Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

Generation Ex

Two of my favourite living authors have new books out, and within the last week I have been to see both of them talk. My literary cup could only be fuller if J. G. Ballard rose from the grave.

On Friday I went to the Guardian Book Club's Douglas Coupland event with Myk, who has been my accomplice for two of the four Coupland signings I've attended.

Unfortunately, and YMMV on this, we felt that John Mullan interviewed him rather badly. He was way too fond of the sound of his own voice and his questions seemed designed to make him sound clever rather than to elicit interesting answers from the author. And how hard would it have been to type zamboni into Wikipedia if he was going to quote a passage containing it, rather than confess he had no idea what the word meant, ho ho, you wacky Canadians?

When Coupland was allowed to get a word in edgeways he shone, as usual. One interesting observation he made was this: your twenties suck. Nobody ever tells you this, but it's true. Around 27 or 28 you hit rock bottom, then you reach 30 and life is great again. Devastatingly accurate.

I'm afraid I fangirl horrendously around Doug. It's mostly my massive admiration for his work, of course, but partly his cute accent and gentle demeanour. On this occasion he told me I had a 'boyish appearance' and I went all simpery.

He also dedicated my copy of Generation A in such an awesome way I have reproduced it here for your delight (well, mostly for mine, actually).

Last night it was Nick Hornby at The Bloomsbury Hotel, where the flunkeys looked incredibly distressed at all the bibliophile plebs wandering their foyer.

Nick Hornby looks like somebody's dad, which of course he is, and seems more confident reading aloud from his book than dealing with interview and audience questions. He was polite and funny, though, and made me envy his claimed lifestyle of playing computer games between bursts of composition.

He said that he's classed as writing 'for lads', which means that maybe 30% of his readership is male, as opposed to the 3% most authors of fiction get. Can this really be right? Do men not read novels? (His audience on the night was about 50/50.)

Afterwards my companion Dave abandoned me to the signing queue, but luckily the bloke behind me was carrying a motorcycle helmet and I was thus able to initiate a conversation about bikes and books.

I didn't buy a copy of the new one because I have reason to believe I'm getting it for my birthday, but I took along my 50p charity-shop first edition of About A Boy. Eventually I reached the head of the queue, where Nick told me that he'd spotted me reading the book outside a café earlier, as he passed in a taxi. I hope I was chuckling appreciatively, or perhaps blinking back a tear, as his books make me do both these things.

And that's what I should have said at the time, rather than grinning and mumbling foolishly. Damn.
Tags: books
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