Friday, October 20, 2006

Danny Rhodes has a lot to answer for! The problem with going to book launches when you've sworn off buying books (temporarily of course) is that you land up buying more books (go on, twist my arm, why don't you?!).

For the non-Brits amongst you, an ASBO is an Anti-Social Behaviour Order, defined by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 as "a civil order made against a person who has been shown to have engaged in conduct which caused or was likely to cause alarm, harassment or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as him or herself and where an ASBO is necessary to protect relevant persons from further anti-social acts by the Defendant." See Wikipedia for more details. Quite popular with those in authority in the UK of late, with endless debates ongoing as to their efficacy.

Danny's book ASBOVILLE deals with this thorny issue. I will review it once I've actually read it, although you can have a look at what dovegreyreader thought in the meantime. The launch went very well - a good turnout, and Danny created an excellent discussion of current issues for young people, resulting in some articulate and thoughtprovoking responses from teenagers and teachers in the audience.

And well, because it was held at Wottakkers, there was a "3-for2" promotion wasn't there. Danny's book was of course part of the promotion, so I was "forced" to examine the other possibilities. To my surprise I found ones I actually wanted! So I left with Paul Auster's THE BROOKLYN FOLLIES (one of my favourite authors, don't know why this is not on my shelf yet) and Kate Grenville's THE SECRET RIVER (so many favourable reviews of this in the blogosphere of late; also there's the Giri's Australian connection. I shall read it aloud to him).

Bang goes any hope of restraining myself...



Anonymous Ann said...

Have you noticed a change in your [W]Ottakers? We don't have one in Birmingham, but there is one in a nearby market town and I've always enjoyed going over there. Am i going to be disappointed?

I loved 'The Secret River'. I haven't read the Auster, but friends said that while it was good, it wasn't as good as some of his other work, so I'll be interested to see what you think.

5:18 pm  
Blogger equiano said...

Too early to tell, I'm afraid. In the meantime, it is slightly disconcerting to walk into an Ottakars shop (still branded as such, and looking the same as usual) yet walk out with books in a Waterstone's bag! In Canterbury, to add to the public's confusion, Waterstones and Ottakars are within a block of each other, so am assuming - possibly incorrectly - that one will go. Wait and see, I guess. Usually I buy from my trusty local independent, THE ALBION, which will order anything they don't have in stock for me. But I always "look" elsewhere, and sometimes those little bargains sneak up on me despite myself!

4:22 pm  
Blogger dovegreyreader said...

So pleased the evening went well, sounds great.
The dilemma in Plymouth was that Ottakar's had already signed to open in the new Drake Circus shopping centre and I was so excited as the nearest to us is Newton Abbot (miles away).Then the takeover and we all held our breath wondering what would happen.So now we have two Waterstone's and surely it's only a matter of time before one goes? Exeter also has two after Waterstone's ate up Dillons but again you wonder how long for.

11:13 am  
Blogger Danny Rhodes said...

Just a quick note to say 'thanks' for attending the launch. It was nice to meet you and put a face to a name...

A full report on recent events will be up on my blog soon...

12:21 pm  
Blogger equiano said...

dovegreyreader - In Canterbury's case the Waterstone's is in a lovely, but awkward, ancient building with Roman ruins on view in the basement level. But the Ottakars is in a much larger, lighter, airier building. Both have cafes, but with different franchises. My guess is that at the very least in many of these cases the shops will be kept open while contracts run out, and then there'll be a merging of stock. I guess we all continue to wait and see.

Danny - You're very welcome. We enjoyed it very much, and now I'm looking forward to reading the book! Unrelated to the launch, you were a topic of conversation two days later with someone who had seen your BBC interview - all boding very well for the book; best wishes with it.

7:44 am  
Anonymous A CanterburyBookseller said...

For the foreseeable future, there will be two Waterstone's in Canterbury - moreso likely considering the imminent closure of the Albion, leaving little choice for the bookbuying public of our fair city.
However, without revealing any confidential information, thus far in the christmas period one Waterstone's is considerably outperforming the other, which rumour has it is leading to some animosity between the stores. But frankly, I'm quite looking forward to a large christmas bonus, whether or not our sister store are cooperative or not.

2:20 am  
Blogger equiano said...

Oooh, scandal! Thanks canterburybookseller for your comments. Although I have major issues with Waterstones, I too shopped there this Christmas for titles The Albion was not able to get in before closure (sob!). I have a pretty good idea that it is the former Ottakers which is doing better than the original Waterstones.

While I take regular potshots at the chains, no offence is intended to you personally; hope you got that bonus!

9:20 am  

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