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Shelf Life special: The Skidelskys

28 June 2012

5:15 PM

28 June 2012

5:15 PM

Robert and Edward Skidelsky have written a new book for our times, How Much Is Enough? The Love of Money, and the Case for the Good Life, which is published today. In their own words: ‘it is the story of… how we came to be ensnared by the dream of progress with purpose, riches without end.’ But what have this father son combination been reading while penning this and their other books? The answer is: rather more than just John Maynard Keynes.

Robert Skidelsky

1) What are you reading at the moment?

Laurent Binet, HHhH

2) As a child, what did you read under the covers?

J.B.Priestley, The Good Companions
Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage

3) Has a book ever made you cry, and if so which one?

As a child, F.W. Farrar, Eric, or Little by Little — uncontrollably.

4) You are about to be put into solitary confinement for a year and allowed to take three books. What would you choose?

F.Dostoevsky, The Idiot (in Russian)
L.Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (in Russian)
The Oxford Russian-English Dictionary

5) Which literary character would you most like to sleep with?

Tatiana in Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin. (I believe she was only 16 when Onegin met her, but she was wonderful later in life too.)

6) If you could write a self-help book, what would you call it?

How to Teach Yourself Mathematics (I once did as a child and stayed hopeless.)

7) Michael Gove has asked you to rewrite the GCSE English Literature syllabus. Which book, which play, and which poem would you make compulsory reading?

George Orwell, Animal Farm

John Osborne, Look Back in Anger


Rudyard Kipling, IF

8) Which party from literature would you most like to have attended?

Plato’s Symposium

9) What would you title your memoirs?

Elusions

10) Which literary character do you dream of playing?

Faust, In Goethe’s Faust

11) What book would you give to a lover?

Kama Sutra

12) Spying Mein Kampf or Dan Brown on someone’s bookshelf can spell havoc for a friendship. What’s your literary dealbreaker?

Reading matter is not the basis of my friendships.

 

Edward Skidelsky

1) What are you reading at the moment?
 
Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin

2) As a child, what did you read under the covers?
 
Fear of Flying by Erica Jong (not literally under the covers, but definitely on the sly).

3) Has a book ever made you cry, and if so which one?

Sons and Lovers

4) You are about to be put into solitary confinement for a year and allowed to take three books. What would you choose?

The Bible
Tom Jones
Remembrance of Things Past

5) Which literary character would you most like to sleep with?

Natasha in War and Peace
 
6) If you could write a self-help book, what would you call it?

The Art of Failure

7) Michael Gove has asked you to rewrite the GCSE English Literature syllabus. Which book, which play, and which poem would you make compulsory reading?

Gulliver’s Travels
The Importance of Being Ernest
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

8) Which party from literature would you most like to have attended?
 
Woland’s ball in Master and Margarita

9) What would you title your memoirs?

Unfinished Business

10) Which literary character do you dream of playing?

The Prince of Salina from The Leopard, but only because I want to be Burt Lancaster

11) What book would you give to a lover?
 
The Letters of Abelard and Heloise

12) Spying Mein Kampf or Dan Brown on someone’s bookshelf can spell havoc for a friendship. What’s your literary dealbreaker?
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How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton

Picture credit, Raymond Austen


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