The GraduateOn the flight back from Joensuu I finished Charles Webb’s The Graduate (published 1963). I’d seen the film, of course (who hasn’t?) and can whistle the Simon and Garfunkel tune, but I was encouraged to read the book by Penguin’s decision to re-issue it (I read what will doubtless be the foreward to the new edition, penned by Hanif Kureishi and ‘pre-published’ in the Guardian). If there were an annual prize for funniest first chapter in a book, Charles Webb would have won it in 1963, and it’s all done with dialogue (which is maybe why it translated so well to the big screen). But who has heard of Charles Webb? I have a theory that America turned out so many excellent novelists in the first decades after the second world war that there simply wasn’t space enough for them all in the public consciousness. One of my all-time favourite novels, for example, is Leave Me Alone, by David Karp (1957). David Who, you ask? Look him up and read him. You won’t be disappointed.