Monthly Archives: March 2013

Bringing books to life in cardboard and glue

Today I’ve been doing a different kind of author event.

Lesley, from Pageturners Project, invited me to come and talk about SHRUNK! at a “make a model Village event” run in conjunction with Wiltshire council, Wiltshire Libraries, and the very energetic  Calne Community .    She’d run a five week after school project about the book in the town, so she had some keen readers, who actually knew who I was.

After slides and chat from me, everyone got down to the sticky business of making tiny worlds.

Several families recreated Bywater-by-Sea



One family built an airport


And one built a volcano. 


It was fun.  I enjoyed it, the children enjoyed it.  I hope Lesley enjoyed it.  What made it particularly fun was actually realizing something from the imaginary world in 3d – and all in less than two hours.

I’m still wondering where that volcano came from.


Buying a book, independently….


Today, I feel the need for a copy of The Secret Henhouse Theatre.  I ring Ex Libris in Bradford on Avon.  They don’t have it, but they’ll have it tomorrow and, while I’m about it, they’ll have that copy of The Boy and the Bear in the Boat I asked about last week – because they’ve remembered that I asked.   I won’t pay postage, but the bookshop will pay tax, and while I’m standing at the counter, I can flick through a copy of Wendy Cope’s poems – which make me laugh, so I might as well buy them.  Oh and a new Spanish dictionary for my daughter.

I will have a chat with Jim or Carole who run the shop, read the notice board in the window, wonder if I want another gardening job or a three piece suite, or a pair of china vases, and opt instead for a coffee next door, flicking through my new books.   That night, in the bath, I will begin to read.

All this is imaginary, but here’s the alternative.

Today I feel the need for a copy of the Secret Henhouse Theatre.  I will order it online.  I will witter on twitter for an hour because I’ve switched the internet on.  I will actually speak to no-one.  My money will leave the country, and no tax will be paid.  And, because I don’t want to pay the extra postage, I will wait a week for the book to arrive, by which time, I’ve gone off the boil, and the book will lie by my bed unread for a week or two.


Today I feel the need for a copy of the Secret Henhouse Theatre.  I order it on my kindle. I do not read it in the bath for fear of dropping it, I read it in bed, sitting rigidly, and occasionally swooping through five pages, and unable to find my way back. I do not enjoy the reading experience as much and do not get as much out of the book as my friend did who bought it in Hay and has been raving about it.

I will wish I had bought it properly.  Valued the book, and spent time buying it.

For a publisher’s view on bricks and mortar bookshops, see today’s Nosy Crow blog.

And another writer’s view:  Same bookshop.