Everybody reads – and we’ve all got our own reasons for doing it. As well as the good old-fashioned paperback, we’ve also got comics and graphic novels for excellent stories. We might use how-to guides or self-help books to find ways to better ourselves personally, or expand our professional expertise with whitepapers and other online resources. It’s actually pretty tough to get through life without reading. As you might expect from a copywriter, I’m partial to a paperback myself, so for this year’s World Book Day, I gathered the Twentyone team to share what we’re all reading. Our answers are below!
Right now, I’m buried in Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. He’s a famous US chef, and it’s all about his gradual rise through the ranks of the culinary world. I bought it because I’m a keen cook, and it’s got plenty of musings on the art of cooking in there, as well as great recipes. There’s even cool little stylised annotations every few pages, which gives it a nice bit of individuality and colour.
I’ve never read that much – always too busy with the other things! Recently though, my wife bought me the Hanged Man by Simon Kernick. It’s basically about a disgraced copper and his private eye girlfriend, on a mission to bring down a group of murderers called the Bone Field Killers. They’re brutal. It’s terrifying – I’m an adult man and it’s actually given me nightmares! It’s book two of a three book series, so soon I’ll be on the lookout for the next instalment!
I don’t actually do a lot of whole reading when it comes to books. I’ve got to read articles constantly to keep up with SEO industry trends, so once I get home, I generally like to switch off from words! Having said that, though, I am powering through Lenny McLean’s autobiography, otherwise known as Barry The Baptist from Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. He was a really interesting bloke – used to be big on the London nightclub scene, hanging out with people like the Krays, and Charles Bronson. I can’t put it down.
Ashley and me are pretty much complete opposites here, as I do a tonne of reading. When I was a kid I used to read aloud for an hour a night, as part of my speech therapy for my stammer. These days I still do twenty minutes every night, and I really like what I’m on at the moment: it’s called Kid Normal by Greg James and Chris Smith. The writing’s got a great wit, and some great illustrations I can appreciate as a designer, too.
I tend to read in the bath a lot (which adds an interesting element of mild peril to my reading time). A lot of my books are positive non-fiction, so I guess I’m a bit of a soul sister in that sense! As for what I’m reading at the moment, that would be #GirlBoss by Sofia Amoruso. It’s actually a true story, of her personal journey from high school dropout to Executive Chairman of her own company. It’s an excellent read, and it has a lot to teach about useful lessons in business, too.
Growing up, I used to read a lot of stories – Terry Pratchett’s Discworld was a highlight – but to be honest, most of what I read nowadays is comparatively boring job-related stuff. When I get the time though, I’m partial to reading about successful sportspeople, like Alex Ferguson or Rio Ferdinand. I think lots of people can be very quick to dismiss their success as simply because of sports, but they’re often quite savvy businesspeople too, with personal brands – legacies, even – built up over decades. That side of them often gets downplayed on the telly, but you get to find out about it in so much more detail by reading the books.
While browsing at a second-hand shop in Manchester recently, I picked up a book called The Bird King, by an artist called Shaun Tan. It’s actually a sketchbook, with works that are as numerous as they are fantastical. According to the artist each sketch suggests its own ‘untold story’, so I’ve set myself the task of writing a short, hundred word story of my own interpretation for each sketch. I think of it basically as writing even as I read, and the bonus is that it helps keep my imagination fresh and my creative skills sharp, even during my leisure time.
So, that’s what we’re reading – what about you?