I went to the Firestation Book Swap yesterday. You should go next month. Even if you can't manage it, you should definitely do it on November 26th, because I will be one of the guests.
The chat was excellent. I am definitely looking forward to reading more Kate Clanchy, not only because she seems to be being played by Tamsin Greig. We talked briefly about Kipling, which reminded me that many moons ago I promised to blog about a dirty story Kipling once wrote, and which I will do later today.
Non-book-related questions from the jar are an excellent idea.
Swapping books: apparently last month everyone brought good books; this month everyone brought rubbish. I brought Fences and Windows by Naomi Klein (I get the importance of mentally undisciplined gadflies, but I can't bear reading them) and I quickly worked out that any trade would be to my benefit. So I picked up e by Matt Beaumont, which I have read a couple of times before, and which I think is terrific, deft, funny, brilliantly plotted, incredibly pacy, etc. I thought that I would be able easily to persuade people that it's slightly crappy cover undersold it, forgetting how often I fail to persuade people to do anything I want. Still, their loss. The only books on offer that I really wanted were Inside the Whale and Arthur & George.
But next month, I will be taking a good book. And the month after, a brilliant one, in a transparent attempt to curry favour.