Pomona Books.


Founder/owner of Pomona, Mark Hodkinson, has a new book published this week, The Longest Winter: A Season with England’s Worst Ever Football Team.

It is primarily about a (badly) failing club – Rochdale AFC – but is also a piece of forensic social history evoking the smells, textures and moods of the early 1970s when Britain was in meltdown (sound familiar?). The Arab-Israeli War had sent energy prices soaring. Petrol was scarce. Power cuts were frequent. A three-day working week came in as inflation took hold and miners and other workers went on strike.

Best place to buy a copy is: Pomona Book Store Two pounds off hardback cover price (even with UK postage). Bargain!

Also available, published by Canongate, is Mark’s (hardback, again) book, No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy: Memoirs of a Working-Class Reader. In it, he writes extensively of running Pomona, with all its various ups and downs. Again, available here: 

Pomona Books

Mark is the guest on BBC Radio 4’s A Good Read on Tuesday, 4 October. His chosen book is Contempt by Alberto Moravia. Details:

A Good Read, Radio 4

He will soon be appearing at literary festivals in Cheltenham and Ilkley:

Monday 10 October:

Cheltenham Literary Festival

Saturday 15 October:

Ilkley Literary Festival

The Longest Winter: A Season with England's Worst Ever Football Team 

In 1973-74, Britain was in meltdown. The Arab-Israeli War had sent energy prices soaring. Petrol was scarce. Offices were limited to a temperature of 17C and power cuts were frequent. A three-day working week came in as inflation took hold and miners and other workers went on strike. The northern mill town of Rochdale suffered more than most. Its cotton industry was on shut-down in the face of cheap imports, and the football team was a mirror image of the town - tired, defeated, clinging to life. The Rochdale team of 1973-74 are considered the worst to play in the Football League. They finished bottom of the third division, winning just twice in 46 league matches. They closed the season with a 22-game winless run and played one home match in front of the lowest-ever post-war crowd. That season 32 players played for the team, many of them drafted in from amateur or Sunday league clubs. The Longest Winter is as much a piece of forensic social history as it is a sports book. It evokes the smells, textures and moods of the early 1970s.

No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy: Memoirs of a Working-Class Reader

Mark Hodkinson grew up among the terrace houses of Rochdale in a house with just one book. His dad kept it on top of a wardrobe with other items of great worth - wedding photographs and Mark's National Cycling Proficiency certificate. If Mark wanted to read it, he was warned not to crease the pages or slam shut the covers.

Today, Mark is an author, journalist and publisher. He still lives in Rochdale, but is now snugly ensconced (or is that buried?) in a 'book cave' surrounded by 3,500 titles - at the last count. 
No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy 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, and shaped his life. It's also about a family who just didn't see the point of reading, and a troubled grandad who, in his own way, taught Mark the power of stories.

In recounting his own life-long love affair with books, Mark also tells the story of how writing and reading has changed over the last five decades, starting with the wave of working-class writers in the 1950s and 60s, where he saw himself reflected in books for the first time.

Boy Interrupted: Dale Hibbert
Pub: November 2015.
ISBN-13: 978-1904590309.

"I have felt alone all my life." Dale Hibbert’s story reads like a song by The Smiths, which might not be a coincidence.

His mother died when he was eight days old. He was a latch-key kid. He has married four times and has eight children. He has ‘died’ twice. He is a depressive. He has been penniless. But he has also been a musician, producer, sound engineer, a millionaire and the owner of night clubs, cafés and successful businesses. He has lived in a car, and a mansion.

Hibbert was a member of The Smiths during their early days and privy to the dreams and outlandish ideas of young Morrissey and Marr. As the bass player and engineer at their first recording sessions, he helped shape their sound. With Morrissey’s arms around his waist, they rode the streets of Manchester.

Hibbert gives a compelling insight into the rain-swept, working class life that fuelled the creativity of The Smiths. He was also a witness to the Manchester music scene of the late-1970s and early-1980s that spawned, among others, Joy Division, Buzzcocks and The Fall.

"Morrissey’s Autobiography received many positive reviews, including praise from myself in The Irish Times, but I believe this work is better written and probably more insightful. By the end, I was left thinking, “If Johnny Marr’s long-awaited memoir is anywhere near as self-analytic, emotionally honest, observant or elegantly written as this, then it surely will be universally acclaimed as the music book of the year.”

Johnny Rogan

Irish Times..

  My Improper Mother and Me Esther Fairfax Published 30 May, 2010         ISBN: 978-1-904590-26- 2.

 Lotte Berk was one of the most extraordinary women of our times. She became world-famous as the devisor of the Lotte Berk Technique, a revolutionary fitness programme that led her to great fame and wealth during the 1960s and 1970s. Among her students were a swathe of movers and shakers - Britt Ekland, Maureen Lipman, Geraldine McEwan, Zoe Wanamaker, Shirley Conran, Edna O'Brien, Prue Leith and Sian Phillips. This is a compelling portrait of the outrageous German émigré by her daughter, Esther Fairfax. It reveals the inner workings of a Bohemian life lived to the extreme. Cajoled to dance naked in Paris at the age of 16, Fairfax's remarkable story embraces drug addiction, sexual liberation, poverty, isolation, fame, and finally, hope. 

Pomona Books

D Salinger: A Life Raised High
Kenneth Slawenski
Published 15 March 2010 

ISBN 978-1904590231

JD Salinger, A Life Raised High by the American writer Kenneth Slawenski, is the first major biography on Salinger from a UK based publisher. Slawenski is a world-renowned expert on Salinger - he has run the Dead Caulfields website for more than 10 years, widely thought of as the most authoritative Salinger site. He has devoted the last seven years to researching and writing the book. Until now, little has been known of Salinger. Slawenski, finally, provides a detailed but highly readable account of the famously reclusive (his last interview was nearly 30 years ago) author. He conducted over 60 interviews and trawled libraries for letters, birth certificates, marriage licences and work records. The result is a definitive biography, 150,000 words long, looking both at Salinger's work in forensic detail, but also his family background and personal life.
Salinger's Catcher in the Rye has sold more than 65 million copies and, today, still sells 250,000 a year. It will sell many more over the next few months after the author's death at the age of 91.

 Pomona Books

The Arms of the Infinite Christopher Barker Pub. July 3 2006 ISBN 1-904590-04-7

www.commuterbooks.comIn the spring of 2006 Pomona published the memoirs of Christopher Barker, the son of the cult writer Elizabeth Smart (By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept) and the poet George Barker.He beautifully relates the inner-workings of a Bohemian up-bringing and offers an intriguing insight into one of the century's most important writers.Although he is primarily a photographer, Christopher is himself a gifted writer and an early draft of his memoir formed a recent cover story for the literary magazine, Granta.

 Pomona Books

This Artistic Life Barry Hines.
 Pub: May 2009 ISBN 978-1-904590-22-4 

www.commuterbooks.comThis Artistic Life is a new anthology by Barry Hines, the author of Kes (A Kestrel for a Knave). These short stories, many previously unpublished, cover sport and reflections on his home village of Hoyland Common in Barnsley, its landscape and the colourful characters that people it. Most of the pieces were written at the same time as his seminal novel which has been a staple of English literature for 40 years. Also included is a series of poems, both whimsical and profound, and reflections on Hines' work by younger writers, Richard Benson and Mark Hodkinson.

 Pomona Books

www.commuterbooks.com/Pomona Books.

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