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>There Is No Shame in Loving The DaVinci Code

>People magazine (November 3, 2008 issue) gives Sarah Palin three chances to enlarge on her claim to be a “voracious reader” and three times she escapes:

People: What do you like to read?

Palin: Autobiographies, historical pieces–really anything and everything. Besides the kids and sports, reading is my favorite thing to do.

People: What are you reading now?

Palin: I’m reading, heh-heh, a lot of briefing papers.

People: What about for fun?

Palin: Do we consider The Looming Tower something just for fun? That’s what I’ve been reading on the airplane. It’s about 9/11. If I’m going to read something, for the most part, it’s something beneficial.

I don’t know if you have to be a reader to be President (although I did find myself liking GWB a little more when he said he was reading Tom Wolfe’s I Am Charlotte Simmons, a terrible book I thoroughly enjoyed) but I am reflexively suspicious of someone who only reads “improving” books and claims to love reading. They are lying about one thing or the other.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. >she also reads ALL THE MAGAZINES EVER.

  2. Anonymous says:

    >Her handlers forgot to give her a list. Amazing! You’d think they would have prepared her for this staple interview question.

  3. Under the Covers says:

    >Nor did she mention the Bible, which seems to make most politicians’ short lists, even without the support of the far right.

  4. Anonymous says:

    >No fair. Maybe she used to have a life, and she used to read a lot. I can’t count it against her that she doesn’t have time for the Da Vinci Code right now. I can’t even blame her for not being willing to say what she’s read. It’s kind of a no win situation. She’ll get savaged for whatever she says.

  5. Anonymous says:

    >”If I’m going to read something, for the most part, it’s something beneficial”

    I read that interview today and shuddered. Do you think she views reading fiction as beneficial? Of seeing the world through a character’s eyes? Of laughing, or crying, or seeing yourself and your world in a new light?

    I doubt it!

  6. Roger Sutton says:

    >Anon 8:46, I can sympathize with her feeling flummoxed. I just don’t buy that she’s a reader, by which I mean a person who gets intrinsic pleasure from reading. She talks about reading as if it is work–and to nonreaders, it is. And I don’t mean that as a putdown.

  7. Ariel Zeitlin Cooke says:

    >I agree. Someone who is a real reader reads different kinds of things for different reasons. One of my “comfort reads” is P.G. Woodhouse. I love to escape over and over again into his burbling English world. I used to also like Southern voices like Eudora Welty for comfort reads but then I married a Southerner. Now those voices are too much part of my reality to be a proper escape.

  8. Roger Sutton says:

    >It’s funny, Ariel, how comfort books can stop working–I used to read E.F. Benson the way you read Wodehouse, but the magic is no longer there, alas.

  9. Ebony McKenna. says:

    >Hi, I only found your blog recently and I’m loving it.

    “For the most part, it’s something beneficial” is the book equivalent of lentils and tofu. Something to be endured rather than enjoyed.

    “Come on, read Beowulf.”
    “But Muu-uuum” (I’m Australian)
    “One more chapter. Then you can have Manga and ice-cream for desert.”

  10. >Love your blog.

    Love this comment. It’s like when Katie Couric asked her multiple times what periodicals she reads and she never answered the question excpet by stating “all of them.” I mean really…

  11. >Aw, I’m sorry for you! I’m older than you and I still love E. F. Benson, the only stuff on earth that can reliably make me laugh out loud.* How about you try Robert Benchley’s essays? I remember reading his “How to waste time” way back in my college years and wiping tears of hilarity from my eyes. It’s not narrative fiction, but it was gosh darn funny. *The other fiction I rely on for tears of laughter is Paula Fox’s “Maurice’s Room.” So dead pan, right on, and hilarious.

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