I’ve started doing the looking back over the year thing, oh dear, be warned. Anyway… One of the best things of 2011 was starting Bookmarked (which is on a hiatus till next year), and also doing some of the solo ‘in conversation’ events with authors at Waterstones Deansgate. The last one I did (and I will be reporting on a few more) was with the wonderful Joan Bakewell. I was very, very nervous, she is a national treasure after all.
Dame Joan Bakewell is known for being incredibly clever, in fact one of the things that shocked me when we met, she was a little breathless after being stuck in a the madness of Manchester’s Christmas lights being turned on or some such, was that she greeted me with ‘Hello Simon, so lovely to meet you, so you are a blogger and journalist…’ it seemed I wasn’t the only one that evening who had been doing their research. We sat and had a glass of wine and my nerves vanished as we just had a chat together before going out to see her audience (which included Granny Savidge Reads who befriended Joan over reading habits afterwards) and talk as Joan had said with a laugh ‘about anything you like, I am too old to care you know.’
Well we pretty much did. We discussed her latest novel ‘She’s Leaving Home’ (another review that was deleted in the great computer wiping virus) which I have to say I enjoyed very much. We talked about the main themes of it and how it deals with changes in women’s roles in society (almost touching on feminism) in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the music scene in Liverpool at that time which was thriving and the relationships between mothers and daughters. That was just what was covered in talking about the latest book. We then discussed ‘All The Nice Girls’ and writing a debut in her 70’s and what’s to come. There was politics, her thoughts on Katie Price (a mix of confusion and admiration at how she has used her body to make so much money and how she clearly has brains) and her role as ’voice of older people’ for the Government. I was fascinated I don’t know about anyone else.
Anyway, that all surmounted to the fact that today I am giving away two copies of her latest novel ‘She’s Leaving Home’. All you have to do is tell me your favourite book this year about mother and daughter relationships. You have until 11am December the 12th. Good luck.