2016 is the year of the PIGEON (actually it’s the year of the Monkey, but The Monkeyhole sounds like something else altogether), so here we have a brand new distraction for you. One about books and stuff. 


In this grey and altogether bobbins month we got to thinking, while us Pigeons flap about trying to change the life of reading, we thought it appt (geddit?) to use our First Ever Proper Blog post to discuss the reading that has changed lives.

To kick us off – George Clooney went predictably highbrow with War and Peace, while Wayne Rooney’s choice matched his own brow with a spot of Harry Potter. But then only the most leaden of people are immune to that whizzy wizard.

i love magic

We can only imagine, though, at the inner machinations of Noel Edmonds and his decision to cite Jeremy Clarkson’s Born to be Riled as his book of a lifetime. We don’t judge. Much.

Jan Edmunds

In the spirit of sharing, we thought to give you some of ours. For me it is The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. On handing it over my mother said: ‘The devil arrives in Moscow to taunt the literati, there’s a ball with a poodle, oh and he’s got a giant cat as his sidekick.’


Our Commissioning Pigeon, Sarah, thinks that every book changes you in some way, though Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer did make her go vegan.  She had her last cow’s milk latte reading the book in an airport before a homeward flight. French Pigeon Paul has plumped for The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin, telling me it was  ‘an education in education and the only book I’ve read in one sitting. I stopped for water, but I didn’t eat for seven hours.’

Newest Pigeon is Laurence and he’s all over Catcher in the Rye. After a youthood of reading he felt utterly removed from the characters he met. No book dealt with places or people he could relate to, until Holden Caulfield. ‘Suddenly I realised that there might be thousands of them out there, which were all about me – and my egocentric self rejoiced at this prospect.’

back pat


Our Digi-Pigeon Walid is also a fan of Salinger, though in the end the book that changed his life was A Little Prince by Antoine de St-Exupéry, not only for its timeless and global social issues, but also because it is the first book he reads when learning a new language. Paola Pigeon claims that One Hundred Years of Solitude ‘was the first book that felt like real life to me, whilst also worshipping life with all its magical details.’ And for Pigeon Prima, Mr Jacob, it’s got to be The Count of Monte Cristo (we think it might be because he looks a little like the guy from the movie…)


But all this is merely one Pigeon’s page to another. What we really want to know is, what’s your book? Where do you turn again and again? Which story shines brightest in your brain? Tell us now, and tell us why, and we might even Pigeonhole that book for you.

Start the year as it means to go on, after all. With a COOperative. Reply below the jump please…

6 thoughts on “A NEW YEAR, A NEW COO”

  1. It’s moments like this I wish all my books were on shelves rather than in boxes, allowing me to peruse the titles. But I can say for certain that I, like Walid, was changed by A Little Prince by Antoine de St-Exupéry, I remember at a young age that it made me feel alright to see things differently, that an individuals’ own perception was a good thing.

  2. Now don’t judge on the wizzy wizard front. But a book that changed me and keeps me coming back to it is Jonathon Strange and Mr Norrel. Almost a non-fiction work so brilliant is the detail except for the fact it is based on the revival of English Magic. Now if I could have that in my pocket I would be happy as Larry.

  3. I would once have said that Lolita was my favourite book, after attending a few classes on it while on a school-exchange in deepest New Hampshire, during which I came to understand that every single sentence was heavy with symbolism and references, only a fraction of which were apparent to me as a lay-reader and yet it worked perfectly as a surface-skim. It is not, however, Lolita that I re-read several times a year. It is The Girls’ Guide to Hunting, Shooting and Fishing by Melissa Bank. I actively dislike short stories but consider this a perfect book. I was genuinely shocked to learn that it is considered ‘chick-lit’ with the pull-quote on one version reading: ‘as enjoyable as a night in watching Sex and the City’. Although I do also like a night in watching Sex and the City so maybe they’re right. It’s beautifully written, so light, so economical, so good on observing familial relationships. Looking through to try and find a sentence to illustrate my point (my heart is pounding oddly with the need to convince whoever is reading of this book’s wonder), I can’t bear to choose just one but am prompted to read it again immediately. And possibly reply personally to the seven 1* reviews on Amazon. Eejits.

  4. The Master and Margarita. An epiphany. But it’s been taken. Imagine if you could take all the preposterousness of humanity, all the informing and eastern block grimness and deftly weave it into a rip roaring good tale of devils, naked witches and flying pigs without a second of pomp, pretension or clunky slapstick. IMAGINE. In chief pigeon’s words. “SOLD”.

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