Did you listen to the State of the Union last night? Whatever you think of President Obama's ideas, you can't deny that he is a superb orator and a talented writer; I interned as a speech-writer at a Paris foundation for the arts and, a few years later, at the French embassy in Tokyo, back in the 90's, and I find speech writing a fascinating process.
Ever so cool, with its great team of designers, Penguin has released a slender blue hardback with Obama's inaugural address, some speeches by Abraham Lincoln and my dear Ralph Ellison's essay, "On Self-Reliance." If you are interested in Obama, in history and in the USA, it's a wonderful little book. Here's a brief passage:
And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself.
And if we mention our President, can we fail to mention Michelle Obama? I find her as stunningly intelligent as she is elegant and beautiful, and Glamour voted her one of its Women Of 2009 - how could it be otherwise?