The Saturday Guardian ran an interesting discussion, where eleven prominent writers recommended "essential" reading for the new British PM's reading, with well-meant advice.
Historian David Reynolds recommended books suitable for the dark economic days, including Anthony J. Badger's FDR, The First Hundred Days, and also pointed out the immense difference between the media then and now.
Classicist Mary Beard recommends Dante, Proust, and Goethe, plus Marjorie Caygill's Treasures of the British Museum, just in case Mr. C. has visions of cutting the budgets of museums.
Economist Robert Skidelsky, predictably, recommends books such as Tony Judt's Ill Fares the Land (which warns that the "heedless rush" to dismember social protection threatens a destructive political backlash) and Nouriel Roubini's Crisis Economics.
Novelist Pankaj Mishra focuses on British-US relations (which he classes as a bad case of unrequited love), and recommends books about the political situation in the Middle East, such as Gideon Levy's The Punishment of Gaza.
Rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti writes a "Dear Prime Minister" letter that is redolent with despair, and makes a plea for the inviolability of the Human Rights Act, then recommends books such as Harper Lee's To Kill a Mocking Bird and Robert Harris's cautionary tale for prime ministers, Ghost. Science writer Fred Pearce makes a case for wising up on environmental science, and says that "real policy wonks" would turn to Nicholas Stern's A Blueprint for a Safe Planet.
So what would you choose? And what would I recommend? I was amused by the choice of Harris's Ghost, and while I would recommend it as an excellent read (and can't wait for the movie), I would offer, instead, his novelized biographies of Cicero, Imperium and Lustrum. Until I read those two books, I had no idea just how devious, double-dealing, and opportunistic politicians can be. Morality tales, truly.