by Jen Graves | August 28, 2008 9:48 AM

Are you nutball? Toni Morrison has been the Oprah book-of-the-whatever several times over. She spent around four months on the best-seller list (for Beloved, I think) and once had two different books on the best-seller list at the same time!

Posted by Brendan Kiley | August 28, 2008 9:50 AM

Plus, Tavis Smiley. For another.

Posted by Brendan Kiley | August 28, 2008 9:53 AM

John Bailo, I really want to know what is wrong with you. Come on.

Posted by elenchos | August 28, 2008 9:53 AM

Already read it, great book.

What do you think of the sequel "How I p0wnd GWB and his clone McSame"?

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 28, 2008 9:54 AM

From Nutso: Maybe you're right about Toni Morrison. I'll give you Beloved, at least.

And then what? Again, let's try to avoid English class.

Posted by Jen Graves | August 28, 2008 9:55 AM

To Kill a Mockingbird underscores Jen's point (english class or not). It was a LONG time ago.

Posted by Mike in MO | August 28, 2008 9:57 AM

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis is about race, class, and football, and it's great.

Posted by Anthony Hecht | August 28, 2008 9:58 AM

Brendan Kiley: Did I just hear you say "Tavis Smiley"?

My point is that I think white people don't generally pursue race as a subject for extended consideration or extended discussion. A literary abstraction, maybe. A morality tale, maybe. I think Barack's presidency could seriously change that.

Posted by Jen Graves | August 28, 2008 10:01 AM


That's just an entranceway photo. Have you ever been outside this country? They're not all McMansions. You're done.

Posted by eyeroll | August 28, 2008 10:04 AM

The Namesake.

Posted by DOUG. | August 28, 2008 10:14 AM

The Color Purple? Autobiography of Malcolm X?

Posted by Mahtli69 | August 28, 2008 10:16 AM

I know—Tavis Smiley I was kind of kidding about. But Alice Walker, for sure. And Cornel West has been on the best-seller list and he is an academic.

I agree that Barack's presidency will fundamentally change race relations in America, but many more white folks pursue race as a subject for extended conversation (for good or for ill) than you know. I reject your generalization!

Posted by Brendan Kiley | August 28, 2008 10:17 AM

George Obama lives very well for someone in Kenya. Only filthy rich Africans live in conditions that remotely resemble an American middle class lifestyle.

Posted by keshmeshi | August 28, 2008 10:29 AM

Not that your point is not taken, Jen. But, Richard Price?

Posted by the shelver | August 28, 2008 10:50 AM

It's Felix Day, too!

Posted by john | August 28, 2008 12:16 PM

What's with the marginalization of academia? How many commenters have attended school beyond high school? What percentage of people who make decisions and influence the course of society have at least a few years of college? I suspect both numbers are relatively high (though you wouldn't necessarily know it from the output of either) The question, JG, is what does this distinction imply?

Posted by LMSW | August 28, 2008 4:50 PM

You're right Jen. A remarkable book. Obama's not Faulkner but the man can write. Remember: He wrote this. Not some staff minion or ghost writer. And while you can't discount Obama's ambition, this isn't a campaign document. He wrote it after graduating from law school. I do think the final portion about his time in Kenya goes on too long. But the rest is revealing, amazingly candid, and, the biggest surprise of all, a good read.

Posted by Mr. Viking | August 28, 2008 9:34 PM

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