Author Danny Katz. Author Danny Katz.
The Sneetches Dr Seuss
Loved this book. It was all about Sneetches with stars on their bellies, and Sneetches with no stars on their bellies, then along came a guy with a machine that put stars on the plain-bellied Sneetches and took the stars off the star-bellied Sneetches, until everyone got mixed up and it didn't matter whether you had belly-stars or not - clearly a metaphorical plea for an end to South African apartheid.

Down with Skool! - Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle
As a Canadian-Jewish kid, I have no idea why I related to a book about wet, weedy British schoolboys with names like Molesworth and Fotherington-Tomas. I guess I was inspired by the bad grammar, the anti-authoritarian jokes, the scungy illustrations - it was ahead of its time and made me want to be a writer so i cud brake all the writing rools, too. Egads, wot an utter rotter.
Murder-mystery books - Patricia Cornwell
I've never read one, but my wife read them every night in bed for two years until 1 o'clock in the morning, so there was never a chance of getting any sex and/or sleep. Those books destroyed my bedroom happiness: I would just lie there, completely awake, thinking of ways to murder Patricia Cornwell without leaving any crime-scene evidence that could point me out as the chief suspect.

Getting Even - Woody Allen
A template for all humour writing. From my teenage years to today, I have read it, reread it, quoted it, pilfered from it, slept with it beside me on my bedside table. When my writing gets drab and crappy, I open a random page and read a passage, hear the rhythms, absorb the nuances, then I feel zesty and refreshed again - it's an Aqua Zumba workout for the comedy ganglia.

The Godfather, page 27 - Mario Puzo
Just page 27. It got passed around my school. No one knows who found it or ripped it out of the book but it was a holy artefact. It described Sonny having sex with a bridesmaid on the afternoon of his own wedding. It was ridiculously raunchy, impossibly smutty, a sexual awakening. Porn mags got tossed aside, dick'n'ball sketches were abandoned, all that mattered was getting a look at page 27.

Danny Katz writes the Modern Guru column in Good Weekend magazine. His first novel for teenagers, S.C.U.M., was a huge success and the follow-up, Mucked Up, is published by Allen & Unwin. He is also the author of Spit the Dummy, Dork Geek Jew and the Little Lunch series for kids. 

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