Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The TV Book Club

One of the interesting features of having a blog about books is that sometimes there are unexpected benefits. For instance, you might be sent a book to review that is excellent but which you wouldn't otherwise have encountered. Sometimes, the approach relates to a book that has no appeal at all, of course, usually because the publicist in question hasn't done his or her homework and has simply sent out a scattergun email. But the pros far outweigh the cons.

From time to time I receive invitations to literary events in London which I can't attend because of my commitments back home. But out of the blue, I was invited to a TV recording recently, and by chance it coincided with my working in the capital. So I was able to squeeze it in. But I didn't really know what to expect.

The recording took place at Cactus TV studios in London, and featured two half-hour programmes of the TV Book Club, sponsored by Specsavers - a show which, I confess, I'd never encountered before. There wasn't a conventional studio audience, but the organisers had invited members of a reading group and also a small gang of bloggers. I was one, and I was glad to meet a number of fellow online scribes for the first time - very pleasant company they proved to be.

The show involves a book discussion between Jo Brand, Rory McGrath and assorted luminaries. These were the last two shows in a series of eight, covering eight books. The books discussed on the day were not crime fiction, and one, a misery memoir, sounded worthy but not really my cup of tea. But the other sounded very good, and I'll say more about it when I've finally read it - as the show encouraged me to do!

The show features a guest celebrity every week. On my visit, the celebs were Andrea Corr and Celia Imrie, two ladies of different generations but both glamorous and charismatic. I enjoyed this little jaunt a good deal, and it made me think quite hard not only about books but also about blogging and other forms of marketing.


Anonymous said...

Martin - Sounds like you had a good experience. I'm glad to hear it. Shows you what can sometimes come out of taking a chance on doing something like that.

K said...

I watch 'The TV Book Club' every week. In fact, the episode with Andrea Corr you mentioned, was on only last week.

I do enjoy the different guests on the programme, but I value the opinions of the books groups, rather than the celebrity guests. The reason being is that the book groups are there solely to talk about each book, rather than flog their latest CD or novel. However, this programme has inspired me to buy some new book titles.

It must have been a really exciting experience at the recording!

aguja said...

I do not have access to English television, so I miss oput on such as this.

Dorte H said...

What an interesting experience!

Until very recently, I don´t think Danish writers or publishers have noticed the power of blogging at all, so I was also very pleased two weeks ago when a renown literary festival invited me to participate this year. Free tickets because I was a literary blogger. And I think it´s about time the literary ivery towers in Scandinavia begin to see what is going on out here in the real world - phenomena like bloggers and ebooks have probably come to stay. ;)

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for your comments. Margot and Spangle, yes it was great fun. Aguja, that's a pity!
Dorte, spot on!

Paul Beech said...

Martin – Glad you found time to attend the TV Book Club recording. With the lovely Andrea Corr and Celia Imrie as guest celebs, I imaginable it was very enjoyable indeed! Equally rewarding, I’m sure, was that you got to meet several fellow bloggers for the first time. It’ll be interesting to see what you make of that book you mentioned. Very interesting too if your deliberations on blogging result in a post.

I enjoy your blog very much and get a lot out of it. I find it an invaluable portal on the world of crime fiction. But there’s another kind of blog I follow too, the type which offers writers an opportunity to showcase their work. A great example is the flash fiction blog Rammenas, run by Anneke Klein in Amsterdam. The standard of work presented is very high and the comments provide positive feedback. One contributor is Bill Kirton, who has had stories published in anthologies edited by you. And I’m thrilled at just having had a piece accepted myself, a rather dark tale entitled ‘Sunday the Fiftieth of May’, which draws on my long experience of dealing with the victims of domestic violence. Hopefully it’ll appear next Wednesday, the 17th.

In these days of blockbuster novels, I believe blogs and ezines of this sort have a vital role to play in leading the revival of short fiction.

All best,


Martin Edwards said...

Paul, that is great news. Many congratulations!