One of the interesting features of having a blog about books is that sometimes there are unexpected benefits. For instance, you might be sent a book to review that is excellent but which you wouldn't otherwise have encountered. Sometimes, the approach relates to a book that has no appeal at all, of course, usually because the publicist in question hasn't done his or her homework and has simply sent out a scattergun email. But the pros far outweigh the cons.
From time to time I receive invitations to literary events in London which I can't attend because of my commitments back home. But out of the blue, I was invited to a TV recording recently, and by chance it coincided with my working in the capital. So I was able to squeeze it in. But I didn't really know what to expect.
The recording took place at Cactus TV studios in London, and featured two half-hour programmes of the TV Book Club, sponsored by Specsavers - a show which, I confess, I'd never encountered before. There wasn't a conventional studio audience, but the organisers had invited members of a reading group and also a small gang of bloggers. I was one, and I was glad to meet a number of fellow online scribes for the first time - very pleasant company they proved to be.
The show involves a book discussion between Jo Brand, Rory McGrath and assorted luminaries. These were the last two shows in a series of eight, covering eight books. The books discussed on the day were not crime fiction, and one, a misery memoir, sounded worthy but not really my cup of tea. But the other sounded very good, and I'll say more about it when I've finally read it - as the show encouraged me to do!
The show features a guest celebrity every week. On my visit, the celebs were Andrea Corr and Celia Imrie, two ladies of different generations but both glamorous and charismatic. I enjoyed this little jaunt a good deal, and it made me think quite hard not only about books but also about blogging and other forms of marketing.