Thursday, January 2, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Barbara Pym 101: A Celebration of Barbara Pym's 101st Birthday.
This all started after I read about Barbara Pym's 100th birthday party. I thought we should have some sort of celebration of Barbara Pym too. Unfortunately I had this idea on January 3, the day after her birthday. That said, it wasn't too early to start planning for next year, and the 101st birthday party celebration was born.
Jane and I got together and brainstormed. The first thing we noticed was that we weren't selling very much backlist. A previous blog contemplated the various editions, including the often out-of-stock versions from Moyer Bell. A follow-up email from Open Road confirmed that they were going to take over publishing some key Pym titles, and three more followed later in the year from Coffeetown Press. There are still some problems, however. There is no American edition of Quartet in Autumn, which is her only book to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize, now the Man Booker Prize.
Pym was restocked, with some staff recs attached, and sales increased substantially. Suddenly it was the fall and we had to start thinking more seriously. A litle tea, a few light refreshments, several speakers, and then folks could come to the stage with their own Pym memories. Jane found a short video that we could show. Anne and Jane offered to make a Barbara Pym reading checklist.
I went through The Barbara Pym Cookbook looking for recipes, but realized quickly enough that we'd have to approximate the feel of English snacks, as we were simply not going to serve trifle, railway pudding, and treacle tart. In the end, I asked Megan at Miss Cupcake to bake us lemon and coconut mini cupcakes. Those flavors seemed fifties exotic to me, somehow.
One of the things that came to my attention was the spring Barbara Pym annual conference in Massachusetts, run by the Barbara Pym Society. I thought it would be appropriate to take out a membership. This is the first fan club (come on, that's what it is, right?) I've belonged to since my membership days in the Prefab Sprout Fan Club in the 1980s and 1990s.*
I told Jane that I'd call out after-Christmas clearance a "Jumble Sale" to promote the event, but I got cold feet, worrying that folks would think everything came out of my basement.
*Someday that will be a post, but I have no idea what book would be the jumping off point to discuss Paddy McAloon. Since I don't really listen to music much anymore, I had no idea that they had a new album this fall, entitled "Crimson/Red." Here's the Mojo review.