Tag Archives: Edinburgh Bookshop


Going back to my horsey past now. Not that I was ever horsey, except in my mind, but that’s as good a place for a horse as any. At least as long as they are imaginary. The real kind would be really mind-stretching.

I’ve been on a horse a few times, but it’s not something I care to repeat. Whereas reading about girls – and even boys – and horses is fine. Lovely, in fact.

K M Peyton, Fly-by-Night

This has been a K M Peyton sort of week, hasn’t it? Known to me as a horse book author it was wrong to start off with a whodunnit, apart from the handy fact that it was one I had already. Suspecting it wouldn’t be enough for a face to face meeting with Kathleen herself, I hurriedly asked Fidra books in Edinburgh if they could send me Fly-by-Night to read before the big day. They could. They re-publish old favourites, and K M Peyton books fall into that category. This one even has illustrations by the author, which feels just right. Also quite 1960s.

I am so glad I didn’t read this book as a child. It would have made me want to come to England a lot more than I already did. And it’s funny, because coming from where I am now, I see this book in two lights. One is the romanticised view of everything English from back then, and the other is simply an older version of what the country is like today, if that makes sense?

Ruth Hollis badly wants a pony, and now that her family have moved to the country, she goes out to buy one. Only, they cost more than she had expected. So does the saddle and all the bits and pieces, not to mention the food. But determination is a wonderful thing. After which ‘all’ Ruth needs to do is learn to ride…

This is a horse book. Naturally she gets there in the end, but before that she has to be one plucky girl.

There are more books about Ruth, so maybe I don’t need to say this, but one character I would have liked to see more of is Ron, friend of her brother’s. And I gather there will be a connection to Jonathan from my book last week, so that’s nice. I like it when things tie up.

Here’s to more horse books!

End of bookfest miscellany

My notebook appears to have run out of ‘new’ notes. That’s despite it having been written in from both directions at once (there is method in how I do things, even if it is my method). But at least it’s purple.

2011 mud

Press duck

There was more mud this year. Mostly sunny while we were there, so the mud will have been caused by mysterious rain that rained when we looked the other way. The ducks were larger, which makes sense, as a year is a long time and ducks must grow, too. (Bet they thought the same thing about me.)

No sooner had I thought the thought that EIBF being in Scotland meant there would be no surplus Gudrun Sjödén clothes being worn, than I encountered someone wearing a Gudrun Sjödén t-shirt. The same pattern I had on, but luckily not the same top. (They were Danish.)

It was mostly the same people behind the scenes, including the photographer with the polychrome hair. He had been given his very own Ikea rattan chair to sit on. Hmph.

Worked out that the man I kept seeing and who looked so familiar each time, was in fact John Fardell. Must remember I have something I want him to sign. But it helps if I know who to approach first.

Didn’t buy many books. I don’t buy books if I can help it. And it definitely helps when people like the very generous Julie Bertagna come bearing gifts. Signed and everything.

Wonder who the VIPs were, who got special treatment from the photographers? Usually people get to pose for a posse of the paparazzi, but in this instance the paparazzi waited for them, somewhere else, and these people stopped briefly and posed, before going on. They were clearly so very VIP that I didn’t know them.

Latecomers were not admitted to events. It’s understandable. I hate it when someone makes a noise and disturbs whoever is talking. But latecomers are admitted, and audiences do turn around and stare and it does cause interruption. And if your phone rings and you run out – after considerable disturbance – you will be allowed back in again. To be fair, they weren’t originally late. Just noisy.

Neil Gaiman

And bookwitches get exhausted. That is a serious drawback. For our last event the photographer and I went to the crypt at St John’s church, where Neil Gaiman was entertaining a smallish number of fans and normal people. It was organised by the Edinburgh Bookshop, and was a very good idea. In fact, I’m amazed it was even possible to do on such a small scale.

Neil started off by reading a short story. It’s one I’ve read, but it’s always good to hear Neil read, so whatever he picks is fine. He said that he tends to edit as he goes along, finding things he’d have done differently if he was writing it again. This one was about shining white knights and charity shops. The holy grail. That sort of thing.

After the reading he sat down to chat with Vanessa from the bookshop, and to be honest, I can’t remember a thing they said. But it was interesting. And the nice thing about crypts is that the acoustics are good. This crypt also served nibbles in the interval, but I’m afraid we didn’t stop to sample things because we were, as I’ve already mentioned, slightly done in. And when the second half of Neil Gaiman, as well as an event with Eoin Colfer the following day aren’t enough to tempt us, then you know we’ve had enough.

Charlotte Square

But we hadn’t had what the police officers with the sniffer dogs were looking for. The train we were on was met by sniffer dogs, and after years of avoiding them at school, Daughter finally had to succumb. (Anyway, what is the world coming to when your innocent Offspring is used to police searches at school?)

We are now back home – the home home – and have recovered somewhat. Not ready to think about a next time. Yet.

The Bloodstone launch

Bloodstone launch at the Edinburgh Bookshop

We had a lazy – well, lazier – sort of day yesterday, mainly attending the launch of Gillian Philip’s Bloodstone at the Edinburgh Bookshop. Hadn’t been there since it was enlarged, and I have to say the shop looked good.

Bloodstone launch at the Edinburgh Bookshop

People came and people mingled, and the able bartender served red and white and soft with aplomb. If anyone saw me with two glasses in my hands that’s because I had to hold the photographer’s drink. Nothing else.

Bloodstone launch at the Edinburgh Bookshop

Keith Charters of Strident Publishing hopped into the shop window and spoke. Not too long, and really quite well. They publish good books at Strident.

Keith Charters

Then it was Gillian’s turn, but before she hopped her shoes had to come off. (Always consider your choice of socks in these circumstances!) Gillian read from Bloodstone and a pretty good piece it was, too. The one about the bloodthirsty ‘horse’. That kind of reading is likely to make people want to buy, and even read, Bloodstone.

Bloodstone launch at the Edinburgh Bookshop

Bloodstone launch at the Edinburgh Bookshop

Gillian Philip

We mingled some more. I spoke to Vanessa about her plans for the bookshop, and I talked to one of my faithful blog readers, before attempting to get her run over on the street outside.

Bloodstone launch at the Edinburgh Bookshop

And no, Seth wasn’t there.

In the papers

I could be forgiven for thinking that Facebook had spilled over into the Guardian these last couple of days. I was quite impressed with Lucy Coats’s rant about Martin Amis (with whom I’m not even remotely impressed) ending up in the Guardian, courtesy of Benedicte Page. Even more impressed to find that Lucy’s fame travelled on to all sorts of other grand, and possibly not so grand, publications. So what I’m really doing is joining in. Belatedly.

Lucy Coats

The ‘Facebook spillage’ comes from finding other Fb friends quoted, and I welcome their arrival in the world of ‘real’ news. There should be more stuff like this. Yes, they should ideally ask permission first, but at least we now have real people making sensible comments.

So, on the basis that you all know I read things backwards, I obviously read Friday’s paper after Saturday’s. (I have also saved up three weeks’ worth of Weekend to read, yes to read, some time. Not sure when.)

Friday’s Benedicte Page (such a suitable name don’t you think?) piece was about this giving away of one million books which, to be honest, I haven’t given as much thought as perhaps I ought to have. Yet again it featured ‘my’ Fb friends. I got so paranoid that I had to go and check whether this Benedicte and I share these friends. We don’t. We share some others, though.

I get the impression that someone is combing through people’s blogs to find newsworthy material. Feel free to come here for some first class blog-filler.

Though, setting the ‘borrowing’ aside, I’m glad that it’s not only journalists having a say. They only know so much, and maybe they are beginning to see the light.