This love letter to reading is a philosophical take on why we read and collect books, told through a working-class lens
Mark Hodkinson grew up among the terrace houses of Rochdale in a house with just one book. Today, Mark is an author, journalist and publisher. He still lives in Rochdale but is now 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 the schools, the music, the people – but pre-eminently and profoundly the books and authors that led the way and shaped his life. It’s about a family who didn’t see the point of reading, and a troubled grandad who taught Mark the power of stories. It’s also a story of how writing and reading has changed over the last five decades.
“Deeply poignant … Powerful”
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“This is a book about the north; it is also about publishing, writing and music, but it transcends its subjects and meets the criterion Hodkinson sets out in his preface: “The best books, the same as the best days, skitter on the breeze. They go their own way””
“Mark Hodkinson is one of the great unsung heroes of literature … 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”
“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”
“Reading this memoir is to realise there is no better tool for social mobility than a book … lovely”
Mark Hodkinson has written for The Times for two decades, three years as a columnist. He has also contributed to the Observer, Guardian, Mail on Sunday and others. He is the author of Blue Moon: Down Among the Dead Men with Manchester City, which is regularly cited as a football classic, and Believe in the Sign, which was longlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year. His novels include The Last Mad Surge of Youth, which was nominated as Q’s Novel of the Year, and That Summer Feeling. He owns Pomona Books and has published titles by Simon Armitage, Barry Hines, Ian McMillan, Ray Gosling, Stuart Murdoch (of Belle and Sebastian), Bob Stanley (Saint Etienne) and many more. He also commissioned and edited the much-acclaimed biography J.D. Salinger: A Life, which was made into a film starring Nicholas Hoult.