Summer reading guide
If you’re heading off on holiday this month – be sure to pack one of these books celebrating the best Surrey has to offer
Terra by Mitch Benn
You’ll probably know Mitch from his pin-sharp, satirical songs on BBC Radio Four’s The Now Show. Now, Surrey-based Mitch has ventured into alien territory with his first-ever sci-fi novel, Terra, which charts the adventures of the eponymous earth-kid who is adopted by a well-meaning alien from the planet Fnrr.
Terra is his first novel, and an impressive debut. What’s even more impressive is the fact that it leads with a quote from master storyteller and author-of-the-moment Neil Gaiman;
“ I found myself thinking of Roald Dahl, Douglas Adams & Terry Pratchett but the voice and story are uniquely Mitch Benn’s. Wise, funny and above all, human.”
It’ll do wonders for sales, I’m sure.
It’s really a book for older kids (upwards of nine I’d say). Watch the trailer here. Warning: you may recognize some familiar faces!
Published by Gollancz, £12.99
Party Time by Shaun Attwood
Actions have consequences. Nobody knows that more than Shaun Attwood, whose descent into large-scale drug-dealing got him imprisoned in one of America’s toughest jails.
Now, Guildford-based Shaun spends his time touring schools up and down the country warning young adults about the dangers of a life of crime. Party Time is his second book, the prequel to Hard Time (which relates his prison experiences) that was released in 2010.
Despite the fact that the pages are filled with sex, drugs and house music, it makes for a sobering read. There are some truly eye-watering moments in the book (I’m thinking of the moment when Shaun’s ex-wife tries to cut his penis off with a knife), making it quite the page-turner. Honestly recounted, it’s a window into a lifestyle that Hunter S Thompson would be proud of.
Shaun’s experiences have been televised in Locked Up Abroad episode entitled Raving Arizona.
Published by Mainstream, priced £8.99
What Fresh Lunacy Is This? The Authorised Biography Of Oliver Reed by Robert Sellers
Coldharbour resident Oliver Reed was a larger-than-life character to say the least. Now, Robert Sellers has released this new biography featuring interviews with many of Reed’s co-workers in an attempt to shed light on one of TV’s most eccentric individuals who died in Malta in 1999.
Published by Constable, £20
The British Beat Explosion, edited by JC Wheatley
This new book commemorates one of the most vibrant chapters in the area’s past: the heady days of jazz and R&B at the Eel Pie Island Hotel in Twickenham.
It may be a familiar story, but it loses nothing by this latest retelling, as the sounds of Bowie and The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Who, Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk, drift across to Twickenham town from a tiny little island in the Thames.
Co-authored by Michele Whitby – an island resident and a friend of Eel Pie Club founder Arthur Chisnall – music writer Zoe Howe and original club member Gina Way, who founded the new Eel Pie Club at Twickenham’s Cabbage Patch pub,
The British Beat Explosion explores the venue’s roots and rise, placing it upon its rightful pedestal in the history of the UK music scene.
The British Beat Explosion: Rock n’ Roll Island, ed JC Wheatley, is published by Aurora Metro (£9.99)
The Pimlico Kid by Barry Walsh
The Pimlico Kid is the debut novel by East Sheen author, Barry Walsh.
Drawn from the writer’s own childhood experiences, it’s a poignant and evocative portrait of growing up in 1960s London, as first love swells to eye-opening fruition against the backdrop of the capital’s streets.
The Pimlico Kid, by Barry Walsh, is published by HarperFiction (£7.99)