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SO THE battle with Waterstone's is joined. Borders in Charing Cross Road opened last weekend to a packed house and found that, this once, customers were happy to go shopping in the middle of the night. While staff recover from a 30-hour marathon, which featured appearances by Vic Reeves and Joan Baez - whose performance was delayed when the goods lift in which she was conveyed in order to avoid the crowds got stuck - the store is back to normal hours. Meanwhile, staff at Books etc, part of the Borders group, have reacted to the Booker shortlist by compiling an alternative. The six titles include Roddy Doyle, Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth - the most discussed omissions.

SO THE battle with Waterstone's is joined. Borders in Charing Cross Road opened last weekend to a packed house and found that, this once, customers were happy to go shopping in the middle of the night. While staff recover from a 30-hour marathon, which featured appearances by Vic Reeves and Joan Baez - whose performance was delayed when the goods lift in which she was conveyed in order to avoid the crowds got stuck - the store is back to normal hours. Meanwhile, staff at Books etc, part of the Borders group, have reacted to the Booker shortlist by compiling an alternative. The six titles include Roddy Doyle, Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth - the most discussed omissions.

ALREADY WORLD-famous for his record-breaking taps (35 in a second!), Michael Flatley, creator of Riverdance and Lord of the Dance, will shortly be tapping away with fingers. For the Chicago-born dancer has signed a contract with Warner Books of New York for "an inspirational memoir," Feet of Flames. Born to poor parents, Flatley struggled to succeed first in sport, later in dance. No word yet on a UK publisher but Hodder, with its Irish imprint Lir, must be a contender.

WATCH OUT for a new dollop of saccharine from John Gray (whose Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus looks set to become the bestselling US hardback of the 1990s, with sales nearing seven million). Children are from Heaven has quickly shifted 300,000 in the US. And a British edition from Thorsons is imminent.

THURSDAY IS National Poetry Day and even the City of London has noticed. Festivities in the Square Mile include a Power Breakfast at a law firm, with Poet Laureate Andrew Motion and the City's Poet in Residence, John Mole. That's followed at the Stock Exchange by a "Poetry Exchange" presided over by Clifford Chance QC - former director of the Serious Fraud Office. Bloomsbury is marking the occasion with Versability. This "witty and hilarious parlour game" involves one contestant reading three lines of a quatrain to fellow players, who offer suggestions for a fourth line - the idea being to improve on the likes of Keats and Shakespeare. "No knowledge of poetry is required," say the publishers.

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