Saturday, January 3, 2009

The literary life of George W. Bush

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Karl Rove* our current president, George W. Bush, is a book lover. Rove and Bush have had a reading contest going since early 2006 in which they tried to top each other in the number of books read each year.

In 2006 the score was Rove (100 books) to Bush (96 books). Mr. Bush's reading list included 58 nonfiction books and here are a few of the titles listed: Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick, Manhunt by James L. Swanson, and biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie, Mark Twain, Babe Ruth, King Leopold, William Jennings Bryan and Huey Long. Also on the list were eight Travis McGee novels by John D. MacDonald.

The contest continued in 2007 and the score was Rove (76 books) to Bush (51 books). The list for this year included The Shia Revival by Seyyed Nasr and one book meant for young adults, his daughter Jenna's Ana's Story.

According to Rove, Mr. Bush insisted on another rematch in 2008. And as of December 26, 2008 the score was Rove (64 books) to Bush (40 books). His reading this year included several history titles, such as: David Halberstam's The Coldest Winter, Rick Atkinson's Day of Battle and David King's Vienna 1814. Each year, the president also read the Bible from cover to cover, along with a daily devotional.

Rove said: "In the 35 years I've known George W. Bush, he's always had a book nearby. He reads instead of watching TV. He reads on Air Force One and to relax and because he's curious. He reads about the tasks at hand, often picking volumes because of the relevance to his challenges."

*Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.

No comments: