JANUARY BOOK OF THE MONTH - discussion night and author chat will take place here Thursday 31st Jan from 8pm

(191 Posts)

This the place to come for our January Bookclub discussion and to chat to our esteemed author Tim Dowling, author of The Giles Wareing Haters Club.

If you can't make it on Thursday then do post a question for Tim here and we'll make sure he gets to it. And if you are coming on Thursday but want to post an advance question then feel free - we'll email them to Tim and will kick off with the answers when he comes on.

Hope everyone can make it, see you Thursday...

ChampagneSupernova Mon 28-Jan-08 15:48:49

Hi Tim
Sorry, I'm sure this is one everyone asks but how much self-googling have you done then?

willow Tue 29-Jan-08 09:38:13

Is Giles based on Jon Ronson?

willow Tue 29-Jan-08 09:42:53

Oh, and if you have self-googled - which you must have - were you a) pleased with the results b) somewhat taken aback c) driven to assume a fake identity to clear your name? ('Fess up - did you take it all terribly personally and get all punchy? Or send your missus in to fight your corner? It happens...)

morningpaper Tue 29-Jan-08 10:49:09

Hello Tim,

I must apologise but I've not read your book because the main library in Somerset doesn't have it in stock, although I've had it on order for 4 weeks HONEST. We do have proper roads and a few books about pig farming and a biography of the Wurzels but that's about it.

Are you well versed in our JonRonsongate scandal which followed our discussion about Mil Millington's hair?

If we slag you off will your wife come and shout at us?

p.s. There was a mum on Mumsnet recently called SixKindsOfCrisis - c'est funny, non?

Will forward those on to Tim now.

And just a reminder to everyone else to post your advance questions here; otherwise you can save them up for Thursday night - we'll kick off at 8pm and Tim is joining us from 8.30 onwards.

See you Thursday...

morningpaper Tue 29-Jan-08 22:02:37

I've bought the damn book

Hardback and everything

Now I have 48 hours to read it

morningpaper Wed 30-Jan-08 08:43:58

Right well I have got to page 270 so am storming through.

I have a question that I would like to know people's opinion on:

Are the sort of threads that are posted by the Giles Wareing Haters' Club fair criticism, or are they 'cyber bullying'?

SpottyHamster Wed 30-Jan-08 11:41:42

Hi Tim,
I have some questions for you, enjoyed the book BTW.
To what extent does Giles’ experience of life as a freelance journalist in London reflect your own?
The book presents a bleak picture of suburban London- is it really that bad?
Is ‘Chair’ based on a real person?
Giles seems to be having some sort of breakdown and clearly becomes detached from reality. I was concerned at the end of the book for his future state of mind when his wife announced she was pregnant- this was presented as a turn around for him (along with the book deal) but babies are pretty much guaranteed to give you a shed load of stress. It would not be easy to write a book with a new baby in the house. How would you see him going foreward…..will he get proper treatment for his depression? And will we find out in a sequel?
Oh , and I loved the Road protestors!

controlfreakygobshite Wed 30-Jan-08 20:34:59

i have a ?....
is your dw a mumsnetter? are you a closet mumsnetter?

Hassled Wed 30-Jan-08 20:49:28

I did start reading the book with a certain amount of trepidation; I love your columns (Permachat is a work of genius), but worried that the book might just be one of the "smug-middle-class-journo type writes a book about a smug-middle-class-journo-type" sort, but I should have had more faith - I really enjoyed it, I wish Salome66 had been real, I loved the chatroom bits - it's a great book. I sort of wish we had got to know Caroline bit better.
As these all seem to be comments rather than questions - why did you pick that Devon town in particular? Did the name just appeal or have you such happy memories of Cheriton Fitzpaine that you had to incorporate it somehow into a book?

morningpaper Wed 30-Jan-08 21:16:49

OK I have finished it.

I thought it was good, I enjoyed it, although I did feel that the last part of the book wasn't quite as convincing as the first three-quarters of it. Some scenes I did not find entirely convincing; it wasn't really clear why he ran from the road demo, for example.

I felt that there was a clash between the first-person voice of the narrator and the fact that he was having a breakdown of some sort - it is a tricky balance of course because if you are barking then you are unlikely to be able to string together a coherent narrative. But when the narration is compared with, say, his diary entries, it didn't feel very authentic.

I really did NOT like the line, "Mothers gathered in a knot where the road dead-ended alongside the school gates, while besuited fathers came and went purposefully." That's really inexcusable and I can't believe your wife didn't slap you when she read that.

I felt that the theme of Gile's father came into the book as a bit of an after-thought. Likewise, their marital chaos was not really addressed by either of them until the last few pages. That didn't seem very convincing to me, particularly as Giles was spending half of his life having blackouts and becoming entrenched in alcoholism and drug addiction and having a nervous breakdown. I think really his missus might have demanded a few answers beforehand.

I REALLY liked some of the early descriptive language, particularly when Caroline was hungover and compared to an animal left in a cardboard box overnight after being roughed-up by the dog.

I really liked the descriptions of working at home and how <cough> challenging it can be.

So I've got some more questions although of course now I am going to splurge all my good questions and there will be nothing left for tomorrow, but I'll put them here anyway.

- Do you think that actively seeking out criticism by bloggers on the internet is healthy, or do you think it is "a peculiar form of self-harm"?

- Do you think looking up criticism on the internet is avoidable?!

- Do you think that the forum of the internet and the nature of the criticism it liberally dishes out is putting potential writers off column-type journalism?

- Have you experienced cyber-bullying, and in what context?

- Do you ever unplug your router in desperation to get work done at home?

- Can you tell me a bit about your own history with the internet? When did you first come to chat-rooms or talkboards, and do you still frequent them? Have you ever been to a talkboard meetup?

- Do you have a dog, as well as children? Isn't that just doubling your workload for no real return?

Right I'm going to do some work now I've finished the book (I work from home, obviously).

morningpaper Wed 30-Jan-08 21:17:18

Golly that was long. blush

morningpaper Wed 30-Jan-08 21:18:17

AND there is at least one rogue apostrophe, how shameful blush

Hassled Wed 30-Jan-08 22:05:35

MP - Giles left the demo because his co-demonstrators appeared to have kidnapped an MP - wouldn't you have legged it at that point?
Thank you for reminding me about that mothers at the school gate line - winded me up at the time of reading no end.

morningpaper Wed 30-Jan-08 22:12:23

But he was there legitimately, because he was covering the story. He wasn't actually responsible for that. Surely any proper journo would have taken lots of pictures and chortled at their good fortune...

sophiewd Wed 30-Jan-08 22:25:03

It was good, but male chick lit and light relief after Agent Zigzag and the I read Faramus' story. I felt a bit cheated about having to buy it in hardback, ut hey ho and sadly wasn't laugh out loud. I preferred John O'Farrells book about the nale crisis. Sorry.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 30-Jan-08 22:32:40

<<hijack shock MP take that BACK about the dogs. I would love a dog! According to DH I'm having a baby instead grin>>

Tim, I'm inexcusably out tomorrow night but I'd love to know which sites you looked at to get such a good grasp of posting styles. That was what I enjoyed the most about it.

fryalot Thu 31-Jan-08 09:24:32

Tilly - I have dd1's parents' evening tonight, so I'll be late, but I'll be here grin

Enjoyed the book lots and am looking forward to discussing it tonight.

I had the same thought - which sites were the inspiration for the chat room and did Tim get involved himself...the posting styles were so good.

Great questions and looking forward to tonight - see everyone later, pop in whenever you can, Tim will be here from 8.30-9.30 ish.

lalaa Thu 31-Jan-08 13:06:26

Tilly

Small hijack. I won't be joining in tonight because I had already read the book some time ago and I didn't have time this month to re-read it. However, I lurked last month, and joined in a couple of months before that (the first one), which I enjoyed enormously.

What I really loved about the first discussion was the opportunity to have a chat amongst ourselves in real time about the book. Last month we didn't really have a chance to do that and I think that's a shame. As I recall, and tell me if I'm wrong, last month Ben seemed to spend most of his time dealing with questions that had been posted in advance which made the discussion a bit more stilted.

I see that you are starting the convo tonight at 8, with Giles joining in at 8.30. Obviously, it is brilliant that the authors have been able to contribute, and I realise that their diaries are pretty important factors, but I was wondering whether we could go back to the original format, of an hour's discussion, followed by an hour with the author? I found that the discussion beforehand helped me to see the book in ways that I hadn't considered and it was great to have an opportunity to put the points we'd debated to the author in the subsequent hour.

Thoughts anyone?

morningpaper Thu 31-Jan-08 13:56:33

Yes I like a bit of discussion lalaa

TheDevilWearsPrimark Thu 31-Jan-08 16:53:51

Oh no I might have to break all my own rules and 'reveal' mumsnet to DH
He loves Tim Dowling.

Yes, very happy to move it back to the original timing. I think some people liked an earlier finish but I agree that you get more inspiration from teh chat beforehand and therefore have more to ask the author. Will do that from now on.

Also, quite a few people find their Thursdays are busier that Tuesdays, so we're going to move discussion night back to Tuesday.

Enough of the admin. I'm going to open a bottle and get myself ready for 8pm..

morningpaper Thu 31-Jan-08 19:17:56

oh GOD my internet connection seems to be going up and down

I'm not sure I can take the stress

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