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Starter for Ten
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Starter for Ten

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  8,915 ratings  ·  725 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
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Published July 19th 2004 by Hodder & Stoughton Audio Books (first published January 1st 2003)
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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...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 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...more
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
"'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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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
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
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
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...more
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
After being bitterly disappointed and let down by One Day, I decided to give Starter for 10 a go. The film is easily amongst my top ten (watching the film before reading the book must be a cardinal sin somewhere), and has many things that I love to read about: the halcyon days of being a fresher at uni reading Eng Lit, trivia/knowledge. Mostly I like how accurate its description of someone trying to remake himself when he goes to uni. Some bits were painfully relatable, but rendered with an air...more
Oh my word, this book is hilarious. I took it on holiday to read, and started it when I was having my breakfast cuppa and finished it that night, because I was giggling too much to put it down.

Everyone in the world has done something that at the time you've thought was super cool or super funny, and then afterwards you've cringed with the utter mortification of it all. Brian Jackson seems to spend rather alot of his time doing this, and you can't help but feel sorry for the guy, because we've al...more
I must be getting old. I'm quite sure that only a few years ago, the story of a spotty, insecure teenager with an ever-so-uncool obsession with University Challenge would have amused me no end. I would have nodded sagely at every confession of adolescent confusion and the constant feeling of one's own shortcomings. I would have pretended to know what it's like to live in a smelly student home and drink disgusting homebrew. I would have wanted in on it! But now, at the tail-end of my twenties, I...more
Paula pccst
Quando decidi ler "Uma questao de atração" foi porque decidi dar uma segunda oportunidade ao autor David Nicholls.
Tinha acabado de ler o livro "Um dia", que me agarrou com bastante facilidade apesar de achar a história um tanto ou quanto estranha. Por isso é que tive de tirar as dúvidas.
Neste livro conhecemos Brian, um miúdo de 18 anos acabado de entrar para a faculdade. De imediato duas coisas acontecem: decide participar no "Desafio Universitário" e apaixona-se por Alice, a miúda gira da esco...more
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...more
Suad Shamma
I did not like this book. At all. Perhaps I simply wasn't the intended audience for it, or I just don't understand this style of writing, but all I know is I found it to be a complete waste of my time.

Reading all the reviews, and even the synopsis of this book, I really thought I would like it. Brian falling in love with the University Challenge queen (as the synopsis says) gives us quite the false impression that Alice is some intelligent, sophisticated, savvy, smartass girl that will give Bria...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...more
O antes...
"Todos os jovens se preocupam com coisas, é uma parte natural e inevitável do crescimento e, aos dezasseis anos de idade, a minha maior angústia na vida era que jamais tornasse a conseguir algo tão bom, puro, nobre, ou verdadeiro como os resultados dos exames de nível básico."

Estou curiosa para conhecer a escrita deste autor, não tenho esperanças nenhumas pois já li críticas boas e más portanto estou no meio da balança. Quando acabar de ler a balança há-de pender para algum lado...

Quando ho richiesto questo libro su BookMooch, l'unico motivo era l'autore, lo stesso di One Day, che mi era piaciuto molto (anche se ora, a distanza di anni, non posso dire che quel romanzo mi abbia lasciato molto). Tutti definiscono Le domande di Brian un libro divertente, funny. Ma davvero? Io mi ritrovo fuori dal coro come per quel che riguarda Fantozzi: fa ridere tutti, a me fa venire il crepacuore. Come istantanea della società italiana di un certo periodo è formidabile, ma davvero vi fa r...more
Maria João Fernandes
Depois de ter estado tanto tempo sem ler acabei por escolher "Uma Questão de Atração" porque gostei muito do livro "Um Dia". A verdade é que não podia ter ficado mais desiludida: tanto as personagens, como a história e a escrita do David Nicholls não podiam ser mais enfadonhas. Uma particularidade que me captou a atenção - inicialmente pela positiva, mas mais tarde pela negativa - foi o facto de cada capítulo começar com uma pergunta, e a respectiva resposta, de cultura geral. Também estas, rapi...more
Derek Gentry
I figured there was no way I’d enjoy this book as much as One Day, but I actually did, for very different reasons. Whereas One Day follows the relationship of two characters over 20 years, Starter for Ten zeroes in on Brian Jackson’s very awkward, very funny, first year of college in 1985-86. It’s much lighter than One Day, but also more openly comic and (I thought) just as engaging.

I'm normally a pretty quiet person, but I was finishing Starter for Ten in a pizza shop yesterday, and at one poin...more
I picked this up as I loved One Day, I knew the genre was different to One Day, and it was obvious from the excellent comments on the cover that it was a very different book.
I was very disappointed, nothing really happened throughout and I easily predicted what was going to happen. I laughed maybe twice, but overall this book didn't really make me laugh at all, the main character was a bit odd, he was supposed to be a 18/19 year old lad, but it was written as though he was in his 40's. I did re...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
More about David Nicholls...
One Day The Understudy Us 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.” 113 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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