Big, Fat, Insurmountable Reading Goal: Presidential History

I’m not afraid to tackle reading challenges. Have I always stuck with them? No, but that’s okay. I mean, if my goal is to read 50 books in a year and I only get through 44, that’s still 44 books read, yes? So I’m okay with setting themed reading goals I may not meet.

Recently I came across a blog that compiled a huge list of books about wars (thanks to thenerdreports for the heads up!). WWI, WWII, etc. Those lists are truly daunting and I’ll never get through them, but between those and the History Book Club on Goodreads, I am all about historical non-fiction recently. My next reading challenge: read at least one book about every single U.S. President. Simple, open-ended, just for me (unless anyone else wants to join, if so, let me know!).

Now I just need to figure out which ones I want to read. Do I really want to tackle Robert Caro’s four-part (massive) series about LBJ? Or do I want to read a single book, possibly one of a lesser quality, just to get through the list? These are tough questions, folks! (Don’t worry, I know they aren’t really. Perspective!)

3,500+ pages of LBJ, no big deal.

Help me out! Have you read a great book about presidential history? It doesn’t have to their definitive biography, it could even be just a book that tackles a major issue during their time in office and how they dealt with it. I don’t need to read about eight years of Reagan if there is a thrilling, well-written book about the Iran-Contra affair. I’m considering Franklin & Winston, a great book about the relationship between FDR and Churchill, as my FDR book although I’m sure there are a million other great books written about No. 32.

I’m compiling my list on Amazon in the form of a wishlist, instead of on Goodreads. My 70-something book long “to-read” pile on there is already long enough, thank you. I also house my wine collection list and my list of books I want for my professional higher-ed library there too, in case you’re interested.

To keep track of the challenge, I’ve got a fancy new sub-page under my Reading Tab. One down, 42 to go! I’m almost sure, by the time I get through the first 42, that another one will have been added to the ranks as well (although whether that will be in one month or forty-nine is anyone’s guess). I mean, a ton of these are 5, 6, 700+ pages. This is going to be fun! (?)

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4 thoughts on “Big, Fat, Insurmountable Reading Goal: Presidential History

    • Thanks for the recs! It seems that David McCollough’s books are the way to go! And I feel like I should probably tackle Washington first, that one looks great.

    • You’re welcome! I actually haven’t decided to read the series yet, but since the last book came out fairly recently it’s been on a few bookshelves so it was at the front of my mind :). I’m absolutely open to other (less exhaustive) recs on LBJ, though.

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