One of the Best Bookish Days Ever…

I have been meaning to write about a wonderful bookish day out in London I had recently for ages, however with Gran (who has moved hospital but sadly still has no feeling in her left side at all) and other shenanigans going on I simply hadn’t gotten around to it. Well, better late than never as they say, so I thought I would today as it all happened on a wonderful Wednesday and the time seemed right. I think as a day revolving around books could go this might be the best bookish day I have ever had… so far.

The day started early as I left Liverpool with the larks, okay so it wasn’t quite dark or anything but it was early, to make my way to the station to catch a train to London. I have to say the first train from any northern UK city to London is a dubious affair, will you get a seat. They are always fully booked and so you fear you may end up standing however in this case it seemed half the people who booked their seats didn’t even show up! I was amazed, tickets aren’t cheap after all. Regardless it meant I had a table to myself so I wasn’t complaining as I had some serious reading to do. I normally like to spend a train journey looking out the window, even though I pack about five books ‘just in case’, but I needed to get ‘The Prisoner of Heaven’ by Carlos Ruiz Zafon read as guess who I was having coffee with when I arrived in Euston…

Me & Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Yes, the author himself!! I had managed to wangle an interview with him for a future episode of The Readers and initially I was super excited but the closer I got the more and more nervous I felt. I mean in terms of books ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ is one of my favourite but also a cult novel with readers and anyone who loves books (with a ‘Forgotten Cemetery of Books’ how could you not?) it has reminded me I need to catch up with more of his books too. Well… he was really, really lovely. He called me an ‘angel of books’ and if you don’t believe me I have proof…

“Angel of Books”

I am not sure what the dinosaur was about, but apparently he doesn’t do them for everybody and so I was thrilled naturally. Anyway, one I had calmed down I headed into the depths of the London Underground and on my way to meet Gavin, my co-host and weekly book based banter chum on The Readers, in Trafalgar Square before we were recording a special episode of The Readers, its specialness had something to do with these giant earth that people were throwing around (I witness tourist concussion ha, ha) when we met up…

Earths in Trafalgar Square

Now if you are a regular listener of The Readers you will know that despite Gavin and I speaking on the phone for a few hours a week and having a lovely time, we have never met for more than ten minutes in the flesh before. So I was a bit nervous, would we get on in the real world? Of course we did! We popped to two bookshops and wandered and nattered before popping for a coffee and brainstorming questions for the special guest we were soon to meet…

Plotting and planning

Time whizzed by (with more plotting about future changes for the podcast, all exciting) and suddenly we realised we needed to dash to Random House HQ, we did get very lost at one point…

Gav and Simon… Lost

But then we found it and both got even more excited and even more nervous…

Random House HQ

Before we had the headline event of the day, we did get to meet lots of the publicists that we have had email relationships with for years and we chatted about what we have all been reading and what exciting books Random House have coming out in the next few months. It was so lovely to meet all these wonderful women (not being sexist, just truthful) who I felt like I knew anyway but put faces to them and just natter. We also got some goodie bags which were very exciting (Gav bought me the Foyle’s bag, isn’t it ace?) but we didn’t have time to open them before we were called up for the main event of the day…

Goodie bags…

Interviewing Sir Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter…

Gavin, Terry, Stephen and I

It was brilliant, we ended up watching them discussing and creating the next novel to follow ‘The Long Earth’ (review coming soon, me reading sci-fi who would have thought it) and they were both just lovely. Really, really lovely. Afterwards Gavin had the most brilliant hyper/high/fan boy meltdown moment afterwards. Which was interesting as weirdly after a train ride across London I did the same when I went to meet the Green Carnation Judges for 2012 for a pint or two which included Catherine Hall (whose last book you all know I loved)…

Green Carnation Prize Judges 2012

We had a lovely chat in the sunshine and all got on really well, though it’s already apparent we have quite different tastes, but that is all I can say for now. All too soon 9pm came upon us and I had to catch a train back to Liverpool and the Wirral where the sadness of such a wonderful day being over was mildly placated (I think that is the right word) by the books in my goodie bags…

A mixture of books…

It seems I have some wonderful reading to come over the next few weeks between Green Carnation submissions (including, but not shown as it is in the postal system, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ which everyone is talking about – in fact The Beard’s mother asked me if I could get her a copy over dinner the other day when the Beard and his dad had left the room – ha!). It was just the best day ever; it is going to take quite some beating to be honest isn’t it?

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16 Comments

Filed under Random Savidgeness

16 responses to “One of the Best Bookish Days Ever…

  1. I’ve been thinking about reading The Long Earth, so I look forward to hearing what you think Simon!

  2. Sounds like a brilliant day. Especially envious of you meeting Carlos Ruiz Zafon!
    Urgh, not 50 shades of grey, please! I read three pages of a copy someone had at work and it was so badly written I was almost physically sick.

  3. Wow, all that in one day and a meltdown each, that’s fantastic, I can imagine you might need to hibernate a while after all that.

  4. sounds great I d love to meet zafon (it was zafoncos he looks very like rob of rob around book ) ,all the best stu

  5. vikzwrites

    The long earth’s been sitting on my tbr shelf for ages, looking forward to hearing what you think. Sounds like you had a great day. Love the pics

  6. Kristen M.

    Just the other night I went to an author event and then pulled up this post and immediately recognized the fabulous CRZ! He was incredibly smart and funny and I wish I could have had more than a signing line moment with him! And I’ll be really interested to hear your thoughts on The Long Earth. I was dissatisfied with it initially until I searched and found that the story would continue. Should probably look for that sort of info a bit earlier next time! Sounds like you had a dream day for a reader/book blogger. :)

    • It was a brilliant day, one of the perks of blogging for so long and doing the whole podcast thing really. I don’t want anything out of either so this was just a wonderful bonus.

  7. Jamie

    Can’t wait for the podcast!

  8. Wendy B

    What a great day, I would never have believed you had not met many times before, you are a great team.

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