For those of you who might have been wondering - I haven't fallen off the planet, I've just been rather bogged down of late. I had a fleeting trip to Edinburgh - for the Book Festival and to see a few things on the Fringe - where I discovered that I no longer know how to live like a student (sleeping on the floor and eating Pot Noodle was never my idea of fun, but now one night on the floor leaves me unable to walk!). And speaking of Pot Noodle, AL Kennedy did a very funny skit on the subject of this terrible food stuff, and on the whole her stand-up was considerably funnier than the critics gave her credit for (the day I was there the audience kept up a pretty constant flow of laughter). ALK's comedy aside ... Her new book Day will be published in the UK on 5th April 2007 (215 days to go). I have heard that there are plays and another collection of short stories to come as well.
With little over a month to go before the 57th Cheltenham Literature Festival begins everything is about to take off in our office - with everything from book deliveries to the colour of the tent lining to be sorted out. Having done a big clear out a month ago we're now piled high with books again - indeed you can't really move for books, and boxes of books, and parcels of books waiting to be posted, and very soon walking into the office every morning is going to be like climbing through over-growth, or paradise.
Wonderful though it is to be surrounded by so many books, it is also something of a struggle: books mean temptation, and my recent rummage amongst the leaves of the many titles we have turned up several temptations ... In no particular order:
The London Pigeon Wars by Patrick Neate (Penguin)
Ancestor Stones by Aminatta Forna (Bloomsbury)
Fatal Purity by Ruth Scurr (Chatto & Windus)
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell (Headline Review) (I have to admit that I am seduced by titles, and this is one of them)
Gautam Malkani's much-talked-about-first-novel Londonstani may win me over.
I realise I'm lagging somewhat behind with reviews of what I've read ... I'll get there soon.