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Sunday Salon: On bookish events

This time last week I was about to set off for the 2013 Hay Literary Festival for my first ever visit. Across the Atlantic the second bookish event of the summer  (Book Expo America otherwise known as BEA) was about to begin. Both events have kept me fully occupied this week – I don’t think I’ve ever spent as much time thinking, talking and writing about books and reading.

This was the week I think I fell in love……

First with Hay itself. So much so that I was very tempted to return again today. Didn’t quite make it but I will certainly return next year

John Banville. I was only half way through reading his 2005 Booker Prize winning novel The Sea by the time I got to Hay to see the man himself. I know some people found his novel slow and lacking in any great revelation but I thought it was magical. The man himself was in good form – coming on stage with a glass of wine to entertain with mischievous good humour and intriguing explanation of what he  strives to do in his writing – ‘to make an object blush’. Having now finished The Sea, I plan to read more by him.

As for BEA Armchair – this was a vastly different affair from Hay. Where Hay was all about lounging on the grass, eating icecream and tapas washed down with wine and beer in between literary talks in tents, the photos from BEA show a vast exhibition space  of publishers stands  and what looked like long queues for some author talks. But that could be a bit unfair to BEA since I wasn’t actually there myself, making do instead with a virtual event of daily topics. All my contributions are listed on this wrap up post .

Now those two events are over I’ll finally get a chance to do some reading – and maybe a catch up on all the reviews that are still waiting to be written.


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