What a wonderful book event! If I were King, I’d order one of these for every town and city centre! The Firestation Book Swap takes all of our favourite things (books, readers & cake) and turns them into the loveliest book chat ever – with people pitching books they love to swap and take home. (And did I mention there was cake?) Big, big thanks to organiser Scott Pack and his glamourous assistant for the night, Sarah Franklin. There were lots of friendly faces in the house and the lovely Morgan McCarthy beside me, on the “author sofa”. We were very dainty with the plate of macaroons offered to us – no undignified scrum over the cake plate with us two! The next Firestation Book Swap in Windsor is in January, and you can also “like” them on Facebook or find them on Twitter. Rumour has it, next year will feature Book Swaps in London. Just try to keep me away! (Will there be cake?)
Below, here is a portrait from the evening of Morgan and me, answering readers’ questions from the metal bucket of joy. It was sketched by Cynthia Barlow Marrs and it was a lovely souvenir of a most wonderful evening. Thank you very much!
For the paperback release of Amity & Sorrow, I have been thoroughly spoiled – and I’ve loved every minute of it! Lovely booksellers have gathered their book clubs together for cake feasts in Wallingford, for themed cocktails and canapes in St. Anne’s, and for wine and great chat in Lytham. The lovely librarians of Lancashire and Canterbury have moved all their shelves around and unfolded their chairs to host reading and discussions for their readers. This coming Thursday, the wonderful Firestation Arts Centre in Windsor is hosting a Book Swap with me and Tinder author Morgan McCarthy, an evening of book chats, homemade cakes, and the opportunity to swap books you love with other readers. Again and again, I am delighted and impressed by the creativity and enthusiasm of book people, from the owners of splendid independent shops that are at the very hearts of their communities to libraries, big and small, finding innovative ways to reach readers. The press is full of doom and gloom about books, but I don’t see it. I see rooms full of readers, buzzing about books. I see passion and drive in the people who order books, who sell them and shelve them. I see great initiatives like “Books Are My Bag” – and they sure are mine.
Books are only hunks of paper if they’re not being read – it’s reading that turns them into stories. Special thanks to Storytellers Inc., St. Anne’s; The Wallingford Bookshop, Oxfordshire; Plackitt & Booth, Lytham; Harbour Books, Whitstable; Lancashire County Council and the lovely libraries of Kirkham, Thornton, Ansdall, and Canterbury Council and The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge for inviting me in to meet your readers. I am one grateful and happy writer.