Sunday, 22 June 2014

Weekend Bookspotting- a lost cause?

A day trip to Manchester today with my wife and daughter should give plenty of opportunity for Bookspotting. We're visiting Manchester University for an open day. It is kind of a corporate spying/industrial espionage thing (my wife works for Lancaster University) - we're not thinking of going back to university or anything, and our daughter is thankfully about 13 years too young!

Anyway it's an hour's train journey each way, three times as long as my normal commute, and the Manchester train is usually a really busy one, just not on this occasion! No books spotted on the way there, then again we were sat in a more or less empty train! Hopefully there will be more luck on the way back...

Well the day proved uneventful on a Bookspotting front. I visited the big Waterstones store on Deansgate in Manchester,saw lots of books but they don't really count... even in the cafe there were only a couple of people looking at books. I did spot these beautiful editions of Terry Pratchett books though.

They were those lovely cloth-bound hardback books with gorgeous designs engraved (if that's the right word?) directly onto the cloth. Simply gorgeous, and only £9.99 each, hardly any more than the paperback price.

Anyway, back to Bookspotting. It was the way back, and bookspotting is proving to be a bit disappointing still, until we got off to change trains at Preston that is. While waiting for our train back to Lancaster, I saw two young women reading books in a crowded waiting room. Alas I couldn't see what they were reading, but my wife, Kate, came to the rescue, by peering through the window to read the title of the book at the top of the pages the woman was reading. It was 'The Ambassador's Mission' by Trudi Canavan. This is a fantasy novel, the first in the 'Traitor Spy' series, which is a sequel to the 'Black Magician' trilogy. I've actually read the Black Magician trilogy and it is a good story - simple, uncomplicated fantasy but a fun read. I might go back and read the new series some day,there are just so many books to read though...

On the train, there are about five people reading books in my carriage,but they are keeping their books close to their chest making them difficult to identify. I did manage to identify two though: 'The Childhood of Jesus' by J.M. Coetzee. It's about a man and a boy who arrive together in a strange land and have to build a new life there. It is something of an allegory or fable, and not for those who like their books neat with easy explanations for everything!

The other book was 'My East End' by Gilda O'Neill. This is a collection of reminiscences about life growing up in Cockney London, with a bit of history thrown in too. These sorts of books, particularly about the East End of London, are quite popular at the moment.

So all in all a less successful Bookspotting day than many working days, but then as was pointed out to me, there's a lot more people travelling with their families at the weekend, so wouldn't be reading (I am a very good case in point here, my book stayed firmly in my bag all day). Weekdays there's a lot more people travelling alone for work, so more people reading. All in all though, a good day out (and if you are in Manchester anytime and want an eat all you can place for lunch, try out Peachy Keens in the Printworks - it is amazing).