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Hey, Have You Read This?

A couple of days ago I read a piece in The Guardian, where writers were asked which books they would give to their younger selves. Newspapers and magazines seem to be awash with this kind of stuff, now, and I have to admit I’m a bit of a sucker, in that I can’t resist playing along.
So which books would I give to my younger self? Well, as a little kid, I didn’t read story books. Although I did have a healthy appetite for factual books. A child’s illustrated encyclopaedia, for example. A Pageant of History - a gift on my tenth birthday – still retains its magic more than half a century on.
After a bout of influenza, when I was about eight years old, my attention was grabbed by comics. A neighbour’s son donated a huge pile of them in the wake of my illness. A generous gesture, and a fine tonic. I remember sorting them by issue number, across my eiderdown. Then I read them in sequence, savouring every episode in every story, over and over again.
As I grew older, so my love of writing g…

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