What’s on your bedside table?

Hah – I thought that title might get your attention!  It’s not nearly as steamy as you might imagine: what I am curious about is what you are reading at the moment.  Yesterday evening I went to a talk by Stella Rimington, ex-DG of MI5 or – as the red tops prefer it – the housewife super-spy.  She was a very nice woman, who looked more like the archivist she originally was than anyone out of “Spooks”, and spoke very well.  Someone asked her what she used to read to relax when she was the HSS, and she said, “Thrillers – particularly spy thrillers”.  Talk about a busman’s holiday.  She said that she did learn things from them, but more insights into human nature rather than how to do the spying stuff.  She now writes spy thrillers herself, and is the first to admit that, human nature aside, they bear little relation to the reality of espionage.

All of this got me thinking, and I started to wonder whether all professionals actually prefer to read about their own subject.  Does Igor Judge, Baron Judge (the UK’s most senior judge – the name is just to die for) have a Kindle stuffed with Rumpole?  Is David Cameron working his way through the oeuvre of Michael Dobbs?  (After all, we are told that Mrs Thatcher loved “Yes, Minister!”.)  And do you, my lovely fellow AML addicts, seek out financial crime for your bedtime reading?  Glancing at my own “to read” pile, I have the second half of “The Money Laundry” (I’ve already talked about this in an earlier post), “Financial Games for Training”, “Before the Bobbies: Police Reform in Metropolitan London, 1720-1830” and “Medea” (the ancient Greek tragedy – I belong to a rather odd book club).  I know: I need to get out more.  But what about you – do you read about laundering out of love as well as obligation?

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7 Responses to What’s on your bedside table?

  1. Nicholas says:

    Well I’e just finished the excellent third part of ‘Suspicious Activity’ and have now started ‘McMafia’ by Brian Shot. I would recommend ‘Treasure Islands’ by Nicholas Shaxson if you want know why we are, where we are at the moment!!!

    • Nicholas, you are too kind! Seriously, I am so pleased that you like Edward – I’m very fond of him, but then I would be, wouldn’t I? “McMafia” is excellent: I heard a talk by Misha Glenny just as it was published, and he is frighteningly well-informed. “Treasure Islands” is another one with the bookmark halfway through – with my love of the islands in question, I have to take it in small doses! Any other recommendations, please do post them.
      Best wishes from Susan

  2. Claire says:

    On my bedside table, since forever, are: The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran and The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. Couldn’t be further away from crime. If every person on earth had these books on their bedside table, we’d be living in a different and better world! My reading addiction du jour is usually a book passed on to me by a friend. Right now, I finally decide to tackle A Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela. Not in honor of my ex. But because I’m leaving for a holiday to South Africa in 2 weeks to visit a very very good friend :D. What a man Nelson Mandela is. Again, we need more of him.

  3. Hello Claire
    Do you know, I have another friend who keeps the Dalai Lama “under her bed”, for moments of crisis and comfort. Do let me know how you get on with “The Long Walk” – like “War and Peace” and all of Dickens, I really have meant to get around to it! Hope you have a fab time in South Africa – some winter warmth would be wonderful.
    Best wishes from Susan

  4. Nicholas says:

    Funny, just re-read my last post ‘McMafia by Brian Shot’ of course it should have said ‘McMafia Brain Shot by Misha Glenny’ In my defence I was writing it on the train with phone in one hand and Kindle in the other!!!

  5. Gary says:

    Over the last couple of years I have been reading some of the classics (Dickens, Bronte, Hardy etc) as these weren’t really covered whilst I was at school and I thought it was about time I read some of them. Currently reading ‘London by Tube-A History of Underground Station Names’. I have to confess though that in addition to the Edward trilogy, I do have JMLSG Guidance, PoCA and the ML Regs on my Kindle!

  6. Gary, you are a man after my own heart! I must figure out how to get the Regs, guidance and PoCA onto my Kindle, as it sounds like a dream come true. In the words of Oscar Wilde, one should always have something sensational to read on the train!
    Best wishes from Susan

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