Last month I had a sudden urge. As I sat here writing on my own, I fantasied about having a big old chinwag with someone. But not just any old chat, I wanted to talk BOOKS… and mostly those that have changed the way we think, feel and even live.
I know what you’re going to say: I need to join a book club. The thing is that I can’t because I absolutely HATE the idea of having to read a book that someone else has chosen and forced upon me.
Anyway, I was looking for a one-off BIG chinwag about books. Those novels which have made a huge impression on us or even totally changed our lives – and not necessarily in the last year either.
I glanced at my twitter feed for book chatting prey. And then I got all busy inviting my favourite Word Birds (some I had never met in the ‘real’ world and others who are already firm, all-time favourites).
Setting the date, I decided to name it my very own Word Bird Book Bash and instructed invitees to turn up with up to 4 of their quite brilliant reads. Follwed by a quick call to the fabulous publicists at Pan Macmillan to find out what they thought of joining us, bringing one of their authors and – hey presto – my urge was about to be satisfied.
Moments later, the door bell rang. It was Foodie Friend dropping off some of her baking for feedback (I’m SUCH A good friend) so I told her of my book bash plan and, discovering I hadn’t thought about sustenance for the occasion, she promptly offered to provide some suitably festive elevenses for my Word Birds. (more of which to follow in its own post).
We chatted and ate and ate and chatted – while each book recounted reminded us of the time in our lives in which we had read them. There were many repeated themes of morbidity, the need for female acknowledgement and escapism…. of course, we all read to escape as well as for inspiration.
Esther Walker told us how she and Giles (Coren) have a one-in-one out book policy – to avoid books taking over their living space but kicked off our bash by clarifying that Lucky Jim was one of her firm favs.
The gorgeous girls from Pan Macmillan spilt the beans on the big book hits for 2014 while giving us all an enormous goodie bag (look out for a chance to win one too!) as perfect Christmas reading fodder.
Naomi Wood, the author of The Godless Boys and the soon-to-be published Mrs Hemingway, was quizzed by the Birds as to how she researches and writes her novels – without losing concentration to social media and other diversions.
Like me, you’re going to be fascinated by who choose which books… and here are some of them which might inspire you to purchase one for someone you really love this Christmas. Happy Reading from all my Word Birds and me. xxx
ps Mini was off sick from school the day of the Book Bash and couldn’t resist pulling her favourite titles off her bookshelf and joining in too…