Thursday, 11 October 2007

Booking through Thursday
This week's question:
  • Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? Gotten their autograph?
  • How about an author you felt only so-so about, but got their autograph anyway? Like, say, at a book-signing a friend dragged you to?
  • How about stumbling across a book signing or reading and being so captivated, you bought the book?
Book signings, like rock concerts, are rare things in the part of Australia I come from, Perth, which is a shame because it's a very literate, sophisticated and affluent city. But it's also a long way from anywhere. It's the most isolated major city on the planet - nearer Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, than Canberra, the capital of Australia.
So 'stumbling across a book signing or reading' is unlikely, and most authors on book tours really prefer to feel they've 'done' Australia by spending a couple of afternoons at chain bookshops in Melbourne and Sydney. Perth? Forget about it!

1. However, I did meet Germaine Greer* in the 1990s, after attending one of her lectures (with you, Karen!) publicising her book, The Change, about menopause.
A quotable quote came during public question time. Q: Is there such a thing as the male menopause? GG: No, and if there were, who'd give a shit?
I couldn't afford to buy her book - and the dreaded Big M was a long way off at that point - but Karen and I queued to get her to sign a piece of paper each, during which she managed to tell us that she'd seen Barry Humphries naked and 'You know the strange thing about him? He doesn't have a hair anywhere on his body. Not a single hair. Anywhere.' I still have her autograph.

2. I heard
Louis de Bernières talk about his novel, Captain Corelli's Mandolin (again, with you, Karen! this time with you, Susan!), but didn't queue to speak to him afterwards for fear of prostrating myself across his desk, vowing to follow him anywhere and offering to be his slave.

(*Germaine Greer is an Australian-born UK academic who wrote The Female Eunuch, the seminal text of the so-called second wave of feminism in the 1970s; brilliant mind, massive ego, tendency to be shrill; attitudes towards her outspokenness on topics ranging from Australian society to men have changed from 'Trust Germaine to tell it like it is' to 'Would someone please shut that bloody woman up?' as she has become more strident and, occasionally, spiteful.)


gautami tripathy said...

I have read The Female Eunuch and think it is a great book. Lucky you met her!

Susan said...

Ah, it was in the CCGS chapel, a memorable evening.

Lesley (El Zed) said...

Of course! Now I remember - it was you, Susan! Forgive me, I get my two most bookish mates mixed up in my memory ...

Literary Feline said...

It sounds like you had fun with your experiences. :-)

Now that you are in California, you should definitely try and make it to the L.A. Times Festival of Books. It is held the end of every April at the UCLA campus in Westwood.

Karen said...

Yes, Sue, it certainly wasn't me at CCGS - I hated Captain Corelli's Mandolin!
But Les, I remember that night (at the Parmelia Hilton) when we met Germaine - whom I love/hate. I tremble when she is introduced on television these days: will she talk sense, or say something exruciatingly crass - AGAIN.