Friday 8 May 2015

Penguin Visit. 7th May 2015

So yesterday was fun. My train into London was a little late thanks to the usual issues of someone being hit by a train at Stratford (why is it always Stratford where this happens?), and signalling problems, So I had a bit of a mad dash across the city to make it to 80 Strand.... I have to say I was expecting a bit more of a big deal at street level.... some tap dancing penguins or something... you know just to let you know that you'd got to the right place. As it was I made my way into the somewhat anonymous building and, once I'd collected my magic visitor's pass, made my way up to the tenth floor. Up here there were a load of Penguins and Waterstoners having a cuppa and taking in the gorgeous views of the river.
 It was really lovely meeting a selection of booksellers from up and down the country, and grand to get my certificate from University of Derby too. I do wish I'd used my married name however, as I would have got all of the handshaking stuff out of the way right at the start rather than sitting about waiting for the Vs to come along. Oh well.... After a little more mingling we got to the really exciting bit of the day the bit where we get to meet some authors. There was a wee bit of fear going around our Waterstones group that it would be DEEPLY awful if we didn't recognise the authors..... Luckily we had a few treats in store.

First up.... Julian Clary... ok so a video message from the man... but still pretty damn cool. He gave us a wee reading from his upcoming book The Bolds.

This is a book aimed at the 5-8 market, and from the section we had read to us is going to be hilarious. It's about a family of Hyenas who have gone undercover as a human family living in deepest darkest Teddington. From what we heard this is a genuinely funny kids story with enough adult humour to keep the parents happy too.
Our second guest was the very funny Dave Gorman, reading us a chapter from his book Too Much Information.
He gave us chapter twelve, which discusses how buying a Rage Against the Machine single, does not count as an act of protest. So funny.... the whole book, (which I read on my train journey home), is a look at the impact modern technology, the internet and social media especially, has impacted on our lives. All of this seemed particularly relevant late last night and early this morning as I was embroiled in online twitter and facebook discussions about the General Election. Dave Gorman gave a lively and very entertaining reading, managing to work his footnotes into the text in an ingenious manner. So we'd had two very funny authors.... evidently the time had come for something a little heavier, more poetic even. Our third guest was Anne Enright, she was with us to talk about what had inspired her to write her new novel, The Green Road.
Enright is a tiny little woman, but honestly sitting listening to her lilt as she discussed the beauty that had inspired her writing, was gorgeous. As she spoke the sun came through the clouds and sent a shaft of sunlight right into the room adding a magical touch to the experience.
Once we'd had a delve into our bags of goodies it was time to hit the bar and have a big more mingling, this time with the authors we'd already heard from as well as with a selection of popular and upcoming authors from the good old Penguin/Random House stable. Some of these guys were really intense, while others seemed to be simply loving talking to people about their work. We had kids authors with books just out, adult authors and a few non fictioners thrown into the mix too. Had some really interesting conversations about the books, the authors themselves and about what it takes to be a bookseller.
It certainly added a few slightly unusual titles to my tbr pile...... Coming away from the event seemed like a real shame, but at least I had made a few good contacts and had my book haul to bring home and get on with reading. Now all I need to do is make a start. ;)

Real thanks to everyone at Penguin and Random House, the publicity people and the authors who time out of their day to come along and have a chat with us. It made for a great day.

No comments:

Post a Comment