Mao, magic and mystery head MPs' holiday reads
Monday 22 August 2005
Dan Brown's tale of intrigue, which has sold three million copies in Britain, was the book most often selected by MPs as they headed for their Greek beaches or Tuscan villas.
The latest instalment of the Harry Potter saga and Louis de Bernieres' Birds Without Wings, an epic love story set in Turkey, were also popular selections.
A survey by CommunicateResearch discovered that Conservatives opted for the critically acclaimed biography of William Pitt the Younger by their former leader, William Hague, while Labour MPs packed Jung Chang's account of Chairman Mao's life in their suitcases.
Both were also taken on holiday by peers, who also chose the late Roy Jenkins' biography of Winston Churchill and Bill Clinton's autobiography.
One unnamed loyal Blairite MP confessed to taking a biography of the Prime Minister, while Tories chose Edwina Currie's Diaries and John Sergeant's Maggie: Her Fatal Legacy.
Two MPs packed the Bible, while other politicians took work with them by bringing the annual report of the Department for International Development and a guide to the results of the general election.
Theresa May, the shadow Culture Secretary, said her favourite read had been The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, which spans nearly 30 years of Afghanistan's turbulent recent history. She also enjoyed Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle which she described as "engaging and delightful" .
Peter Kilfoyle, the former defence minister, was among those Labour MPs who chose Mao. He said: "I found it fascinating to read of his small-scale idiosyncracies, as well as his indifference to the suffering of so many millions of people."
The Labour MP Eric Joyce chose Philip Roth's latest novel, The Plot Against America, which he found was a "tour-de-force", along with Saturday by Ian McEwan.
The former Europe minister Denis Macshane selected 1812: Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow by Adam Zamoyski. It was, he said, a "great example of imperial overreach".
Last week, US President George Bush's eclectic holiday reading list was revealed by the White House, including a history of salt. He also took with him Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar, by Edvard Radzinsky, and The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History, by John M Barry.
Yesterday Downing Street was unable to shed any light on what books Tony Blair had taken with him on holiday, while a spokeswoman for John Prescott, who has cut short a break in Majorca, said: "He hasn't had a chance to read any books."
MPs' top reads
1 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
2 William Pitt the Younger -
3 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince -
J K Rowling
4 Mao - Jung Chang
5 Birds Without Wings - Louis de Bernieres
Peers' top reads
1 William Pitt the Younger - William Hague
2 Mao - Jung Chang
3 Churchill - Roy Jenkins
4 My Life - Bill Clinton
5 Who Runs This Place?: The Anatomy of Britain in the 21st Century - Anthony Sampson
The Microsoft mogul told fans a few home truths during his Reddit AMA
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 3 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...
£21000 - £40000 per annum + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 tea...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...