Monday, 28 April 2008
The Joys of Book Signing
To Stanford's Travel Book shop in Covent Garden to sign some copies of my new book about the Victorian travellers, A Corkscrew is Most Useful. Then on by foot (rather than being slung from a pole carried by native bearers) to Hatchard's in Piccadilly to do the same again. Fortunately for my signing hand half the stock had been sold (no, Madam, I will not reveal how many they had ordered in the first place) and I was provided with a neat little éscritoire at which to sign with my fogeyish fountain pen containing sepia ink. Actually this wasn't one of those glamorous signings where the public come to press the flesh, more a workaday thing of signing copies to be put on display. One dignified and ancient Piccadilly lady approached tentatively but thought better of it. The whole thing reminded me of the time I signed some copies of my biography of Matthew Arnold in Blackwell's in Oxford in 1996. The staff told me that a few years previously they had sent someone a signed copy of a book and it had been returned angrily with the outraged comment that "someone had written in it". Probably "I Murdoch" or "S Heaney" I don't doubt.