Mark Hodkinson grew up among the terrace houses of Rochdale in a house with just one book. His dad kept it on top of a wardrobe with other items of great worth - wedding photographs and Mark's National Cycling Proficiency certificate. If Mark wanted to read it, he was warned not to crease the pages or slam shut the covers.
Today, Mark is an author, journalist and publisher. He still lives in Rochdale, but is now snugly ensconced (or is that buried?) in a 'book cave' surrounded by 3,500 titles - at the last count. No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy is his story of growing up a working-class lad during the 1970s and 1980s. It's about schools (bad), music (good) and the people (some mad, a few sane), and pre-eminently and profoundly the books and authors (some bad, mostly good) that led the way, and shaped his life. It's also about a family who just didn't see the point of reading, and a troubled grandad who, in his own way, taught Mark the power of stories.
In recounting his own life-long love affair with books, Mark also tells the story of how writing and reading has changed over the last five decades, starting with the wave of working-class writers in the 1950s and 60s, where he saw himself reflected in books for the first time.
|Publication date:||3rd February 2022|
|Publisher:||Canongate Books Ltd|
|Primary Genre||Biographies & Autobiographies|
Mark Hodkinson is one of the great unsung heroes of literature, and here he tackles perhaps the last taboo in publishing: class. With verve, insight and perfectly-captured period detail, he reminds us that not only are books sacred objects that should be available to everyone, but also that working class voices remain more marginalised and underrepresented than ever. No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy redresses this imbalance beautifully, and in a just world will kickstart a long-overdue working class literary renaissance -- BENJAMIN MYERS
Mark's journey into his own cocoon of books is a deeply personal tale but one with universal themes for all young lives shaped and transformed in some way by the written word . . . Thoughtful and engaging -- MARK RADCLIFFE
This is an impassioned hymn of praise and declaration of love for that complex cultural object, the book. Anyone who has ever read, written or published a book will find their heart's pages turning as they sink joyfully into these craftsman-built paragraphs -- IAN McMILLAN
Some kids grow up dreaming of fast cars and fancy clothes. Others just want books and records. If that was you, particularly if you grew up in a small northern town where people said the word book the way they said the word voodoo , this is probably your story. Even if you didn't, chances are you'll love it -- DAVID HEPWORTH
Praise for Believe in the Sign: A deftly written, poignant and funny tale of the 1970s - Guardian
Written with economy and elegance, self-deprecating but never self-pitying - The Times
Hodkinson has a light touch and a modest, self-effacing style which he deploys to discover comedy in the unlikeliest places - Daily Telegraph
Clever, occasionally brutal and regularly amusing - Independent on Sunday