Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Waterstone's Polls MPs on Summer Reading

Brit-bookstore Waterstone's has announced the results of its annual survey of parliamentary summer reading habits (Times, BBC); 180 members of the Commons and House of Lords responded. One paper notes of the results "some MPs are such political junkies, it seems, that even when they are away from Parliament they cannot resist reading about themselves and their predecessors."

The top book pick overall was the recent biography of antislavery reformer William Wilberforce by William Hague (former leader of the Tories). Tom Bower's Gordon Brown, Prime Minister came in as the top pick for Tory members, and biographies of Michael Foot and Sir Robert Peel also made the top ten. Former Lib Dem leader Patty Ashdown comes in as the most popular author, with three of his titles making the list (The Ashdown Diaries, Contemporary Conflict Resolution and Swords and Ploughshares: Building Peace in the 21st Century).

Labourites chose Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion and Alastair Campbell's The Blair Years as top picks, while Lib Dems said they planned to tuck into Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Also making the list: Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, Cervantes' Don Quixote, Pride & Prejudice, and Vanity Fair.

Naturally the choices have prompted a bad pun or two: the BBC's story leads with "
Labour MPs are questioning the existence of God - but the Tories are more worried about the existence of Gord, a survey suggests."

It would be interesting to see a similar survey for U.S. politicians, but I'm afraid the results would probably be too embarrassing to share.