Yesterday I did something new. I visited the London Book Fair for the first time. I was invited by the good people of AMS Digital Publishing who run the Nudge website and newbooks Magazine, both of which I contribute to. The Fair is running this week at London Olympia. Coincidentally, just this weekend I watched a Clint Eastwood Hollywood movie from 2010 “Hereafter” starring Matt Damon where the plot climax came as the main characters encountered one another for the first time at …The London Book Fair. Now Hollywood had relocated this at Alexandra Palace (very familiar to me as I used to be Headteacher of the Primary School which borders the Palace’s grounds) and envisaged the event as Derek Jacobi (playing himself) reading Dickens whilst a handful of people stood around clutching a book to be signed. Now, I knew it wasn’t going to be like this but somehow the image must have crept into my brain as when I entered the conference hall I was quite overwhelmed by the size and scale of the event. It was a perfect opportunity for me to meet for the first time Guy, Mel and Alastair from AMS Digital and Paul and Mike who are the “Community Voices” for the Book Life and Book Noir strands of Nudge, if only I could find them…….
Well, I did and it was great to meet them and gave us a chance to sit around the table and talk about books –so a very productive way to spend a few hours. The Fair itself was fascinating, although most of the time I did not know what was going on! Many publishers were there seemingly all having meetings, there was a lot of talking around desks about things like distribution rights and other deals going on which need not disturb the minds of us humble readers. There were lots of books on show but quite often out of reach of the grubby mitts of the Festival goers- I only picked up a couple of books the whole time I was there. I did, however, get a number of very useful catalogues which will let me know what is happening in the world of books over the next few months. I also did not know that there is now a Foyles Bookshop in Waterloo Station where I spent a happy quarter of an hour or so whilst waiting for connections. I’ve probably had my little fix of London now and am back on the Isle of Wight where the pace is considerably…………(exhales)….slower.
Whilst on the subject of my good friends at newbooks. Timed beautifully with the London Book Fair is the latest issue (nb88) which is out now and can be purchased from the Nudge website by following this link. Featuring Peter James on the cover (who looks different in my imagination) it is full of many good things which need your serious consideration. The winners of the various books of the year are revealed in the genre categories and also the Reading Group Book of the Year. There are also interviews with the above mentioned Mr James, Chris Cleave (whose new book sounds fascinating) and Holly Seddon and there’s a considerable amount of me as well, most of which you will have not read on reviewsrevues.com. If you are familiar with the Nudge site you will know that it is divided up into sections and now each section has its own champion –a community voice. I am that person for the Bookhugger section (literary fiction) and there’s also Reg (Book Chap), Jade (Book Geek), Paul (Book Life), Sheila (Book Diva) and Mike (Book Noir) ready to be introduced to you. We have all produced a piece for the magazine for you to get to know us a bit better as readers. I have also written a piece especially for the “Script” section which compares the film version of “Atonement” to the book (my review of the book is here).
There’s also the chance to get hold of for free (just p&p to pay) the recommended reads, which is a particularly impressive selection this issue- “Black Eyed Susans” by Julia Heaberlin (racing up the Bestsellers chart as I write this- Top 5 in the Official UK Top 50 books), Chris Cleave’s latest “Everyone Brave Is Forgiven”, Laline Paul’s “The Bees” and Eva Holland’s “The Daughter’s Secret” – something for everyone there.