Between the Covers 07/04/2013

Your weekly guide to what's really going on inside the world of books

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Between the Covers was intrigued to be invited to Thursday's launch of The Speedicut Papers – the personal correspondence of Colonel Sir Jasper Speedicut, "Victorian soldier, courtier, bisexual philanderer and reluctant hero".

According to a story published on 1 April, the papers were discovered by one Christopher Joll and "immediately compared" by academics to the journals of Sir Harry Paget Flashman "famously discovered by George MacDonald Fraser in 1969". The book is really the first in a series of novels about Jasper Speedicut, a character from MacDonald Fraser's Flashman series. In an appendix appear two rather strange characters: "Quentin Nesbitt, the renowned art dealer" and "Eugene Nailer the former Cabinet Minister, football pundit and classical music specialist". Philip Mould and David Mellor, on whom they are modelled, were both at the party on Thursday. Says Mould: "I was looking forward to suing Christopher when I heard I been immortalised as the art dealer, Nesbitt. Alas, he turns out to be the sort of engaging figure whom I would buy a second-hand picture from any day."


Fans of Christopher Fowler's "Invisible Ink" slot in these pages clearly include Waterstones Brighton, which has had the canny idea of selling the new book of his columns in a promotion alongside 25 books by the authors mentioned in those columns. "Forgotten" authors and books that have been remembered by Fowler and Waterstones include Alexander Baron's The Low Life, Roger Longrigg's Switchboard and A High-Pitched Buzz, and – the two best sellers – Postscript to Poison by Dorothy Bowers and The Beast With Five Fingers by William Fryer Harvey. Between the Covers is told that the table "is all the work of Eddie who runs our fiction section and is well known for his passion and expertise at selling esoteric fiction … Without sounding too lofty about it, having displays that are different and interesting is really important to the identity of our bookshop and all that we are trying to achieve here." Three cheers for bookshops, and for remembered authors.


Spare a thought for the modern pilgrims who are setting out on Wednesdayto follow the 65-mile route of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, staying in medieval pilgrim towns and telling tales along the way. The 20 storytellers will tell "The Knight's Tale" outside a Tesco on London's Old Kent Road, "The Shipman's Tale" at The Ship pub in Cobham, and "The Nun's Priest's Tale" among the Dippy Egg Farm chickens, outside Sittingbourne. There's not much engendring of flours yet this April, so if you don't want to catch up with them on foot you can follow them on Twitter @ChaucerWalks.


Keith Richards waited until he was 66 before publishing his autobiography, Life, in 2010. Will Young was 33 when he published his, Funny Peculiar, last year to mark the 10th anniversary of his Pop Idol win. The boy band Union J, however, have signed a deal with Penguin, just four months after being eliminated in the X Factor semi-final and two months before releasing their first single. "We are … looking forward to the chance tell our stories…" says a band member.