Friday, November 07, 2008

Murder One - Robin McKinley Signing

It always amazes me how many people can fit into Murder One's Romance and Paranormal Romance section. And it is small, as can be witnessed by these pictures from the MO website of previous events.

I arrived (fashionably) late (due to having to work till 6pm) for Robin McKinley's reading, talk and signing at Murder One last night. And after hugging the stuffing out of Karen and Trisha (who run this ever expanding department and who are absolutely amazing, btw), I sidled in to listen to a bit of Ms. McKinley’s readings. She has a lovely strong voice – I have found that there is nothing nicer than listening to an author reading their own work. They know the nuances, where to pause to create drama or hesitate that one bit when reading out loud to create a comedic rejoinder. She read from Chalice and gave us hints on her current work in progress. Pop over to her website and read her blog about that.

I slipped away when more people came in for the talk and spent some time chatting to the crazy and fun members of the M1 Book Club™ who were meeting up for the second time only (– if anyone is interested, and in the London area, new members are welcome, contact Trisha at Murder One for further information –) and they were gearing up to talk to Ms. McKinley and discuss the newly republished Sunshine. I will definitely be joining the book club – for now they will be focusing on Romance (read urban fantasy/supernatural romance with a bit of crime, murder, and butt-kicking thrown in) and I get the distinct impression the club will grow because they are so passionate about books and authors and all of them seem to love reading unreservedly.

I also got a chance to slip away downstairs and was there for maybe forty minutes examining all the bookshelves. All I can say is: sooo many books, one pair of eyes is not enough!

Back upstairs many of Ms. McKinley’s fans had had their books signed and were slipping away into the dark drizzly night. I bought my copy of Spindle’s End and had her sign it before moving on to give her some space to chat to others in the queue.

I was ready to go home but got lured into staying for the informal and hilarious chat with the book club and I'm so pleased that I did. Ms. McKinley’s agent decided to stay too, after we waved our Dear Author farewell, and she had us wrapped around her elegant finger, as she chatted to us about some of the authors they published, what she was currently doing here in the UK and in turn we gushed at her this stream of information about how much we loved some of the authors’ she had mentioned and asked her numerous questions. Eventually we unbarricaded the doors and allowed her to leave to meet up with a friend.

Trisha had made her amazing shortbread spider biscuits which were consumed at a rapid rate, along with other treats bought. Eventually we all packed it up and shimmied off into the night with calls of: see you next month, at seven!

It was an amazing evening, with such a buzz about it. I really do forget how much fun it is to get together with like-minded book addicts who are interested in the broad aspect and range of publishing and writing.

I also think that Murder One has hit the nail on the head with this Book Club of theirs – admittedly, it is early days still, but as one of London’s most iconic stores, and an independent bookseller, they can encourage this type of thing, thanks to the largess of the owner, Max. From a reader’s, author and editor’s perspective, as well as a shop owner, he must have seen the benefits immediately – where else can those interested in reading and talking about books go, without feeling a bit self-conscious, to be a bit rowdy and talk books, characters and have a bit of wine? As Trisha pointed out: he didn’t have to agree to having the book club have their meetings at the shop but he is forward thinking enough to realize that having a bunch of passionate readers in the shop will generate more interest in the stock they currently carry, along with more income and Murder One will get yet another tag added to its illustrious image.

So, what the above paragraph is really about is: start your own book club or join M1 Book Club, even if you are hesitant about the books being read, it will open doors to new books and experiences – and like it was pointed out last night: book clubs have the carte blanche to read anything they want from pure literary, to feminist poetry, to romance and science fiction – the core thing is: to read. And to support your indie bookshops! We can’t afford to lose them!

This post has turned out much longer than anticipated, and for sticking with me, I’d like to offer up a competition. I have somehow managed to order two of Katherine Neville’s astonishing novel, The Eight, and therefore have one spare copy and would love to give it away to someone. My original copy of The Eight I had bought when I first moved to the UK to replace the one I left behind in South Africa, has gone walkabout with someone else, hence the new copy.

The challenge is: in your entry, tell me how books have influenced you - have you taken up martial arts because of reading Bruce Lee's biography, have you decided to become a writer, learn to play chess, become a Nascar fan, a PI or a ghostbuster...let us know how . Email me the answers and your contact details – am prepared to post anywhere on the planet – and I’ll do a lucky dip at the end of next week, Friday 14th November 2008 first thing in the morning and announce the winner and have the winning reply posted on MFB - so if you run your own blog, LJ or Wordpress site, let me have the link and we can link it back.


Anonymous said...

McKinley's Sunshine was fantastic ... and recommended highly to umpteen friends & acquaintances. You lucky lucky thing meeting her ... I'm green :o)

My copy is the Young Adult cover edition which appears to be out of print. Very strange that I've only noticed her in the adult sections since.

Wish I were near enough to join this informal reading group; sounds a blast.

Liz said...

Laughs at spreading the word of M1 Reading Group - these girls are wild. I fear for my sanity!

If you want to - feel free to enter the competition!

Thanks for stopping by.

L x

Adele said...

I loved Sunshine and am definately keeping an eye out for more of her books.