June 2nd, 2009
08:45 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama keeping up with Bush's reading pace?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/02/art.bushreading.gi.jpg caption="Can Obama keep up with Bush's reading pace?"](CNN) - It appears President Obama has to step up his reading pace if he wants to beat his predecessor in one particular measure: how many books a president can polish off a year.

In an interview with the BBC Tuesday, Obama said he is currently reading Joseph O'Neill's 270-page novel "Netherland," a book Obama first said he began back in April.

If Obama is close to finishing the novel, that puts him on less than a 10 book-a-year pace, far less than the close to 100 books President Bush was reportedly able to finish in the same amount of time.

According to former top Bush aide Karl Rove, he and the former president engaged in a friendly wager every year to see who could read more books.

In 2006, Bush read 95 books to Roves 110: a Herculean pace of nearly two books a week - in an election year to boot - for the ex-president. But, according to Rove, Bush's reading slowed a bit in the final years of his presidency, finishing a not-too-shabby 51 books in 2007 and at least 40 in 2008.

And if that's not impressive enough, Rove also said Bush found time to read the Bible "from cover to cover" every year.

While Obama may have had to put aside “Netherland” last month in favor of pages of court briefs with a Supreme Court vacancy to fill, it nevertheless appears the president has some summer reading to do.

Filed under: President Bush • President Obama
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. Rick

    It's easy to read when you're sitting in a chair watching the country fall apart.

    June 2, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    lets be honest, i dont think george w. bush read 100 books in his life to date. for someone who reads so much, he didnt seem very informed. he certainly seemed to have enough time to read that many books

    June 2, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  3. Ruthie

    Of course Obama will never read the number of books that Bush did, the books he reads have words in them instead of pictures.

    June 2, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  4. Bryan

    My guess is Obama is too busy cleaning up the mess Bush made when he wasn't paying attention.

    June 2, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  5. ANN

    On your mark get set go...let the reading marathon begin!

    June 2, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  6. Fremon

    This was propaganda to believe that Bush read as many books as claimed. He never referenced any or advised what he learned in any reading. As for Rove, well they all appeaar to be liars. So what would be new.

    June 2, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  7. Charlie in Maine

    I am tempted to ask about the comprehension of the books in question and I suppose that is why you folks posted this "news" item. Not takin the bait.

    June 2, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  8. Deborah Titus

    I read Netherland and didn't cruise through it either – too much on the topic of Cricket. A worthwhile read but I understand someone who puts it down to finish later –

    June 2, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  9. Travis Bain

    Is Rove counting 'My Pet Goat?'

    June 2, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  10. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    I f Obama was more intellegent than Bush maybe we would have seen his college grades or were his a gentlemans C like Kerry. If Obama was really intellegent why was he not an engineer or scientist for his undergrad program like a lawyer I work with. I think he partied like a frat boy in college as his freshman pictures showed him smoking a joint. I see him as no more intellegent than anyother President in recent history. He may feel your pain like Clinton which makes him so popular with the left.

    June 2, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  11. Jeff in Los Angeles

    Bush was only able to read so many books because he was on vacation so much. Obama is too busy taking care of repairing all the damage done by the Bush Administration to read so much.

    June 2, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  12. No brainer

    That's because President Obama is...umm...running the country.

    June 2, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    first I don;t believe Bush actually read that many books,
    second, even so, Obama don't have the leisure time Bush did.

    June 2, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  14. Brian fox

    Is this news??? Who cares – I read less than 50 books a year, but my wife reads 130+ books a year. Does that mean I have to keep up w/ her reading?? My reading is targeted, while my wife reads all sorts from Adventure, thriller to detective and romance. The notion that Obama should speed-up his reading because Bush read more trashy stuff within the specified period is preposterous.... He read more books while driving the economy to it's current mess. I will rather read less books and stay focused in the business of governance...

    June 2, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  15. David

    Uhh... and I believe Karl Rove because????

    June 2, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  16. nick

    With all the books Bush read, its a wonder anything got accomplished.....wait, nothing did.

    June 2, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  17. Bill

    It's easy to finish 95 books when you're reading "The Pet Goat." Oh wait, I forgot, Bush didn't actually get to finish that.

    June 2, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  18. joe blow

    Nearly a hundred books a year? Hmmmm. Well, I guess that explains not reading his PDB that warned of the 9/11 attacks.
    Glad we settled that.

    June 2, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  19. Joanne

    But Bush wasn't doing anything. Cheney was running the country.

    June 2, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  20. John MacLean

    Yeah. But GW counted comic books.

    June 2, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  21. Jay

    Jeez, I guess he's worst than we thought. He read all these books and yet he still can't pronounce nu-cle-ar. Shame. Shame. I guess he should've spent his time working instead.

    June 2, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |

    I believe everything Karl and George tell me, don't you?

    They are trying to re-write history

    I don't believe George can read or comprehend.

    The neo- feudals are always complaining about Barracks teleprompter- as if they have never seen one

    That's because George memorized his speeches- you can tell by the way he recites them- he doesn't even comprehend what he is saying

    Remember his first speeches- he was being fed the lines in his ear
    maybe they still do that – they just got better at hiding the wire

    Ask his daughters if he ever read to them

    His father was probably hoping laura would teach him to read

    Someone should talk to his grammer school teachers- they know

    Karl might read but it won't do him any good

    June 2, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  23. RJ McHatton

    I wish more people would read at their pace.

    June 2, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  24. Jack

    This is pure nonsense. Bush in no way read 100 books in any year. Rove's exaggerations are obvious. I'd like to see the list of these books – bet W has no clue what they're about.

    June 2, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  25. Charlotte


    June 2, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
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