World Book Night at Arcadia

(I have taken photos. Just as soon as I can figure how to get them onto my computer, this piece will include photos...)

World Book Night is fast becoming My Favourite Night Of The Year. After we stormed it last year at Arcadia, I was incredibly nervous about doing it all over again this year. For one thing, the event is a lot BIGGER (which is of course fantastic) and a lot more events were happening all over Leeds, so the competition was intense. Also, how the hell was I supposed to promote an event on a Monday????

Of course all my fears were unfounded because it turns out that people just chuffing love books, and more importantly love booze and books, so a jam packed pub enjoyed a heady night of both.

Oh yes, and there was a buffet.

We started out with a table full of The Player of Games by Iain M Banks, donated by my gorgeous and wonderful friend Matt who was a bloody rock throughout, and was happy to talk about the wonder of reading and introduce the concept of the Travelling Suitcase Library whilst I was busy flapping around put bits of cheese on sticks. I was giving away one of my favourite books I Capture The Castle by Dodie. Later in the evening the lovely Gemma donated her book, Touching The Void. Gemma is a climber herself and had already given some to her climbing friends, a great idea and I hope it goes well!

Then the lovely L donated her copies of Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (who I was very excited to discover has a new book out!!! I love his writing, even though it is terrifying!).

And there were so many more! I was flitting about all over the pub for most of the evening (we managed to take it all over, even so far as making the quiz upstairs do a book round! Thanks Will!) and so didn't even get to properly meet some of the givers, but thank you to all who contributed copies of How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, Misery by Stephen King, Notes From a Small Island by Bill Bryson, even more Player of Games, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. We gave away an estimated 200 World Book Night Books in the end. Thanks especially to the Leeds Library Service who turned up promoting their event The Big Bookend in June (of which more later...) and let me rant about the promotion of reading for pleasure by librarians for a while...bliss! It was lovely to meet every single one of you.

On the other side of the room, a marvellous thing was happening. Not only was tonight a World Book Night event, but the Travelling Suitcase Library was propping up the bar too in its own quiet unassuming way. Fisticusfts were breaking out over the massive range of books being swapped, as people turned up with a bag full, and took two away. About 300 books must have been passed through that suitcase, which is looking a little battered, by the end of the night!

Again, it was marvellous to have such interesting conversations with such a range of people about books-I especially loved the couple arguing over Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and whether Jane Eyre was a horror already or not. I also got to do my favourite thing in the world and mock ridiculous scifi covers with the lovely Leigh of The Good Stuff blog. Oh and drink heavily. The Ram Tam was delicious, Arcadia, thank you.

There was such a range of people at the event! Regulars, locals, students, Buns and Roses WI ladies who made me feel very unstylish, The Yorkshire Rad Fat Society (all power to you!), scifi nerds who got to geekgasm over the lack of a spaceship on a cover, vintage lovelies squealing over who they want to be more, Topaz or Cassandra (Topaz, always Topaz), sporty types, booky types, not-so-booky types. Every single one left with a pile of books. My quote of the night has to go to my friend Chris, who saw a book from the Travelling Suitcase Library, read the 'grrrr guns' cover, and said 'it's by a Marine! That's going in MY pocket'.


To Jane and Alex from for a lovely afternoon in Cafe164, and for Sara for letting me do a book swap there.
To Arcadia, for once again proving that it's not just a pub, it's a family. Tom, Pyke and Sarah you guys were STARS and BRILLIANT, and Rhian, thank you xx
To L, C and C, for listening to my every more nervous rants, and appreciating my buffet efforts. I love you guys and I really hope you enjoy your holiday books!
To J, L, W, L, L, H and A, for the giggles and for ignoring me when I'd had a few!
The Barbara and the Leeds Libraries, you rock beyond measure.
To L and D, thank you for the cake and congratulations!
To K for Lifts and Dips (recipe PLEASE)
To M for everything xxx
And to everyone who turned out on a Wet Monday Night, to celebrate reading for pleasure! Thank you!

Jess xxx

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liannejhare said...

It was lovely to meet you. I hope we see you again for more book related fun in the future!

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