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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

My favourite reads: Adam Workman

When I moved to the UAE six years ago, I was forced to admit defeat in my aim of never digitising my music collection – 10,000 CDs didn’t quite stack up when it came to my baggage limit. But I still refuse to cross the divide into e-readers. Hence, when I say these are my five favourite books, they really are books.

To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee. Granger / Rex / Shutterstock
To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee. Granger / Rex / Shutterstock

When I moved to the UAE six years ago, I was forced to admit defeat in my aim of never digitising my music collection – 10,000 CDs didn’t quite stack up when it came to my baggage limit. But I still refuse to cross the divide into e-readers. Hence, when I say these are my five favourite books, they really are books.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

My English teacher was possibly the most monotone man in the world, which didn’t exactly encourage teenaged forays into “proper” literature. This book woke me up from my classroom slumber, however, with its vivid, elegant, brutal depictions of segregated American life. I own Lee’s “lost” follow-up, Go Set a Watchman, but after reading about its “finding”, I don’t have the heart to read it.

The Damned Utd by David Peace

Peace is my favourite writer, and I was set on a path to read all of his output by this highly- stylised fictionalisation of legendary football manager Brian Clough’s ill-fated spell at Leeds United. The use of repetition and staccato sentences almost hurries you on as it creates an unstoppable rhythm in your mind. His retelling of the facts found him sued by former player Johnny Giles.

Naked Lunch by William S Burroughs

You have to commit to Burroughs’s weird world, and it takes time to adjust – and, frankly, not gag – while reading this good-taste-testing novel. The semi-autobiographical tale flits from the United States to Mexico and, when things get really dark, Morocco. It has been described as “a non-linear narrative without a clear plot”, which doesn’t even begin to cover its queasy impact.

The Indie Cred Test by Henry H Owings

Less conventional book, more manual to avoid turning into a total doofus, this tome by the man behind cult humorous American music mag Chunklet is basically a guide to how to avoid becoming a hipster who attracts hatred like iron filings to a magnet. So far, so sneering, but the laugh-out-loud hilarious mix of tick-box tests and cutting life advice is a must for anybody whose taste in culture veers anywhere left of Coldplay.

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

You might be tired of hearing how Nineteen Eighty-Four was so ahead of its time and prescient in our contemporary age of drone strikes and mass surveillance, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Orwell’s simple yet laser-accurate style certainly got the intended results from me: I felt incredibly paranoid for about two weeks after finishing the book.

Adam Workman is The National's Motoring editor

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