The Spectator

Bookbenchers: Jamie Reed MP

Bookbenchers: Jamie Reed MP
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This week, Jamie Reed, the Labour MP for Copeland and Cumbria and shadow health minister, is in the hot seat. He is big on books about American politics, and reads poetry occasionally.

1) Which books are at your bedside table at the moment?

Most books now on my iPad... but Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 is always present on the bedside table. Have just begun – finally – Team of Rivals.

2) Which book would you read to your children?

They have different tastes. The Fantastic Mr Fox is always loved, along with The Hobbit.

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

Nick Clegg... or Nick Carraway.

4) Which book do you think best sums up 'now'?

Chaos, madness, war, poverty and a crisis of political legitimacy; Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. It's a bible of sorts, its truths endure.

5) What was the last novel you read?

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - brilliant. I haven't seen the film...

6) Do you read poetry?

Occasionally. Part-time collaborator with the Rev Richard Coles on Philip Larkin pastiches.

7) Which book would you most recommend?

An impossible question, but the Grapes of Wrath could have been written for our times. Its scope, characters and scale are awe inducing. It's an example of what great literature can be, so I'll opt for that.

8) Given enough time, which book would you like to study deeply?

Joe Bageant's Deer Hunting with Jesus

9) Which books do you plan to read next?

Bageant's Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir

10) If the British Library were on fire and you could only save three

books, which ones would you take?

Tressall's novelised version of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Herman Melville's Israel Potter: His Fifty Years of Exile and Whitehaven by Daniel Hay. I'm assuming bibles are plentiful...