Sunday, July 02, 2006

Chris Matthews on The Washington Read

The Outlook (Editorial) section of today’s Washington Post has an amusing article on “The Washington Read” by Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball and NBC’s The Chris Matthews Show.

In its purest version, the Washington Read is when you turn to the index of book, see if you’re mentioned and, if you are, read only those pages where your name appears.

“Here, in our busy, ambitious city, many people ravage books like Wild West hunters once attacked the buffalo. Unlike the Plains Indians who harvested the entire animal . . . we buy a book simply to cut out its tongue – the one tasty tidbit that justifies the read,” Matthews writes.

He indicates that Washingtonians have a few basic reading styles:

  1. Read the entire book.

  2. “Go through it,” meaning jumping from page to page looking for the good stuff. “Going through a book, I insist, deserves a special place between “I read that book” and a bookstore scan,” Matthews said.

  3. Start at the beginning and then put the book aside. “The most honest claims for such one-night stands is: ‘I started it.’”

Matthews also writes about Washingtonians penchant for extravagantly displaying their books in their living rooms, dens and other sitting areas. Those books on such prominent display are non-fiction.

“We Washingtonians,” Matthews writes, “restrict fiction to our bedrooms.”


Although this blog is subtitled “My Reading Life,” I rarely mention my reading habits beyond books. In the interest of full disclosure, there are few events that I look forward to quite as much as a leisurely Sunday morning, coffee cup at hand, poring over the Post.


Matthews’ complete article can be found at The Post requires a log-in and password, so you may wish to visit,, before stopping by the Post’s website.

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