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Reading List for the Prime Minister

The Bangkok Post today has an article about a Thai academic who has come up with a required list of books that Caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra should read. Assoc Prof Carina Chotirawe who has made the list is a lecturer in English literature at Chulalongkorn University. In the past the prime minister has recommended books to the public. Most of the recommendations according to Professor Carina fall into the category of how to do business books. Her list seeks to expand the Prime Minister’s reading horizon by including plays and novels.

1) 1984 by George Orwell. It examines a society whose citizens are controlled by a dictatorial regime _ Big Brother. Big Brother keeps citizens under tight control and docile by feeding them movies, gambling and lotteries.

2) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, a story of a controlled state which creates wealth and efficiency by using artificial reproduction to produce model citizens.

''This state is similar to one of our neighbouring countries,'' Ms Carina said.

3) The Tragedy of Dr Faustus, a play by English poet Christopher Marlowe about an able and ambitious man who sells his soul to the devil to gain power, but then faces a tragic end.

4) The Emperor's New Clothes, a classic fairy tale by Danish writer Hans Christian Anderson, about an emperor who lacks grace, but is flattered by his advisers.

5) All My Sons by US playwright Arthur Miller, which examines morality and profiteering in a story about a factory owner who sells faulty airplane spare parts and later is tried in court with his honest and idealist son as the judge.

6) Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, which examines the tragic fate of a megalomaniac ruler.

''Macbeth is an arrogant leader but he still has a chance to be a better man if he weds a nice and kind lady. Unfortunately, Lady Macbeth is ruthless and would go to any length to achieve power and save her husband,'' Ms Carina said, to applause and cheers from seminar participants.

7) Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelly, an English poet. It portrays arrogance and transient power through a sonnet describing the shattered statue of an arrogant ruler.

8) A Bend in the River by V.S Naipaul, about the rise and fall of a third-world hero in a corrupt African country.

9) A Christmas Carol by British writer Charles Dickens. Scrooge is an unhappy, cruel and wealthy old man who becomes a better person after being haunted by four ghosts.

10) Don Quixote by Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes. This classic features idealist Don Quixote, who fights for principle despite the odds against him.”

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