15 Days Without a Head is a brilliant book about two brothers and how they deal with living on their own when their alcoholic mother leaves for over two weeks. I finished reading it yesterday and it's really good - so well written and the characters are realistic and down to earth. It's also quite funny too! It's available in the UK, and I would highly recommend it.
As part of the book's blog tour, Dave has written a guest post for me about his favourite books. For more information about him and his book, visit the following links:
Dave’s Dozen Wondrous Reads!Robert Westall – The Machine Gunners. My favourite book by my favourite author. I’ve been collecting and reading Robert Westall since I was eleven and he never disappoints. A supreme craftsman who knows how to tell a story!
Jan Mark – Thunder and Lightnings. I read this when I had just started a new school in a new town. Being able to share some of my experience and anxieties with Andrew in the book, made those first few weeks a little easier. It was the first time I realised that stories can provide companionship and sometimes help us through difficult times in our lives. This book made me want to write, and continues to influence the kind of stories I want to tell.
Keith Gray – Creepers. When I first read Creepers I thought it was the perfect story: simple, clever, surprising and cool. I realised this was how I wanted to write. I’ve read all of Keith Gray’s books and they’re all brilliant. To have his endorsement on the cover of my debut novel makes me grin every time I see it.
Tim Bowler – Storm Catchers. Another book that had a huge influence on my writing. My wife bought it for our eldest because it sounded good; he never got around to reading it, but I did. I thought it was so great, I emailed Tim Bowler to tell him. To my delight and amazement, Tim emailed back, offering advice and best wishes for my own writing career. The fact that we now share the same publisher is something of which I am very proud.
Robert Cormier – I am the Cheese. Cormier’s books are dark, taut and edgy. I have great admiration for his writing, and the fact that he never flinches from what are often brutal truths, handling difficult, sometimes shocking subjects, with heart and honesty, never for effect.
Bill Watterson – Calvin & Hobbes. It’s an over-used term, but Bill Watterson is actually a genius. Calvin and Hobbes is as near to perfection as it is possible to get. Funny, wise and heart-felt, Watterson’s strips are beautifully drawn stories featuring two of the best characters ever created. Reading a few pages of Calvin and Hobbes never fails to inspire, enlighten and put a smile on my face.
Lucy Christopher – Stolen. A masterclass in character, setting and suspense. This beautifully crafted book is surprising, disturbing and kept me thinking, long after I finished reading.
Louis Sachar – Holes. Another perfect book. The idea and execution are sublime. Anybody serious about writing should read this book – twice. The sequel Small Steps is also excellent as is The Cardturner, which made me want to take up Bridge!
Frank Cottrell Boyce – Framed. I learned a lot from this book. Frank Cottrell Boyce is the master of understatement. Funny without being cheap, and heart-breaking without resorting to melodrama. I was lucky enough to hear him speak recently and he’s a lovely fella too!
Roger McGough – Waving at Trains. I like poetry (and song lyrics) and am often in awe of writers who can capture the essence of a moment in a few words. I love the sound of McGough’s poems, the rhythm of the lines and the way he plays with language. He can be laugh-out-loud funny and brutally dark in the same verse, and always makes me think.
William Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet. (Not strictly speaking a book, and maybe too obvious to mention, but I wanted to anyway.) I’m not a huge aficionado of Shakespeare, but his writing has the ability to move me to tears and make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. The plays were written to be performed, so I prefer watching a play, film adaptation, or listening to a sound recording, rather than reading the text. Baz Luhrmann’s film of Romeo and Juliet is brilliant. The contemporary setting shows how universal some of Shakespeare’s stories are. A great production of a superb, timeless story.
Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol. I try to read this every Christmas and it always amazes me how modern it feels, despite the fact it was written nearly two hundred years ago. It encapsulates many of the things that Dickens was so good at: exquisite description and use of language; social commentary within the context of a great story; subtle humour, and some of the most memorable characters ever created. It’s also guaranteed to warm my humbug heart and spark the first flickering of festive feeling.