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  PRONOUN TROUBLE
READING LIST

In my show Pronoun Trouble, I deliver a lecture about watching a lecture about The Hunting Trilogy - a series of brilliant cartoons featuring Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd.

But my attention drifts a bit, and instead of following everything the lecturer has to say, I contemplate other people's T-shirts, their mugs and the books on the subject in hand.
And my mind turns to some of my T-shirts, my mugs and my favourite books at home and I whizz through a set of slides, mentioning a few in passing.

A number of people after watching the show have asked me about these titles, so here is a quick rundown with some extra booktips added on.
Please note, the year refers to the edition I own rather than the original year of publication.
I've also included links to the titles for further information and shopping ease.
GOODREADS (real reviews from real readers)
ABEBOOKS (great for second-hand copies of out of print titles)
HIVE (the online bookstore that helps support local bookshops - find your local independent bookshop in The Hive Network)
(OR USE THIS LINK TO FIND ANY LOCAL BOOKSHOP)
BIG GREEN BOOKSHOP (excellent indie bookstore in North London)
BOOKSELLER CROW ON THE HILL (wonderful indie bookstore in South London)
and UK AMAZON (huge, everything)
(OH, AND THERE'S LIBRARIES! STILL. HOPEFULLY)
Books.

ANIMATION ETC

Chuck Amuck - Chuck Jones (1989)
My favourite autobiography. Jones tells the story of his life, his medium and his creations in such a light, funny, intimate style – a book that feels like it never really ends as once you open it you enter the author’s world. There are so many lessons in here about comedy and character, about family and workplaces and, in the end, about life. It also features a flick animation at the side of the page which is awesome.
GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS

An extended and enriched version of Chuck Amuck – even more essential reading for anyone interested in the creative process and daft ducks and screwy wabbits.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS

Chuck Jones: A Flurry of Drawings - Hugh Kenner (1994)
Based on a series of interviews with Jones, this is more a behind-the-drawing board biography. Always enthralling and full of lovely anecdotes – especially about Jones’s masterful analysis of comic timing.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS


Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies - Jerry Beck & Will Friedwald (1989)

A year-by-year rundown of every Looney Tune and Merrie Melody cartoon, with plot synopses and character listings.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS



The 50 Greatest Cartoons - Jerry Beck (1994)
A coffee table classic in full colour and containing gorgeous illustrations. As a result of a huge survey of animators, it’s a fascinating tribute to great creators and wonderful films – What’s Opera, Doc? is a worthy Number One.
GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - AMAZON


The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons - Jeff Lenburg (1999)

Expanding out of the world of Warner Brothers animation, this takes in other studios, TV series and international works. If you want to lose an afternoon in a book, there are few better choices.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - AMAZON

OTHER TITLES

Elleander Morning - Jerry Yulsman (1990)
I love alternate histories and this, while relatively unknown, is one of the best. It goes back and forth through various versions of the 20th century, following a family line as certain changes cause big historical differences. A real spark of imagination to burn into dreams – and it belongs in the “object from alternate timeline” genre, somewhere I’ve loved to play.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - HIVE - AMAZON


Et Tu, Babe? - Mark Leyner (1995)

My review of Mark Leyner’s masterpiece for Wired magazine saw me reported to  Pseuds’ Corner in Private Eye and I stand by every word. A formally brilliant entertainment full of memorable sentences and images, this book has provided me with a lifetime of inspiration.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - BIG GREEN - AMAZON


The Big Con - David W. Maurer (1992)

A non-fiction account of the confidence tricksters and their strategies in early 20th century America, this was the basis of The Sting and Hustle. But it’s all much more fun when you hear the tales from the men and women (who all have THE BEST NICKNAMES) who carried out the cons. A joyous time machine of a book.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - HIVE - AMAZON



Him, Her, Him Again, the End of Him - Patricia Marx (2003)

Patricia Marx’s romantic comedy is a delicately judged tale of love and betrayal, and trust and hope, and all the things that make wanting to be with someone the stupidest thing we can do but also the best thing we can do.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - AMAZON



Dudley, There Is No Tomorrow! Then How About This Afternoon? - Shepherd Mead (1965)

I love the title, firstly, and the book is a delight. Very 1960s in its plot and tone, so don’t seek it out if you’re not prepared for its Mad Men type world. But the sequence with the aunts and the furniture is brilliantly memorable, and the story winds up into a pretty tense ride towards the end.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - AMAZON




Buried for Pleasure - Edmund Crispin (2014)

The cover of this edition is by the excellent Eleanor Crow and is a perfect encapsulation of the energy, humour and breeziness of this whodunnit. A moment in the first few pages only pays off right at the very end and you will laugh when it does, but in between it’s a very British tale of drinking, poetry, class and charm set during a by-election in that post-war age of murder mysteries and Ealing comedies.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - HIVE - AMAZON



The Ice Warrior - Robin Chambers (1975)

In the 1970s, my parents would drop me and my brother and sister off at Whitstable Library on a Saturday morning as they did the shopping and, as well as the Asterix books and the Target Dr Who novels, this was my favourite book to take out. The title story posits a world where Iceland’s football team are among the world’s best – when they took care of England at Euro 2016, I wasn’t surprised – along with Zaire – which isn’t even called that anymore – and while today’s books for boys are a little more sensitive, this still holds up as a fine read.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - AMAZON



The Driftless Area - Tom Drury (2002)
I read this over a Saturday afternoon and for half an hour afterwards I sat very still, not moving, not getting up, just astonished at its brilliance. I will say nothing more about it, but it’s truly a remarkable novel.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - HIVE - BOOKSELLER CROW - AMAZON



Suckers - Anne Billson (1993)

Vampires are the coolest. And Anne Billson’s blisteringly funny take on them is super-cool. The heroine is excellent, and anyone who has had trouble buying a flat will relate to her from the opening scene and be on her side throughout. Bloody brilliant.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - AMAZON


Who Killed Roger Ackroyd? - Pierre Bayard (2000)

Pierre Bayard proves that one of the greatest whodunnits ever published, Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, is hiding a deeper story about authorial intent, narration and reading. Have your copy of TMORA to hand, as he goes through Poirot’s errors and explains why he (and Christie) got the solution wrong. And then pick up Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong to see Bayard do the same for The Hound of the Baskervilles and Conan Doyle.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - AMAZON


How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read - Pierre Bayard (2010)

The second Bayard is a must-read book (or not) which explains how we can all have opinions about culture we haven’t personally experienced. Again, written in that fiercely intelligent style that makes you feel cleverer while reading it.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - HIVE - AMAZON



Alternative 3 - Leslie Watkins (1977)

The novelisation of a science magazine show that told the world about a hidden conspiracy around the mid-1970s brain drain of British scientists. Is it true? Or is it hiding something more?
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - AMAZON


A fictional future history (a lot of which has already happened) about the consequences for the world if a machine was invented that could tell when a person lied. It’s thoughtful and slow in places, but creates a humanist momentum that makes a world slightly more reasonable than our is turning out to be.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - AMAZON



Lint - Steve Aylett (2006)
Dense, difficult but rewarding. And very very funny. if you’ve ever wondered what a fictional science fiction author’s fictional biography would read like, pick this book up and then read it. There are elements of Dick, Heinlein and others; but really Lint is totally even more other.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - HIVE - AMAZON


A brilliant graphic novel by Kyle Baker, detailing the misadventures of hipster journalist Anne and her weird sister. It’s funny, tender and unpredictable and despite it being released in 1990, it feels fresh and original even now.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - AMAZON



My Monkey’s Name is Jennifer - Ken Knudtsen (2003)
Ken Knudtsen’s kinetic graphic novel about an angry chimpanzee and his relationship with a small girl who puts him in a dress and calls him Jennifer is the best graphic novel about an angry chimpanzee and his relationship with a small girl you’ll ever read. Bizarre but occasionally rather beautiful too.
 GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - AMAZON

Ian Frazier writes funny things, and the title story in this collection takes as its subject a court case between Wile E Coyote and the ACME Corporation over their products that fail to assist in Road Runner acquisition. You can see why I like it.
GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS



OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

Here are a few extra booktips that didn't make it into the 'lecture' but if you like any of the above, and agree that I have excellent taste - WHICH I DO - you might well enjoy the following too. . .



Lightning Rods - Helen DeWitt (2011)
A recommendation I came across from The Tournament of Books which is an annual joy. Helen deWitt's novel is hilarious, uncomfortable, extraordinary and a trip - don't even read the blurb, just dive into it and you will be rewarded with a tale that makes complete sense and no sense at the same time. Books are great at that.
GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - HIVE - BOOKSELLER CROW - AMAZON



Another parallel universe / alternate history adventure, but one that goes into real character and cultural depth. It's a thriller as well as a springboard into terrifically imaginative terrain. Science fiction doesn't have to be weird, but when it's this smart in its weirdness it can be the best.
GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - AMAZON


Campari for Breakfast - Sara Crowe (2014)
Certain books are just 100% pleasure and this is a lovely example. It's a smart teenage girl and her quirky relations (like Cold Comfort Farm, I Capture the Castle, lots more) but the smart girl - Sue Bowl - is such an amazing character and quirky in her own way, that everything is elevated into a brilliant world of happiness. And when the excerpts from the novel-writing group begin, you will snort.
GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - HIVE - AMAZON



Francis Plug: How to be a Public Author - Paul Ewen (2014)

Hilarious and beautiful and sad and wonderful. I cried with laughter on a bus at one point and couldn't breath at others. Plug knows he's going to be a famous author, so attends book events to watch current literary stars and gives them "helpful" pointers along the way. If you've ever been to an author talk, you have to read this.
GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - HIVE - BOOKSELLER CROW - AMAZON



The Land of Laughs - Jonathan Carroll (2000)

Jonathan Carroll's novels are journeys into the world beside ours - dreams, fears, ambitions and doubts - and they feed on everything we feel. Start at the beginning of his extraordinary career and read how his world becomes deeper, darker and yet more wonderful too. A master.
GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - AMAZON



How to Heal the Hurt by Hating - Anita Liberty (1998)

Anita Liberty's poetry is for everyone who was ever left by someone when they shouldn't have been. The poems make you laugh on one line and claw at your heart on the next.
GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - AMAZON
 



Random Acts of Senseless Violence - Jack Womack (1993)
The world we live in sometimes feels like a sci-fi story heading towards a mess. Well Jack Womack described it 20 years ago, in the voice of a teenage girl, and as the story builds to a climax it will grip you - GRIP YOU - and you'll want to read the rest of the amazing Dryco sequence.
GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - HIVE - AMAZON


Christopher Priest's Dream Archipelago seqeunce is a journey to a world that feels oddly familiar yet comfortably strange. This starts as being a gazeteer of the islands, but slowly interlocking stories emerge and reveal themselves and what we think was true for one place we've just visited turns out to be something else as we continue our journey.
GOODREADS - ABEBOOKS - HIVE - AMAZON