January 16, 2009


I knew that President Bush was an avid reader, but Amritas sent me a link last night to an article Karl Rove wrote about their reading contests.

I'm gonna try to break Bush's 2008 record.

I had already decided to keep a log of what I read this year, prompted by k2sc1's post and also John Hawkins, who reads voraciously. But now I have a goal to work towards and some healthy competition.

You're dead meat, Bush.


Also, you read The Stranger, Mr. President, which is totally slim. I am going to re-read Animal Farm like all those hoopleheads in high school who picked it because, like, it's only 128 pages long.

And that totally counts.

Posted by Sarah at January 16, 2009 11:39 AM | TrackBack

Funny, this was my New Year's Resolution this year: to read more books. So far I am not doing that well, I am still trying to finish The Three Junes (which is quite a good read), but I have been reading it since November 2008...I think this may have inspired me!

Posted by: CaliValleyGirl at January 16, 2009 12:39 PM

CVG -- I will soon be reading a book THAT COULD SAVE MY LIFE.

Posted by: Sarah at January 16, 2009 12:46 PM

Sarah - is it the Survivor's Club? Because I've been DYING to read that.

I try to keep track of what I read, but I often find myself with paperback pith because I end up with a wait somewhere and I can't just sit! Who just sits? I have to buy something cheap.

And more than half of those are so horrible I can't finish them. So, do they count? Or not?

On the bright side, paperback pith runs at CVS is how I discovered Brad Thor and Daniel Silva...

Posted by: airforcewife at January 16, 2009 01:00 PM

Haha. AFW, it is the gun book CVG gave me for Christmas. The back cover screams "This book could save your life!"

Posted by: Sarah at January 16, 2009 01:20 PM

First, we called Bushaitan illiterate. Now Rove wants to claim Dumbya reads? Fine. As Mao said,

"The more books you read, the more stupid you become."

"You can read a little, but reading too much ruins you, really ruins you."

- Mao: The Unknown Story, p. 486

The masses took the Chairman's words to heart:

Fearing that the Red Guards might burst in and torture them if "culture" was found in their possession, frightened citizens burned their own books or sold them as scrap paper, and destroyed their own art objects ...

... until Mao's death in 1976, old books remained banned, and among the handful of new books of general interest that were published, all of them sported Mao's quotations, in bold, on every other page.

- Mao: The Unknown Story, pp. 521-522

Of course, Mao read a lot. Probably more than Dumbya ever could:

... he himself was well-read and loved reading. His beds were tailor-made to be extra large, with enough space for loads of books to be piled on one side (and sloping, so that the books would not topple over onto him), and his favourite hobby was reading in bed. But he wanted the Chinese people to be ignorant. He told his inner circle, "We need the policy of 'keep people stupid.' "

- Mao: The Unknown Story, pp. 521-522

But Mao was special. Not special ed material like Dumbya.

Is Obama special, or is just he another capitalist roader? We shall see.


You're dead meat, Bush.

If a cheerleader like you can turn against him, there is still hope for you.

This book will really save your life once the Red Guards, I mean, civilian security force is on duty.

"Study Chairman Mao's writings, follow his teachings and act according to his instructions."

- Lin Biao (Mao's right-hand man; killed in 1971)

Posted by: kevin at January 16, 2009 01:45 PM

It is perhaps fitting that kevin quotes extensively from Mao: The Unknown Story since Rove wrote that Bush encouraged him to read a Mao biography - possibly MTUS!

Unfortunately, kevin has trouble reading numbers. His quote about Mao's love of reading has the wrong page numbers: "521-522" should be "486." No wonder he's a professor of "Golden Pacifist Turtle Islander Studies" living off taxpayer money instead of doing something more demanding. He is unsurprisingly similar to his idol Mao:

Mao had no grasp of economics ... Mao had trouble even with basic numbers. Once, while he was talking about trade with Japan, his prepared notes contained a figure of US $280 million, but one line later he wrote this as US $380 million, throwing the whole calculation out by US $100 million. "Statistics and numbers were not in any way sacred to him," Yugoslavia's No. 2, Edvard Kardelj, observed after he met Mao in 1957. "He said, for example, 'In two hundred years' time or perhaps in forty.' " The chief Soviet economic adviser in China, Ivan Arkhipov, told us, with a sigh of exasperation, that Mao "had no understanding, absolutely no understanding at all" of economics.

-Mao: The Unknown Story, pp. 398-399

Of course, given the explosive economic success of the Soviet Union, one has to wonder how much understanding Arkhipov had.

During the 1930s, some of the leading intellectuals in America condemned our economic system and pointed to the centrally planned Soviet economy as a model — all this at a time when literally millions of people were starving to death in the Soviet Union, from a famine in a country with some of the richest farmland in Europe and historically a large exporter of food.

New York Times Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize for telling the intelligentsia what they wanted to hear — that claims of starvation in the Ukraine were false. [Dontcha just love the NYT? Good riddance, MSM.]

After British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge reported from the Ukraine on the massive deaths from starvation there, he was ostracized after returning to England and unable to find a job.

More than half a century later, when the archives of the Soviet Union were finally opened up under Mikhail Gorbachev, it turned out that about six million people had died in that famine — about the same number as the people killed in Hitler’s Holocaust.

-Thomas Sowell

I recommend Robert Conquest's Harvest of Sorrow:

It is significant that statistics (even if unreliable) of the mortality of cattle were published, and those of human mortality were not -- so that for fifty years we have had some account of what happened to the livestock but not what happened to the human beings. In a much published speech a couple of years later Stalin was to say that more care should be taken of people, giving as an example something that supposedly happened to him in exile in Siberia: by a river-crossing with some peasants, he saw that they made every effort to save horses from being swept away, but cared little for the loss of a man, an attitude he deplored at some length. Even for Stalin, whose words seldom revealed his true attitudes, this was -- and particularly at this time -- a complete reversal of truth. It was he and his followers for whom human life was lowest on the scale of values.

We may now conveniently sum up the estimated death toll roughly as follows:

Peasant dead: 1930-37: 11 million

Arrested in this period dying in camps later: 3.5 million ...

As we have said, these are enormous figures, comparable to the deaths in the major wars of our time. And when it comes to the genocidal element, to the Ukrainian figures alone, we should remember that five million constitutes about 18.8% of the total population of the Ukraine (and about a quarter of the rural population). In World War I less than 1 % of the population of the countries at war died. In one Ukrainian village of 800 inhabitants (Pysarivka in Podilia), where 150 had died, a local peasant ironically noted that only seven villagers had been killed in World War I.

If Sarah ever runs out of books to read, I could lend her my set of Conquest's works.

Posted by: Amritas at January 16, 2009 02:53 PM

I'll take on that challenge too. I'm 17 days into reading the Bible through. I've finished up 'Fountainhead' (started it at the tail end of 2008 so I'm not sure that counts) and I'm currently about 1/3 of the way through "Man in the Middle". And "Killing Rommel". And a book whose title I can't remember about Cobra pilots in Vietnam (I plan to pick BillT's brain later about the book).

And I'm reading the kids "Despereaux" before we go see the movie.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at January 17, 2009 03:42 AM