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Robin Ince: "There are no rules of reading"

Robin Ince is a man whose passion for books and reading knows no bounds. He is here in Falmouth to talk about his new book Bibliomaniac, and as if we needed any proof of his compulsive book addiction he arrives on stage bent over with tote bags that are overflowing with books, all bought from the various second hand bookstores around town.


It is a selection that he shares with us as he begins his talk and it includes: Kenny Everett's memoirs; a biography of Gwen John; an book on neuro-divergence (he refers a number of times during the evening to his recent diagnosis with ADHD); a collection of short stories by Tove Jansson (of Moomin fame); and the iconic 70s children's reference book Usbourne's Mysteries of the Unknown. it is a wonderful insight into the man, and the passion he has for both books as physical objects and the various delights they contain!


The main thrust of the evening is that books are to be celebrated and that they can change you: change the way you think, increase your empathy, introduce you to new ideas and to new ways of being. In a breathless conversation with the audience - this a man whose radio producer once described his fast-talking delivery as "at the limits of human comprehensibility" - he manages to cover so much ground and with such a generous-spirited, wise, and curious delivery.


Over the course of a wonderfully rambling hour or more we are taken on a trip around Robin's favourite bookshops and get to learn some of the best/funniest things he's overheard said in them. He talks about how books can turn the mundane into the magnificent, about how the more we read stories, the more we're ready to embrace doubt.


He provides so many smart takes on life, love and reading, that you end up realising that this is really a rather sophisticated philosophical rant dressed up as stand-up. Among the pearls of wisdom he shares we learn: "there are no rules of reading"; "start the day with reading something beautiful, not with the news or TV or social media"; "there's no such thing as children's books: books are books are books!"; and, with a theatrical build-up that he is unsure the people of Falmouth are ready for, he utters the heretical words, "JUST BECAUSE YOU START A BOOK DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE TO FINISH IT!" We think he has a point!


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