The books are starting to arrive in the run-up to Ways With Words at Dartington and I think this weekend must see me on the starting blocks and ready for the off. I must chip into this reading mountain if I'm to get the very best out of the Festival and share it all here.
Don't miss Kay Dunbar's blog about life behind the scenes either, it's fascinating.
Huge and varied selection of books and authors on offer and it has been a dilemma, with events going on simultaneously at two venues, to decide which one to go to when there's a clash.
I expect about three people at the dgr event because I'm on at the same time as Diane Athill in conversation with Penelope Lively. What a cracker of an event that promises to be and what a dilemma because personally I'd rather listen to them than listen to myself.
I don' t think that's what I'm supposed to say but perhaps I'll benefit from the disappointed returned ticket queue especially if it's raining.
So far, in the 'yes' pile
Sashenka by Simon Montefiore (has the Sebag got lost along the way?) author of Young Stalin and this a novel about three generations of women in a Russian family from the time of Nicholas and Alexandra to the present day.
Bring that one on.
In Simon's own words
' I have always passionately wanted to write accessible but well-researched history for the widest possible readership and thought fiction would take this a step further...a novel about a woman who'd lived through privilege, revolution, war, terror; a novel that would bring to life more forcefully than any history what this would have been like.'
The book is huge at 540 pages but this event holds much promise. Fiction events can often be difficult ones to pull off to an audience's satisfaction and I've been to a few in my time that have had me...well...er, had me dozing off.
You know what it's like.
Hot July day, nice picnic lunch out on the grass, soporifically mellow atmosphere and that gentle fragmented sunlight that washes over the magnificent Great Hall can all prevail as author embarks on lengthy reading from novel in monotone voice (the exception is Hilary Mantel, impossible to fall asleep when Hilary reads)
The eyes get leaden.
Just taking an extra long blink quickly becomes a slightly deeper zizz and before you know it your head's jolted off your shoulder as you wake with a start and look around in the hope no one's noticed. If you've plumped to climb up into one of the window seats and are on full view to everyone you're sunk and may also have pitched off the narrow bench in the process.
I flick to the programme and see that Simon Montefiore has the 2pm slot on Monday July 14th.
But there are good omens, it's early in the week and I'm passionately interested in the subject before he even begins. One of the most memorable events I've been to in recent years took place on just such an afternoon and I'll tell you about it soon.
A novel which describes the terrible price paid by ordinary people in Stalin's Russia should keep me on the very edge of my seat and will segue perfectly into Ekaterinburg by Helen Rappaport a few days later.
On at the same time over in The Barn Theatre, oh dear, The St Ives Artists, A Biography of Place and Time, an illustrated talk on his book by Michael Bird.
But I adore the St Ives artists and everything about the Newlyn school and Lamorna Birch.
On the other hand I do already know quite a lot about them having read all the books, walked in the footsteps and been to the galleries.
Should I go to an event where I'll learn something new or one where I can nod sagely and knowledgeably, perhaps even pluck up the courage to summon the roving microphone and ask a question?
Decisions, decisions, not a Libran speciality and even given the best possible choices life's never straightforward is it?