Thursday, October 26, 2006

What a deeply bizarre story this is

Slate reports that George W. Bush is reading 100 books this year. (Scroll down to the Oct. 23 entry. Oh, and remember the story about Bush reading The Stranger over the summer?)

My favorite quote:
Don't get me wrong—every president should have an active mind, and reading can do much to help a president understand (or temporarily escape) the history he's shaping. But the past year provides conclusive proof that a well-read bad president is no better—and may be worse—than a bad president who uses that time to dedicate himself to governing badly.

I don't always do as much reading as I would like, but I am an active reader, and I'm doing well if I read 20 books in a year. (After a strong start, I've fallen off, and I'm only at 11 to date for 2006.)

In an interesting contrast, Bill Clinton was a notoriously avid reader. Me, I tend to view the reports a bit differently because my (possibly misinformed) understanding is that Clinton's work habits are very different than Bush's. (Clinton is reputed to be hyperactive, frequently going extraordinarily long stretches on little sleep. Bush takes regular monthlong vacations and frequent naps.) So I respect Clinton as an active reader, but criticize Bush for wasting time with books. Is this an illuminating difference, or a study in my own hypocrisy?


Andrew said...

So, if Hamlet and Macbeth were on Bush's summer reading list, does that mean he had not read them before?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to watch him average 2 books a week. No freaking way.