Between the covers: 16/08/12
Your guide to what's really going on in the world of books
Sunday 16 September 2012
Who said this? "I make it a rule not to puff books but Andy Kershaw's NO OFF SWITCH is sensational. An amazing read. An amazing man." Yes, it's Stephen Fry – the man responsible for more plugs than Armitage Shanks. In 2009, Stephen Fry wrote: "What I'm fed up with ... is seeing my name on the fronts, backs and flaps of books saying things like 'a beautifully paced, unforgettable thriller', 'a magnificent feat of imagination', 'a delicately realised and vividly felt journey through memory and desire', etc etc. Yuckety, yuckety, yuck. Pukety, pukety puke ... isn't there a law of diminishing returns at work here? I am fully aware that each peal of praise trumpeting a new book must be worth slightly less. The coin gets debased: instead of crying 'Wolf!', I'm crying 'Gold!', but the effect is the same …" In the same blog, of course, he went on to puff "a truly amazing book". Andy Kershaw is "humbled" to have Stephen Fry big up his book, he tells bluesandsoul.com.
In the nearly four years since the first Literary Salon at Shoreditch House in London, salonierre Damian Barr (inset, bottom) has interviewed writers including Diana Athill, Louis de Bernières, Jojo Moyes, Brett Easton Ellis, David Nicholls, John Waters, Helen Fielding, and, last week, Shirley Conran and Clare Balding (inset, top) over a Hendricks and tonic in the increasingly cramped and sweaty room. (All the more sweaty after Conran read an S&M scene from her newly reissued novel, Lace, and Balding explained why she licked radiators.) So who will interview Barr next February when he reads a sneak preview of his own memoir, Maggie & Me (Bloomsbury, 9 May 2013) at the salon? "Diana Athill is going to come in and interview me about the book," he confided to Between the Covers. Athill is the author of acclaimed fiction and non-fiction, and the editor of writers including Norman Mailer, John Updike, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Rhys, but can she fill Damian's bar stool? We'll see.
Do booksellers do more embarrassing things than other professions, or are they just keener to share them? Either way, they have a whole chapter to themselves in the new ebook No, It's Us Too, written by "the general public" and published by Hodder to coincide with the launch of Miranda Hart's book, Is It Just Me? (Hodder & Stoughton, £20). "I once got totally, utterly stuck under the counter of a shop and had to be rescued by security," says one. "I was the manager." Another shares: "I went to a Dick Francis book launch at the Ritz. Took a corner too quickly and fell over the harpist." That's to say nothing of bookseller Josh, A&E and the two grapes. Get well soon, Josh!
Congratulations to Margaret Atwood, who has received the rare honour of having a blend of coffee named after her. Balzac's Atwood Blend is a bird-friendly coffee sold "to help raise funds and awareness for Canada's Pelee Island Bird Observatory", and the author and environmentalist is thrilled to be involved, she says. "We wanted it to be a coffee she loved," the Toronto-based microroaster told edibleontario.com. "She knows her coffee and was very specific about her preferences. She sent it back a couple of times for tweaking and, I think she nailed it."
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Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
- 5 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Mr Selfridge series 3: Actress Kara Tointon says 'we're starting to see his demise'
Ed Sheeran texts Noel Gallagher to offer him tickets after Wembley Stadium rant
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Taylor Swift banned from Triple J Hottest 100: Fans react to epic #Tay4Hottest100 defeat
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally