Oldies but Goodies… not classics just older favourites

Mark Haddon is an amazing writer. His book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was a huge success and is one of my all-time favourites. Writing about an autistic teenage boy, and doing the fantastic job that he does, is not an easy task, but Haddon was able to rely on his experience of working with autistic individuals when he was younger. The book is a mystery, and a comedy, that is exceptionally funny, poignant, full of details on how the autistic mind works and copes, and is written with Christopher John Francis Boone, the autistic teenager, as the narrator. After being accused of killing his neighbour’s dog, Wellington, Christopher turns to his favourite fictional character, Sherlock Holmes, to try and track down the real killer. This is a novel rich with emotional moments regaled by a boy who can’t fathom emotion, and the effect on the reader is brilliant. You’ve really missed out on a wonderful book if you’ve never read this. Everyone I’ve recommended it to over the years has loved it.

Haddon’s second book A Spot of Bother is every bit as good as his first. It is so hilariously funny that I could barely catch my breath from laughing so hard. I thought I was going to choke. Sixty-one year old George Hall tries to settle down to a comfortable retirement, building a garden shed, reading historical novels and listening to a bit of jazz. But he discovers, quite by accident in a change room while trying on a suit for a friend’s funeral, a sinister looking lesion on his hip and immediately thinks he’s going to die. This really amusing story of a dignified, proper, old-fashioned man dealing with the problems of modern day family life, as well as his own false self-diagnosis of terminal cancer, when he won’t reveal his true feelings and fears, is definitely one of the funniest books you’ll ever read.

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