Mark Hodkinson grew up among dark satanic mills in a house with just one book that his dad kept it on top of a wardrobe with other items of great worth. If Mark wanted to read it, he was warned not to crease the pages or slam shut the covers. Fast forward to today, and Mark still lives in Rochdale snugly ensconced in a 'book cave' surrounded by 3,500 titles—at the last count. He is an author, journalist and publisher. This 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, shaped a life
[Hodkinson] seeks to draw wider attention to the north of England’s ignored talent, often from working-class backgrounds such as his own, all of which is beautifully illustrated in his moving new memoir ... This might have been a book about success in many ways, but it is sad in more ... A work of triumphs and disasters, No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy ultimately confirms the value of books and reading away from the literature industry. I loved it
No One Here Reads Tolstoy leaps around, keeping to the memoir format but frequently spinning off into entertaining digressions ... Hodkinson avoids the clichés of the 'gritty northern' genre by concentrating as much on the burning inner life of reading as the taxing outer one of getting a living in a series of rapidly altering industries ... He has made one peculiar decision: to interrupt the flow with a separate, italicised narrative strand about his grandfather, John Duffy, who suffered a life-long mental illness. Duffy is a unpredictable and unnerving presence, yet it’s hard to think of a reader who will be as fascinated by the tale as his grandson is. Still, he can be excused.
[Hodkinson] has none of the chippiness afflicting some of the kitchen sinkers; he is not out for revenge. Instead, he’s a dreamer ... I know Hodkinson slightly ... Perhaps that’s why I so enjoyed the way he talks about literature, some negative remarks about one of my own works excepted ... There are vivid character sketches of authors Hodkinson has published ... There is much dark comedy about Hodkinson’s publishing career ... This is a book about the north; it is also about publishing, writing and music, but it transcends its subjects.