Mark Hodkinson grew up in working class heartland, in a house full of bibliophobes (yes, there is such a thing). His family didn’t see “the point” in reading, had only one book in the house, and yet Hodkinson still learned the power of stories. He now has over 3,500 books in his own home, he works with books every day, and he’s written this one, No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy. It’s a memoir about where we come from and why books matter.

As Hodkinson lays out in the Prologue, he intended No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy to be a book about delayed gratification, and the psycho-philosophical underpinnings of accumulating a personal library, though it ended up being about so much more than that. He offers (roughly chronological) personal history, family history, and social history, interwoven with trivia and anecdotes about books, authors, and publishing.

No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy has a lot to offer any book hoarder or bibliophile. For me, I was relieved to realise that my own personal library (now at 900+ titles) is perfectly reasonable… but equally terrified to learn new-to-me terms like BABLE (Book Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy). This was a thoroughly enjoyable and highly readable overview of another lifelong bibliophile’s development, and I’m endlessly grateful to Canongate (via Allen & Unwin) for sending through a review copy.