Lovely London Loot…

The week before last I finally bit the bullet and went back to London for the day. Having left almost a year and a half ago, and not under the most favourable of circumstances, I will admit I was feeling very nervous about it. However, the day was mainly about books and if anything is going to make a daunting trip somewhere better then it is going to be books isn’t it? I had been kindly invited by Lynsey at Transworld to come to a dinner with S.J Bolton in the evening and as a trip down to London is rare for me now I decided to make a day of it.

I could bore you with the dreadful journey down, I had reserved seats (thanks again Lynsey) and yet the train was so overcrowded, from the start, they cancelled all reserved seats and so it was a fight for any seat going. Oh the grump I was in! Fortunately the man who decided to tell me his life story (and I had my best ‘I am reading’ expression/concentrated glare on too) got off after two stops by which point reading went out the window as I was too busy eavesdropping (see Dovegreyreader’s post on the joys of being nosey here) on the fascinating conversation between mother and daughter who were dishing all the family secrets. I actually had to hold myself back from say ‘oh she sounds awful’ when the mother had finished a five minute rant about her son’s new girlfriend and asked her daughter what she thought.  I do love a family drama, which was apt as my first meeting of the day was brunch with my aunty who was in London too. I then had the joys of meeting my friend Dom for lunch (who I hadn’t seen since I left, which was far too long) and then headed to meet some publishers, the first of whom reside in my favourite place in London, Bedford Square…

The reason I love this square so much is that it feels like Victorian London, be it the posh bit, is still weirdly living and breathing there. The area doesn’t seem to have changed and still has a certain atmosphere. If I could ever afford to live anywhere I could then I think it would be Bedford Square. Anyway the reason I was there was to meet Alice at Bloomsbury! I couldn’t actually believe that I have been emailing Alice for about five years and I had never met her before, and I even lived in London for a few years of the correspondence, shocking. We had a lovely brew and discussed lots and lots of bookish bits and bobs, both projects coming from me and titles coming from Bloomsbury. I also laughed when I discovered Alice knows me so well, she has speedily discovered ‘hmmm, I am quite busy at the moment’ means ‘I have absolutely no desire to read that but am too polite to say, thanks anyway’ – we both giggled about this as I was unaware, till she pointed it out, that I did it. It was too soon time to leave but I did manage to take some books, just a few…

Next up I headed only a few streets further afield to meet Frances and Corinna from Atlantic Books. Again, these are two of the publicists that I have had the longest relationships with (I am not showing favouritism here, it’s just true) and yet had never met even though emails and parcels often fly through the ether/through the joys of Royal Mail (any publishers reading this please stop using DPD couriers, you will notice I never receive these parcels because they are useless) and so it was lovely to sit and get to know two people, who I already feel I already know, all the better over coffee. We discussed some very exciting autumn titles and I came away with yet more gifts…

I don’t want to appear to have favouritism towards a certain book; however, Frances and Corinna had been discussing new books when Frances ran off to get an older book. She had suddenly thought of it and ‘just know you will love it, seriously’. Well as soon as I saw the cover of ‘Woman’s World’ it was love, however when I opened it I was spell bound. Graham Rawle’s debut novel is made from cuttings from magazines and papers used to make a story, it sounds bonkers so here is a picture…

Doesn’t that just look amazing? Even the page numbers are from magazines. It really blows me away. Apparently Rawle’s new book is experimental too, based on random cards he has found on the streets over the years, I am very excited about these and ‘Woman’s World’ is getting read very, very soon. So with my new loot I dashed off to meet the lovely Jane Harris, this is the joy of books – you sometimes fall in love with an author’s voice in books then meet them and they are just as lovely. We had a nice glass (or two) of wine, cackling away in the corner of a private members lounge.

I had to dash quickly after that to get to The Cage in Villiers Street to meet S.J Bolton for cheese and (more) wine. This was when I realised I had left my wallet somewhere during the day, would you believe it… I rang around and someone had handed it in (whoever you are thank you), isn’t that amazing? I didn’t even begrudge a round trip, lots of walking as my travel card was in my wallet, to get it, though I was embarrassed to then turn up to meet S.J. Bolton about an hour and a half/two hours late. She was lovely though, and it was nice to meet her before we record The Readers Summer Book Club which her novel ‘Now You See Me’ is one of the titles Gavin and I have chosen. I left with another goodie back of her books, a mug (which is in the dishwasher) and some other treats. Lovely stuff.

So a big thanks to everyone I saw, and apologies to some of the people I couldn’t see (next time I promise) but especially BIG thanks to Lynsey who treated me to such a lovely day out overall. It was nice to visit London, if briefly, and I am looking forward to returning in the not too distant future for something very exciting. I was shattered on the train back however I made a new friend, again thanks to books, but more on that later…

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7 Comments

Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

7 responses to “Lovely London Loot…

  1. dotscribbles

    Sounds as though you had a fabulous time! I am going to have to try and S.J. Bolton book soon, I have only heard positive things!

    • I am very excited about her book and am thrilled she said yes to being on the Readers Summer Book Club. She was lovely and is apparently writing a short story which everyone who was there will be in, I hope I don’t get killed off.

  2. David

    Cancelling your reserved seats sounds a bit wrong! I have to drag myself down to London later this month to do a talk thingy about book covers – hope I don’t have as bad a journey as you! Still, sounds like you had fun when you got there.
    I’m particularly jealous of you getting your hands on the Lawrence Norfolk – I read ‘The Pope’s Rhinoceros’ by him several years ago and thought it was incredibly good. Do read ‘Once You Break A Knuckle’ as it’s a fantastic collection. You need to read them in order though, as the stories are linked and various characters weave in and out of the stories as they jump forward and back in time – you end up with the sense of a tapestry made up of all these different intersecting lives in one Canadian community.

    • Oh don’t even get me started on the perils of Virgin trains, alas I can use no other train for that journey lol.

      Thanks for the tip with the collection of short stories.I have been known to read a collection rather haphazzardly.

  3. Busy but very fun day, lost wallet aside! I remember traveling on a train and not even having to eavesdrop to hear a conversation that sounded similar to the one you heard, in fact if I ever met the lady in question I could tell her so much! Villiers Street is one of my favourite places in London, I love how there’s no traffic before walking to The Strand.

  4. Pingback: Books Bring People Together… | Savidge Reads

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