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Richard Houghton mentions some favourite novels and showbiz and political autobiographies...

READERSVOICE.COM: What are some of the best books you’ve read about The Rolling Stones?

RICHARD HOUGHTON: Bill Wyman’s Stone Alone [1990 autobiography] is a very detailed account of the band’s early days and, as one of the original members of the group, he has a unique perspective on things. Roy Carr’s The Rolling Stones – An Illustrated Record, which was published in 1976, captured a lot of images of the band and presented information in a very readable scrap book style. As an introduction to the Rolling Stones and to get some perspective on the way in which they attracted often negative media coverage in the 1960s (enhancing their reputation as the band that parents loved to hate and as the antidote to the squeaky clean Beatles) it takes some beating.

RV: What are some of your favourite books of all time, whether fiction or not?

RH: I did a degree in English at Loughborough University and so my tastes are quite conservative – The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy, Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens and DH Lawrence’s The Rainbow are three books which I studied and which I still find hard to beat. I’m a big reader of political biographies, particularly British politicians from the 1970s onwards. It’s sometimes hard to keep up with them – Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair have both been written about extensively as a result of having each been in office for so long as Prime Ministers of the UK. I also like reading showbiz autobiographies, whether they be British TV stars or Hollywood greats.

RV: What are some of your favorite political and showbiz autobiographies?

RH: In terms of political autobiographies Alan Clark’s Diaries [covering his life from 1955-1999] is an entertaining and witty read, as are Tony Benn’s diaries [The Benn Diaries, 1940-1990]. Although from different ends of the political spectrum they were very similar.

In terms of showbiz biographies, I would recommend the diaries of Kenneth Williams [The Kenneth Williams Diaries, 1994], the British TV comedy actor. The Beatles, Football and Me by Hunter Davies is exactly what it says on the tin – another perspective on the Sixties from a writer and TV columnist well known to a British audience.

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– copyright Simon Sandall