I wasn’t sure if I was going to write about this here, but actually, I can’t help myself. At the end of July I went to the Sixth Bristol Conference on Twentieth-Century Schoolgirls and Their Books. If you’ve been hanging around here for a while you’ll know that one of my big bookish passions are school stories – and one of my most enduring loves are the Chalet School series. And this was a gathering of over 100 people who love all the same books as me to listen to talks about them, chat to people about them and yes, buy more of them.
As it’s the centenary of the end of World War One, the theme this year was War and most (although not all) of the talks had that as a theme linking them together. Now I am quite a young enthusiast in the genre – the last run of Chalet School paperbacks came out when I was in secondary school and they were one of the last classic series left in print – so I discovered a lot of new authors at the conference – and was able to pick up books by some of them. You may have spotted some of my purchases popping up in Week in Books and Book of the Week posts.
What was really, really wonderful was meeting up with people who love the same things that I do. I think I had underestimated how wonderful it would be to be able to talk to other people who have read the same books that I have. I mean all of my friends – and most of my work colleagues – know that I love reading and read a lot (some of them even read this blog) and we have conversations about books, but I never really get to talk about this bit of my bookish life because I’m meant to be a grownup reading adult books – and no one has read a lot of these books any way even when they were younger.
So I guess what this boils down to is find yourself opportunities to go and hang out with other people who are into what you’re into. You’ll make some friends, learn some new things and have a marvellous time. I’ve already got the next conference (in 2020!) in my diary.
Happy Bank Holiday!