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Thursday, October 14, 2010

SHALL WE DANCE? by Maggie Alderson

Dress? Check. Shoes? Check. Several other dresses? Check. Blow dry appointment? Check. Extra shoes? Yes.

OK, I’m ready for my book launch.

My new novel Shall We Dance? is in the shops in Australia. How did that happen?

It seems only a minute ago that I was the only person on earth who knew who Loulou and Theo and Chard and Marc were and now I am getting lovely tweets from people telling me they are reading about them in the hairdressers and on the bus.

It's also great to get tweets from some Twitterers I will be meeting over the next few weeks at the various events I’m going to be doing around Australia. I love putting real human faces to Twitter tags.

Here is where I’m going to be to have a chat, answer questions and sign books. Please come along because a) being alone at a book signing is every editor's worst nightmare and b)I would love to meet you.

My new book is set in a vintage store, so one of the things I will talk about is the joy of vintage clothes and accessories – so please bring some of your favourites along to show me.

Tuesday October 26th
Ariel Books, 42 Oxford Street.

Wednesday October 27th
Readings, Hawthron

Thursday October 28th
Mary Ryan’s book shop, 40 Park Road, Milton.

Friday October 29th
Sheraton Hotel, hosted by Mary Ryan’s, Noosa
This one is ‘cocktails’ yee haw!

Wednesday November 3rd
Adelaide Library, 176 Tynte Street, North Adelaide
Hosted by Dymocks
10.30 am

Collins book shop, 2/260 Main North Road, Clare
6 pm

Thursday November 4th
Woden Library, Corinna Street, Phillip
Hosted by Dymocks
5.30 pm

Friday November 5th
Reef Restaurant, Terrigal
10.30 am for morning tea (snacks, hurrah!)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

THE KINDLE by Amazon

After months of prevaricating – Kindle? Sony? iPad? books? - I have finally ordered a Kindle.

I asked the wonderful Twitterverse for its advice and the Kindle was the overwhelmingly preferred device.

I also asked a man I saw reading one on the train yesterday if he was happy with his gadget and he was very enthusiastic about it, saying he was reading a lot more since he’d bought it.

Glancing at the huge tote bag on the seat next to me, containing the hulking great hardback (a Booker prize nominee, so not available as a paperback for a whole year…) which I have to read for work by next week, and my mind was made up.

One click this morning and I am £149 poorer – and keenly anticipating the postman.

Apart from the portability – and with three weeks work travel coming up, that is very attractive – the other thing which convinced me finally to get an electronic reader is comfort of reading.

I like to read in bed, lying on my side, and with a great big hardback, it’s just not comfortable. There are wrist issues and I need my wrists for typing. With a Kindle, all books will be rendered equally readable, no matter where they sit in the publishing hierarchy.

I will also be able to manipulate the font size, another issue that has seriously affected my reading pleasure this year.

I keenly ordered a book people had been raving about on Twitter, only to discover the type was just too small for me to read without glasses – and it’s completely impossible to read in bed lying on your side wearing specs. I tried.

So rather than being the death of books and publishing, I’m hoping my Kindle will solve all these problems and have me reading more. I’ll let you know how I get on with it.

And the Diane von Furstenberg limited edition cover that was also accidentally purchased…

Friday, October 8, 2010

Wait For Me! by Deborah Devonshire

To my very great surprise this is a fail. I’m hoping only a temporary one.

I’d like to think I will finish it one day and that my decision to put it down half way through (she’s not even Duchess yet…) has been hastened by the book I have waiting next in line.

(It’s a cracker, just too tempting, sitting there by the bed, and I’m desperate to get stuck into it.)

It’s not that Wait For Me! is boring – it’s just that so far I have known all the best bits, described so hilariously by Debo’s big sister Nancy Mitford in her novels The Pursuit of Love and Love In a Cold Climate.

And the less good bits – the family’s close pre-war friendship with Hitler – has always been offputting in the extreme. Although I must say that Debo is wonderfully frank and level-headed about all that.

There are some new gems to savour, such as her father – Farve, better known as Uncle Matthew in Nancy’s books – calling his last cup of cold coffee, which he liked to take off to his study, ‘my suckments’.

One morning a new maid cleared them away before he’d had a chance to take them out of the dining room. ‘Some monkey’s orphan has stolen my suckments!’ he roared.

From that day on he kept the cup in his safe until the moment of perfect drinking.

Also, to be fair to Debo, she has always maintained that she is the quiet Mitford, preferring wild flowers and poultry to the extreme politics and sparkling society (meaning mostly gay society, in Nancy’s case) that her sisters were so drawn to.

I will finish it. My devotion to Nancy Mitford borders on a cult. I have several shrines to her in my home and office and the least I can do is finish her baby sister’s memoir.

And considering I drove an hour and a half from my mother’s house to Chatsworth especially to get hold of a signed copy, it would be crazy not to.

Just not at the moment.

Debo, aged 20, in 1940. So beautiful and doing what she likes best.

Reading satisfaction: 5
Un-put-downable-ness: 5
Recommend to best girlfriend: 8
Recommend to mother: 10
Recommend to niece: 8
Recommend to gay best friend: 6
Recommend to man pal: 7
Recommend to Helen Razer: 0
Read on public transport: 7
Unpleasantness: 0