Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

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Expo 58 Exposed

One of the nice things about Crystal Palace is local indie bookshop The Bookseller Crow on the Hill, promoter of literature and general force for good. (Nearby is a reptile and snake shop with the baffling slogan 'More Balls Than Most'.) The Crow's last email newsletter mentioned that the Book Club would be discussing Jonathan Coe's Expo 58 on April 1st, and since I'd read it very recently (on the Eurostar to Brussels, no less!) I thought I'd go along.

I arrived to find that a) everybody except me seemed to know each other, and b) everybody except me had brought a bottle of wine. Fortunately b) helped me cope with a), and I felt qualified to voice my opinion. I could even get a word in edgeways, so considerate was the company.

A couple of those present had worked in the Civil Service, and several were old enough to recollect the era of the novel, so the discussion was interesting and soon veered on to social mores of the 1960s and when exactly flavoured crisps began to appear ("Smokey bacon is a very 80s flavour"). Lots of hands went up when we were asked who had actually visited the Atomium, and I shared my story of checking out the exhibition about the 1958 World's Fair with the book fresh in my mind.

I'll definitely go along again, though only if I've read the book in question. Next up is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, of which I know nothing.
Tags: books

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