A couple of meet-ups

I’ve had a very busy week, and a very lovely one.  Not only did I get to go to the Bookbarn and buy oodles of books (thanks for all your comments and thoughts, much appreciated, I will reply soooon) but I went to a couple of meet-ups.  Well, one was more official than the other – this Wednesday saw the annual Penguin Bloggers’ Night at Foyle’s, which is now a much-loved fixture in the blogging calendar.  Hats off to Lija and her team for organising another wonderful event.

It was lovely to see old friends, some of whom I’d not seen since the previous year’s event, and especially nice to meet Claire for the first time. And of course, we got to hear from some authors. It was great to have a quick chat with Rebecca Hunt after meeting her at a previous event – her new novel Everland is out soon.  The extract that appealed most was a very funny reading by Nina Stibbe.  Annoyingly I can’t remember the name of the novel, or find info online.  But, er, look out for that.

Nina Stibbe

Rebecca Hunt

Oh, and there was Will Self, reading from Shark.  Not a novel that appeals to me, but it was intriguing to see the stance and approach of a man who must – surely – feel he has to live up to his reputation.  He said nothing at all directly to the audience, stood some distance from the microphone, and walked off as soon as he’d finished.  Hmm.  Maybe he’s shy…

Will Self

On Saturday I was off to London again – off to Foyle’s again, indeed – for a meet-up of the Virago Modern Classics group on LibraryThing.  This lovely group of ladies and gentlemen (mostly ladies) are great fun, and we had a lark descending on various Charing Cross Road bookshops, as well as an Oxfam, the London Review of Books shop, and Persephone.

It was fab to see various old friends again, and to meet some folk in person for the first time.  It was particularly wonderful to meet Karen/Kaggsy, as I love her blog and we’ve chatted a lot online, but never met.  It was such fun to chat away about books in person.  But the guest of honour, and the reason for us grouping together, was Laura – who used to blog at Laura’s Musings – who was over from the US of A.  What a fun and funny lady!  We all laughed a lot on Saturday, and I have to put in another word for Julie, who isn’t a blogger but is extremely funny.  And there I shall stop naming people, because everyone there was a joy!  As were the Dutch pancakes we ate for lunch.

I was relatively restrained (memories of the Bookbarn not being far behind me) and bought three books.  Two more – The Amateur Marriage and The Hare With Amber Eyes – were a kind gift from Luci, who brought bagfuls to share.

I bought Colin II by E.F. Benson, because I always like adding to my Benson shelf, and because ‘Colin 2’ is basically a nickname I could have had growing up.  But I must read Colin before I get onto the sequel.  Also Abbie, which I recently borrowed from a friend and very much enjoyed.  And finally The Basilisk of St. James by Elizabeth Myers, whose letters I so loved reading in 2005 or 2006.

But I made up for my restraint by forcing encouraging others to buy whenever possible – including some gems, like Nothing Is Safe by E.M. Delafield, and a couple of scarce Barbara Comyns.  Never let it be said that I discourage book buying…

So I need a weekend to get over my weekend, but what fun it was!

10 thoughts on “A couple of meet-ups

    • March 29, 2014 at 8:03 pm
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      I do want to read that, but it's her next one she spoke about – title in the comments below!

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  • March 24, 2014 at 11:49 am
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    It was lovely to meet you too Simon – it's always nicer to chat about books in person. And you *were* a bad influence on book buying – but in the nicest possible way! It was super to meet Laura too.

    As for Will Self – I saw him locally when he had an evening of talking and reading at our local small theatre and he was very good. Engaged with the audience and was surprisingly approachable afterwards for signing books. Maybe this time he was less involved as it wasn't one of his own sessions, he was just part of a bigger event.

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    • March 29, 2014 at 8:04 pm
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      How interesting! I have done him a disservice…

      Looking forward to our next book-buying session – and maybe you'll lead me into temptation that time instead!

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  • March 24, 2014 at 1:19 pm
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    The Nina Stibbe novel would be Man at the Helm, and it's due out in August. Penguin published a collection of letters home to her sister last year, Love Nina – she was nanny for the editor of the London Review of Books and Alan Bennett popped round for dinner most evenings – Claire Tomalin was a close neighbour

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  • March 24, 2014 at 6:27 pm
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    Lovely to meet you as well, Simon, and what a thoroughly enjoyable time was had by all! Nina Stibbe was very funny wasn't she, definitely a book to look out for in August.

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    • March 29, 2014 at 8:05 pm
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      And that's what's great about hearing the extract – I don't think the blurb would have sold me at all, but it sounded great.

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  • March 25, 2014 at 1:59 pm
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    I didn't know you were a Bensonite as well. I have a modest but satisfying first editions collection of his works and, of course, am a confirmed Luciaphile. The meet up in London looked and sounded delightful.

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    • March 29, 2014 at 8:05 pm
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      Oh I am, I am! I've only read Mapp & Lucia and a couple others, but have so many on my shelves.

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