Flip Flop Flying


with 8 comments

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.

Written by Craig

August 28th, 2006 at 3:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

8 Responses to 'Reading'

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  1. Here are some questionable solutions for your reading issue…

    1. Read the smaller books first.
    2. Hire the movie, if there is one.
    3. Take a speed reading course.
    4. Hire an ernest young thing to make you some of those summaries George W undoubtly gets. They sound good.
    5. Chuck the half read ones – they are obviously not that good if you can’t finish them.

    PS How in the world do you manage to keep all the plots straight?


    29 Aug 06 at 05:35

  2. You needn’t bother with How We Are Hungry. Okay, every third story is great, but then it’s just ?

    …too bad really. Did you read You Shall Know Our Velocity?


    29 Aug 06 at 06:33

  3. Only sixty books are not enough for the politician. he ought to be reading and write also about his own work. The politicains are everywher tyring to create the image by biography. Look at Abe Lincoln. Heread alot and he wrote a lot.
    Mr. Bush is far from that criteia.

  4. It may just be a consequence of aging, about 10 years ago I was keeping a book reading diary, and set myself a target of 2 books a week, which I hit for a couple of years (this included plays/graphic novels etc…not all War & Peace type stuff). Nowadays I’m struggling to hit 2 books a year. I’ve been reading Jonathan Lethem’s Fortress of Solitude for the last three months, and despite the fact I think it’s really good, there’s always something to distract me from finding reading time. I’ve also stopped commuting though, which has a big impact. Or maybe Bush/Apple/Sony/Murdoch are flooding the world with stupid gas, which makes us waste our time on their inconsequential agendas/products instead.


    29 Aug 06 at 12:18

  5. Too right, Craig. I’d have gone straight to the ‘Peanuts’ too.
    You’ll probably read more when the weather turns to winter again.

    Ian Mac

    29 Aug 06 at 13:21

  6. Maybe Mr. Bush does not read the real books, just the York Notes to know what they are about!


    29 Aug 06 at 19:17

  7. You need a longer commute to work – that’s when I get all my reading done.


    1 Sep 06 at 13:43

  8. You’re right, Anonymous, my journey to work is all of ten metres from my bedroom to the office next to my kitchen.


    1 Sep 06 at 13:47

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