I was on a panel recently at Whitechapel Idea Store with Alex Wheatle and Mark Piggott, discussing “London: fact and fiction”. When I heard a week in advance what the topic was going to be, I thought about all the famous London books I hadn’t read, starting with Alex Wheatle’s and taking in other big books like Brick Lane and The Buddha of Suburbia. How could I go on a panel and not have read all these books?
Well, in truth I probably could have managed OK – the discussion was fairly general anyway, and I could have just talked about the books I had read. But I don’t need much excuse to go on a reading binge. A lot of these books are ones I’ve been wanting to read for ages anyway, I told myself. So I stayed in bed for a week, apart from occasional trips to the British Library to find obscure titles, and basically just read constantly. It was wonderful.
Apart from enjoying myself enormously, I also felt well prepared for the event, and blew past my goal of reading 52 books for the year. The only downside is that now I have even more book reviews to catch up on!