By The Mole
When we heard that Iain Banks was coming to Nottingham Waterstones we decided we would go. I duly phoned for tickets and they had just 2 left. Big Sad Face - we wanted 3 so I wimped and pouted and bought the 2 and she took my phone number and said she would speak to the events manager.
Next day my phone rang - it doesn't do a lot of that and it was a number I didn't recognise. It was the events manager! He explained that he had set a maximum but was sure he could squeeze one more in so everyone was happy. The alternative might have been to camp outside on the windowsill with my ear to the window! A big Thank You to Waterstones.
Iain said he would start the evening by reading from the beginning of Stonemouth explaining, in a very amusing way, the benefit of starting from the beginning - he then started reading from page 196!. I am not the 'first' fan of Iain Banks in our house with that honour going to Maryom (she named 'The Crow Road" as her Top Scottish read when asked by The City of Edinburgh) but none the less I determined that this is one book I intend to read. I have read The Crow Road and The Bridge (hasn't everyone?) and thoroughly enjoyed them. It always has been my intention to read some more of them and last night re-awoke that for me.
The questions were the kind that he must have been asked a thousand times before "Which book is your favourite?", "Why do you write the two different styles, 'mainstream' and 'sci-fi'?", "Which is your least favourite?", "How and when do you write?" but his answers felt new and just for us. The humour was consistently there and although there was a little swearing it was in context and he explained that there was only one book he had written without swearing in (to please his Mum) and it wasn't his biggest seller. We had taken our 14 year old and I'm sure she hears worse in breaks at school.
Afterwards there was the inevitable book signing and I left Maryom three quarters of the way round the room (almost three quarters of the way down the queue! - Yes the queue went round all four walls) and I went to buy a copy of Stonemouth. While at the till I also managed to get one of the World Book Nights copies of The Player of Games. Maryom took along her Iain Banks books and he kindly signed them all - including the WBN copy!