It’s World Book Day; Celebrate With A Quick Read (Or A Long One…)

It is World Book Day, hooray! A day devoted to celebrating the love of books around the world. It is all too easy to forget though, especially in the bubble of the book blogosphere, that not everyone out in that there big wide world has the ability, time, money or simply the inclination/desire to read books. Some people may even be wary of the world of books or find reading difficult.

As I have mentioned many a time on this blog, I myself was a great reader as a child but my late teens and early twenties were a barren time for books. I had been put off by the endless re-reading and re-reading of school texts which had to be analysed to the umpteenth degree. I felt that books were more for academics than for enjoyment. Oh and I was more interested in getting drunk on alcho-pops and dancing to Britney in my early twenties and so was lost in a bookish wilderness. I had become alienated from the wonderful world that books can provide for us all and in actual fact, hold on to your hats, thought that books were for the pretentious and elite. Now I know different, obviously, all it too was the recommendation of the right book to try (in my case The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie) and I was off…

Sometimes all it takes is that quick recommendation, loaning of a book or pointing in the direction of a library that can create the spark needed to fire a love of reading. Or of course re-reading. Quick Reads is an initiative which aims to do the same and selects several titles by well-known authors that are short, sharp reads aimed to attract those who think books and reading might not be for them and get them hooked. They are designed to encourage those who have been put off reading or are late to reading to ‘give a book a whirl’ and who knows they might become a book addict? Great stuff!

Yet they are also perfect, as I discovered when reading three of them after this year’s titles were announced, for an avid reader who might fancy trying out an author you have meant to read for a while, or just getting time to read something short and sharp whilst on your commute or having a nice cup of tea in your favourite book nook. Here are my thoughts on three of them…

Dead Man Talking – Roddy Doyle

Vintage Books, paperback, 2015, fiction, 98 pages, kindly sent by Quick Reads

Pat had been best friends with Joe Murphy since they were kids. But five years ago they had a fight. A big one, and they haven’t spoken since — till the day before Joe’s funeral.

What? On the day before his funeral Joe would be dead, wouldn’t he?

Yes, he would…

This was my first foray into the work of Roddy Doyle (despite my mothers best efforts, unless you count having watched The Commitments film at a young age and spending hours singing the soundtrack in the car) and I was not sure what to expect but I enjoyed it very much. Regular readers will know that I quite like ghostly tales and stories that are quite quirky and this is both.

There is a wonderful surreal element to this story without it ever veering too far off into magical realism which some new and avid readers might find off putting, it almost has a ‘fairytale for adults’ feel whilst as it goes on and takes stranger and stranger twists reminded me somewhat of a Roald Dahl sinister short story and a Hitchcock movie. What I thought Roddy Doyle did wonderfully was give the book an underlying message of grief, regret and mortality yet never making it overtly melancholy. All in all an interesting and thought provoking twisting tale, I need to read a novel of his now don’t I? Where would you recommend I start?

Out of the Dark – Adele Geras

Quercus Books, paperback, 2015, fiction, 101 pages, kindly sent by Quick Reads

Rob Stone comes back from the horrors of the First World War with a ruined face and a broken heart. Lonely, unable to forget the things he has seen, and haunted by the ghost of his dead captain, all that Rob has left is a picture of the captain’s family. Rob sets out to find them, hoping that by giving them the picture, he can bring peace to the captain’s ghost – and to his own troubled heart.

Another author that I have been meaning to read for ages (another which my mother has also raved about reading her young adult novels with her studenst) and another quick reads with a ghost in it this year.

I am normally not the greatest fan of wartime novels, I think the subject has been overdone, yet I really, really loved this story. In a very short space of time Adele Geras makes you sympathise and empathise with our main character and the affects that war has had on him both physically and mentally. The tale of Rob’s heartbreak after his fiancé backs out of the marriage was one which I found both heart-breaking and also, for me, added a side to the war that I have never seen depicted in another piece of writing about the time. In fact I think that was one of the things that I liked so much about Out of the Dark was that it really put me in the head of a young man who had been to war far more than anything else I have read has done. More food for thought, and another author that I shall return to.

Pictures Or It Didn’t Happen – Sophie Hannah

Hodder & Stoughton, paperback, 2015, fiction, 117 pages, kindly sent by Quick Reads

After Chloe and her daughter Freya are rescued from disaster by a man who seems too good to be true, Chloe decides she must find him again to thank him. But instead of meeting her knight in shining armour, she comes across a woman called Nadine Caspian who warns her to stay well away from him. The man is dangerous, Nadine claims, and a compulsive liar. Alarmed, Chloe asks her what she means, but Nadine will say no more. Chloe knows that the sensible choice would be to walk away – after all, she doesn’t know anything about this man. But she is too curious. What could Nadine have meant? And can Chloe find out the truth without putting herself and her daughter in danger?

Regulars to Savidge Reads will know that I am a big fan of Sophie both as an author or some corking thrillers, and a wonderful collection of short stories (which were recommended to me by a friend and got me into her work – see it’s all about the recommendations) of which you can find out more here. Shockingly though, and despite having them all, I have not read one of her books since 2011!?!? Where has the time gone?

Pictures Or It Didn’t Happen is, as you might expect, like the perfect condensed versions of one of her Simon Waterhouse and Charlie Zailer thrillers, and indeed they turn up in this one. From the off you are constantly question who is telling the truth and who is doing some serious lying and manipulating, the guessing only gets greater as Sophie throws in some twists, turns and potential red herrings. If you love this then go and get your hands on Little Face which is the first in the series, I need to grab Lasting Damage just as soon as I have finished the Fiction Uncovered reading, promise!

This isn’t the whole collection of books either, I still have three more to dip into in due course – which I will be eating with more of the Galaxy chocolates these arrived with – but hopefully gives you some insight into the diversity of the books which Quick Reads produce (and they have a whole backlist you can go through, here are some more I’ve read) and how easy they are to get into and just taking you away. As I said, perfect reads for any reader be you avid or just wanting to give books and reading a try. And all for just £1 or to be found in your local library, what could be better? (Though if you’re reading something longer that’s good too, I will be spending some of the evening with Maya Angelou, you?) Happy World Book Day all!

4 Comments

Filed under Adele Geras, Quick Reads, Roddy Doyle, Sophie Hannah

Haters Gonna Hate…

Hold up, let’s just stop for a minute before we continue in the lovely world of booky thoughts and reviews as I just wanted to have a brief chat with you all about something. This was randomly brought up on Twitter over the weekend, by someone I am not linking to and giving more airtime, and then again by a ‘kind’ comment yesterday on the about page of this blog which initially stung before I was actually slightly flattered and then found very funny…

Rude Comment

Now I know I should take trolling like this, and the accusation was pretty much the same on twitter over the weekend, with a pinch of salt and in the main I do. I had an author on facebook calling me the ‘number one blogger of grammatical atrocities’ for a while. After all, I choose to put this blog and my thoughts and opinions out in the ether, I’m no fool there are negative wallies out there. Yet just for a minute I was stung somewhat; not by my ego, which is not as big as these people seem to think frankly, but for the fact that someone would need to chip in and be so unkind.

You see I am aware that my grammar and spelling can sometimes be a bit rogue yet I would hope that people wouldn’t judge something like this blog or any blog which is done for free and all for the enthusiasm and love of books. If it was a published novel or article (where I had an editor, which is what all authors and journalists need) then fair enough, I just can’t always edit my own words because I have stared at them for too long or written them in a whirlwind of excitement. (Gran used to remind me off this sometimes ‘ooh your grammar Simon’ but she was never mean and remembered I left school early. She was just chuffed I loved books so much again.)

But what if I had dyslexia or some other factor rather than enthusiasm or just being blind to my own grammatical errors which I am probably committing all the time? Does this mean, like the lovely lady on twitter was hinting at when she said ‘an illiterate blogger is judging a book prize’, that people with dyslexia or another disability shouldn’t be allowed to blog or have an opinion? What an awful elitist (another thing oddly she accused me of) world that would be!

I think any regular reader to the blog knows that I love books and want everyone to be able to get their mitts on them and enjoy the escapism, learning and enjoyment they bring. Hence why I am so passionate about libraries, where I spent most of my childhood, and why I love initiatives that celebrate books written by and from the perspectives of all walks of life.

So after feeling the sting for a while, I wrote a reply…

Rude Comment Comeback

I felt much better. Plus, it is true. If you don’t like the blog, or something else somewhere else on the internet, don’t waste your time writing a negative comment/review (and if you have to then don’t be an anonymous coward) just bugger off and read something else as frankly I don’t want you darkening my blog’s door. Go on, off you trot and please don’t come back thank you.

Also if you have received any comments, as I know I won’t be the only one hence another reason why I decided to post this, or snark on social media etc like this; just let the sting pass and think ‘blimey I should be flattered they wasted their time commenting/tweeting’ before reminding yourself of what lovely old Madonna, she of the falling down the stairs and getting back up again, has once said (I think, though it might have been someone else or I might have made it up) at some point… ‘You know you have made it when someone really hates it.’ It’ll make you feel much better. And with that let’s move on…

41 Comments

Filed under Random Savidgeness

Other People’s Bookshelves #52 – Claire Fuller

Hello and welcome to the latest Other People’s Bookshelves. If you haven’t seen it before this is a series of posts set to feed into the filthy book lust/porn and either give you a fix of other people’s books and shelves. This week we are off to spend some time with author Claire Fuller, whose debut Our Endless Numbered Days has just come out and will be one of the books I will rush to when I finish judging Fiction Uncovered. So anyway, let’s settle with a nice cup or glass of something and find out more about her…

I live in Winchester, occasionally with my teenage children (when they’re not at university or with their dad) and my husband, Tim, who’s a university librarian. I studied sculpture at art school in the 1980s, and still get my chisels or my pencil out now and again. But mostly I’m a writer. Our Endless Numbered Days (Fig Tree/Penguin) is my first novel and I also write a lot of short stories and flash fiction, most of which are posted on my website: www.clairefuller.co.uk. I read a lot: before I get up and before I go to sleep, and I have one of those contraptions to hold my books open so I can read at the table while I’m eating.

DSCF3909

Do you keep all the books you read on your shelves or only your favourites, does a book have to be REALLY good to end up on your shelves or is there a system like one in one out, etc?

In the last couple of years I’ve let myself give up on books I’ve not been enjoying, and these ones go to the charity shop. All other books get kept. Luckily, at the moment we have spare shelf space – my husband recently built some more shelves – so keeping books isn’t a problem. When I’ve finished a book I leave it on the dining-room table and it gets mysteriously filed away. It’s like one of those returns trollies they have in real libraries. I’m not sure what we’ll do when all the shelves are full. Build some more?

Do you organise your shelves in a certain way? For example do you have them in alphabetical order of author, or colour coded? Do you have different bookshelves for different books (for example, I have all my read books on one shelf, crime on another and my TBR on even more shelves) or systems of separating them/spreading them out? Do you cull your bookshelves ever?

Three and a half years ago, Tim moved in with me, bringing with him over two thousand books. I must have owned five hundred, and we spent about a week sorting them all and when we came across duplicates, deciding which one to get rid of. The only book where we kept both copies was The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers because before Tim moved in we’d both read it at the same time. I’ve always liked the idea of having my books filed properly so I could easily find things but I never got round to it when I lived on my own. But now all the paperback fiction is organised alphabetically, non-fiction is by genre, and hardback fiction has its own shelves because of the size issue. Like I said, I leave the filing to Tim, because I haven’t got the patience to move everything along in order to squeeze in a new paperback.

What was the first book you ever bought with your own money and does it reside on your shelves now?

I think it was probably Freefall by William Golding. I won the art prize at school a few times for which I received a book token, so I would go to my local bookshop in Thame, and browse. I probably chose it because of its cover. The bookshop used to be called The Red House; it’s still there but it’s now The Book House. I still have the original copy of Freefall, but I can’t remember anything about the story. I should probably re-read it.

DSCF3941

Are there any guilty pleasures on your bookshelves you would be embarrassed people might see, or like me do you have a hidden shelf for those somewhere else in the house?

[Simon – the photo of the Scrabble dictionary (above) is to go with this answer] There’s nothing on my shelves I would be embarrassed by, or at least if there is, I’m hoping it will disappear through sheer quantity of books. Although, I’ve just remembered that I do have a book which lives in a drawer. It’s put away not because I’m embarrassed by it, but because of the state it is in. I really should buy another.

Which book on the shelves is your most prized, mine would be a collection of Conan Doyle stories my Great Uncle Derrick memorised and retold me on long walks and then gave me when I was older? Which books would you try and save if (heaven forbid) there was a fire?

My first choice, if I’m allowed, would be the book my daughter wrote when she was about four. Actually, she dictated it rather than wrote it and she drew the pictures. She also made the jacket for it out of clay, which is not very practical. It starts, ‘The fairies lived on the mountain’. But of the published books I own, that’s such a hard thing to choose. Perhaps one of those my Dad bought me when I was a child (The Pocket Oxford Dictionary from 1975 or Complete Poems for Children by James Reeves, illustrated by Edward Ardizzone) or the first paperback American publication of We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson, which Tim gave to me.

DSCF3958

What is the first ‘grown up’, and I don’t mean in a ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ way, that you remember on your parent’s shelves or at the library, you really wanted to read? Did you ever get around to it and are they on your shelves now?

My Dad was in a mail-order book club when I was growing up in the 1970s, and I remember the excitement when the parcel arrived. I doubt this came from the club, but the first book I remember reading from his shelves was Small Dreams of a Scorpion by Spike Milligan. I must have been seven or eight. This isn’t a funny book; it’s full of sad poems about Milligan’s depression and hospitalisation and I can still recite some of them today. My Mum, who’s German, had very few books, but there was one she kept from her time when she was a nanny. It was a book about childhood illnesses and it was in German, so I couldn’t understand it, but I remember poring over the vivid and gruesome photographs of boils and rashes.

If you love a book but have borrowed the copy do you find you have to then buy the book and have it on your bookshelves or do you just buy every book you want to read?

I do sometimes borrow books from the library and those that I love I always mean to buy so I can read them again, but then another book comes along and makes me forget. Like Waterlog by Roger Deakin; I wish I owned that.

DSCF3956

What was the last book that you added to your bookshelves?

It was Aquarium by David Vann. I was lucky to be sent an advance copy by the publishers – one of the perks of being a writer. This is one I’ll definitely be keeping. Tim has filed it away beside all the other David Vann books I own.

Are there any books that you wish you had on your bookshelves that you don’t currently?

I’ve met lots of lovely debut authors since becoming one myself, and I’d love to get round to buying and reading all of their books. Some I have read, and others have made it as far as my ‘to be read’ list, which is a start. To name a few – The Ship by Antonia Honeywell, Summertime by Vanessa Lafaye and Ridley Road by Jo Bloom.

What do you think someone perusing your shelves would think of your reading taste, or what would you like them to think?

Someone perusing my shelves might think I know a lot about French film, read many works of Scandinavian fiction in which nothing much happens, and that I have a love of the nouveau roman movement from the 1950s. But unfortunately they would be getting me muddled up with Tim. If they knew which books were mine they might think I read fairly broadly – contemporary authors, some narrative non-fiction, many books from the past forty years – but that I could probably try harder with the classics.

DSCF3910

********************************************************************

A huge thanks to Claire for taking part in Other People’s Bookshelves! If you would like to catch up with the other posts in the series of Other People’s Bookshelves have a gander here. Don’t forget if you would like to participate (and I would love you to – hint, hint, hint as without you volunteering it doesn’t happen) in the series then drop me an email to savidgereads@gmail.com with the subject Other People’s Bookshelves, thanks in advance. In the meantime… what do you think of Claire’s responses and/or any of the books and authors that she mentions?

4 Comments

Filed under Other People's Bookshelves

Fiction Uncovered 2015 – Let the Reading Commence…

I have been keeping a secret from you all for the last three or four weeks. Naughty I know, but it is a good one and I can finally share it because I have been bursting to tell everyone… I am going to be one of the judges of Fiction Uncovered 2015 alongside Matthew Bates of WHSmith, Cathy Galvin of The Word Factory and chaired by author and journalist India Knight. I am beyond chuffed and thrilled (and honoured obviously) to have been asked, as many of you who visit regularly will know it is one of my favourite book prizes and initiatives so I cannot wait to get reading.

In case you haven’t heard me rattle on about the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize before (if you have just skip this paragraph) let me tell you more. It is an annual prize awarded to eight British writers of outstanding works of fiction – novels, short stories and graphic novels. What makes it all the more special is that it seeks to promote emerging and deserving British fiction writers of outstanding work, looking beyond the debuts and the bestsellers, leading to uncovering and finding hidden gems that you can then stuff your shelves with. How could anyone not love that? I think there are going to be some absolute corking reads I would never have read when going through the submissions, there always is with their longlists.

Now of course this may mean a few changes for the blog. I won’t be reviewing any of the submitted novels (or putting them on my GoodReads shelves in case you were thinking of being clever and sneakily looking there) until way after the eight winners are announced. If I have read some and reviewed them already then oops, I didn’t know. So it might mean the blog lessens its review content over the next few months. That said I have a backlog of twenty something reviews so that should keep us all going for a while. But also with lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of reading ahead I might not have so much time to blog. I have already planned to get up and hour earlier to read, then read at lunchtime and do nothing else when I get home and probably stay up later in my last month at my day job, then I can just read, read, read. I did think though, once the process is finished I will probably have a whole years worth of reviews to bombard you with!

Anyway, I am ridiculously excited and wanted to share it with you now I am allowed! I, quite literally, cannot wait to get reading, I feel like my eyes are going to be opened to lots and lots of wonderful new reads, which will probably make judging and whittling down really tough but let’s not think about that yet…

8 Comments

Filed under Fiction Uncovered

The Shadows in the Street – Susan Hill

I mentioned in passing the other day the fact I sadly still have yet to meet Susan Hill who, no pressure, is one of my favourite living writers. I am still waiting for the afternoon tea we once discussed (see comments here). Anyway, it was not seeing her that reminded me I hadn’t reviewed The Shadows in the Streets, the fifth in her Simon Serrailler series which I am devouring slowly as I don’t want them to run out. Susan Hill is one of those authors who seem to be able to turn her hand to any genre, and in her crime novels have become one of my favourites, even if we did have a few bumpy starts, and this was no exception to the rule.

Vintage Books, paperback, 2011, fiction, 384 pages, kindly sent by the publisher

Lafferton is a city in which the levels of prostitution have been rising. This has not gone unnoticed by the people of the city especially as the girls seem to be grouping closer and closer to the centre of town, possibly due to a rise in younger girls who may have been trafficked in. One person has noticed this in particular and has decided to take advantage of the seeming abundance of women, buy killing them. Initially what seems to be a one off incident is followed by another and it seems Lafferton has a serial killer on its hands, yet it’s most esteemed (well in some circles) Detective, Simon Serrailler, is getting away from it all in the tranquillity of a Scottish island, his peace and quiet is soon to be shattered.

Prostitution and trafficking are two very tricky subjects to handle by any author. There is the danger of adding a moral compass to the subject or in some cases preach about it. Initially I was slightly worried that this may go down that route as Hill introduces a new Dean at Lafferton Cathedral along with his wife, who seems to have some very moralistic opinions of the work of these girls and their effect on the city’s image, I needn’t have feared though. We soon see through Cat Deerbon, the local GP and Simon’s sister, that this woman is not what Lafferton, its cathedral or people want as some kind of pompous vigilante.

In fact The Shadows in the Street really looks at the reasons behind why these women are prostituting through some of its characters. Yes, some of them are doing it for the next fix of a drug, which is often seen as one of the stereotypes, yet why have they got into a situation where they are dependent on drugs? Some of these women end up doing it in the hope for a better life be it through choice, or in some cases not. We see these women’s plight and how some of them manage to gain power and independence through it, whilst some end in a spiralling situation. In every case these are not just nameless one dimensional prostitutes, just as they are one just faceless victims of a murder, these women have their own stories and we empathise with their situation. I found this an incredibly powerful aspect of the novel.

Someone had left a newspaper on the bench. There was a photo of the girl in the green jacket. Missing Prostitute Chantelle Buckley, 17.
Abi looked away. Why did they have to do that? She wasn’t a prostitute first, she was a girl, just a girl, no need to label her. Would they do that to her? Abi Righton, 23, prostitute. She shook her head to clear the words out of it. That wasn’t her, she was Abi Righton, mother of two, Abi Righton any bloody thing, and the same with Chantelle, same with Hayles, same with Marie. Just people.

Of course this is a thriller and designed to be devoured and read addictively offering escapism and chills and thrills. Fret not, if you are worried this is all sounding too heavy, as Susan Hill also provides all these elements, as well as a thought provoking read at the same time. Firstly I should say that I had absolutely no idea who the killer was until just before the very end (just when Hill wanted me to I suspect) when it dawned on me and due to what was going on in the book, which of course I won’t spoil, I got that really sick worried feeling. I was that engrossed. Indeed I was engrossed throughout as Susan Hill seems to know how to make the chapters just the right length and have just the cliff hanger ending that you find yourself saying ‘oh just one more chapter then’ until the whole book is finished. Secondly she also has an incredible power to make a book ever so creepy, as those of you who have read her ghost stories will know, and uses this to great effect to rack up the tension in her thrillers.

He had not overtaken her, he was not someone making quickly for home, with no interest in her. He was there, keeping behind, and nobody else was in sight or earshot. To her left reared up the dark outline of the Hill; to her right, the railings of the park. Houses were on the far side of that – she could not even see any lights, people had gone to bed by now.
She prayed for someone to drive by, for the gnat whine of the scooter, a late-night van, even a police patrol, even just one person walking a dog last thing.
But there was no one, except whoever was now a couple of yards behind her and closing in. She could hear breathing, a soft pant, in and out, in and out. Quiet footsteps. Marie broke into a run. The footsteps behind her quickened too.

The other element I like in the Simon Serrailler series, apart from the lead obviously though he wasn’t in this one that much to be honest, is the way I have come to know his family. I have followed them as relationships have created stronger bonds or had them broken, I have followed births and deaths, love and grief. Not to spoil anything for anyone who might want to start at the beginning (which you will want to do if you are anything like me and need order in your life where you can get it) but in this series how one character deals with grief and how a new incoming member of the family tries to bring two members back together very touching. It adds another level to the series I think.

I really enjoyed The Shadow in the Streets and once again Susan Hill has proved that the Simon Serrailler (who of course is another Simon S so I am bound to like him) series is one which has both those brilliant elements of being gripping and being thought provoking. I am a huge fan of Susan Hill in whatever genre she writes, I do think that with her crime novels we get the best of her literary writing and character driven plots as well as the dark and gothic chilling tones of her ghost stories, a perfect combination.

I am now very keen to read The Betrayal of Trust and see what happens next in Lafferton, before that though I am being very brave and bringing Susan’s modern classic I’m The King of the Castle as my choice for the final episode of the first series of Hear Read This next month, eek – will my co-hosts like it? Will I? Back to Lafferton though, who else is a big fan of the Simon Serrailler series? Who has yet to try it and have I tempted you?

2 Comments

Filed under Review, Susan Hill, Vintage Books

London Diary #3 – The Folio & House of Illustration Prize

This is going to sound ruder than its meant; sometimes emails arrive in the Savidge Reads inbox and the initial excitement is almost imminently met with gloom. I am talking about the moment a really wonderful and exciting email arrives inviting me to something bookish and fabulous and I can’t go. Normally this is because they are in London on a working day and if by some miracle I could get the day off, the train fare down is ludicrous unless several weeks/months in advance. So imagine my joy when an invite to the Book Illustration Competition Awards arrived and I was already going to be in London. This was made all the better that it was from the lovely folks at the Folio Society who make all those gorgeous editions of books for their forthcoming Ghost Stories collection, which I am going to have to get, along with The House of Illustration! How could I say no? Especially when I was allowed a plus one, and so took a friendly face you might recognise…

IMG_0921

Yes, that is Polly, my best friend of almost thirty years (I know, we look so young don’t we) and former blogger of Novel Insights, which she won’t bring back no matter how many times I beg. She was the perfect person to have a good old gossip with over a class or two of sparkly whilst we had a look at all the long listed submissions on display in the House of Illustration’s gallery (I did have pictures but they all came out blurred or reflecting the crowd/my fizzog) and at some of the past winners of the awards…

IMG_0919

Soon the lights went down and it was time to get ready to announce the shortlisted authors which was meant to be done by the one and only Susan Hill but who alas couldn’t make it. I was momentarily bereft, more champagne helped…

IMG_0923

Anyway the short listed illustrators were Carrie May, Emma Buckley, Charlie Dixon, Jamie Clarke and Imogen Clifton. You can see examples of their work here along with the winner. Then it was time for the winner to be announced…

IMG_0927

And the winner was David McConochie! Once again, as with the other event I went to in the last week, it is me taking pictures of silhouetted people…

IMG_0929

As you can see his works are brilliantly spooky, capturing the essence of the gothic and the ghostly, it is also very varied…

IMG_0930

This was my favourite one…

IMG_0928

Something very sensation novel and Victorian about it. In fact I would quite like a portrait in this style of myself, just putting that out there. A huge congratulations to all the illustrators, as I am sure Polly would concur their art work was all marvellous and must have made it a very, very difficult job for the judges. I can’t wait to see the finished product when it comes out and will be purchasing a copy. I actually had a look through their catalogue on the way home and could frankly have the whole lot in my house… maybe one day when I have that stately home with its own library wing?!? I also need to return to the House of Illustration and have another wander when I am next in London.

Do you have any Folio Society editions and if so which ones? Also, I would love to know which Ghost Stories you would include in an anthology… I thought I would have loads and I don’t, which is odd as in my head I love them. I seem to have more novels, like The Woman in Black by the aforementioned Susan Hill, who I will meet one day – I will, I will, I will!

3 Comments

Filed under Random Savidgeness

London Diary #2 – Foyles Fills Me With Excitement

So one of the meetings that I had booked for my trip to London was to meet with the lovely folk at Foyles. I have shared my love of Foyles, and indeed their new flagship store, with you before on the blog. One of the reasons I was meeting them was to discuss the plans for the second year of partnership with The Green Carnation Prize in 2015, already it looks like the prize will have another exciting year ahead and (without spoilers) it might be a bit edgier this year, so watch this space. I was also there to discuss something else which I have been floating ideas about with them since last autumn and, though I can’t tell you everything about it yet, they have agreed to let me curate a week long festival in their flagship store over the summer. I can’t quite believe they have said yes, but they have…

IMG_0911

Now obviously I have to go into major planning mode, without being funny what could be more fun for a complete book geek than planning a book festival? I have lots and lots of idea’s and once things are all more formalised, shaped and sorted I will share more with you. I am really excited about this summer, with this news and some very exciting news I will be sharing next week about something else I am doing over the next months I think it is going to be booking brilliant!

8 Comments

Filed under Random Savidgeness