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Starter for Ten

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  11,679 ratings  ·  900 reviews
The year is 1985. Brian Jackson, a working-class kid on full scholarship, has started his first term at university. He has a dark secret—a long-held, burning ambition to appear on the wildly popular British TV quiz show University Challenge—and now, finally, it seems the dream is about to become reality. He's made the school team, and they've completed the qualifying round ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 23rd 2007 by Villard (first published January 1st 2003)
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Sharon It is not as good as the book, but still a great movie adaptation. I watched the movie first and then read the book and wasn't disappointed.
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45th out of 454 books — 454 voters
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"I'm aware that the transition into adulthood is a difficult and sometimes painful one. I'm familiar with the conventions of the rites of passage, I know what the literary term bildungsroman means, I realise that it's inevitable that I'll look back at things that happened in my youth and give a wry, knowing smile. But surely there's no reason why I should be embarrassed and ashamed about things that happened thirty seconds ago? No reason why life should just be this endless rolling panorama of b ...more
This was a First-Reads win, so I desperately wanted to like this book. It's a coming-of-age story about an awkward, nerdy main character. In fact, this character is like many a person I've known during my own coming-of-age period in my life. Unfortunately, unlike the many similar people I've known and liked and befriended, Brian Jackson lacks any redeeming quality that makes me, the reader, want to root for him.

The first forty pages of the book had me slightly interested in learning what would
"'Well...' says Alice '...we had some friends round, like we always do on Boxing Day, and we were playing charades, and it was my turn, and I was trying to do 'Last Year At Marienbad' for Mummy, and she was getting so frantic and over-excited, and shouting so hard, that her cap popped out and landed right in our next-door neighbour's glass of wine!'
And everyone's laughing, even Mr Harbinson, and the atmosphere is so funny and adult and amusing and irreverent that I say, 'You mean you weren't wea
Feb 01, 2011 Carrie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
Brian Jackson is a grant student entering his first year at university. Coming from blue collar family and friends, he’s always been the oddball at home, and is hoping that at university he will find his niche. As a fan of the television show University Challenge, he is excited to make the team, even if it is only as first alternate – mostly because he gets to see the posh and beautiful Alice at team meetings. As his first year of college progresses, though, Brian learns the valuable lesson that ...more
Greg Stragnell
This is a very funny book about an English lad during his first year at University. He has all the usual first year mishaps and, partly as a result of "falling in love" with a beautiful undergraduate, joins the team for University Challenge, a British quiz programme based on College Bowl. He pursues his relationship with "the beautiful girl" while at the same time crossing swords with a radical but much more rounded girl. The book was made into a film starring James McAvoy which is also very amu ...more
Carrie Hope Fletcher
"1985. First-year student and Kate Bush fan Brian falls or beautiful University Challenge queen Alice Harbinson in a brilliant comedy of love, class, growing up and the all-important difference between knowledge and wisdom."
"Another David Nicholls book?!" I hear you scream! Yes indeed and they just get better and better! ‘Starter For Ten’ is a brilliant read however the main character is a bit of an oddball! Brian Jackson is a lanky and rather geeky boy that is unbelievably socially inept. ‘Sta
When we were young -a long long time ago- a friend of mine and me joked about the continuous crises: the first-year-at-uni crisis, the mid-degree crisis and of course, the last-degree-year crisis. Hey, our life was so full!
This is a first-year-at-uni crisis novel, dissected by his protagonist and narrator, Brian. He presents himself as a working-class lad setting off on his big university journey, with all its appealing prospects: leaving home to live on your own -that is to say, in your shared
Post-One Day, I wanted to have at some more of David Nicholls' work. Starter for 10 is his first novel, and well....I finished it underwhelmed.

A few reasons why this one tripped me up when One Day (for me anyway) was so lovely:

1) The protagonist, Brian Jackson: A college freshman, Brian has fancy notions of what it means to head off to university. But he's nerdy and his face is pock-marked with acne and he's awkward. So, SO awkward. Every scene becomes slightly painful to read because it's Brian
Ian Robinson
David Nicholls seems to thoroughly enjoy pairing his awkward, unattractive male protagonists up with popular, confident, good-looking female characters. This is only the second novel of his I have read, the first being 'Us', but the mismatching romance has occurred in both. You can hardly blame him, after all, it works. Or at least it works when he does it. In 'Us', the husband and wife team were older, granted, but I couldn't help imagine that they were in fact Brian and Alice, only more mature ...more
Originally Published On My Review Blog

In David Nicholls' "Starter For Ten" we meet Brian, a first-class pretentious dude that is hopelessly friendzoned and doesn't quite get the hint.

After watching the movie version of "One Day", I got quite interested in David Nicholls and thought that I should try reading one of his novels. When my local bookstore had a ridiculously cheap offer for this one, I couldn't pass. Maybe I should have.

What plays the biggest part in me disliking this one - yes, I'm st
L.C. Lavado
Retirado do post original em

David Nicholls é um dos meus escritores contemporâneos preferidos.
Adorei "One Day" e este "Starter For Ten" esteve muito perto das 5 estrelas mas…

O meu "mas" com D. Nicholls continua a ser o mesmo: crescer não tem de ser uma sucessão de desilusões.

A escrita dele é do mais fluente que tenho lido, os diálogos realistas, as observações perspicazes e pertinentes, um humor constante, ironia q.b.
E mesmo com tudo isto, há um constante
Judy Mann
This book made me glad that there are such things as libraries.Had I wasted a nickle buying this book I would've been furious.
It's not very good.
The first thing I want to say is that once you're onto David Nicholl's gimmicks - the whole book falls apart. Here it is- his gimmick: He seems to lead you to this great climax in the plot and then whammo- he lets you drop-flat on your face. All his plots have bad endings. That's how he engages you- with bad endings.
Yes One Day was fabulous- but that wa
4.5 stars

This book was hilarious. I don't tend to pick up funny books for some reason but I am so glad I picked this one up. Honestly, it was one of the funniest books I have ever read.

Brian was such a great character. He was the one you loved to hate and his knack of embarrassing himself constantly left me in hysterics. There were times when I was actually groaning audibly because of his awkwardness. By the end of the book, I felt so close to him and I just wanted more. I found myself picking
I don't know if I love or hate that ending.

So, at first, I really really really hated Brian and, to an extent, I still do. However, at a point about half way through the book my hatred gave way to some sort of mild eye-rolling affection. I just came to accept that he's a bit of a prat and got on with the book.

It was a good book. Not brilliant, but not bad either. I liked the fact that the plot followed the choices of the protagonist. It wasn't a plot-driven book, but it WAS a character-driven b
Men don't read. Or that's something of a stereotype assigned by publishers that makes finding good books somewhat difficult at times. One can always pick up airport reads about lawyers (Grisham) spies (Clancy) or scary medical stuff (Crichton) and then of course there is fare for the intellectual (Franzen). What about the non-alpha male middle class white guy, somewhat in touch with his sensitive side who wants to pick up something that doesn't assume he is without brains, but doesn't necessaril ...more
Desilusão... (

Uma Questão de Atração é o segundo livro publicado em Portugal de David Nicholls, autor do bestseller "Um Dia" (opinião aqui) . Apesar de não ter ficado totalmente rendida ao autor com o seu primeiro livro, decidi dar uma segunda oportunidade ao senhor.

Bem, por onde começar? O argumento deste livro é muito simples. Brian prestes a entrar no mundo universitário, não se sente completo. Por isso mesmo, decide candidatar-se a um concurso de tele
Matti Karjalainen
David Nichollsin esikoisromaani "Kaikki peliin" (Otava, 2012) on humoristinen kuvaus 1980-luvun puolivälistä. Englantilaisessa pikkukaupungissa varttunut Brian Jackson aloittaa englantilaisen kirjallisuuden opinnot yliopistossa, mutta pian käy ilmi, ettei elämä akateemisen sivistyksen keskellä olekaan aivan sellaista kuin hän on ajatellut. Lisäksi pakkaa sekoittavat lähestyvä yliopistojen välinen tietokilpailu ja kuvankaunis opiskelutoveri Alice, joka laittaa sukat pyörimään jokaisen miehenpuole ...more
1,5 estrelas

Uma Questão de Atracção foi a minha estreia com David Nicholls. Já devem estar fartinhos de saber, mas para quem não sabe, enjoei YA e é muito raro gostar dos livros do género [e não li a sinopse, por isso não sabia que livro se enquadrava no género antes de o começar a ler], por isso tenham em atenção que a minha opinião é a opinião de alguém que à partida não gosta do género.

Apesar de ter um tom humorístico e um estilo leve e descontraído, foi um livro que me chateou e deprimiu. Pa
I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to almost the finish. The style is wry and self-aware with just enough pretentiousness to let the reader into the world of the university and Brian Jackson.

The writing style was comedic and had me laughing on buses all over the city.

The major downfalls of the novel are the ending, which seemed a bit rushed, and some parts of the narrative became trite, leaving me a bit jaded. Perhaps I saw rather too much of myself in Brian Jackson: a pretentious twit w
Kayla Perry
I had high hopes for this book after reading One Day, but they turned out to be in vain. Starter for Ten has a cast of characters that I found generally repugnant, especially the main character. He's so obsessed with a girl who plainly doesn't like him and who uses him repeatedly, yet he never seems to learn from these lessons, so the reader is forced to roll their eyes as surprise!-she screws him over again. The story focuses more on his failed courtship of her than it does on his self-professe ...more
Há alguns anos que queria ler este livro. E antes disso queria ver o filme, que tem um dos meus atores favoritos (James McAvoy). Ainda não vi o filme, mas agora já li o livro e posso dizer que gostei imenso!

Aqui está um livro que posso dizer que é diferente dos outros que tenho lido, devido ao seu humor. Não costumo ler muitos livros com um cariz mais divertido, a não ser aqueles em que existe humor em alguns momentos da trama. Dei por mim a soltar gargalhadas durante algumas partes do livro, es
Starter for Ten started out to be the prose equivalent of a British John Hughes film. The year is perfect; The Breakfast Club year of 1985. Something like this book had been badly needed and I was so grateful to Mr. Nicholls for having written a deliciously long book. Like his protagonist( and himself), I read English in college. Accordingly, I developed all the pretentiousness and affectations of a literature student. I cannot remember any other reading experience that made me feel so profoundl ...more
This is set at Bristol University in one of the years I was studying there (which is why I read it) and is presumably somewhat autobiographical as the author was there at that time. However, bar the odd mention of certain music, it wasn't particularly comparable to my experience or people I knew.

It is the story of Brian's first couple of terms at university, during which he fulfils an ambition to be on the University Challenge (TV quiz) team. However, the quiz is just a literary hook to portray
When I approach the table, Alice stands up, and amazingly puts her arm round me and hugs me really tightly, her cheek pressed tight against mine. I don't know what to do, so I put my arms around her too, leaning forward slightly to allow for the volume of her puffball skirt, one hand on the grey satin, and one on her back, her beautiful back, just where the flesh swells out over the top of the satin, and she whispers in my ear-'you are such a lovely man'- and I think I'm going to cry again, not
I love David Nichols' writing but I've been putting this one off for a long time because I love the movie so much. I know books are usually (almost always?) better than the movie but in this case I wasn't sure I'd be able to picture anything other than James McAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch etc. The book definitely holds up on it's own as an entertainment, but I was fascinated by the changes that were made to put this story on screen - and I do think that some of the changes actually improved the st ...more
Marika Oksa
Kirjan parasta antia olivat lukujen alussa olevat Yliopistovisan kysymykset. Tiesin oikean vastauksen nolostuttavan harvaan kysymykseen.
Dean Tsang
Starter For Ten features the incredibly unlikable protagonist, Brian Jackson, as he bumbles his way through university life in this coming-of-age novel.

The main problem that irks many readers is that Brian is a pretentious git who spends his entire time lusting after his university challenge teammate Alice. But Nicholls is very, very aware of this. At some point in the novel, everyone calls him out on his horrendous attitude, and he eventually does get his comeuppance.

But Brian, I think, was a
3.5 stars.

“I admit it. I'd made some mistakes. Okay, some big mistakes. Loads of them. But you can't hide in your room forever feeling sorry for yourself. It's not practical. At some point, you've got to get back out there, face up to things, and confront your demons. Ever since I can remember, I'd wanted to be clever. Some people are born clever, same way some people are born beautiful. I'm not one of those people. I'm going to have to work at it, put in the effort, and if I mess it up, I'll l
Brian Jackson is a bit of a jerk. He's what a lot of us are like in high school or college; over-eager to the point of annoyance, trying to be "cool" but failing miserably, and all the rest. But, those are all the symptoms of the thing that makes Brian such an empathetic character: he's trying to find his place in the world and stumbling along the way.

Brian knows he wants to go to university, but that's what he's expected to do after earning a bunch of O-levels. And he's always dreamed of being
Ana Rebelo
Fiquei fã de David Nicholls quando li One Day e depressa procurei outro livro do autor tanta era a necessidade de mais histórias bem construídas e bem escritas. Mas este livro acabou por ser uma desilução. A história parece mais básica e sem graça, sem aquela "lição de moral" que gosto de tirar de cada livro que leio. O protagonista pode ser descrito como um rapaz normal de 19 anos, a quem acontecem coisas normais da idade e que reage ao mundo universitário da mesma forma que todos os outros rap ...more
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David Nicholls is a British author, screenwriter, and actor. A student of Toynbee Comprehensive school and Barton Peveril Sixth Form College, he Graduated from the University of Bristol having studied English Literature and Drama.

After graduation, he won a scholarship to study at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, before returning to London in 1991 and finally earning an Equity
More about David Nicholls...
One Day Us The Understudy David Nicholls Collection (One Day, The Understudy, Starter For Ten) Too Much Too Young

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“Independence is the luxury of all those people who are too confident, and busy, and popular, and attractive to be just plain old lonely. And make no mistake, lonely is absolutely the worst thing to be. Tell someone that you've got a drink problem, or an eating disorder, or your dad died when you were a kid even, and you can almost see their eyes light up with the sheer fascinating drama and pathos of it all, because you've got an issue, something for them to get involved in, to talk about and analyse and discuss and maybe even cure. But tell someone you’re lonely and of course they’ll seem sympathetic, but look very carefully and you'll see one hand snaking behind their back, groping for the door handle, ready to make a run for it, as if loneliness itself were contagious. Because being lonely is just so banal, so shaming, so plain and dull and ugly.” 124 likes
“I want to be able to listen to recording of piano sonatas and know who's playing. I want to go to classical concerts and know when you're meant to clap. I want to be able to 'get' modern jazz without it all sounding like this terrible mistake, and I want to know who the Velvet Underground are exactly. I want to be fully engaged in the World of Ideas, I want to understand complex economics, and what people see in Bob Dylan. I want to possess radical but humane and well-informed political ideals, and I want to hold passionate but reasoned debates round wooden kitchen tables, saying things like 'define your terms!' and 'your premise is patently specious!' and then suddenly to discover that the sun's come up and we've been talking all night. I want to use words like 'eponymous' and 'solipsistic' and 'utilitarian' with confidence. I want to learn to appreciate fine wines, and exotic liquers, and fine single malts, and learn how to drink them without turning into a complete div, and to eat strange and exotic foods, plovers' eggs and lobster thermidor, things that sound barely edible, or that I can't pronounce...Most of all I want to read books; books thick as brick, leather-bound books with incredibly thin paper and those purple ribbons to mark where you left off; cheap, dusty, second-hand books of collected verse, incredibly expensive, imported books of incomprehensible essays from foregin universities.

At some point I'd like to have an original idea...And all of these are the things that a university education's going to give me.”
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