I was at Costco the other day and saw that they were selling little biography DVDs of McCain and Obama. I thought about buying them because I really don’t know a whole lot about them outside their political careers. I didn’t end up doing it, though. Maybe next time. It did remind me that I’d gotten a hold of an audiobook copy of Barack Obama’s “Dreams From My Father” book and that if I was going to listen to it I should do so before the election. So I’ve been listening to it on the commute.

I’m maybe 1/3 the way in and thus far it is absolutely phenomenal. I don’t even think it matters whether or not you care for Obama’s politics nor whether or not you believe a word of the book is true. Obama’s writing is terrific made even moreso by the fact that it was written before he was such a name and thus, as HalfSigma points out, was probably not actually ghost-written. Probably. The surprising (shocking, really) thing is, though, that if it were ghost written I totally know who wrote it: Orson Scott Card.

Okay, not really, but the resemblence in style is uncanny. They both use this sort of flowery language in this matter-of-fact sort of way. Concisely summarizing the human condition in order to make some relatively cursory explanation for a character’s behavior. Okay, so it’s a little hard to explain how they are so similar except that they just are. A couple times I had to remind myself that General Graf was not going to show up in Indonesia and help Barack’s step-father train Barack how to fight.

The book is read by Obama and the voice even sounds like one of the main guys from the Ender series. Though that may influence the connection, it’s definitely more than that. Obama also read a short introduction at the beginning. I was amazed at how stale his voice was during that part. I was getting worried that the entire book would be that stiff and dispassionate. Once he got into the novel itself, though, it got a lot better. In addition to being a skilled orator, he’s an impressive actor (insert joke here) taking on various accents and intonations as well as (if not better than) any of the other audiobook readers that I’ve been listening to.

Category: Road

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7 Responses to Obama Does Obama

  1. Linus says:

    Good to hear that it translates well to audiobook. We really enjoyed his books, especially the first. Whether you agree with the politics or not, I think he’s an impressive guy with an interesting story. Just like John McCain, now that I think of it.

  2. Jay says:

    An interesting comparison. I’m a huge fan of Scott Card, though not much a fan of Obama. Given this review his book might well be worth a read just for it’s context if not it’s content.

  3. trumwill says:

    Linus, we certainly have a more interesting pair of candidates this time around than we did four years ago.

    Jay, if you can listen to someone provide a lot of context and points-of-view that you strenuously object to without raising your blood pressure, I’d recommend it. It gets less Cardish further in once he starts his stint as a community activist, but thus far it hasn’t stopped being interesting. Right now he’s introducing Wright. My commute tomorrow should be… interesting.

  4. Willard Lake says:

    I’ll talk to the Misses about getting this as well. I’ve always meant to, but now with the election coming so close, I should probably get in on this “educated voter” thing.

  5. Barry says:

    I wouldn’t mind listening to this, but doubt it will be available at the library any time soon, before the election.

  6. Abel says:

    Comparing Obama to Orson Scott Card makes me want to pick it up. Alas, my novel comes first.

    I don’t know if you knew this or not, but Card actually started supporting an Obama canadacy after Kerry’s defeat in 2004. However, Card has recently switched and backed McCain. If you want to know why, you can read about it here.

  7. trumwill says:

    Abel, I had figured that Card backed McCain. I am actually surprised he gave Obama such a serious look.

    Barry, yeah, you’ll probably have to wait until after the election.

    Willard, I’m going full circle. I’ve finished Dreams and am now listening to David Fredosso’s The Case Against Barack Obama (not to be confused with Jerome Corsi’s more dubius “The Obama Nation”) and will round it out with The Audacity of Hope.

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