‘You don’t want to read it, Frank’ said Emma’s mum to Emma’s dad who had passed by the proofs of Animals and expressed an interest in reading it – this has to be the best ‘review’ of Emma Jane Unsworth’s latest book – a tale that explores female friendship in all its gloriously wild extremes, and one which formed the subject of the inaugural ELLE Book Club last night.
In the courtyard of The Hoxton Hotel, thankfully covered during the torrential rain that hit halfway through the night – or should I say, relatively covered, as both audience and author dodged the odd drizzle – forty ladies (and one man – good on you, sir) gathered to listen to Emma talk about her book with ELLE content director, Collette Lyons.
As a publishing bod and active member of the book industry, attending as many events as possible, I was delighted when ELLE magazine announced their monthly book club – for £20, members received a signed copy of Animals, a yearly subscription to Elle magazine, canapés (though there definitely needs to be more for next time as these ran out pretty quickly: events over dinner = ravenous audience) and a mix of Baileys and wine (you would have thought I’d have learnt from last week’s Baileys Awards Party…) – all in all, a pretty good deal, especially when you are treated to an evening with a delightfully entertaining author and you befriend some wonderful attendees. It makes for a great Monday night and forms a new book-loving community to join – two things to which I just can’t say no.
Despite the mid-point break due to extreme weather conditions (it is June for goodness sakes – sort it out, weather), I thought the evening was a great success (try to read that without the Borat impression – I can’t): it was fun, all-inclusive and had a fabulous author to boot. I have to say, as someone who hasn’t had time to finish the book in the week since I’ve received it, there were a few unwelcome spoilers due to an overwhelming assumption that everyone had completed the read. I also felt that the discussion questions were a bit too prescriptive and prevented the audience from asking their own questions until the very end. However, these are things that can easily be remedied for next month and certainly did not deter me from attending again or finishing the book!
If you missed out this time, do not fret! Next month ELLE Book Club will welcome Emma Healey, author of Elizabeth is Missing. Same venue, same price, same perks. You can book tickets here. If I wasn’t going to be soaking up rays in Lisbon, I’d join you.
Don’t forget to join the conversation on all things books and Baileys on Twitter using #ELLEBookClub and #ThisBook with @BaileysPrize