You see, I also have a full-time job, and family obligations that take up much of my time. I also make a point of engaging in recreational outdoor activities (like bike riding), and home maintenance activities (like brush cutting in the yard). The only way I could possibly read one book per week would be if I limited my reading exclusively to volumes like those penned by Dr. Seuss, if I were to give up most of my other personal activities, or if I were to sneak in my reading when I should be doing my job!
Yet, in a column published by the WSJ, Karl Rove wants us to believe that George W. Bush is such a voracious reader that he tries to read one book per week, and has competed with Rove for years in trying to finish not just the largest number of books, but books with the most and biggest pages!
The president jumped to a slim early lead and remained ahead until March, when I moved decisively in front. The competition soon spun out of control. We kept track not just of books read, but also the number of pages and later the combined size of each book's pages -- its "Total Lateral Area."According to Rove, these weren’t quickie children’s books. The contest started as they were both supposedly reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals!” Now I’ve seen a copy of “Team of Rivals,” and I’ve heard Kearns Goodwin discuss it on numerous television shows. It has 944 pages! Frankly, I think Kearns Goodwin is capable of writing a sentence longer than the combined works of Dr. Seuss. If I were to try to read “Team of Rivals,” it would undoubtedly sit on my bedside table for many months, if not a year or more, before I finally got through it.
But Bush apparently finished it and went on to read another 94 books that same year, all while holding the important job of “leader of the free world” and being Commander in Chief during two wars.
By contrast, I’d have to take a two week vacation from my considerably less demanding job just to get through “Team of Rivals” at the consistent pace required to be competitive in a reading contest! And I don’t even come close to matching Rove’s description of Bush’s “extra credit” reading:
Each year, the president also read the Bible from cover to cover, along with a daily devotional.So I guess this explains a lot! While he was president, Bush read, according to Rove, 95 books in 2006, 51 books in 2007, and 40 books in 2008 (plus his annual laps through the Bible!) Combine that with his regular bicycle rides and frequent brush cutting trips to Crawford, and perhaps it’s not surprising that during that time the economy went to hell, the countries’ infrastructure crumbled, and the Middle East became an even bigger disaster than before.
If Rove’s account is to be believed (and, of course, it's not!), then it seems pretty obvious that Bush was too busy reading, counting and measuring the pages of his books to do his damned job!