Bloggers' summer reading (Part I)

by Stephen Tall on July 12, 2008

Imagine you were going on holiday this summer: which two books would you take with you? One would be a political book – whether you want to re-read it, or try something new you’ve been recommended. The other would be your own choice of summer reading – the book you’re most looking forward to reading (again, could be something new or something old).

That was the scenario I put to some of the Lib Dems’ leading bloggers. Here’s what they said:

Paul Walter – Liberal Burblings

1. Asquith. by Roy Jenkins I have now read Jenkins’ Churchill (wonderful), his Gladstone (brilliant) and his Roosevelt (a bit of a shorty by Jenkins’ standards). I feel he is like a friend. If he had done nothing else in his life other than write his biographies, Jenkins’ would have been an outstanding life – but of course he had a remarkable political career as well.

2. To Kill a Mocking-Bird by Harper Lee. I read a list of the top 100 novels of all time and found that I had not read many of them. So I bought this book to put that right a bit. I am about half way through it and need a holiday to properly complete it. So far it is wonderful – very folksy, and an authentic insight into the Deep South of the USA in the last century.

Linda Jack – Lindyloo’s Muze

Rather like my knitting……….I have a number of unfinished tomes! So, my political book would be “Blood and Religion” – by Jonathan Cook (ex Guardian), subtitled – The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State. Jonathan lives in Nazareth and has a first hand insight into the way the Arab citizens of Israel are treated.

Re summer reading – it is seven years since I have been on “proper” holiday, where I would take a novel, trashy or otherwise! But I love Barbara Pym – a heady mix of nostalgia, humour, romance and anthropologists (! – a bit like my life….) – so I would either reread Excellent Women or venture into pastures new with Quartet in Autumn.

Helen Duffett – Paint The Town Orange

If I was going on holiday this summer, I wouldn’t want to go cold turkey after several months of elections, so this one’s a classic:

“Winning Your Local By-Election” by Shaun Roberts (an ALDC publication!)

And the other one’s a tough choice but I have recommended this to lots of people: “Big Babies, or: Why can’t we just grow up?” by Michael Bywater. His is a very entertaining style and he strikes a profound chord in a humorous way.

James Graham – Quaequam Blog

My political book is The Possibility of Progress by Mark Braund, a book I have been picking up and putting down again for the best part of a year. This is unfair to the book as it is quite readable and makes a compelling moral case for both enlightenment values and land value taxation. I like people who aren’t afraid to talk about morality. We need more, particularly in light of attempts by nasty people such as the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans to monopolise it for themselves.

My “other” book is Human Nature by Paul Cornell (your lucky readers can download this for free off the BBC website – I on the other hand paid for my copy). It is the Doctor Who “New Adventure” novel that was adapted into two episodes in last year’s TV season. Despite my geekiness, this is actually my first ever Doctor Who novel and I am less than excited by the prospect of spending more time with the “Sylvester McCoy” Doctor, even if it is just in my imagination (actually that sounds worse…). But I like Paul Cornell’s comic work and loved the TV adaptation. What’s more, the novel features future archaeologist Prof. Bernice Summerfield, a character who may or may not have been ripped off by Steven Moffat’s future archeologist Prof. River Song.

Gavin Whenman – Gavin’s Gaily Gigest

My political book would be the heavy tome I’m reading at the moment: Alastair Campbell’s Diaries. Whilst it doesn’t give a full picture of Blair’s time in office (and he admits this in the introduction), they certainly provide an insight into the New Labour inner circle and its personalities.

As for non-political book, I’m going to choose Stephen Fry’s The Stars’ Tennis Balls, as I’ve just finished The Hippopotamus and loved every ridiculous page of it.

Part II, with another five bloggers’ holiday reading choices, follows tomorrow…