Bear With…

Oh dear. This blogging malarkey. What has happened to it and I? The last few weeks have been a little bit bonkers (new job, the Green Carnation Prize 2014) and so when I have finished at work the last thing I have been feeling like doing is blogging.

I have appallingly, and more gallingly, been really slow on the uptake with reading, though I can report that this has recently suddenly come full force and I have a weekend of it planned (while the Beard is off working) this weekend and I am so excited.

The blogging will probably return in full this weekend too as I have been doing lots of thinking about it which always a good sign. Another good sign is that I have been binge bulk buying lots of exciting books (sometimes you need a new book – or three – you’ve chosen and are raring to read to get you back in the swing) which I have added to this very evening on the way home…

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So lots to be talking about soon! Though as I will be discussing tomorrow the end of the year is approaching scarily fast which always sends me into a book panic, more tomorrow. In the meantime what have you lovely lot been reading? Any gossip? And do keep your latest purchases or borrowings coming in, my bank balance hates it but I blooming love it!

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Books That I’ve Bought of Late; The London Edition

I spent most of last week down in London having a lovely time catching up with lots of friends and getting very nervous before getting rather tipsy at the Green Carnation Prize winner event. This all naturally included rather a lot of falling to bookshops and buying quite a lot of books, which I thought I would share with you all as we all like a bit of book porn don’t we?

First up were four books that I have been meaning to get my hands on for ages and ages after lots and lots of people were talking about them around Halloween…

Galley Ghosts

These four gorgeous mini paperbacks are ghostly short stories by E. L Barker, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edith Wharton and P.G. Wodehouse. Don’t they look great as a little collection? As usual I am rather slow to the party and indeed have been meaning to buy them via Galley Beggar Press’ website online, however they were on prominent display at the gorgeous new Foyles store (they haven’t paid me to say that you wait till I share it with you on Thursday) and so they were whipped off the shelves and run to the tills.

Next up was a find when I fell into Hatchard’s which is one of my favourite bookshops because of its oldy-worldy-ness. You feel like you have fallen back in time in some way, which was apt as I was after a classic crime novel by members of The Detection Club…

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Gavin has chosen The Floating Admiral (yes a book on a bloody boat) as his classic choice on the next episode of Hear Read This. I don’t know masses about The Detection Club, just that they were a select group of crime novels, including Agatha Christie, who would wrote a chapter of a book each – one of which was this one. I am really looking forward to this one as it is from the golden age of crime, which links in with the next two random purchases…

British library editions

The British Library have started publishing books, these are not any old books (though they are old books) but recovered crime classics that have gone out of print. My eye was caught by J. Jefferson Farjeon’s (who wrote more than sixty books, who knew?) Mystery in White, in part as it was in prime position in Waterstones Islington, as it had the subtitle A Christmas Crime Story and regular visitors to this blog will know I like a Christmas story over, erm, Christmas. This seemed perfect, a broken down train in the snow and a deserted country house, what more could you want. As I looked around Murder Undergound by Mavis Doriel Hay which couldn’t have been a better present to myself from London could it?

Just as I was leaving the store I then spotted a book that I had to buy because of the title alone…

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How could you not want a book by Murakami with the title The Strange Library. This was a no brainer and at the till the bookseller was super duper effusive about it saying it was a marvellous dark little fairy tale, so it should be just my sort of read.

Finally I should add another three books though admittedly I didn’t buy them, though I think I did quite well on the buying front frankly.

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On the Thursday night I attended the Penguin Annual Bloggers Night at Foyles (yes them again) where I was lucky enough to meet three authors who have books out in 2015; Emma Hooper, Claire Fuller and Julia Rochester, so I grabbed their books. I also spoke to and shook the hand of William Gibson which was nice, though his books went like gold dust. I hear Marieke Hardy is a fan. It was also lovely to see Annabel, Simon, Sakura and Kim (the latter two also very nicely showed up at the Green Carnation Party) and we had a lovely catch up and natter, including the idea of having bloggers meet ups, as we did it once and it was lovely.

All in all a rather wonderful trip and a rather good book haul don’t you think? Which of these have you read and what did you make of them? Which of them do you fancy reading? What have you bought of late?

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Green Carnations & Feeling A Little Proud…

On Friday night I was a bundle of nerves. I had been in London since Wednesday and had been seeing lots of friends and doing loads quite a bit of shopping and just having a break, yet the reason I was down in London was for the Green Carnation Prize Winning Announcement and Party. The bit I was feeling about was giving a speech all about the prize; especially in front of lots of authors, publicists, industry bods and some of my friends. Eek. But I did it…

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And as I did it started to hit me how much the prize had achieved in its five years, especially after the announcement that Anneliese Mackintosh had won. Huge congratulations to her. I had the pleasure of speaking to Anneliese afterwards, who was shaking from genuine shock that she had won (and possibly overdosing on Night Nurse, the poor love) and who said a big thank you. Initially I said ‘ooh don’t thank me, it’s the judges who chose it’ (who did an amazing job) and Anneliese replied ‘but thank you for setting it up’. I have to admit I felt a bit emotional, and I hadn’t even won.

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I then got very quite drunk and as I was talking to people it seemed to finally click how far it had all come. I was in a room with all these people who were saying what a great long and shortlist it has had over the past few years, how pleased they were about the partnership with Foyles and that it was becoming a prize that they could trust would throw them great reads. By the end of the night I was a beaming mess of happiness, which is a nice feeling to have.

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So now Any Other Mouth and Anneliese Mackintosh join the Green Carnation Prize winning family along with Andrew Solomon, Patrick Gale, Andre Carl Van Der Merwe, Catherine Hall and Chrisopher Fowler! So that is all your Christmas stocking lists sorted for this year – oh along with this years corking shortlist. Have you read any of the Green Carnation Prize winners, short listers or long listers and if so what did you think?

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UK Blog Awards 2015; A Little Reminder to Vote

So when I found out that I had been nominated for the UK Blog Awards 2015, and had got over the shock, I made an empty threat that if you all didn’t vote for me I wouldn’t blog. Well in the weeks since I have unintentionally made that empty threat look like it was real as I haven’t blogged much. Fret ye not that is about to change as I am on holiday for a long mini break to London (for the Green Carnation Prize Winner Announcement and Party) and have some time planned to get my blogging back in order. In the meantime though it would be really lovely if you would like to vote for Savidge Reads as, bar the last few weeks, I hope I have given you some good book recommendations and a little entertainment now and again…

UK Blog Awards Update

You can vote HERE until Monday, so please do. If that link doesn’t work the direct address to vote it here http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/candidates/savidge-reads/ Thank you in advance. How are you all?

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Is The Play The Thing?

Last week ended up being a bit bonkers, with a trip to a big expo for work down in London (and somehow managing to squeeze in an interview with Rose Tremain, which was amazing and surreal and I will share soon) so there was no blogging for me. I am however back off to London again this week for a mini 4 day break so plan on catching up with everything, and myself, then. I am really looking forward to it. This weekend I have been away again this time to my mother’s for for a weekend of family culture.

Forget a Saturday night line up of the delights of Strictly Come Dancing and the X Factor, I had quite an amazing double whammy of entertainment. First up myself The Beard and I went to see An Inspector Calls which starred none other than my little sister Mim, who some of you will know having blogged here a few times, who was playing the role of Sheila…

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Then if that wasn’t enough, once the curtain had fallen and we had congratulated Mim on being brilliant, we headed off to a drinking establishment not a million miles down the road to see The Mandolin Orchestra of South Shropshire and a special guest singer… My mum!

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The band is actually made up of my stepdad, to the right of my mother in the picture, and his mates. My mum joins them for a second set and sings all sorts from The Beautiful South to Tina Turner, from Queen to Ella Fitzgerald. Despite what she had thought my reaction would be, I wasn’t embarrassed but actually doubly proud of her and Mim, the talented pair.

Seeing Mim in An Inspector Calls though reminded me of something booky, but first another picture of my little sister acting (see I am proper proud)…

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I love An Inspector Calls and have seen it a few times (always forgetting the twist) yet I have never read the play. Nope not even at school, we just had Romeo and Juliet endlessly. Yet talking about plays later on, with a lot of cheese, with my mother I was reminded of others, like Alan Ayckbourn (The Norman Conquests in particular), Alan Bennett etc that I love. Yet I realised I never read plays as a book. I am now wondering if, every now and again, I should start. The question of course is where?

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Trespassing With Tremain Updates…

Just a quick post to give you some updates on Trespassing With Tremain which hopefully you have been joining in with and enjoying. Firstly apologies as I have not yet posted my thoughts on Restoration, this is because I haven’t finished it yet and don’t want to rush a book which frankly I am hugely enjoying. Secondly I have been two timing Rose Tremain, with Rose Tremain. Whilst having started Restoration I also started The American Lover which is Rose’s newest release, out a mere week or two ago, and is a collection of wonderful (as in amazing) short stories one of which even features Mrs Danvers AND Daphne Du Maurier AND is about Rebecca. I almost passed out when I read this…

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The reason for my two timing Rose with Rose is because, and here I may explode with excitement, I am meeting her on Wednesday night to record You Wrote The Book and have a natter about The American Lover (and now obviously Rebecca) plus her back catalogue of works. How amazing is that? It feels like Granny Savidge is up there somewhere making magic happen. She would be thrilled, then jealous, then demand to join me – she will be there in spirit, possibly literally.


So I thought whilst I have this exciting opportunity, you should all be able to join in. So if you have any questions you would like to ask Rose let me know and I will do so!

 

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Reading Other Languages

…Is not something that I can do as I was reminded today when I was on a trip to IKEA earlier today. As I was mooching, funnily enough at the bookshelves which I wasn’t there to buy (honest) I noticed all the books on the shelves which are Swedish best sellers or other well known editions translated to Swedish. This made me think about translated books, again…

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Even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to read any of these, because I am one of those lazy people who have never learnt another language, I wanted to have a flick through them and even borrow them. I do this when I go abroad. I head straight to the bookshops (well maybe after I have been and seen some of the main tourist sights and treated myself to some of the cuisine) and have a look at the books by authors that are completely new to me and the books that I know in their new translated international guise. I was slightly saddened to realise I don’t own any of my favourite books in translated editions, I feel like I should. Anyway as I said it made me think about translated fiction again.

Firstly it reminded me that here in the UK we barely get the tip of the iceberg of books translated from around the world, which is rather scary if you think about all the amazing books that you might be reading but are missing out on. When I was writing my thoughts on Byrd earlier in the week it was playing on my mind how many books I must be missing from America, Canada, Australia etc and they are all in my own language. What about the books from everywhere else in the world?

This of course reminded me that I don’t read as much translated fiction as I should. I follow wonderful publishers like Peirene, Europa Editions, And Other Stories and many more who either solely publish in translation or do so in abundance. I also follow the wonderful blog of Stu’s, WinstonsDads Blog, which is one of the most wonderful promoters of translated fiction that there is. (This reminds me I really should do a post on all my favourite blogs!) Stu has also just reached 1,000 posts so hoorah to him. Yet still I feel I don’t read or know enough, am I the only person who feels like this?

I also wonder if when I do read them, am I missing something by not reading in their original language? Am I missing out on subtle cultural inferences or social observations that people might miss if a book from the UK is translated elsewhere. Do you know what I mean? It isn’t that I don’t trust the translators, as I am very grateful to the people who translate novels and simply don’t get paid enough or enough credit frankly, it is just something that as I cannot answer definitely I always ponder. Maybe I should finally get around to learning a language, which I’ve always wanted to do, and then I could read some of them in both. But would I want to read the same book multiple times and which language would I start with? I like the idea of learning Italian and/or Spanish, maybe this is the kick I have needed.

What are your thoughts on translated fiction? Do you ever worry that the book is missing something from the original language? Have you ever read a book in the original and the translated and what was the comparison? Where do you hear about translated books and who are your favourite translated authors? Finally, have you ever bought your favourite book in another language just because you needed to own another copy?

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