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Bookbenchers: Anne McIntosh

17 February 2013

3:00 PM

17 February 2013

3:00 PM

Anne McIntosh is the Conservative MP for the Thirsk and Malton constituency, as well as being Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee. She shares her favourite books with Spectator readers this weekend.

1) Which book is on your bedside table at the moment?

It’s Headhunters by Jo Nesbo, and it’s actually in Danish. I’m half Danish and I try to keep my language up but I have to say it does take me a while – I do read quite slowly anyway. It was written in Norwegian but translated into Danish and English. That’s the one I’m reading at the minute. It’s quite exciting.

2. Which book would you read to children?

I would read the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen, they’re for children but they have a moral to them as well, and there are loads of them. I’ve offered to read them locally to children at one of the bookshops or the libraries.

3. Which literary character would you most like to be?

Bearing in mind I haven’t had much time to prepare, I would probably say Catherine, the heroine in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. That was my favourite book when I was at school.

4Which book do you think best sums up ‘now’?

I think I’d still say George Orwell’s 1984, especially for the idea of Big Brother watching you, what with the Communications Bill being read, and what we heard about the solicitor being murdered and this Russian Spy as well.

5.What was the last novel you read?

The last one I read was One Day by David Nichols, which I know is quite late. I saw the film, which was based in Edinburgh where I was both born and went to university. And I loved the film, but the book was just so well written and so sad. I saw the film first, which is always a mistake, but the book was even better.

6.Which book would you most recommend?

Probably Anne Frank’s diary, for giving a clip of the Second World War. My mother was actually in occupied Denmark during the war and I think, with the centenary of the First World War coming up, what Anne Frank wrote was just so poignant.

7. Given enough time, which book would you like to study deeply?

Having done English Lit and French, I’ve studied quite a few in depth, but I’d say Winston Churchill’s History of English-Speaking Peoples – the book he wrote after the First World War. I’ve never had time to study it, but it’s just so full of history I think that would be interesting.

8.Which books do you plan to read next?

I’ve actually borrowed a couple from the library, one I can remember is about Gladstone’s wife, an historical novel looking at that time. The other is looking at the history of the Czech Republic. And I’ve also just bought The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. I’ve just lost my dad, he died a week before his 90th Birthday, and you get the stage where you just don’t want to see it, but this one sounded a bit more positive.

9. If the British Library were on fire and you could only save three books, which ones would you take?

I would obviously take The Complete Works of Shakespeare and I would take Dickens’ Christmas Carol too. The third one is difficult. The trouble is now everything’s online, I’d want to go for one that’s only in hard copy. I’d probably go for something like John Buchan’s Memory Hold-the-Door, which might be out of print. A Christmas Carol was actually written in my area, and they’re trying to purchase one of the first editions so we can have it locally.


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