Guest Blogger John Safran, author of Murder in Mississippi, asks you not to ruin books for him

by |October 23, 2013

John Safran presents books-you’re-not-allowed-to-ruin-for-me-if-you-see-me-on-the-tram-or-something-because-I-haven’t-finished-them-but-I-really-am-going-to-and-don’t-tell-me-I-won’t-because-I-once-started-the-SatanicVersesand-didn’t-finish-it-and-then-like-seven-years-later-I-started-it-again-and-didfinish-it

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. This is, like, 100 pages long and I’m already 42 in, so I’d say 100% I’ll finish it.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. This is humiliating but when I was 15 I went to a solarium and I felt like I was sneaking into a brothel, please nobody see me, please nobody see me. It was the 80s and there was a lot of social pressure to have a tan and if you’ve seen me you know I don’t have a tan. That pasty is chic didn’t happen till 1996 when Trainspotting was released, the movie, and suddenly overnight you could be pale. And I left Catch-22 on the sun bed.

Don Quixote by Cervantes. This came out in 1605 and pretty much every smart aleck breaking-the-forth-wall gag that the first year uni arts students in every generation think they came up with is in this book –and it was written in 1605!

One of the characters goes to a bookshelf and makes a snarky comment about a previous book by Cervantes! – 1605!

This is basically Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And I’ve read part one but not part two. Maybe in 30 years time you’ll see me on the front porch of a retirement home in a maroon dressing ground and you’ll squint and there in my hands is Don Quixote.

It might be 2043 but I will finish it.

So don’t ruin it for me if you see me on the tram.

Pick up a copy of John’s brilliant book Murder in Mississippi here

Murder in Mississippi

by John Safran

When filming his TV series Race Relations, John Safran spent an uneasy couple of days with one of Mississippi’s most notorious white supremacists. A year later, he heard that the man had been murdered – and what was more, the killer was black.

At first the murder seemed a twist on the old Deep South race crimes. But then more news rolled in. Maybe it was a dispute over money, or most intriguingly, over sex. Could the infamous racist actually have been secretly gay, with a thing for black men? Did Safran have the last footage of him alive? Could this be the story of a lifetime? Seizing his Truman Capote moment, he jumped on a plane to cover the trial.

Over six months, Safran got deeper and deeper into the South, becoming entwined in the lives of those connected with the murder – white separatists, black campaigners, lawyers, investigators, neighbours, even the killer himself. And the more he talked with them, the less simple the crime, and the world, seemed.

Murder in Mississippi is a brilliantly innovative true-crime story. Taking us places only he can, Safran paints an engrossing, revealing portrait of a dead man, his murderer, the place they lived and the process of trying to find out the truth about anything.

Pick up a copy of John’s brilliant book Murder in Mississippi here


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About the Contributor

Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

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  • barb ghazal

    November 19, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Don quixote

  • November 19, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Don Quixote

  • Diane McKewin

    November 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Heart of Darkness

  • Angela Pettenon

    November 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm


  • Sarah Herman

    November 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Don Quixote

  • Jenny Bradford

    November 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

  • November 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Im going to post this here as well for good measure 😉 Murder in the Mississippi by John Safran 😛 hahaha by seriously: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. You answered my question, so i feel its just fair to answer yours 🙂

  • Josh Lake

    November 19, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

  • November 19, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Don Quixote

  • will clarke

    November 19, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    heart of darkness

  • stephanie David

    November 19, 2013 at 2:24 pm


  • Ben

    November 19, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    ( ゚Д゚)<!! ~ ~ Don Quixote ~ ~

  • Daniel Dolbel

    November 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Don Quixote by Cervantes

  • Evan Casella

    November 19, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Don Quixote

  • Sarah Williams

    November 19, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    My answer is Don Quixote:-)

  • Barbara Ficek

    November 19, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    “Hart of darkness”, “Catch-22” and “Don Quixote”. Kind Regards. Barbara Ficek

  • louise turner

    November 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    don Quixote

  • Sylvia

    November 19, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Don Quixote!! This blog is motivating enough for me to read it and ruin it for you just to see your reaction! >=D

  • Angus STirling

    November 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm


  • Tom

    November 19, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Catch 22 and Heart of Darkness are actually two books in my ever growing to read pile. I hope to add Murder in Mississippi to the pile as well.

  • November 19, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Heart of Darkness

  • Kres Nielsen

    November 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm


  • November 19, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Catch- 22

  • November 19, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Don Quixote – there are whole free online courses just about this book. That’s why it’s called the book that launched a thousand ships. But Cervantes never finished it, that’s why there’s that doco about never finishing it. I think Johnny Depp was in it, so I think your facts are wrong, it must have been written recently. And it’s translated into Spanish and stuff. So it must be cool. You should finish it. Bit like tipping cows or tilting windmills. It’s good for everyone.

  • November 19, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Heart of Darkness

  • Michelle Williams

    November 19, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Catch 22

  • Ryan Bradford

    November 19, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Don Quixote by Cervantes 🙂

  • November 19, 2013 at 7:02 pm


  • sam

    November 19, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Don Quixote by Cervantes

  • Donna peacock

    November 19, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Don Quixote xx

  • November 19, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Don Quixote

  • el mcquinn

    November 19, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    I promise not to ruin for you Don Quixote, by Cervantes , even if I have to wait 30 years not to

  • el mcquinn

    November 19, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Don Quixote… The second book of Don Quixote! I’ll try my best not to ruin it, especially after the first one.

  • November 19, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Heart of darkness!

  • Louisa

    November 19, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Heart of Darkness

  • Glennie Muller

    November 19, 2013 at 11:00 pm


  • Bird Canyon

    November 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Don Quixote

  • November 20, 2013 at 11:04 pm


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