Recess reads

Waugh and Wooster – Prime Minister and Leader offer up their reading recommendations

Friday, 30th July 2021 — By Tom Foot


EVELYN Waugh’s classic Scoop and a medieval whodunnit are among front benchers’ summer-time reading recommendations, according to a reading list compiled by Nickie Aiken.

The Cities of London and Westminster MP asked parliamentarians for their favourite books to offer suggestions to help pass their time over the August recess.

She informed the House of Commons of politicians’ selections on Thursday, revealing the prime minister’s as Waugh’s classic journalism yarn.

She said: “I am sure many of us in this House are looking forward to the possibility of catching up on some reading for pleasure during the recess, and with this in mind I have been working with the UK Publishers Association to compile a summer recess reading list for parliamentarians.”

Boris Johnson

Speaking to the Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, she said: “The choice of the Speaker of the House is The Prime Ministers by Steve Richards, and my own is David Baddiel’s Jews Don’t Count.

“Will my Right Honourable Friend welcome the publication of the reading list and provide us with his own book recommendations?”

Mr Mogg replied: “Scoop is such a wonderful and amusing book, so I am very tempted to crib it from the Prime Minister, but, as I expect is the case for many members, I have a number of books on the go, some in Somerset and some in London.

David Baddiel, author of Jews Don’t Count

“I would particularly recommend The Anglo-Saxons by Marc Morris, which is a terrific read.

“I am currently also reading Ellis Peters’ The Holy Thief, one of the Cadfael novels, so that is not a bad choice for those who like a whodunnit from the Middle Ages, and in the Middle Ages theme there is also Walter Hilton’s The Ladder of Perfection. It is perhaps not the most popular book in the world at the moment, but it is still in print and has been since the Middle Ages.

Nickie Aiken

“But over the summer how can one resist reading anything other than PG Wodehouse?

“So I will give two suggestions: Love Among the Chickens, Wodehouse’s first novel, which explains the complexities of compound interest to anyone who is unaware of how compound interest works, in relation to the breeding of chickens. And, as always, there is The Code of the Woosters, and I am particularly thinking of that at the moment because in one of London’s leading silver stores a Schuppe cow creamer is on offer, and I must confess I am quite tempted.”

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