Journalist and author Charles Moore commented on “The Big Jubilee Read”, a project produced by the BBC Arts and The Reading Agency. In an article, headlined: “Not even the Queen’s Jubilee is safe from BBC preaching” Mr Moore, spoke out on the BBC’s “odd emphases”. These “emphases”, according to the author, are found within the list of 70 books recommended for readers, ahead of the celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee.
Mr Moore began by praising the theme of the project that focuses on Commonwealth literature which, as he said “represents a shared literary culture which is worldwide”.
However, moving forward, the author suggests that “the list’s emphases are odd”, pointing out how the topics covered include slavery, racism, immigration and empire.
Commenting on the selection, the expert, who is also the biographer of Margaret Thatcher, says that the topics are “a bit obsessive in such concentration”.
He writes in the Telegraph: “Take the ten titles from 1952 to 1961.
“Seven of them deal with issues of slavery, racism, immigration and empire.
“All important themes for fiction, but a bit obsessive in such concentration.
“Only one of the ten, A House for Mr Biswas, by V.S.Naipaul, could be described as famous.
“Yet the decade in question was prodigious for British fiction.”
And then the expert goes on to recommend several alternatives that could have made the list but didn’t, and that avoid the highlighted topics.
He said of the recommendations concerning the period 1951-1962: “It was a period of tremendous literary diversity.
“Sad to leave so much out.”
Mr Moore also outlined many “outstanding” authors who weren’t included in BBC’s list.
And then commented on BBC’s choices: “As so often in current culture, I fear that we, the reading or would-be reading public, are being preached to about what somebody thinks would be good for us rather than encouraged to read what we would actually enjoy.”
The author concludes by saying that the Queen has reigned in an era of “immense literary achievement”, and “that is a fact to be celebrated”.
He also claimed: “The Queen herself has probably not read – and will steadfastly not read – any of the 70 books offered up by the BBC and The Reading Public.