Autobiographies & Memoirs…

Earlier today I was on the hunt for some black jeans at my local very large supermarket, that will remain unnamed. I have mentioned before that I often find supermarket shopping quite stressful and so I headed off to the book section which always calms me, though it makes my wallet tremble in slight fear. As usual the temptation was too great and I ended up leaving the aisle with none other than Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new memoir Hard Choices. I used the very flimsy excuses of ‘ooh I am going to Washington in a few weeks, it is like research’ and ‘she was brilliant on Woman’s Hour’. I know, I know I am weak – for having to buy a book not for listening to Woman’s Hour it is wonderful listening.

Hilary Clinton

Anyway, I digress. After I had bought it I was explaining to The Beard that I had bought it because it would give me a really unusual, yet direct, insight into the state of the world at the moment and its conflicts, plus American politics and give me some insight into someone who will, hopefully, become the next President of America. He responded with ‘you don’t need to justify buying a famous person’s memoir to me…’

And I think in some way he was right, I was really over justifying it because reading autobiographies and memoirs is one of those things that gets judged really harshly. If I am being 100% honest sometimes with certain autobiographies I have read them and yet not blogged about them or even popped them on my GoodReads book lists for fear of the judgement. I am not talking Jennifer Saunders or Dawn French, I think I have featured both of those. I am talking more along the lines of Stephanie Beacham or Kathleen Turner. No, even I wouldn’t read one of Cheryl Cole (or whatever she is calling herself now) or Jordan’s autobiographies. Ooh, see I did it myself then judging those autobiographies.

Yet some memoirs, like Barack Obama who has sold millions of copies of his, can be really insightful into the world. Then again I read Rupert Everett’s for all the gossip, the second one is written brilliantly though. Oh and I have read all the Spice Girls ones so far, I am still waiting for two of them and because of being part of the Spice generation I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from getting them for the nostalgia and the truth behind fall outs and all the rest of it. I am getting thrills at the thought. I also have Anjelica Huston’s first memoir ready and waiting on the TBR shelves and will now read it and write about it unashamedly, I love Jelly HuHu so.

So why do we judge autobiographies and memoirs so much, especially as we all love authors memoirs don’t we? (Come on we all do, I bet you have looked in horror as someone is reading some memoir supposedly written by the latest favourite pop star, reality TV star, DJ or comedian haven’t you?) Which ones have you read, be it secretly or not? Who do you wish would do a tell all memoir? Name an author and a celebrity or two I dare you!

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Well That Was An Adventure…

I am back from Sweden which frankly I didn’t want to leave, it seemed the feeling was mutual as on Sunday night my plane was cancelled (after being delayed three times, over four and a half hours, by the most nonchalant member of staff ever) and so I ended up being stuck in Sweden. Thankfully the Menzies Aviation team at Sweden Check In were amazing and sorted me out with a hotel while the lovely, lovely Emelie from West Sweden Tourist Board was on the end of the phone calming my rather fraught nerves. Now does the hotel not look just like something out of a crime novel, or indeed The Shining?

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It was lovely and the staff were brilliant at helping out a very vexed looking British beardy bloke. Anyway, apart from the final night of storms (lightening struck the plane hence why it didn’t fly, sensible) the weather was incredible. I swam in the sea, visited lots of Camilla Lackberg’s fictional murder sites, ate Ingrid Bergman’s favourite cake from her favourite bakery and did lots and lots of hiking. Here is a picture of me at the top of Valo Island’s rocky mountain terrain in my element, and in the sunshine…

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If you think I am not sharing Sweden enough get ready asI will giving you a whole week of Swedish delight from Monday next week; the books, the place, the stunning scenery, etc. I just need to catch up with myself a little first. A big huge thank you to everyone who made it so amazing Emelie and Asa in particular. Now before we get back to normal bookish business how on earth are all of you? What’s news and what have you been reading?

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If You’re A Camilla Lackberg Fan…

Then this is what Fjallbacka looks like in reality. It’s so stunning I couldn’t not share it. Even though I’m technically having a blog holiday. Oops.

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I’m having THE BEST time. And getting on very well with Lackberg’s books. Am on the fourth already and unusually for me I am binge reading them, maybe because I am here. Do you do that often? How are you all? How’s your weekends?

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Savidge Reads Heads To Sweden For A Holiday!

By the time you read this I will either be chewing my nails to pieces waiting to get on a plane, be up several thousands of miles in the sky in that tin can plane or be safely in Sweden enjoying a fortifying drink, of any variety. I am going to be spending a long weekend visiting Gothenburg, Fjallbacka, Valo Island and the Weather Islands as the Swedish Tourist Board are very kindly sending me off to the fictional murder sites (which looks rather ominous when you see it like that, ha) of the novels of Camilla Lackberg, who I have been devouring the series of in preparation. I absolutely cannot wait.

The Weather Islands

Instead of scheduling posts, or taking my lovely new purple laptop with me I have decided to give myself a well earned rest, post festival, and also give the blog a rest for a while. I plan a few days of adventure and exciting yet also some quiet time of thinking and just taking the world in and pondering. I think I need it. (I will be tweeting and instagramming as I go though. Ha!) Reading however I have most certainly packed for as you can see, all aptly Swedish.

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Once I am back there will be no stopping me, I have a week of Swedish themed posts and a holiday to report back on, plus I have plans to gig the blog about a bit which I will mull over I am sure when I am not in awe at my surroundings over the next few days. Which reminds me… While I am away do please, please, please keep your questions and suggestions coming in.

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A Giant Spectacular Finale (and Hitting The Headlines)

And so the festival is officially over and what a finale we had, and I don’t mean the one last week where I ended up getting so drunk I staying in a hotel in my own city. The finale of the IFB2014 was the return of The Giants. If you think I am overtired and hallucinating, or still drunk, I swear to you I am telling the truth!

You may not remember but back way back when I first met the Beard and was doing the whole dating thing and thinking about moving to Liverpool we accidentally ended up crossing the path, or ripples, of the Giants that came and conquered the city before sailing away. Well it was a huge success for the city at the time and so Culture Liverpool, who since that fateful boat trip I only went and worked for and now work for the sister company of, brought them back again. Little (no pun intended) did the project team realise how close we would get, even though we knew they were passing and had our sandwiches at the ready, or that one of us might end up in the headlines of the Liverpool Echo (guess who?)…

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So as you can see above we were all ready and waiting with eager anticipation for the Granny Giant to arrive. Soon enough the crowds started to build and build and sure enough she arrived…

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If I am being 100% honest, I had forgotten how brilliant the giants were the first time they came (then too I was a bit nonchalant about it all) yet once I could see her, see the way the crowd was loving following her the buzz of excitement started to build and build as she came nearer. As it turned ut we had some of the best seats in the city…

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Here I should stipulate that I don’t really understand what the story for the giants was, and I read the flyer, but they had come from beyond the Milky Way and were here to commemorate the anniversary of WWI. It does sound bonkers I understand, but it worked brilliantly. As she stood below us she started to read letters from those who had been in the war or those who had written to them. It was very moving.

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Now as I was saying as it went on the excitement and emotion just sent us all a bit giddy and we couldn’t help but try and get a picture with the giants, and indeed some of us resorted to selfies…

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What I didn’t expect was for my selfie to end up in the Liverpool Echo as one of the images from the first day of the Giants visit, but it did as you can see here. My fifteen minutes of fame right there. However at the time we didn’t know this and what was interesting was as she slowly headed past us and off to find her granddaughter and her dog you really felt sad to see her leave…

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The other thing it made me feel was immensely proud. Not just of the festival I have worked on this city and the people I have worked with, which goes without saying as it and they have been amazing. I also felt extremely proud of this city, Liverpool, and the people who go the extra mile to make it a vibrant place bringing new people in but also putting on a bloody good show for the people who live here. I feel honoured that I am an honorary Liverpudlian, of sorts.

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To get more of the effect of the giants, their story and see how amazing the logistics of them (and all the man power with her crane and all the people who move her limbs swinging up in the air – which you soon stop seeing bizarrely) then do watch the video below. It is quite inspiring. I can’t wait for them to come back. What a brilliant way to end the festival too.

Anyway I thought I would share that with you all as some of you mentioned, when I asked you to ask me anything and make suggestions which I will answer all the questions from when I am back from my trip away, that you would like to see more posts about random things I get up to off blog. I think encountering giants and making the headlines will do won’t it?

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Trespassing With Tremain; The Plan

A week or so ago I told you all about my idea to honour Granny Savidge Reads and pass on her reading legacy (which sounds very grand and she would love) by reading one of her favourite contemporary authors Rose Tremain. So I thought we could go Trespassing With Tremain into the lives and worlds she creates which Gran was such a fan of and kept telling me off for having not tried. Thank you all for your enthusiasm, I have now been through her bibliography and have finally decided on the list, so here it is with the dates…

  • Trespass – Sunday August the 10th
  • The Road Home – Sunday August the 24th
  • The Darkness of Wallis Simpson and Other Stories – Sunday September the 7th
  • Sacred Country – Sunday September the 21st
  • Restoration – Sunday October 5th

So why these choices? Well, Trespass was the one that Gran thought would be most up my street and closest to what might be my comfort zone (I don’t quite know what she meant and didn’t think to ask, silly me) so this seems an apt way to begin. I have already got myself a copy from the library, it is pretty short too so two weeks should be enough. I love the former Orange Prize so I thought one of her prize winners, The Road Home, would be a good second step. Mid way I thought short stories might make a nice change of scene and I find Wallis Simpson really fascinating so look forward to the title tale. Sacred Country is one of the titles I had never heard of and looking it up the whole question of gender it brings up sounds fascinating. I thought we could end with one of Rose Tremain’s most famous, and largest, novels with Restoration and one which has the sequel of Merivel if we all love it insanely.

In fact it was leaving some of the well-known ones for later if we love her that stopped me choosing Music and Silence and also The Colour, always good to have something else to look forward to, and some of the lesser known ones may well be gems to discover like I am hoping Sacred Country is.

So who is joining in and with which titles and when? Anyone in it for all of them (no pressure) as company would sure be nice!

 

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In Case You Were Wondering What My Day Job Entails…

I am one of the small project team who make big things like this happen…

It is all over now though. I am feeling a mixture of very proud, emotional, nostalgic and knackered. Thank goodness August has two big holidays lined up for me!

 

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