How one book about a bad-ass ex-CIA agent completely changed the way I look at memoirs.
Michelle Obama, first lady of the United States, mother, and recently author, celebrates her 57th birthday today. Throughout her career, she’s worked tirelessly for education, children, and people of color.
Michelle’s memoir, Becoming, was released in 2018 and was immediately a hit, selling 14 million copies in the first week of publication. Further than the book’s success, her tour for the work was filmed and made into a documentary for Netflix, which also received much critical acclaim. All of this work is to make sure her and the story of future African American women is told. Like she says in the memoir…
“Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”
Her husband, former president Barack Obama, has just recently released his own memoir, A Promised Land. This was met with similar critical acclaim to Becoming–especially the audiobook, which he narrates himself!
As we begin to start thinking about Black History Month in February, Michelle Obama’s memoir is at the top of the list for celebration. Beyond her work in politics Michelle is admirable in her dedication to her family, wellness, and spreading kindness.
“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as a forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”
This quote reflects will with Michelle’s continuous work for a better country. Though her husband’s presidential term may have come to an end, her story surely didn’t. Though she’s certainly stepped down to focus on family, she’s stayed active politically, speaking out recently against the Capitol riots and pushing for voters in Georgia to get out to the polls for the senate runoff. For Michelle, it’s all about building a legacy that others can grow on–a never ending journey like she details in Becoming.
Though Michelle has a degree from Harvard Law, she chose to switch her aim toward public service. Like she says in this quote from Becoming, she wanted to use her voice to bring speech to those without it, to tell others’ story.
Happy birthday Michelle, and keep on becoming!
Feature Image Via Goodreads
A Promised Land is the first of former President Barack Obama's two presidential volumes. This highly anticipated novel has been, so far, named one of the 10 best books of the year, by The New York Times Book Review, and a Washington Post Notable Book. But, other than the high praise it has received so far, it's also managed to sell 887,000 copies on the first day of publication, breaking records for publishing powerhouse, Penguin Random House.
The best-selling book is now a documentary and is now available to stream on Netflix! Our forever first lady gives us a rare glimpse of her private life, and her 34 city book tour.
As I should hope you’re all aware by now; February is Black History Month. It’s an international celebration of African-American leaders and artists, and Audible have some top titles to mark the occasion. Abby, Audible editor, says that Audible has chosen to “highlight luminaries who’ve taken the lead in shaping change and movement”. With activism as a core subject, here’s what they’ve picked:
The team at Audible have chosen Michelle Obama’s Becoming as a staff favorite, alongside Such a Fun Age and The Skin I’m In. These were chosen for a myriad of very valid reasons, but one thing they share is the incredible authors of color at their helm. Why not take a listen yourself and see if you agree with their choices?
In telling important stories of African-American experience, it’s important to have an authentic voice. These titles are memoirs from leading speakers and visionaries of color, such as Staceyann Chin and Nelson Mandela. Plus, with such a wide range of titles, there’s something in there to interest everyone.
image via shariffa
Storytelling is an integral part of many different cultures, and in these titles, their authors have ingrained senses as storytellers. This is particularly noted for authors such as Zora Neale Hurston, who retains the vernacular speech in her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. Having a story told in the voice that would have originally told it heightens the entire experience.
In activism, a political voice is always necessary. These titles “dive deep into the issues, both past and present”. There’s a wide range of diverse voices from Barack Obama to Stacey Abrams, most of which are narrated by the author themselves. Commemorations of Black History Month often take place in political spheres, too, making this section particularly necessary.
image via amazon
Some of their titles are free to Audible members for the month of February, like Malcolm and Me written and performed by Ishmael Reed, or Our Harlem written and performed by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson.
On February 18th, two new titles are being released as part of The Great Courses:
African American Athletes Who Made History, written and performed by Louis Moore
Great Figures of the Civil Rights Movement, written and performed by Hasan Kwame Jefferies
Not only are these great titles for the series, they are perfect for Black History Month.
Audible have tonnes more to offer from Children/YA literature, to author interviews and profiles. Check out their Black History Month portal here for all of their February content to mark the occasion.
Featured Image via amazon
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