Saturday, May 29, 2010

Where in the world...?

Given recent computer problem and just home after a month away in Paris, the UK and attending the BEA in New York where I snagged tons of books to pile into my bulging bags, here's a quick question for you bibliphiles...where in the world is this? Hint this shot's taken in the cafe of a famous bookshop on Charing Cross Road.

At CrimeFest, amazingly, I won a Sonyereader at the gala dinner. Imagine the look on my face since I'd extolled at dinner how I loved paper and the printed page and didn't want another 'thing' with batteries to charge. Do any of you use these little machines? Well, Adrian showed me the basics and so did at couple from Bristol which went clear over my head. Downloaded already on the reader were Stendahl's Red and Black and Danish books...But on a side note before I forget, the refreshing thing I noticed on trains, in the tube in the UK was that everyone read; newspapers and books. Real hold in the hand books. None of these little reading machines.
Also in France where the whole ebook business seems not to have reached their consciousness. Or maybe they're just avoiding it. Somehow, where literature is venerated and books are collected, just can't see the ebook taking off there.
I packed 'it' away - started Caro Ramsay's book, she's a Glaswegian Scot and will guest blog for us soon - until New York.
Wandering around the cavernous Javitts Center I grabbed The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg, translated by Stieg Larsen's translator, a huge bestseller in her home Sweden and hoping we can invite her to guest blog. And Stuart Neville's next book, Collusion, set in Belfast which I'm dying to read.
Anyhow back at my publisher Soho, Ailen our marketing director insisted she download a ton of Soho books onto my new magic she just hit buttons and clicked keys and voila...20 books on this little me naive, a bit stupified but here were books on this thin silver sliver and I was supposed to read this on the plane? Something in me resisted...and I took James Benn's new galley of 'Rag and Bone' which is brilliant to finish on the plane...I love this Billy Boyle and the story lines he threads especially the SOE...but maybe I will use this 'machine' and get dragged into the next era. On a long trip, to read my reading group's manuscripts and use the note taking feature...but for's paper and binding and so good to be back home.
Cara - usually Tuesday - Saturday


  1. I am with you, Cara. Technophile that I ordinarily am, I MUCH prefer the tactile pleasure of a old-fashioned book. With one exception: I have an iPhone and have downloaded two apps for reading books, both of them for classics in the public domain. I read them for short subway rides and insomnia times when I want to read in the middle of the night without turning on a light and waking my husband. The screen is small, but the print is plenty big, and since it is back lit, I can read in the dark.

    By the way, on the New York City subways, almost everyone who is reading (and almost everyone is)is reading a newspaper or an old fashioned book. I love to note what books they have. My favorite recent sighting: a young man in his late teens, wearing scruffy jeans and t-shirt and sporting a large tatoo on his upper arm was deep into Orlando Furioso.

  2. Having just shipped lots of books home and travelled lightly, I can see the allure of 20 books in a single gadget. It's a pleasure not to have a sore back! Stan

  3. Interesting subway sighting, Annamaria.

    Stan I've got a roller bag of books and this 'machine' too...go figure. I'll try it out when I fly to DC in June.
    After visiting Bath with Yrsa (Oly and Matt Hilton and his wife too) we kept talking about Jane Austen so if her books are in the public domain I'll try the 'machine'!

  4. Pretty sure you were in Foyle's cafe. Did you ever shop at the store in the old days when you took the book you wanted to buy to a clerk who gave you a handwritten receipt that you then took to another clerk to pay?

    Bought a Kindle a few months ago, primarily as a space-savings device. (You gotta put books somewhere.) I'd guess at least 50 percent of the books I want to read are not available in Kindle format, so paper will still factor in my life. That's a good thing. I do seem to be reading a bit more. I've read all the Aimee Leduc novels (write faster!), and read the last one on the Kindle.

    By the way, for anyone considering a Kindle purchase, it is great for straight text, but it falls down in the handling of non-textual material for which design and layout is important. Content tends to be displayed in the order it appears in the printed book, which means that sidebars, photos, illustrations, may or may not show up in the expected place.

  5. Cara, Jane Austen is definitely in the public domain. Most of what I have read electronically has been Austen, Conan Doyle, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Now, I have taken a detour into Thucydides in preparation for a trip to Sicily. I don't own a Kindle, and I am thinking of holding out for an iPad. A friend who is a major techie has been reading Wind in the Willows to his kids on his new iPad, complete with beautiful reproductions of the original illustrations. But I have to say, I still have my childhood copy, the one I read to my daughter and am now reading to her kids. They are visiting for the weekend and the older two fell asleep with real books in their hands. I love to see that!

  6. I can't even read books on the computer much less on a Kindle or other device. I totally agree, Cara. It's not the same. It would make for faster reading, but...