A Bookish Couple of Days…

First off before I start to rabbit on about what have been wonderfully bookish times over the past few days I wanted to say a big thank you to you all for your very kind birthday wishes yesterday. In fact one of you has a surprise further down, there is also a competition today too, so do keep reading on after my waffle for that. This could have been the next bookish bits as it’s quite a jam packed post.

Tuesday night saw me venturing out for a night at To Hell With Publishing’s shop to hear David Vann talk about, and read from, his wonderful book ‘Legends of a Suicide’ which the lovely Joe from Penguin invited me to. Now I don’t like going to events on my own and certainly not walking into them by myself. Luckily the lovely Kimbofo and Lynne from Dovegreyreader and I all met for a coffee/chai latte first and had a delightful bookish natter before we arrived, we were most sorry Kirsty wasn’t there as then the whole NTTVBG would have been together. Oh a quick aside – Lynne has started Skin Lane and says so far so very good!

Once at the shop we were made very welcome given a bear had a natter with The Writers Pet and listened to David read us a new short story which had us all laughing. It was during this that I noticed we were in some rather wonderful company. There was Florence from Florence and the Machine, Julie Myerson and then Kim and I spotted Evie Wyld whose ‘After the Fire, A Still Small Voice’ I adored last year. Well after me wobbling about speaking to her Kim just tapped her on the shoulder as she passed and we were nattering (well maybe gushing) away at her for a good ten minutes. She was utterly lovely; I am now an even bigger fan (I didn’t get a piccie because I thought that might be stalkerish). It was particularly weird when she knew my blog and who I was and had even read my review; you always forget the author might see it so we had a bit of a love in between us all really it was a delightful way to end my 27th year.

Then yesterday Headline had decided to throw a bookish bloggers party at their head office that happened to fall on my birthday, what could be better? Thankfully no one had bought me a birthday cake yesterday because the spread was fabulous and the girls from Headline had made some marvellous homemade cakes. There was a presentation, a chance to meet the lovely people you email but don’t see, meet some of the authors (who included Paul Magrs whose series I really enjoy of and who was a good laugh) and get some books with a lovely goodie bag. I was very restrained, I hope you will be impressed…

I will talk more about ‘birthday books’ tomorrow. It was a lovely event and I got to meet lots of bloggers I had never seen before and have lots of new lovely sites to go in search of. It was lovely couple of days and yesterday it was really nice to be getting all of your messages through the day. So I thought as a surprise thank you I would put everyone who left one in a secret raffle for a copy of the marvellous ‘A Life Apart’ to show my appreciation, and the winner is… Nadia! So do email me your address and a copy will be out to you!

So for another competition… I have raved about Agatha Raisin on and off for ages and have told you all how you should read them, in fact I was having a natter about her yesterday with Paul Magrs and a few others in the pub. Well it seems in honour of my birthday (ok maybe not quite) she has had a makeover and I thought you should have the oppourtunity to get your mitts on a set of the first four revamped books in the series. Which look like this…


I am quite jealous as I want these! Thanks to the very kind Constable publishing there are two sets to be given away worldwide all I want to know, after my Evie experience, is which author you would most like to meet and what would you love to ask them? Simple as that. The deadline is the end of Friday the 26th – good luck!


Filed under Book Thoughts, Give Away

61 responses to “A Bookish Couple of Days…

  1. I figured I’d be elbowing a lot of people out of the way to fill my goodie bag if I’d been there, haha. Glad to know you had fun–and a belated greeting of Happy Birthday! 🙂

    And that prize is awesome. My entry: Of all the authors I’ve loved, I’d love to meet John McNally, if only because since I read his novel After the Workshop, it’s been reverberating in my head. Maybe coffee, maybe beer–just talk about what an odd thing Writing is, and what an odder thing the Possible Reader is: “How do you feel about the fact that I am gaga about your book?” A selfish question as any! I will also try not to be stalker-ish about it all, haha.

    • Sorry I have taken so long to reply to any responses I wanted to wait until the two names had been drawn for the prize so I do apologise.

      I have never heard of John McNally, I will have to look him up, thanks Sasha.

  2. Ever since I read ‘We need to talk about Kevin’, I have wanted to meet Lionel Shriver and ask her how on earth can she write such a brilliant book. On a serious note, I want to know how she developed the lead character.

    • I need to re-read We Need To Talk About Kevin I personally didnt like it but I have made the promise that I will try and read it again one day as so many people rave about it. It must have been a timing thing.

  3. Ever since I read ‘We need to talk about Kevin’, I have wanted to meet Lionel Shriver and ask her how on earth can she write such a brilliant book. On a serious note, I want to know how she developed the lead character.

  4. You were given a bear?!

    How lovely about Evie Wyld; she is deserving of being gushed over.

    I spy Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman – great book!

    No need to enter me in draw but thank you anyway.

  5. Which author wouldI like to meet… well, all the ones I *really* want to meet are dead, and I settle for looking at their houses (yes, on more than one occasion I have run down the drive of a stranger’s house, taken a photo, and run away) – out of living authors, I would like to meet Edward Carey, I think. He seems so wacky that it could go either way…

  6. Dot

    Simon, I was at the Headline bloggers party! How did I miss you, would have been lovely to meet you!

    • I can’t believe that we didnt see each other at the evnt its such a shame. Next time you are in London drop me an email and I will meet you for a coffee and a catch up!

  7. Like Simon T the author I would most like to meet is Jane Austen – unfortunately I don’t think that is going to happen without some serious time travel abilities so for a living author I am going to say Jennie Rooney – author of Inside The Whale which I recently read and loved – I would like to ask her about her inspiration for this novel and how she managed to write and work full time as a lawyer at the same time.

    • I have heard a lot about Inside the Whale and the cover puts me off but its obviously left a great impression on you if you want to meet the author too.

      It amazes me authors hold down a job when they write but then at the same time I am well aware that your first book is unlikely to make you any money… or much!

  8. I’m so annoyed that the two bookish occasions I really wanted to go to – David Vann and the Headline party – both fell on days when I had to work in the evenings! I’m gutted that I missed you all, and that the NTTVBG didn’t quite have a full meeting. One day though!

  9. Looks like you had a very enjoyable day! =)

    If given the chance, I’d love to meet Shaun Tan. If for no other reason than the fact that his father migrated to Australia from Malaysia (my home country), and that his graphic novels are simply the best. I’d probably want to ask him if he gives drawing lessons. Haha..

    • I was thinking ‘I have never heard of that author’ and then you mentioned the words graphic novels and that is why. I would like to try and give some graphic novels a go but dont really know where to start.

  10. Of my favourite living authors, I would love to meet Jasper Fforde. With books as bizarre and hilarious as his, how must he be in real life? No specific questions really, I’d just love to have a normal conversation with him, not necessarily about writing.

    Happy to hear that you had such an enjoyable birthday!

    • I like the idea of having a nice sit down and a chat with an author over a beer or two. In fact I would have really liked to have sat down and had longer with Evie to be honest as was lovely hearing all her thoughts and would ahve liked to have just had more of a natter, I think she might have thought I was a bit of a fan though.

  11. How nice of them to have a party for you, invite bloggy friends too and give you books! Hope you had a great birthday.

    I’d like to meet Paul Auster and try to get to the bottom of his tricksy books. No need to enter me for the draw.

    • Paul Auster is an author that I havent read a word of and would really like to. Again I have no idea where to start with him, have heard he can be a bit daunting so any suggestions most welcomed.

  12. Jessica

    Bill Bryson – I did meet him once but only briefly while he signed something, he really reminded me of my dad and he seems like he’d be a pub companion.

  13. Susan in TX

    Wow, a living author. I’ve only recently started reading “current” fiction again, and then not a lot of it. I think I might go for a children’s author and meet E. L. Konigsburg. Her choice of subjects over the last 40 years has been extremely diverse and I think that’s what I’d want to talk to her about — what has inspired her for each one, and which one(s) she might’ve taken more flak for than others.
    I’m looking forward to hearing more about your birthday book haul! Glad you had such an enjoyable day.

  14. I would like to meet A S Byatt and I’d probably end up asking her if she likes plum jam or something daft like that as I imagine she gets asked questions about her writing all the time.

  15. Simon you have been very restrained in your enthusiasm over the books – like another blogger says I would have been grabbing them any which way I could. But, you have had a glorious time. Can feel the excitement just bubbling under the surface !!!! I would love to meet Peter Kremmer and ask him what took an Australian to India and how he got to know India in such depth.

    Please enter me in the draw and if I should be so lucky to win please wait till Monday for me to reply. Am away from any internet access till Monday!!!

    • I was very restrained but I am aware of the ethics behind blogging and I get sent so many books for my day job that I dont want to take the mickey by grabbing books that I won’t actually read in the long run.

  16. It sounds like you had a delightful day!

  17. selena

    I’m thrilled you had a great birthday party (and pre-party). I would have been rather nervous to meet an author whose work I had admired greatly – I always think to myself after reading their books about the questions I’d ask them but I can’t say more than “I love your work” when I actually get to see them – all of the questions suddenly go away from me.

    I’d probably want to meet Jonathan Carroll and ask him to tell me about his writing process – more specifically as it relates to plot development. I’m fascinated by where his works end up and am always in awe of how convincing he is.

    No need to enter me but it’s lovely of you to have a giveaway! (:

    • Evie was lovely we said we loved her work and she was very gracious and then we were chatting about blogging and book reviews and all sorts.

      Jonathan Carroll is another author I havent heard of but will look up. Honestly, where on earth have I been?

  18. Late Happy Birthday, Simon!

  19. happy birthday!!

    it’s so hard to choose, but i’d have to say Markus Zusak. i’d love to ask him what inspires him to write and see if he talks like he writes, because that would just blow me away.

  20. Wow! Sounds like you had quite a day – fabulous!! And yipeee, I won the book you raffled away. That is a lovely surprise. Thanks, Simon!! I’ll email you my details. By the by, that is just brilliant that you got to meet an author whose work you enjoy. I would be so nervous to meet an author I admired – I don’t even know why though. Hmmm. Well, I know that I would love to meet Yoko Ogawa or Haruki Murakami or Margaret Atwood or Sandra Cisneros or Jhumpa Lahiri. Crikey, the list could go on. Well, I look forward to hearing about your bookish birthday gifts! Cheers!

  21. What a difficult question. I’ve met a few through speaking engagements, Margaret Atwood, Marjane Satrapi, E.L. Doctorow.

    I think, though, that if we are talking ideal scenario – I’d like to meet Toni Morrison but in a totally pressure-free zone. Readings and things like that make me nervous. I’d like to just sit and have coffee/tea with her.

    (You would all be appalled at how long it has taken me to make this decision. I hate choosing favorites!)

    • I must read some Toni Morrison I have pormised Claire of Kiss a Cloud that I will and as yet I still havent which is very naughty of me.

      I wouldnt be shocked, if someone asked me that question it would take me days and days of whittling and would very much depend on my mood.

  22. Elena

    I would love to meet David Mitchell (in anticipation of his next book!!) and ask him: (re: Cloud Atlas, my favorite read of the last year)
    How did he organize the writing of the novel? Where did he come up with the concepts?

    Thanks for the giveaway chance, Simon. They look lovely!

  23. Delyn Williams

    Hullo, Simon!
    I hope you won’t mind me intruding and this probably isn’t the right place to leave a comment anyway – didn’t know where else to leave it! – but, I just wanted to say how much I’ve enjoyed reading your comments about books etc.It’s a lovely site with lots of interesting and stimulating ideas.
    I’m glad you had such an enjoyable birthday, too.

    • Thank you so much Delyn, sorry not to have responded sooner but its all been a bit manic for a week or so. Your thoughts are so kind and its always lovely when you get someone who hasnt commented before suddenly commenting, its very heartwarming.

  24. I would love to win those Agatha Raisin books — I’ve been contemplating starting them for the past couple months!

    I think I would like to meet Salman Rushdie because he’s so much larger than life and I would want to see what he is like as a person. It would be fascinating to hear all about his “hiding” and such too.

    • Kristen sorry you didnt win this time. If you can hold off a few months a rather exciting mega Raisin giveaway is coming, I can’t say more than that at the moment. It will be worth the wait though.

  25. Happy very late birthday wishes, it sounds like you had the best time at the event 🙂 Gasp Florence was there, so she is a reader as well as a kickass singer, songwriter and fashion icon? Oh it’s just too much.

    There are tons of people I’d like to meet, but I’ll go with Gideon Defoe of the ‘The Pirates! In Adventures with…’ series and I’d ask him what he thinks the essential accessories for a bloodthirsty, female pirate captain would be.

  26. Linda C.

    The writer I’d most like to chat with is Abraham Verghese. I’ve liked his recent first novel and other non fiction writings about the art of medicine. I’d like to know what he’s writing next.

    The Agatha Raisin books sound wonderful.

    • I must, must read Cutting for Stone. Its been so hyped in the UK of late though I am waiting for that to die down a little and then I think that I will give it a whirl.

  27. Simon, happy belated birthday!

    I would love to meet Virginia Woolf–is she capable of time travel? My second choice is Agatha Raisin (maybe this will help me win the giveaway!). I would ask either a general but hopefully not too boring question about their writing habits such as: how do you safeguard your creative integrity as a writer?

  28. Amy

    As lame as it sounds, I’d love to meet J.K. Rowling and ask her why she killed off Fred Weasley. Actually, I really want to see what she’s like–is she clever? Charming? Kind? Then I’d write the world’s best article about our encounter.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Amy artsyrockerchick[at]aim[dot]com

  29. Isabel

    What a great way to spend your “25th” plus 3 birthday.

    Have a great weekend!

  30. mee

    Simon, happy belated birthday. Sounds like you had a blast! Those Agatha Raisin covers look absolutely delightful!

  31. I’m glad everyone seems to have had a good time at the David Vann night. It was like a literary cuddle-fest with free beer. I now feel like I personally know everyone who attended, even those I didn’t speak to.

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