Friday, 30 September 2011

Happy 25th, Bloomsbury!

Firstly, I'm so pleased by your enthusiasm for my A Century of Books project!  It really is the anti-challenge challenge - in that I shan't be making a list beforehand, I shan't make many rules, I shan't really even pick books for it, it'll just quietly fill up as the year goes by... I hope!  I'll certainly be including re-reads and multiple books by the same authors, etc. etc., but I think it should be really fun.  I'm really excited about those of you who want to join in, and feel free to do so over the course of one, two, however many years - or maybe just keep a closer eye on the publication years of the books you read?

asks whether I could give some suggestions for books to read from the first half of the 20th century - oh, Jo, I am going to have the MOST fun doing that!  I'll try and compile something, and post it soon - but for some ideas, there are really, really wonderful lists by Lizzy and Every Book and Cranny (sorry, can't find your name!) 

So I'll try and work out a list of ones I already have read, but not a list for what I will read.  And then I'll be probably keep quiet on the topic until the end of the year...

And now for something completely different.  Have I mentioned how much I love Bloomsbury publishers?  Well, I really do.  Not only have they printed the wonderful Bloomsbury Group series, thus bringing Miss Hargreaves back into print (there you go, Dad, a mention of it!) and the upcoming Bloomsbury Reader e-reprints (more on those uber-soon, promise) but they happen to be the most friendly publishing company in the world.  I've met lots of lovely publishing folk, and (besides being universally impossibly glamorous) they've all been very nice - but Bloomsbury go the extra mile.  Alice, my 'contact' there, sends me the catalogue with her own inscriptions and suggestions - as well as exchanging emails about cats and baking disasters etc.

Well, today (yesterday by now, I suppose) I went to Bloomsbury's 25th Birthday Party!  I had arranged to meet up with Elaine (Random Jottings) and Karen (Cornflower) both of whom I've met a fair few times before, and both of whom it is always an utter delight to see.  There they are above; apologies for the blurry photo.  And how glad I was to be with them when we arrived at a huge party in Bedford Square - actually in the square, or rather the garden in the middle.  Big marquee, lots and lots of people - and us, staring at name-tags to try and find our Bloomsbury friends.  In the meantime, we celeb-spotted, and all got in a bit of a tizzy about seeing Paul Hollywood from The Great British Bake-Off.  Goodness!  Also spotted Grayson Perry, Raymond Blanc, Heston Blumenthal, and (I think) P.D. James.

But we were most excited about meeting Stephanie and Alice, the two people at Bloomsbury who have been so lovely to all three of us for the past four or so years.  And of course both of them are totally lovely in person too - we hugged, we were introduced as the most important bloggers in the country (doubtless not true, but how nice to be introduced thus!) and I even managed to whisper how nice it would be to have a copy of the latest Magnus Mills novel. 

I am much worse than many bloggers at reading review copies - I tend to squirrel myself off to the 1930s and ignore a lot of what's going on in the 2010s - because I want my blog to reflect my reading tastes, and I think that's why the people who do read my blog are here (yes? :)) so I'm very grateful to Bloomsbury and other publishers for still keeping me in mind, and being so friendly.  I was so surprised to be invited to this shindig, and delighted to accept - it was good fun, and even worth the horribly hot, overcrowded train journey I had home....!


  1. Thanks so much, Simon! That will at least give me a place to start :) I'm very excited about this project and might start it before the beginning of 2012!

  2. I would've considered seeing Elaine and Karen as "celeb-spotting" myself! Sounds like a great time - thank you for sharing it with us.

  3. Absolutely Simon! I follow your blog because it is unique. I have integrated a few of your suggestions into my TBR list. There are plenty of other blogs for contemporary fiction. Don't go changin', I like you just the way you are.

  4. Your social calendar is chock full these days! Glad the organizers had such lovely weather for their event and you enjoyed your day amongst friends. Lovely to see Elaine and Karen too!

  5. Simon, I am so envious of your wonderful day! Fellow-bloggers and other celebrities! I must get a Bloomsbury catalogue... I have the two Henrietta books, which I love, but no others as yet...

    I, for one, am glad that your blog reflects your own reading tastes, which, as it happens, are very similar to mine!

  6. I would have loved to meet you! It was a fabulous 'do'. And who knows, Alice might send you The Coward's Tale, out soon, which spans the preferred era neatly. (And before, and after...)

    happy blogging!

  7. Sounds like you had a lovely time Simon:) And Bedford Square is lovely, isn't it?

  8. Jo - it will be on its way soon! So delighted with your excitement :)

    Susan - haha, good point! I should have asked for their autographs...

    Ruthiella - aww, those words mean a lot to me, thanks so much :)

    Darlene - I know! Bloggers coming out of my ears...

    Penny - I have been so lucky with blogger-meetings recently. And Bloomsbury do some really wonderful books, definitely get your hands on a catalogue. Thanks for your other comment too - blogging has revealed so many people with a taste similar to mine, which is lovely!

    Vanessa - oh, were you there? What a shame we didn't converse beforehand!

    Sakura - beautiful. I could never live in London, but my resolve weakens a little when I see places like Bedford Sq (although obviously if I *were* to live in London, it would be a grotty, tiny flat in some horrible area...)

  9. It was a really great evening even if it was incredibly hot and the marquee quite faintmaking. I had to exit pretty quick and a lovely Bloomsbury lady brought me a glass of water as I sat under the trees. I have to say that the three of us got quite childishly excited when we spotted Paul Hollywood - despite my years of wisdom (?) I got quite silly and shrieky when he appeared!

    A pleasure to spend the evening with Simon and Karen and I agree with every word he said, Bloomsbury are wonderful and not just because they send me books, but because they go that extra mile


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