And now, another installment in our ongoing series about one man’s journey to the end of a really long book.
Today marks 21 days since I began reading Richard Ben Cramer’s mammoth work “What It Takes,” which tracks 6 candidates as they run for President in 1988. As I have stated it the past, the book is 1,051 pages long and is split into 130 chapters.
So, How’s it going?
As of last night, I am through 49 chapters. That’s 560 pages. I’m also through one candidate. Gary Hart is out, taken down by the Donna Rice scandal, as well as his own perceived narcissism and inability to adjust to a new media landscape. Cramer ran through the scandal in a series of 6 chapters, each encapsulating the events of a single day in the long weekend that ruined Hart’s run for the Presidency. I ate it up.
Here’s an observation. I find myself much more engrossed in the stories of Michael Dukakis, Joe Biden, Gary Hart and Bob Dole than I do when reading about George Bush or Dick Gephardt. As a result, I read through certain chapters much more quickly than others. Unfortunately, I know how this story ends. So, I fear I will struggle mightily when the narrative funnels down to just Bush and Dukakis.
That being said, I am way ahead of my initial estimates for completion of the book. When I started 21 days ago, I placed an over/under of 5 months for how long it would take me to get through the whole thing. Well, after just 3 weeks, I’m half way done. Will that mean I slack off a bit and read at a more leisurely pace? Or will I continue on as I have been going and knock this thing off in less than 2 months. Place your bets in the comments section if you’d like.