Booked Up

September 21, 2009

Very excited as I have been asked to join the Telegraph’s online book club. I started my journalistic career, oooh, 400 years ago, on the Peterborough column of the mighty Telegraph. The paper had just moved to Docklands but had one foot still very much in Fleet Street. My colleagues on Peterborough, although all in their twenties like me, had the sort of surnames that fall with a mighty, whooshing thud when you name-drop them, whereas I would introduce myself and everyone would seem puzzled and say, ‘sorry, who?‘ The boys looked as though they had been born in their three piece suits and one of the girls, it was rumoured, had left Oxford because her fellow students drank tea out of mugs, not cups and saucers. I thought this was probably untrue until I took a call one morning from her mother, who said, ‘darling X won’t be in today, it’s very windy.’

It was a delightful, all too brief interlude and, as I adore book clubs almost as much as I love the Telegraph, I was thrilled to say yes to reading The Dog That Came In From the Cold, the second book in the Corduroy Mansions series by Alexander McCall Smith, of No 1 Ladies Detective Agency fame. Corduroy Mansions seems like an absolute home from home for Telegraph folk (though I suppose Tweed Mansions might be even better) and I am looking forward enormously to starting The Dog and meeting the whole cast of characters. A huge part of McCall Smith’s genius seems to lie in creating these effortless worlds and populating them with people whose quirkiness is only equalled by their charm – so Telegraph it’s not true.

I can’t quite believe I’ve never written about book clubs before. I was in one for a few years in Brussels and then, as soon as I moved to the UK, I scouted around for another and found my current group. I did have the idea, over the summer, of making a little box with the book of the moment, so people could read it too, if they felt moved to. Now, though, I think we should all read The Dog That Came In From The Cold together. Let me know what you think …..

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  • English Mum September 21, 2009 at 2:14 am

    Ahaha the 'it's very windy' thing made me laugh.

    How cool! I might join you in a bit of online reading then x

  • Laura - Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy? September 21, 2009 at 4:00 am

    Oooh, it's a bit indy outside, does that mean I can go home?

    I shall put it on my list of books to read … which is as long as my arm. I can only manage 3 pages before I fall asleep at the moment

  • dulwich divorcee September 21, 2009 at 4:18 am

    Oooh, EM, do join me, it'll be lovely x

  • dulwich divorcee September 21, 2009 at 4:21 am

    Yes, Laura, you can definitely go home, it's way too windy out there today – pass me the phone and I'll just explain to your boss!

    The book is also available in podcasts for the sleep challenged, by Andrew Sachs of Manuel/Russell Brand/grand-daughter fame, who could resist? You can even listen on the school run ….x

  • Chic Mama September 21, 2009 at 4:36 am

    Ooo- congratulations. What a great job. X

  • Lindsay September 21, 2009 at 4:53 am

    We have been waiting patiently for the new Corduroy Mansion book to appear online. We have read all his books and adore them. What are your duties for the book club? Are you reviewing?

  • mumplustwo September 21, 2009 at 5:37 am

    LOVE the bit about your colleagues on Peterborough … tooo funny.

    Would read AMS with you (loved Ladies Detective Agency but only managed first one) but already have too many books piled high on my bedside table as it is. Like Laura, fall asleep – usually after two mins …!! Happy reading.

  • Crystal Jigsaw September 21, 2009 at 7:04 am

    This all sounds very positive, a great step up the ladder of a successful career.

    CJ xx

  • family affairs September 21, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Well done – that's v good news – I'm in a book group and want to add the book to my list of stuff – not sure how to do that though…Lx

  • Suburbia September 21, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    I love my book club, we all take it so seriously;) mostly the book gets a mention in the hurried 5 mins during which we are all starting to put on our coats to go home!!! Gossip comes first!Such philistines!!

  • dulwich divorcee September 22, 2009 at 1:17 am

    Thank you, Chic Mama – I fear I shall have to keep up the several day jobs though! x

  • dulwich divorcee September 22, 2009 at 1:18 am

    Hi Lindsay, yes, it's a real treat to read AMS's latest – I don't think my duties are terribly onerous, just to read and witter so pretty much business as usual!

  • dulwich divorcee September 22, 2009 at 1:19 am

    Well, MPT, in that case Andrew Sachs is the man for you and for Laura, definitely ….he can coo in your ear until you drop off!

  • dulwich divorcee September 22, 2009 at 1:20 am

    CJ, thanks so much! Rather shocking that anyone could see my career as successful but lovely that you do, mwah!

  • dulwich divorcee September 22, 2009 at 1:21 am

    Yes, Family Affairs, that's what held me back, I am hoping the Telegraph will think of something clever …hope your Dad's ok, take him some Liquorice Allsorts from me xx

  • dulwich divorcee September 22, 2009 at 1:22 am

    Suburbia, my book club is the same – by the time we meet, I've more or less forgotten my own name, let alone the plot of the book! But shhhhhh, don't tell anyone!