Former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonBudget impasses mark a critical turning point in Biden's presidency Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results Virginia governor's race enters new phase as early voting begins MORE says he likes a “fast ride” when it comes to books.
Clinton is known as a voracious reader and often was spotted carrying books under his arm around the White House when he was president 20 years ago.
Clinton, 71, says his reading interests span history, politics and policy but he admits to having a special weakness for page-turning thrillers.
“I’m like everybody else, I like a fast ride,” Clinton told the audience at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., on Thursday night at an event promoting his collaboration with best-selling author James Patterson on a new novel, “The President is Missing.”
Clinton says he’s an avid fan of Patterson, a fixture on best-seller lists who right now has another book at No. 6 on The New York Times’ hardcover fiction list.
Clinton says he’s read all 13 books in Patterson’s Michael Bennett series and all 25 books of his Alex Cross series.
He calls Patterson’s “The Black Book” the best the author has written in 25 years and likes the new character Harriet Blue, an Australian cop who overcame a tough life to pursue a career in law enforcement.
Clinton says reading has been a big part of his life and notes that K-through-12 education was a major priority when he was governor of Arkansas and then president.
“One of the things we learned is one of the big reasons for school drop outs is that past the 8th grade if you don’t have a high level of reading comprehension, you can’t do the math or the English and people get bored and they quit,” he said.
He said reading outside of school is important because the United States has the shortest school year of any advanced country except for Belgium.
When the event’s moderator Paul Begala, a former Clinton White House staffer, marveled how Clinton knew about the length of the Belgian school year, Clinton quipped it was just something he knows.
“I was in politics a long time. It’s the only profession where people are surprised that you know anything,” he said. “You wouldn’t go to a doctor who doesn’t know the difference between a liver and a lung.”
The subject of the #MeToo movement and Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, which sparked controversy earlier in the week when the former president appeared defensive in an NBC interview, didn’t come up.