Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday Salon

The Sunday
Would the same thing happen to me? Maybe Johnnie was right; maybe once you stripped away the rationalizations, it always came down to a simple matter of escape. An escape from poverty or boredom or crime or the shackles of your skin. Maybe, by going to law school, I'd be repeating a pattern that had been set in motion centuries before, the moment white men, themselves spurred on by their own fears of inconsequence, had landed on Africa's shores, bringing with them their guns and blind hunger, to drag away the conquered in chains. That first encounter had redrawn the map of black life, recentered its universe, created the very idea of escape--an idea that lived on in Frank and those other old black men who had found refuge in Hawaii; in green-eyed Joyce back at Occidental, just wanting to be an individual; in Auma, torn between Germany and Kenya; in Roy, finding out that he couldn't start over. And here, in the South Side, among members of Reverend Philips's church, some of whom had probably marched alongside Dr. King, believing then that they marched for a higher purpose, for rights and for principles and for all God's children, but who at some point had realized that power was unyielding and principles unstable, and that even after laws were passed and lynchings ceased, the closest thing to freedom would still involve escape, emotional if not physical, away from ourselves, away from what we knew, flight into the outer reaches of the white man's empire--or closer into its bosom.

--Barack Obama, Dreams From My Father

I could happily spend the rest of the morning finishing Obama's memoir--I'm a little more than halfway through--but I think I need to devote some time to the other books in progress: I'm nearing the end of the third book in The Once and Future King and I haven't touched Les Miserables or Silas Marner in days.

Let's see what I can accomplish between frantic bursts of housework.

Happy reading, Sunday Salon participants.


  1. Anonymous10:26 AM

    Forget the housework. Take a leaf out of Mole's book and cry "Hang Spring Cleaning". Enjoy yourself.

  2. In catholic households in an age gone by Sunday's were days of rests. Now while that isn't really true anymore and you many or may not be catholic. But you don't need to be in order to enjoy that little bit of philosophy. So forget the cleaning for one will still be there tomorrow. Instead pick up one of your books and spend some time with it. Books are like children...then too need one on one quality time with their "parents".

  3. I really enjoyed Dreams from my Father; I can see you are, too. I hope you bagged the cleaning, as has been suggested, to enjoy more reading today!

  4. I love all this advice about reading instead of cleaning. I think I'll take this advice to heart from now on. Oh, who am I kidding? I usually do that anyway. By the way, I have moved my blog (formerly PfeifferBooknotes) to Booknotes by Lisa at if you want to update your blogroll. I just got everything changed over and have been painting all week, so there aren't any new posts as of yet. But, I start on my new job tomorrow, and I'll get back into a routine soon.


"I don't believe in ghosts, but I see them all the time."

Sherman Alexie cancels book tour for memoir about his mother.