On Thursday we launched the good ship Readux Books. The ceremony involved some rather good wine, a lot of people in a smallish space, and readings. Saskia Vogel read from her translation of Fantasy and spoke to her Swedish translatee Malte Persson. The story, he told us, was his attempt to come up with a new hit genre between Scandicrime and Fantasy, because everyone's so tired of all that crime now. But rather than writing a whole novel, he kind of parceled a treatment of a novel up in a short story about an artist who meets all these strange fantasy people. I think. It sounded rather odd, in a good way. Apparently he was inspired by Borges, and apparently a lot of Swedish writers are. He told us he's not only tired of crime writing, but also of Swedish writing in which middle-class people sit around tables and nothing much happens. Luckily, his story was a self-fulfilling prophecy and fantasy now really is the next big thing in Sweden. You heard it here first.
Then Alistair Noon and I read from Francis Nenik's The Marvel of Biographical Bookkeeping. Alistair is a British poet - currently on a mini-tour of English cities beginning with the letter L. I like his poems a lot. He takes himself just seriously enough but is happy to play games with his work. I asked him to read with me because he's an excellent reader and I was aware he's quite interested in one of the two poets the book is about. Anyway, we just read from the book because it's quite a remarkable thing.
Then there was some standing around drinking, during which people bought a number of books. Then I went home and plunged into the apparently obligatory 24-hour depression that follows every public appearance I make. I wish I knew how to stop that happening but I fear it's one of those chemical reactions in the brain that you can't do anything about. Anyway, official apologies to all the people I bombarded with self-obsessed crap while on adrenaline at the event and to all the others I bombarded with either accusatory or apologetic emails while on my adrenaline comedown yesterday. Amanda DeMarco calls this "womanpologizing" - analogue to mansplaining - but it makes me feel better so I won't apologize for apologizing for apologizing.