2019 Books

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Just in time for the weekend! What follows is the list of all the books I’ve read in 2019, followed by two graphics describing President Obama’s 2019 reading list. Please add your own recommendations in the comments. I’m always looking for a new book to enjoy!

January

Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling (on the 1st)
Women of the Bible: A One Year Devotional Study – Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda

The President is Missing – A Novel by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

The Last Good Heist: The Inside Story of the Single Biggest Payday in the Criminal History of the Northeast – Tim White, Randall Richard, and Wayne Worcester

The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction – Neil Gaiman

February

The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero – Timothy Egan

March

The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump – Andrew G. McCabe

Believe Me: a memoir of love, death, and jazz chickens – Eddie Izzard
Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance – Barack Obama

April
A Holy Mosaic: Love, Diversity, and the Family: Inspiration from a Pope Francis – Michael O’Neill Mcgrath OSFS

Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law – Preet Bharara

Seven Last Words: An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with Jesus – James Martin, SJ
Not by Bread Alone: Daily Reflections for Lent 2019 – Mary DeTurris Poust

Lenten Reflections – Bishop Robert Barron
The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain – Bill Bryson
The Truths We Hold: An American Journey – Kamala D. Harris

Gaudete et Exsultate – Pope Francis

June
In Praise of Difficult Women: Life Lessons from 29 Heroines who Dared to Break the Rules – Karen Karbo
Daily Reflections for Easter: Rejoice and Be Glad 2019 – Various Authors
Enemies: A History off the FBI – Tim Weiner
Cronkite – Douglas Brinkley

The Lost Gutenberg: The Astounding Story of One Book’s Five-Hundred-Year Odyssey – Margaret Leslie Davis

July
Good Omens – Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for the Future – Pete Buttigeig

No Dream is Too High: Life Lessons from a Man Who Walked on the Moon – Buzz Aldrin with Ken Abraham
The Library Book – Susan Orlean

August

Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense: The Courtroom Battle to Save His Legacy – Dan Abrams and David Fisher

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl – Timothy Egan
September
Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America – Jared Cohen

The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime that Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars – Paul Collins

Zoo Nebraska: The Dismantling of an American Dream – Carson Vaughn

Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II – Robert Matzen
October
Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her – Melanie Rehak

Your Fourth Day – National Cursillo Movement
City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York – Tyler Anbinder
November
Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators – Ronan Farrow
December
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith

The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir – Samantha Power
Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump – Neal Katyal & Sam Koppelman
Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style – Benjamin Dreyer
A Year with Thomas Merton: Daily Meditations from His Journals – Thomas Merton

Our Father: Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer – Pope Francis

President Barack Obama’s 2019 Book Reads and Recommendations:

Both graphics, President Barack Obama. (c)2020

The Day He Left

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​[Note: This morning, I saw a prompt on the Writers Write Facebook: Write about the day he left. This immediately came to mind.]

It was dark when I woke up. It shouldn’t have been so dark at that time of morning, but the cloud cover and the grey skies combined to make the picture of a sad morning. The grey even seeped through the leaves of the tall trees outside the window, like a fog rolling in, obfuscating the electric lines and the roofs of the nearby houses, seemingly covering over the reality of the coming day. I should have really still been asleep. I tried. I really did, tossing and turning, each shift causing a spring to poke me in awkward places from my twenty-five year old mattress. It’s needed replacing for at least fifteen years; probably more. I finally gave in. I couldn’t sleep anymore. I would stop trying to. I also didn’t want to spend this last day in bed. 

I closed my eyes and tried to pretend that today was just an ordinary day. I could hear the drip drip drip on the window ledge from the melting snow on the roof. The garbage trucks and school buses roared by, with each collecting their charges, the wet ground spraying water from their tires, the squelch as they stopped and then went again at the stop sign on the corner.

Today’s list of things to do includes a shower, buying a new (functioning) toilet, and possibly making a plan for my aunt’s ninety-fifth birthday next month. It does not include watching the news.

While dull in color, and heavy in weight, everything else around seems vibrant in feeling; not bright or brightly colored, but palpable in dread, an overhanging sad as the minutes tick down until the moment he does leave.

Twelve noon and it’s finished.

It’s the end of the second term of the first Black President, and at a very young fifty-five, he enters citizenship with more to do; much more. Books to write, a library to build and fill, a well deserved vacation, and politics as a citizen, just like me. Well, not quite.

I won’t talk about his successor. There’s no need. We’re going to have the next four years of twenty-four hour news cycles and nonsense from all sides. He matters at 12:01, but until that moment, we continue to enjoy and remember the Obama Presidency.

The sweet little girls who came into our lives eight years ago who are now young women, one starting college in the fall, and one finishing her two years of high school. Lovely, smart, kind by all accounts. They are a beautiful reflection of their parents and the good job they’ve done despite the scrutiny and the lack of privacy. They’ve done well, and I’m certain they will continue to do well.

Their mom, who left her career for another, unpaid one as First Lady pulling all of her priorities as a Mom to encourage us to do our best for ourselves, for our military families often forgotten. Let’s Move is the perfect analogy for her. Constantly in movement whether for her family or her American family, meeting, listening, and doing. Growing a garden at the White House – just magnificent. What a lovely person to look up to, to be inspired by, and to emulate.

Her husband. Our President. Not just well-spoken as all Presidents should be, but well-learned. Thoughtful and thought-filled. Caring. Innovative and inspired. Inspirational. Compassionate. Kind. Always looking forward and inward, and never worrying about what people would think of him, simply doing what he thought was best. Always.

His legacy is so much more than words on a paper or chapters in a history book. Others will remember promises broken, as is the case for all presidents once they get in and see how difficult running the government and protecting the individual is, but I will remember his sense of humor, and his easy laugh. His arm gently resting along his wife’s back and hers in the same place on his, a better definition of partnership I don’t think I could find. He sings, he dances, he pases equal pay laws and celebrates equality in marriage, in gender, affordable health care, and in religion. He doesn’t let his own beliefs and his Christianity get in the way or overshadow someone else’s, and there are many represented in this country.

He took the high road in all things, never showing his frustration despite the racism and the lack of civility and professionalism by his colleagues, some of whom should be embarrassed by their behavior. This level of obstruction and pettiness was unprecedented.

He won’t dwell on his last Supreme Court nominee stolen from him. (I will.) He will remain on the high road.

Give him credit, don’t give him credit for what he’s done with our economy and the inclusivity of our civil rights; he doesn’t care as long as he’s helped us.

And he did.

Scandal free, which doesn’t mean not making mistakes. We all make mistakes, but his White House was above board, fair, and diligent for ALL Americans, regardless of their feelings for him and his family.

The day he left was cold and dreary and grey. I don’t know if I’ll ever see his kind again in my lifetime. I can only hope that there is someone to carry his torch because right now, I’m not sure there’s anyone qualified to carry his coat.

I will miss you, President Barack Obama. I will miss you deeply. You were more than my president; you were my ally. You were my champion. You were my leader and my inspiration to do more, to do better, to be better.

Kinder.

Compassionate.

Thoughtful..

Forgiving.

Thank you, President Obama, and goodbye.

Welcome Mr. Obama. I hope to work with you in the future for the better. I will remain alongside you as we all roll our sleeves up and get to work. 

Yes. 

We did. 

We can. 

We will.