Nick Clegg discloses bedtime reading


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Indy Politics

Nick Clegg reads at least a few pages of a novel every night and would "love" to write one himself, he has disclosed.

The Deputy Prime Minister started writing a novel in his early 20s but it had been "shockingly bad", he said.

In an interview with Easy Living magazine, he said he would still like to write one in the "simple, sparse" style of the double Booker Prize winning JM Coetzee.

The Deputy Prime Minister said he reads "religiously, every night before I go to sleep".

He added: "I cannot think of a time when I have finished the day without reading just a few pages of a novel.

"There's no more wonderful escape at the end of any day - whether it's a good or bad day - than to lose yourself in a great big novel."

Mr Clegg said his first attempt at his own novel was inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Autumn Of The Patriarch and was written from the perspective of "a man at the end of his life - which is quite an odd thing to do in your early 20s".

"I wrote about 120 pages; it was shockingly bad and will never see the light of day. But I would still love to write a novel," he said

"I find writing very therapeutic. I would love to emulate the style of one of my favourite writers, JM Coetzee, although I don't think I ever could.

"But I love that very simple, sparse style - not a single surplus word. It's almost barren; so beautiful."

He listed seven favourite books ranging from literary fiction including Autumn Of The Patriarch and Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime And Punishment to children's books like The Tiger Who Came To Tea, by Judith Kerr.

He said he did not read political books, insisting he was not a "24-hour political obsessive".

"I can't imagine anything worse than doing politics all day then reading about it all night," he said.

But he cited Two Concepts Of Liberty by Isaiah Berlin - which he read for a postgraduate degree on political philosophy - as having had "a big impact" on him.

He also hailed Roy Jenkins' biography of 19th century Liberal prime minister William Gladstone as "amazing".

He said children's classic The Tiger Who Came To Tea was a favourite of his three-year-old son Miguel.

"I love reading to my kids. As they are being brought up bilingually, we take it in turns. I read to them in English and Miriam (his Spanish wife) reads to them in Spanish."

This is the full list of titles chosen for Easy Living's My Life In Books feature:

:: Fattypuffs And Thinifers by Andre Maurois

:: Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

:: Autumn Of The Patriarch by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

:: Two Concepts Of Liberty by Isaiah Berlin

:: Gladstone by Roy Jenkins

:: The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

:: The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr