Thursday, May 31, 2012

On another planet

LP Cambodia authors, Nick Ray (left) and Greg Bloom
A good sized crowd was treated to one of the better book launches I've attended at Monument Books, with lively chat from the joint authors at the launch of the latest (8th) edition of Lonely Planet Cambodia, letting us in on a few secrets of the trade as well as regaling us with stories from the road. For Nick Ray all this is old hat having been the editor of the Cambodia guide for more years than he cares to remember, as he told the assembled throng about his early motorbike adventures in what was then a Wild West version of Cambodia. For Greg Bloom, more accustomed to guidebooks in Eastern Europe and the Philippines, his big headache was what to leave out in the Phnom Penh section of the latest guide whilst admitting to being blown away by the fabulous tourist-less beaches on the south coast islands. Most of the time the authors travel incognito, always refuse commission and play with a straight bat to ensure the popular guidebook remains objective.
William Bagley, the GM at Monument Books, informed me of four new(ish) books he's come across recently, all of them novels, that have already been published but which the publishing house has failed to indicate in their PR to bookstores that the books had anything to do with Cambodia, despite all four books being set in the country. Like me, he's left scratching his head by this obvious omission. They include Colin Cotterill's Love Songs From A Shallow Grave and Tom Knox's The Lost Goddess.
William Bagley introduces the two authors

Nick Ray recalling the Wild West days of his early Cambodia adventures

Some of the sizeable crowd at tonight's event

A book launch is not a launch without a book signing

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