From today’s Times diary:
"In a forthcoming Alex Rider story, by the Stormbreaker author Anthony Horowitz, the boy hero will foil a plot to put poison in the chocolate in Tube vending machines*. Or maybe, if it comes out at Christmas, in mince pies. We know this because on Tuesday, we heard a man with a very loud voice outlining the idea to a friend in Patisserie Valerie in Soho. We’re pretty sure he knew what he was talking about because, a few moments later, he introduced himself to another man, equally loudly, by saying: "Hello! Remember me? I’m Anthony Horowitz!" "
"At a lunch for The Oldie magazine, Victoria Hislop spoke about a family holiday to the island that inspired her book (The Island)**, which was once a leper colony. "Ian hates beaches and loves churches", she said. "Our children love beaches and hate churches. I chose the leper colony as I knew everybody would hate going there except me." "
A holiday on a leper colony quite appeals to me, actually. I could take a big pile of books and nobody would bother me. If it was hot, the children could sunbathe and if there was an Internet connection they’d be happy enough with that and their books. We could pack a few armadillos and we’d be fine. (Malcolm would probably miss the historical artefacts, I have to say.)
*(Tube = London underground train system).
** Hislop’s Island is a very big seller in the UK for the past few weeks, having been a Richard and Judy selection. However, I am far more interested in reading the Jane Rogers’ title of the same noun but without the article, as highlighted by Clare, because the holiday connection is far more appealing than a leper colony. And I have to confess an aversion to reading a book on the grounds that it has been selected by a TV programme — does that make me a snob? (Still quite taken with the leper colony holiday concept, though, as people would leave you alone there.)