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My life in books

Debbie Mann is studying for a masters degree in international studies in education at Birmingham University.

What I'm reading

How I Escaped My Certain Fate: The Life and Deaths of a Stand-Up Comedian

By Stewart Lee

This is a career biography that incorporates full transcripts of some of Lee's stand-up comedy shows. The commentary and footnotes explain the evolution of his comedy and provide an insight into the development of his work. Although not all of the material hits the spot for me, "41st Best Stand-Up Ever" is one of my favourite comedy performances. Even reading the scripts to myself made me laugh loudly.

The book I loved as a child

The Amazing Mr Blunden

By Antonia Barber

This begins in early 20th-century London with a family in hardship. An unexpected visit from the solicitor, Mr Blunden, results in the family moving to the countryside to act as caretakers for a rambling old house. The children, Jamie and Lucy, quickly make friends with children of similar ages, except ... these children are ghosts and they need Jamie and Lucy to travel back to the past to prevent a terrible tragedy.

Read this before you die

Gone With the Wind

By Margaret Mitchell

I found an early edition of this with a newspaper cutting about a 1940s air raid inside. As a history student, it appealed to me and I bought it. This novel is set in the American Civil War. I was keen to see the film after reading it, but only managed the first few minutes; it does not do justice to the book. The poster used as a cover for the modern imprint gives a misleading Mills and Boon-type image.

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