Saturday, February 17, 2007

Starter For Ten - David Nicholls

Starter for Ten (Amazon Link)

This is one of those books you pick up when you're either in between real books or in the middle of a difficult to get into book. And so it is with me. I'm currently plowing my way through Iain M Banks The Algebraist and found myself stalled and not really paying attention.

Starter For Ten is a nothing book; lightweight, non-descript, throw-away. Which is exactly what I was after really. Read it over three nights.

The book's premise is a simple one as well; tapping into the heady mix of nostalgia that many of us feel about University in the 80s. This is set in 1985, the time when university didn't mean a huge loan and careers advice from the first week. Instead we all queued up at the finance department for our grant cheques and spent three years actually learning rather than fretting about jobs (which was fortunate really because in the late 80s we didn't have jobs to look forward to anyway.)
It was also a time when going to university actually meant something - generally it meant you were smart enough to be there and weren't just hanging around pretending to study something stupid.
This is beginning to sound like a "back in my day" speech.

But Starter for Ten concerns these wonderful university days and one boy's attempt to become cool, win the most unobtainable girl in the place and get himself onto University Challenge.
It's a piece of whimsy and nothing more, but whimsy shouldn't always be dismissed out of hand.

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