Monday, December 12, 2011

The GOP Field's Fiction Favourites

You know I don't do politics here on the blog don't you? Growing up in Northern Ireland in the poisoned atmosphere of the 1970s and 1980s killed all interest in politics for me and on the rare occasions when I've met career politicians I have found them to be profoundly creepy, self involved and boring. I have being following the Republican fight for the Presidency in an abstract sort of way and have come to some admittedly flimsy conclusions about the candidates based on their selection of favourite novel. If I was going to pick a GOP candidate solely on this criterion this is how I'd rate them: 
7. Jon Hunstman Jnr: Couldn't find a favourite novel or book for Huntsman. He doesn't even seem to have a favourite movie unlike all the other candidates. Do the children of billionaires not read? 
6. Michele Bachmann has to go in second last place I'm afraid. After a lot of searching I couldn't discover if she reads fiction. Her list of favourite non fiction books is here and its not terrible. She says she has a love/hate relationship with Garrison Keillor's works but then so say we all. 
5. Mitt Romney's favourite novel is Battlefield Earth by L Ron Hubbard which is one of the worst science fiction novels I've ever read. The prose is as clunky and dull as the characters and about the only saving grace is the fact that much of it takes place in Denver. 
4. Rick Perry likes the novels of Vince Flynn. I haven't read Vince Flynn but I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that he sounds like a Tom Clancy sort of guy which would really be saying something. If I'm wrong about Flynn please let me know. 
3. Ron Paul likes Ayn Rand's books so much that he named his son after her. I've read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead and strongly disliked both of them. Hate is too strong a word here, for at least I recognised them as novels but really this is philosophical fiction for light weights. If you want to read good didactic philosophy in a fictional setting try The Symposium
2. Rick Santorum. Apparently his favourite novel is The Lord of the Rings. Nothing wrong with that. I read it three times before I turned 13 and although its not currently in my Top 20 list I hold it affectionately in my heart. 
1. Newt Gingrich. Gingrich has been coy about picking just one favourite but he's got a pretty interesting list on the Freakonomics blog here. Among his novel selections are Lincoln by Gore Vidal and The Godfather by Mario Puzo, both great books. He also likes All The Kings Men by Robert Penn Warren and Shogun by James Clavell which I dug too. (Not afraid of a weighty tomb is Gingrich.) These four are all middle of the road, fairly safe choices but they are 4 books that I liked, so as far as I'm concerned Speaker Gingrich wins the contest and gets my hypothetical (I'm a registered independent) vote. 
More favourite books by famous people here.