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Summer reading

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning

For me, summer reading is all about escapism. It's a total change from the constant challenges and urgent nature of political life.

I haven't decided what I'll be reading on my summer holiday this year, but I'm looking forward to searching out new authors. Discovering books on holiday is fun and often these become firm favourites in our household.

That's what happened when my son and I discovered Michael Morpurgo's The Last Wolf in a fantastic bookshop in Ullapool. It's a vivid story about the friendship between boy and wolf, set during the time of Bonnie Prince Charlie. We went to Ullapool four years ago, but The Last Wolf still tops our "most read" list.

Sticking with history, I was captivated by Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad, her fresh, funny, feminist take on The Odyssey. I really enjoyed studying Latin at school, and was fascinated by Homer's original text. I appreciated the opportunity to get Penelope's perspective on Odysseus's escapades. It's a fun story, told with lots of humour. I had the pleasure of showing Margaret round the Parliament not long after finishing this story proof that truth is stranger than fiction.

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