A few months ago, I received a very exciting email... Mieneke (A Fantastical Librarian) was bringing her husband Wiebe to London and wanted to meet up with Liz and I for our very favourite activity - book buying!
Michael and I took an early train to That London so that we could meet at our first stop: Waterstones at Piccadilly (somewhere I had never been, can you believe it?) On the way I was soundly thrashed at some iPhone Yahtzee and proceeded to sulk for the rest of the journey...
We met in the downstairs cafe, and Mieneke was such a sweetheart to have picked presents for Liz and I. Mine was a fantabulous poster, which I plan on hanging in my living room and Liz's was the most gorgeous Dutch edition of the Brothers Grimm fairytales. Here she is showing it off:
In Waterstones Mieneke needed a basket to gather up all her goodies. She is so fun to go book buying with - all my recommendations were accepted without a second thought. I do hope she loves them all! Across the course of the day I recommended some of my favourite books, such as Only Forwards by Michael Marshall Smith, The Little Country by Charles de Lint and (in the absence of Archangel) Angelica by Sharon Shinn.
We had also been met by the delightful Alex Bell, who recommended to me some Deanna Raybourn. I couldn't find any books by her in three bookstores in London, but intend to order me some very soon. That's what Kindles are for, right? All of us compared book recommendations, gossiped over books and blogs, and drooled over pretty covers. We were a little surprised by the similarities of some:
A brief stop for lunch, where Michael was clearly looking at something naughty on his phone - or was it just the cricket score?!
Then onwards to Forbidden Planet - for me, the mecca of bookstores in London. I love that bookish basement, with all the new titles imported from the States, the fabulous selection of fantasy and sci fi novels. Today it was brightened further by the presence of one Brandon Sanderson, who was doing a signing and an impromptu book reading.
I did love the fact that Brandon asked all the fans who had flocked to the signing to spend some time browsing the bookstore and buying books from bricks and mortar, rather than online all the time. He said his local bookstores had supported him during the earliest part of his career, with signings and pushing his first novels, and they deserved every respect.
Mr Sanderson genuinely seemed like a lovely chap, making sure to spend time with each and every fan who had turned up, trying to answer all their questions (although obviously some were out of bounds!) and telling the immense queue that he wouldn't stop signing until every person who wanted their book signed had got it. That is the action of an author still very much in touch with the people that put him where he is, despite all his immense success. Brandon, I salute you!
Finally, while the three boys went to create fire back at home in preparation for a BBQ at Casa de Jager, us girls went to Foyles. We had a really lovely chat with Jenny, and I had far too many books recommended to me. Why can't I read more quickly?!
Finally, back to Casa de Jager for aforementioned BBQ, where Mark proudly showed off his birthday present from Alex:
Before we left (after having feasted handsomely) Mieneke, Liz and I decided to display all our purchases from the day across the table. Here is that decadent haul in all its glory:
It's always a joy spending time with Liz, Mark and Alex - and it was brilliant meeting Mieneke and Wiebe. Mieneke is just as warm and lovely and enthusiastic about books as she is online, and I hope that World Fantasycon in 2013 is not the next time I'll see her in person.
It was the perfect day, and proved for me that:
- book people are the BEST
- Forbidden Planet and Foyles are TOO dangerous for my wallet on the same day; and
- Book bloggers DO buy their own books *grin*