Tag Archives: Random Savidgeness

A Few Things (Shortlistings, Tremain, YouTube & Comments)

Before the reviews come back in earnest tomorrow, starting with some mini reviews, I thought I would just catch up with a few bits and bobs with you. First up I had some rather exciting news today and I owe you lovely lot a big thank you for your votes as I have been shortlisted for the UK Blog Awards 2015 in the Arts and Culture section. The lovely, lovely Kim of Reading Matters is also shortlisted in the same category which I am thrilled about, you are all already following her blog I am sure but if you happen not to then you must! This round was all votes from the public, now we go off to a judging panel and wait with baited breath and then there is an awards ceremony and all sorts, it is very exciting.

Slight more exciting, well recording it was one of my highlights of the year, if that is possible (those judges might be reading – curtsies at them) my interview with Rose Tremain is now live on You Wrote The Book! Do go and have a listen, she was absolutely delightful. It was extra special to me as, those of you who read regularly will know, she was one of Granny Savidge’s favourite authors and before and after Rose and I (firm friends on first name terms now, ha)  chatted about her a lot – she would have been thrilled. I still haven’t quite finished Restoration and so Trespassing With Tremain isn’t quite complete yet but get set for a review of her wonderful, wonderful collection The American Lover, which we talk about a lot very soon.

Speaking of reviews, and the onslaught of them (and possibly even the back dating of some as I am so behind) coming, if you have any thoughts on book reviews on blogs etc I would love to hear about them. I would also love your thoughts on any booky versions of Serial that will keep me going between seasons (I am hooked) and books I should try and fit in before the end of the year. I have been rubbish at commenting but I am planning on binge commenting over the next few days I promise.

Finally a question. I have been thinking about the books which come into Savidge Reads HQ and wondering how I can feature them more without you all thinking I am a) a massive show off b) you being bored as they tend to go on and on when I have done them. So I have been thinking about doing some YouTube videos again. Yes, AGAIN. You might not know this but I do have a YouTube Channel (I think that is what the kids call it)  when you can see some library loots, my top ten LGBT books and myself and my lovely friend Michelle doing our own version of Pride and Prejudice, without even a sniff of alcohol. I too had forgetten this existed and think I have probably forgotten my password. Basically I won’t be becoming a Vlogger but would you like incoming book videos and the like there, and then popped in a post on here, in the future? Let me know… Erm that is it. Thanks again for your votes, mega chuffed and do pop and comment on this post, those posts and I will comment back. Toodlepip for now!

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I Am Looking For A Criminally Good Serial…

No, not quite the kind of book serial you might be thinking! Along with most of the world, well ok maybe not the world, I have become a huge, huge addict to the Serial podcast. For those of you who don’t know what Serial is, it is is a podcast where a nonfiction story unfolds week by week, over the course of a season. This season, or series as we like to say on this side of the water, we have been following journalist Sarah Koenig as she looks at the case of the murder of Hae Min Lee who disappeared  on January the 13th 1999 and whose body was found a month later, her ex boyfriend Adnan Syed was then arrested, tried and convited for her murder. Many people don’t think he did it and the case didn’t add up, Sarah investigates.

When I first heard the buzz, and indeed for the first episode or two, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Firstly I wasn’t sure that I liked the idea of someone making a show (and potentially money) out of someone’s murder. Secondly, could it really become a story I was genuinely going to get intrigued by? Well, I have to say that I think the case is handled really well, obviously some of it is upsetting yet the Serial team don’t treat the whole case as mere sensationalism and actually hearing from the people who the case affected gives it both an emotional impact and poignancy. I have also become completely hooked, I cannot work out what the truth is – without any spoilers I will simply say I am at the point where we are working out what the deal about Jay is.

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So I was thinking, especially as it looks like the first season will be coming to a close in the next week or so, what books out there might have the same effect on me as Serial? I imagine that many people will be looking at their screens and saying ‘erm, pick up a crime series Simon’ and yes there is that option, yet as someone who reads possibly too many that I can’t always keep up crime series I do love them but Serial does something a little bit extra. You see as you listen along you are given snippets of evidence, testimony, etc of a case that has already happened that you feel you are investigating with Sarah. Plus it is a real case. So I am wondering if I should be turning to (not literally) some true crime myself? I am sure there are lots of Serial fans who feel the same, and I have a limited range of true crime I can recommend (mainly Victorian murders) so I wondered what you would all recommend? Oh and if you too area Serial fan let me know, though no spoilers obvs.

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Books Before The End Of The Year…

Another quick post from me today as any minute some lovely guests are arriving for a small six people, six courses, Strictly Come Dancing soiree. Very exciting! As I have been running around like a loon I have been sorting the house out for these special guests, this has included my bookshelves. Why? Well, funny you should ask that, I like to let guests have a look through any of those that I am in no rush to read/have two copies of/am not sure why I bought/got sent and don’t fancy, so they can fight over them take them home with them.

As I was sorting them I spotted my soon to read shelves and panicked, some of these are books I have been meaning to read all year and now the year is nearly over and I haven’t read them, yet – though I probably won’t fit them all, if that many, of them in before the year ends.

Books To Fit In

Ultimate panic ensues. So which of the above, if you can make them out and have read them, would you recommend I get to sharpish? Also, which other books might I have missed out on in 2014 that I really need to make sure I read?

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I Was Almost On Radio 4 This Week

Yes believe it or not this is the week where I almost ticked off one of my lifes goals, to be on Radio 4. Almost. You see sadly I had a bloody conference call at that place that pays my bills, that place called work, and so alas I couldn’t get to a studio and be on the British institution that is You & Yours…

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The good thing that I took from this, after sulking for quite some time at my desk (whilst obviously doing my work and the conference call to the best of my ability) was that I had even been asked, they were interested in my opinion and thought I might have sone thing decent to say. It also means they have me on their radar, so maybe next time?!? Fingers crossed.

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Reviewing My Reviewing…

I’ve been thinking this weekend. Dangerous I know. However when I went on a mission to work out just how many books I had yet to review that I had read this year I was rather shocked by the pile that I was confronted with…

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Uh-oh! This was made considerably worse when I thought I had missed four from the pile to realise I had actually missed about seven. Whoops. This pile of potential reviews both had me slightly panicked and also pondering over reviews going forward with the blog. I have discussed review policies quite a bit this year but other than the constant desire to review better I haven’t thought about it that much. These are now my thoughts and you can add your thoughts on my thoughts (oh that sounds more confusing than it is) in the comments below.

Reviews are hard work. Be they positive reviews or negative reviews, reviews are bloody hard work and really time consuming, yet I love them. People ask how long a review takes and the answer is… weeks. You see I write initial scribbles in my notebook, and keep notes or take pictures of paragraphs I want to use that capture the book/writing, as I am reading. I then spend quite a while (an hour or two) writing a post not long after I have read it. Then, and this has only happened in the last two or three years, I go away and leave it to settle (both the review in a document but more importantly the book in my brain) before I go back, with some more themes and things I have thought of to add plus most importantly a more rounded picture of it. Some books grow on you, some books fade.

Reviews get read but not so many comments. Slightly annoyingly a post like this which looks at reading and reviewing will get more comments than any book review I do and yet take nowhere near as long as it is more a stream of consciousness/ponderings out loud. Now admittedly I don’t blog for comments, though they are lovely to get, I have always blogged to keep a reading diary, occasionally poorly. Yet a comment or five are nice especially when you have put so much time in to them. That said I am crap at commenting on other blogs when I haven’t read the book because to say ‘nice review’ seems a bit empty, must try harder Simon!

When I don’t review I don’t feel like a “book blogger”. That simple, though what a book blogger is nowadays I am not so sure. Anyway… Recently writing more posts about reading and other booky things I haven’t felt like much of a blogger more just someone who is waffling on about books and not actually analysing them and getting excited about them which is my favourite bit really. Next year there will be a better ratio I think.

I need to be timelier in my reviews.  Some books I have forgotten I have read or what happened in them, these are the ones that have escaped the above picture. I read a lot and some get forgotten, but then that might mean I didn’t like them so much. So be more timely or…

I don’t want to review everything I read. At least not all of it, and not some of it in great detail. Out of the books above there are a few that I have really enjoyed but don’t have much to say other than ‘well it was nice’. I have also noticed with some Hear Read This choices and You Wrote The Book authors because I have thought about those books so much before talking about them so much I don’t have the urge to then talk about them more and more. Interesting. This will probably mean a) I don’t review everything I read AND like, because I don’t review stuff I don’t like and can’t be constructive and/or give up on b) I may do more round up posts now and again.

I want my reviews to be better. This is something I am always striving for but sometimes, like with my latest review, a few days later I think ‘oh why didn’t I mention that?’ or ‘ what about that bloody theme’ etc. This will happen. What I mean is that I want to try harder to get the essence of the book, its themes and its effects on me as a reader in a more fluent and interesting way. Gran used to say she was getting more and more proud of my reviews after they ‘started a bit like rushed Amazon ones’, I would like to up my game even more in the next few months warming up for 2015. Basically I want to write like myself but with the insight I love from all my favourite bloggers, one of which (Eric of Lonesome Reader) I have told to their face makes me vomit in my own mouth a little bit with green eyed envy at what he produces.

I want my reviews to be me. This may mean some jokes intertwined but no swearing, unless really called for I think swearing in reviews looks a bit naff and unintelligent. I need to think about this a bit more.

So there, that is my thoughts on reviewing my reviewing. What are your thoughts on reviewing and reviews? What really makes a review stand out for you? Do you have any favourite reviews? What makes you read on and what makes you not bother? What makes you comment or not? Do you have to have read the book first? What are the things you like, and those you loathe, in a review? Why do I always have so many questions?

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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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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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