Wednesday 30 November 2011

Where are all the Christmas parties?

Over the past few years December has always looked like a minefield – the calendar was chock-full of Christmas dinners and parties. This year we looked at our diaries and the only invitation was from the Elvis Presley Society of Great Britain, which unfortunately we had to turn down as it clashes with Advent Service at our kids' school. Either we have suddenly become personae non gratae or the publishing world has run out of money.

Luckily enough, Italians are not daunted by the crisis and are in as festive a mood as ever (remember the good old days of the Credit Crunch? Sigh. We are now officially in recession until further notice). So it will be a good year for turkeys – and for us there will be a lot of Prosecco, lasagna and panettone.

Cin cin!

Friday 25 November 2011

The Slowest Order

I had lunch with an author at our favourite local restaurant today and, just as we were about to order our food and drinks, a Spanish family of four sat next to us. I found it difficult to talk to my author, as the Spaniards kept reading, translating and commenting the menu. The negotiations carried on until our food was served, then they started joking. We got our coffee and I asked for the bill. When I was walking out of the restaurant, they signalled the waitress that they were ready to order.

Friday 18 November 2011

The Fastest Reader in the World

Coming back on the train from Hull today, where I attended the launch of our Lightship Anthology yesterday, I sat next to the fastest reader I have ever met in my life. We left Doncaster at around 11:00am. I noticed that the woman was reading a book by Michael Connelly – I don't know which one because the publisher doesn't use running headers. I saw she was on Chapter 5 when I sat next to her. Ten minutes later I happen to glance over my shoulder and saw she was at the beginning of Chapter 11. "That can't be right," I thought. So I tried to time her reading and realized that she could read 2 pages in 25 seconds, and 4 pages in 50 seconds. Obviously she was quicker when there was dialogue – and they were fairly normal pages of around 250 words each. When we reached Kings Cross she was on page 300 or something, only around 150 pages to go – about half an hour. I am green with envy, having managed to get through only about 50 manuscript pages in the same time.

* * *

A Greek, an Italian and a Portuguese go to the pub and get something to drink. Who pays?

The German.