Gary Bell QC – author of Animal QC – is speaking live in Nottingham next Thursday (November 12). If you live anywhere near it will be well-worth attending – Gary’s an exceptionally funny and interesting speaker. All profits from the event will go to ‘Help a Nottinghamshire Child’ which aims to keep Nottinghamshire youngsters away from crime – ironic, given his own brushes with the law in his youth.
After highly successful appearances at the Ilkley and Wigtown book festivals, Gary will also be appearing at various other festivals next year. He’s also talking in Clitheroe and Cheltenham in the New Year – more details as and when.
In other news, good point – what is so bad about trying to make money out of ‘middlebrow’ books (which is very much not easy anyway)?
I mean, come on – we all know that ninety per cent of the books which win the Booker Prize and probably half of those which get reviewed in The Guardian or the London Review of Books are read by virtually no-one in the actual world, and are much more about intellect-signalling by the editors, reviewers and purchasers who just want to put them on their shelves. This is certainly what I do – here’s a random shot of one of our bookcases:
This counts as intellect-signalling by my standards
I know I’ve read the PJ O’Rourke and Belloc, but of the others… if I’ve read half of these I don’t remember it (which is possible, I suppose) (and many of them are pretty middlebrow anyway). If literary types are coming round, I just bone up on a few wiki synopses so that I can talk knowledgeably, or skilfully divert the subject to what was on telly yesterday or the weather if I haven’t had time.
(On that latter point, I’ve often thought it would be a good idea to produce jackets for Gogol or Proust which could be slipped over one’s Lee Child or Dean Koontz for train-reading purposes. It would only work with people opposite, of course.)
Where was I? Books bound with human skin (don’t be eating your lunch while reading this).
Amazon is opening its first actual book shop, in Seattle. (The story was originally broke by Shelf Awareness.) It will stock 6,000-ish titles (which isn’t very many for the size of the place), all face-out, and will order them in based on some sort of algorithm which uses local peoples’ preferences. Prices will be in line with online, apparently.