Back in February, I embarked on an ambitious plan: to read all the books that I’d begun but not finished. This was, and is, a big problem of mine. I tend to get distracted by something else, and suddenly the book I was reading is gathering dust, half or quarter finished, buried under a pile of Mojo or Esquire magazines in the bathroom.
I got off to a good start. (A full size version of the above chart is here. Brown equals partially-read books, orange equals books I’ve bought this year which only make the task harder.) But then I went to New York in April. I read a couple of books while I was there, then I bought a Sony PSP. Any doubts I had that video games retard a child’s development have been banished now that I’ve seen how they retard my development.
Some good news, though: I’ve nearly finished one of those books, so maybe a final spurt towards the end of the year is on the cards.
This, rather neatly, ties in with something I discovered at the weekend. After listening to The Onion’s President’s Weekly Radio Address, I had a look around on the Internet to find out if there was any information on Bush’s real reading habits.
I found out that he apparently has read 60 books this year. Sixty. Leaving aside the obvious jokes, that’s virtually a book every four days. How in the hell does someone read that much when they have one of the world’s most important, and one would assume, busy jobs? What does ‘reading a book’ constitute for this chap? Reading the blurb on the back? Getting someone to read it and summarise it into two sides of A4? Listening to the audio books is a possibility, I guess. (I’ve often wondered if that should be considered reading? It feels like cheating, but really, it’s kinda the same; just a different voice that your brain hears.)
And look at the books on his list. I could not be more certain that he is not reading Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women by Geraldine Brooks. That, sir, is bullshit. The whole list looks like it was put together by some White House PR drone, trying to find the perfect mix of clever-and-presidential and man-of-the-people.
But anyway, 60 books, if true, is pretty impressive. Especially if, like it says in the Orlando Sentinel, it’s 60 books “this summer.” My doubts about the sixty books, though, are made stronger: three of the books on his 2006 summer reading list were on his list in 2005. It seems that me and the president both start books we don’t finish.