Archive for the ‘Abu Dhabi International Book Fair’ Category

How Senoras choose

February 20, 2011

The Senoras turned out in force for our meeting of 10 February. No pizza, no treats, just good company and excellent conversation. This doesn’t mean that the Senoras don’t welcome treats. Coming soon are the following events:

  • a trip to the Logos ship to browse and buy their discounted books, and for a private tour of the ship’s engineering bits.

              Can the Senoras be safely let loose on a very big boat? (‘No, don’t press that red button! Nooo!’)

  • then there is the Abu Dhabi Book Fair, 15th through to the 20th March. Last year the Senoras along with their fellow students on the men’s and the women’s campuses got a total of 50,000 dirhams’ worth of book vouchers. That was a good reason for them to hurry along to the Bookfair. Just in case readers of this blog think that extrinsic motivation i.e. money, is the only thing that will attract our Senoras to a Bookfair, they/you are wrong. They really do love books and they love owning them, stroking them, reading them. They will go to the Bookfair with or without vouchers. We are not involved in a forum this year, but Vanessa wants to capture an unsuspecting author and coerce him or her into posing for one of her READ posters. I think that’s a great idea but have warned her that most authors would probably want big bucks for doing that. Anyway, we’ll give it a try.

At this meeting we were keen to learn what the Senoras are currently reading. First up was The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong. Las Senoras Book Club is a revelation to all of us. Where do the Senoras find these books that the rest of us have never heard of? Vanessa and I attend the meetings for educational reasons: we get tutored. Now this Kelley Armstrong is a very popular and prolific writer, it seems, and shame on us for not having heard about her.

Kelley sometimes looks like this:

But normally she looks like this:

Either way looks fine to me. She has an excellent website: from which I learnt that she has written a huge number of books. It all started in school. Instead of writing about ‘girls and dolls,’ in her English assignments, she wrote about ‘undead girls’ and ‘evil dolls.’  This must have be rather worrying for her parents. As an adult, I wonder if she was ever a language teacher because she writes a lot of  -ing books (The Summoning, The Awakening, The Reckoning, The Gathering, Living with the Dead, Waking the Witch, Becoming) and a lot of -en books (Bitten, Broken, Stolen, Frostbitten) and a few -ic books (Chaotic, Angelic). I tried to think of some other titles that she might like to write in the future for our Senoras … maybe Chocoholic, Waiting for the Bus, Passing the Exam, Failing the Exam, Eaten Too Much. I’m sure she won’t be needing my help to think up new titles. Coming soon are two new books: Waking the Witch in April 2011, and Spell Bound in Summer 2011.

So, what made this particular Senora choose Kelley’s book The Summoning?  Well, it was … the cover. And here it is:

According to the Senoras, who scrutinized the artwork at length, ‘The cover is awesome!’ I wonder … is there not perhaps something Twilight-ish about it? How about this one?

Whatever the thoughts these covers provoke, they certainly strike a chord with our Senoras. Dear Readers, when was the last time you judged a book by its cover? Did it live up to your expectations?

A few days after our meeting, one of the Senoras asked me how I picked the books that I read. ‘Well, I mean,’ she said, ‘all the covers of the books you choose are so ugly … so I wonder how you decide what you are going to read.’ Mmm … I thought. It never occured to me to choose a book for its cute cover. True, there are some covers I like and some I dislike intensely.  Here’s how I choose a book:

  1. I’ve read a book by the same author before and enjoyed it.
  2. The book has won a prize and I want to find out why by reading it for myself.
  3. A friend has read the book and raved about it to me.

Those are the main reasons. I told the Senoras about what I had just finished reading – a book called Solar by the British novelist Ian McEwan. This meets all my book-choosing criteria: 1. I’ve read several of his other books, 2. Solar has won a prize, and 3. a friend read it and told me about it. But, according to the Senoras, the cover is really awful:

And that is probably why Ian McEwan, author of more than 11 novels and winner of the 1998 Booker Prize, looks so sad in this photo. (The book is good though!)


Coming attractions

September 15, 2010

The Señoras have not yet stamped their unique personalities on their cubicle on the second floor. To be honest they are a little apprehensive about going up there. They get funny looks from the people in the other two cubicles and feel like intruders. The second floor is a scarey place at the best of times: the faculty have their offices up there. We agreed that the Señoras had to call in their Señoras Book Club Design Team to give the cubicle a make-over. This could well be a job for Hello magazine.

Also the Señoras have to make their presence felt. They need to work a shift 24/7, make a bit of noise (that shouldn’t be difficult) and replace the whiteboard that’s covered in indelible marker scribblings. Fatima has some posters to put on the walls. Okay, so they’re from Twilight and Harry Potter … Vanessa and I will fight back our disappointment: we were hoping for something a little more chic.

Then there will have to be a Las Señoras Book Club Cubicle Launch Party and – budget-permitting – we will fly in celebrities … Brangelina, Justin Timberlake … I think you get the picture.

 Our book club storming produced some good ideas. Here’s a list of book club things-to-do:

1. Run an excursion to the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) next March.

2. Send Vanessa in ahead of time to negotiate a book voucher deal for us: not a lot of people know that at the last ADIBF, thanks to her, our students got 20,000 dirhams to spend on their favourite books: that made Stephenie Meyer very happy and saved her family from a life of austerity.

3. Do a presentation at the Book Fair: last year Fatima and Vanessa took part in a discussion forum at ADIBF. Fatima made a fashion statement by wearing her gold trainers. Vanessa made no statement at all because she got stopped by the police as she was speeding to the venue and then lost her BlackBerry when she got there … but I digress.

4. Organise our own Las Señoras International Book Fair (LSIBF).

5. Run more writing competitions.

6. Invite a famous poet to come and talk to us. If you’re a famous poet, please get in touch.

7. Run a competition to write a book review and then put the best reviews in the library catalogue. Mmm … sounds like work.

8. Have a competition where people read the beginning of the summary of a novel … and then have to write an ending to the story. We agreed that the time has come for someone to write a new ending to The Lovely Bones. That murderer really has to be brought to justice. It’s causing the Señoras a lot of sleepless nights.


9. Have a quiz bowl. Erm … what’s a quiz bowl? Vanessa says we have to agree to read two or three books and then we pick a question about them out of a quiz bowl, and win a prize if we get the answer right.

The Señoras went a bit silent when they heard this.

‘What? We all have to read the same books for a quiz? Too much. Too much.’

‘Okay,’ said Vanessa, ‘we could quiz you on some famous books that everyone has read.’

‘Oh, right!’ said the Senoras, ‘you mean like Harry Potter … or Twilight?

No, that wasn’t really what Vanessa meant. Also that would count us out since we’re still stuck on Twilight page 100. We would need help.

10. Finally, invite someone – anyone really – to come and talk to us about their favourite books, their preferred authors … and the meaning of life.