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Reading my arse! by Ricky Tomlinson

Derek McMillan

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Reading My Arse! By Ricky Tomlinson

Quick Read series publishes by Sphere

ISBN 978-0-7515-3953-0

“Searching for the Rock Island Line” is the subtitle of the book and really a more apt title because the one thing which comes across in this is Ricky Tomlinson’s love of reading.

He explains in the intro that when he was wrongfully imprisoned (he was one of the Shrewsbury Two imprisoned trade union organisers – many older readers will remember demonstrations and petitions calling for their release) he found reading was the one way in which he could "escape."

The story is about a young man’s search for the Rock Island line, both the railway line and the origins of the Lonnie Donniegan song. It is a positive paean of praise for the power of reading and its ability to transform people’s lives, to keep them from depression and even to help them in impressing their girlfriends.

Its combination of simple vocabulary and humour makes it a quick read, as the cover promises. Ricky Tomlinson comes across as a down-to-earth no-nonsense character capable of poking fun at himself and producing a highly readable book.

(I have mentioned elsewhere that he is one of those calling for a new workers' party and that didn't exactly prejudice me against him!)

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