Monday 3 March 2008

Mostly Books Event

Oh, what a lovely evening. I've just come back from Abingdon, more specifically the wonderful Mostly Books, where Angela Young and Eliza Graham were speaking. What a lot of links for you to visit. These two novelists are on the shortlist for World Book Day's Spread The Word competition, whittled down from a longlist of 100. Voting has finished and the winner will be announced soon, but (heartwarming truism alert) all the shortlist are winners, especially these lovely ladies. You'll know by now that I love Angela Young's Speaking of Love, and I broke my Lentern fast and brought home Eliza Graham's Playing With The Moon to read when I can.

This evening was cosy, held on the shop floor, and with a genuine love of books oozing through the atmosphere, from the authors, the audience and perhaps especially Mark who runs Mostly Books. Hope he won't mind that I've stolen a picture from his webpage... It is encouraging and smile-making to know that booklovers are still running bookshops - yes, there has to be the commercial side, but Mostly Books shows the two can run alongside one another, to mutual benefit if not millionairedom.

My journey to the event was a little haphazard. Someone has carelessly dug up half of Abingdon Road in Oxford, the one road which I was fairly confident would lead to Abingdon. I flung myself onto the nearest bus which mentioned the town on its board... and was slightly disconce
rted when it headed off in completely the opposite direction. I think we must have visited every village in Oxfordshire on the way. But, at 7.30 exactly, I was able to dash up to the bookshop, grab my wine, meet Angela, and settle down for an extremely enjoyable evening.

Since the voting was done and dusted, Angela and Eliza didn't need to convince us to vote for Spread The Word - well, they'd be preaching to the converted, anyway. Instead, they chatted about how they
came to write their respective novels, the editing process, how they found their publishers (Google "small publishers" is a good step, apparently!), how they got the book known (Google "sell my novel" - seeing a pattern?) and finally the difference the shortlist has made to them. In my attempts to claim fame by association, I was tickled pink that Angela mentioned Stuck-in-a-Book and her original email, asking whether I'd consider Speaking of Love for my 50 Books You Must Read But May Not Have Heard About. She called the email cheeky - but turned out to be entirely justified, of course! And there it sits, at no.14.

I also had the chance to meet local author Mary Cavanagh, whose The Crowded Bed was reviewed on here a while back - and lovely Mary even gave me a lift home. Thank you Mary! It was a pleasure to finally meet Angela, and Eliza of course, and to see the much-anticipated Mostly Books. I do hope to be back for other events in the future - and if you possibly can get to Abingdon, I encourage you to do the same!


  1. Simon--you are a very prompt blogger--I can't believe you've already posted all this so quickly!

    I really enjoyed chatting to you about your English degree course. If you get moved back to 'front-of-house' during your remaining time at the Bodleian, I'll look out for you.

    Thanks for buying PWTM.

  2. I had no idea you had such a seriously horrendous journey ... that makes it triply wonderful that you came to the event.

    And thank you, one more time, for your enthusiasm for Speaking of Love and for coming to Mostly Books.

    And I agree, Mark is wonderful - he's such an enthusiast and we all, readers and writers, need people like him.

  3. Your haphazard journey by bus to the event reminded me of a similar one we took - and I hope yours was more comfortable than ours. It was a grueling hot day and dusty. The bus ride was looooong and circuitous - lost count of the number of villages - from Oxford to Dorchester. It was a rattly old bus that rode more like a school bus - or, the back of an old pick-up truck is more like it. I had to hang on for dear life.

    We had gone to visit an acquaintance and we were considering renting her place at some point. It was part of a very old building that had been the Abbey malthouse. After that bus ride we decided it was waay too remote for us to not have a car!
    nancy b t

  4. This sounds like a wonderful evening. The bookshop looks so charming. Sigh.

  5. hmmm, no one mentioned sinful breaking of lenten fast...not impressed. lge


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