Friday, March 03, 2006

Up to London again on Monday night (I feel somewhat yo-yo like!), this time for our fiction reading group. We discussed The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi which, I have to say, really had something going for it. It is not the sort of book I would normally choose to read, full of ghosts (maybe) and Yoruba mythology, but I have to admit it kept me gasping through to the end and was a truly scary story. If I didn't have ten other books to read and write about for my own book by next Wednesday's meeting with Francofinn, I would read it again straight away. Can't wait for her next two books which allegedly Bloomsbury has already signed the wonder child up for (she was 18 and writing her A levels whilst writing The Icarus Girl, and is now at Cambridge).

CEK's family have a very clever Christmas tradition: from October, you can't buy yourself anything, but you can add it to a Christmas list. From the list - which all friends and family have access to - you may (or may not) receive some gifts. I think it is such an excellent idea, as you do actually get things you want, yet it is still a surprise as you don't know which of the things on the list will appear. Recently I became the lucky beneficiary of just such a list. Asked what I might like as a farewell gift from the Africa Book Centre, I humbly submitted my list of droolsome faves - and got all of them! Woohoo!

On occasion, feeling completely exhausted and having put my back/neck/hip/knee (take your pick!) out, I would hobble around the corner from work to the Walk-in Backrub Centre in Neal's Yard, Covent Garden. Shiatsu massage - you float on air as you leave. So that was one of my presents, which I will make full use of one of these days when I visit London as a tourist rather than for work or study.

In my pursuit of a writing career, I really enjoy the quarterly Mslexia magazine, and their diaries are the best. I've had one of their diaries for two years now, and they just push all the right buttons. Anyway, present part two was a subscription to Mslexia - fantastic! One of those magazine subscriptions you always toy with getting, but can't quite make up your mind...

Present part three is gift vouchers for any three Persephone books (I am SO excited, but how to choose...). Everyone always assumes that booksellers don't want books or book tokens as gifts. WRONG! Why did we become booksellers in the first place, I ask you?! Yes, yes, a love of books of course, but also: discounts! So now that I am no longer a bookseller, this is an extremely precious gift, and I am savouring the Persephone catalogue which dropped through my post slot last week. For those of you who don't know Persephone, I cannot recommend them highly enough. Each book is exquisite to behold, beautifully made with understated grey covers and inside a riot of colour as the endpapers are reproduced fabrics from the period in which the book was written. You even get a matching bookmark! I have read several already, and loved all. I have a small idea percolating quietly on the backburner of starting my own publishing company for African books (maybe a decade hence?) and if I do, I would wish for books like Persephone's. Perfectly produced, top-notch writing.

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Blogger jenclair said...

Found your blog after reading your comment about loving Little Men on Danielle's blog. I read The Icarus Girl in March, as you did, and liked it very much. My review is here.

I've enjoyed my visit to your blog!

1:37 pm  
Anonymous anne said...

Thanks, Thanks, Thanks

5:06 pm  
Blogger equiano said...

Anne - you're welcome, but what are you thanking me for?!

9:24 am  
Anonymous anne said...

I thank you for your comment.

10:11 am  

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