Monthly Archives: July 2009

Call Me By Your Name – Andre Aciman

One of the things that I love about where I work, though sadly only for another month or so, is that the team I am on all love books. They are very much into not only sharing their books (I have a lovely pile of doubled copies for them) they also love to talk about books. So when one of them asked me if I had read ‘Call Me By Your Name’ by Andre Aciman and raved about it as one of the ‘most beautifully written books I have ever read but also one of the most graphically shocking’ I whizzed it up my TBR. Atlantic Books had actually sent me this a while ago and I hadn’t gotten round to reading it, this of course has changed.

Told by Elio, the son of an academic in the 1980’s in the Italian Riviera, this is a tale of love that shouldn’t be and obsession. When Elio’s father takes on a house guest and ‘summer helper’ seventeen year old Elio falls head over heels in love. However his father’s house guest is Oliver, a dark moody and secretive character who seems only to despise Elio. There is also the fact that Oliver is a man and therefore the attraction that Elio feels shouldn’t really be. 

It’s very difficult to say more without giving the plot away, I shall say that what follows is a tale of fascination and desire that threatens to overwhelm them both and take them on a journey that will change their lives forever. Aciman holds you in suspense as to what might happen for pages and pages and the prose is utterly taught and utterly beautiful. I don’t think that I have read such beautifully written and composed prose in a very, very long time.

Though in some ways it discusses the confused emotions of Elio, and in some ways second hand from Oliver’s perspective, over and over again it never feels repetitive even as Elio obsesses for almost 150 pages and nothing really happens you are still riveted by it. When something does happen between the lovers it is quite graphic and quite intense and definitely not for the faint hearted or those of you who may be of a delicate or slightly prudish disposition. Though actually I hope in this day and age there aren’t many of those readers out there. Read it for the prose and the love story.

Also read it for the ending as not only is it not what you expect at all, I can imagine a film of this must be in the making at the moment as I would imagine there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house. There is also one scene between Elio and his father which has touched me more than anything I have read in months and months, possibly even this year.

I don’t often demand that people read a book this is one book that I urge people to read. I honestly haven’t read anything so taught with emotions and complex feelings in a long, long time and that from me is seriously saying something. I know my review didn’t give very much away as to how the book unfolds or what happens but to tell you that would mean you didn’t have to read it and you do. The blurb says that ‘the six weeks together will prove to be an experience that will mark them both for a lifetime’ and I think the same could be said for anyone who has read this book.

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Filed under Andre Aciman, Atlantic Books, Books of 2009, Review

You Know Who You’re Flu Friends Are

Fingers crossed you will see the picture with this blog as having so much time in swine-flu isolation I have worked out how to add them with blackberry which should make the blog a little more colourful and means I can put more up from my sick bed!!

So yes, I still have the bug of 2009 (I feel so on trend) its not as bad as the press are making out but its really horrid, like flu but more so and your whole body is affected in some way. Now here comes some of my caring advice for those who havent had it… Please, please, please orgainise flu friends. I couldn’t have coped without mine. Who would have got my Tamiflu as ‘The Converted One’ (who has miraculously not caught it) works outside chemist times, well the only chemist in South London who is prescribing it. Thankfully I have to close mates down the road who got that for me, which has made things slightly better but slightly worse.

Anyway back to things to do with literarure enough about me and my illness. One of my lovely ‘flu-friends’ dropped a delightful parcel through the post for me as they knew I was having trouble reading… I completely missed ‘Lost in Austen’ when it was on ITV early this year and have to admit that I thought that really it was going to be a sagreligious show that I wouldnt like and so popped it in the DVD slightly begrudingly! However before I knew it three episodes had been and gone and so had three hours of feeling rubbish. I almost slipped the second DVD in straight away however like all good things I have decided to treat myself to this sparingly as it seems to be one of the only enjoyable things whilst feeling this rubbish!

I am completely hooked and am so desperate for everything to get sorted (I don’t want to spoil the plot for anyone). Have any of you seen it? What did you think? Do let me know… though don’t give anything away!

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Preferences

Today’s Booking Through Thursday blog is perfect for me in my current state (see below) as its fast and furious and I can do it quickly mid-recovery sleeps and also gives me something to keep my mind busy! Its quick fire questions this week which are…
Reading something frivolous? Or something serious?
Paperbacks? Or hardcovers?
Fiction? Or Nonfiction?
Poetry? Or Prose?
Biographies? Or Autobiographies?
History? Or Historical Fiction?
Series? Or Stand-alones?
Classics? Or best-sellers?
Lurid, fruity prose? Or straight-forward, basic prose?
Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness?
Long books? Or Short?
Illustrated? Or Non-illustrated?
Borrowed? Or Owned?
New? Or Used?

My answers are that I like a serious book which can have frivolous moments! I prefer paperbacks for space but despite hating hardbacks at one pont I now think they are quite luxurious if slightly heavy and cumbersome. On the whole I choose fiction over anything else non-fiction or prose. I don’t read any poetry which is quite sad as I feel am missing out on something. Non-fiction needs to grab me instantly or I struggle like with history books I tend to find the author is just showing how clever they are and alienating the reader so I would rather read historical fictioin for the main. I like a well done series as well as stand alone books, if you have a group of wonderful characters in a stand alone you sometimes wish they would come back, I have to read a series in order though. I don’t like lurid prose – don’t mind flowery but prefer something fairly direct. I need to read more classics its something lacking in my reading habits, I won’t read a bestseller just because its a best seller, any book I read needs to be a “me” book. I like short books over long as you can read more books that way ha! Illustrations can be nice like in Sherlock Holmes, I haven’t got into grahic books yet. I don’t like borrowing books I like books to be mine is that wrong? I love new books if I am buying something new it has to be pristine! If its old I tend toi like it either looking very new, be something rare or have a fabulous retro cover, or simply look well loved. There is a fine line between well loved and chucked about.

That’s me all done, what a great way to get to know each other better and what our reading habits are, what are yours?

P.S sorry no pics and links my blackberry as still no internet at home (which would be so nice as am so ill) and Blackberry won’t do those things, or let me comment on any of your blogspot blogs which is most annoying!

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Books For When You’re Sick…

It appears the Savidge Reads has swine flu so I may be bit ropey at blogging as have only my Blackberry and am planning on doing lots of sleeping!
In the mean time do keep on giving me your feedback (scroll down) and letting me know what your top reads are (see yesterdays blog)!

Most importantly could you leave recommendations for the perfect books when you are under the weather! Something that’s quite an easy read yet one I could get very lost in would be nice, I need your advice a bit like a book version of NHS Direct!

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The Reader’s Table

I mentioned a while ago that whilst I was milling in Waterstones I happened upon  a table filled with an authors favourite books. The Waterstone’s Writers Table is a great idea, have a very popular author who many people love to read telling you what their favourite reads. Well it works if you love the author and so far the ones they have chosen apart from Philip Pullman I havent read a word of but I feel I would love Faulks and Mosse should I read them.

I then had the thought that a writers table is great, but wouldn’t a readers table in a bookshop be great? Well I decided that I rather than just start rearranging a display in Waterstones there and then I would go home and think about my forty favourite reads of all time and then make an all new page on the blog so you can see them. And I have almost done it…

You see forty books is actually much harder than you think and after hours and hours of listing I came up with 24, then I went away from it and came back with 57. I started whittling this down until I came up with around 43 considered 37 of which where definates leaving six of them are fighting as to which will make it into the final three. Well tha battle is still on and so am leaving it for a few days but leaving you with my Top 20 as it stands today and you can find them here.

The top ten was really, really easy… in fact actually the top fifteen was really easy then then it gets harder and harder. Which was my favourite? Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier of course though it was a close fight to the death between that and Wilkie Collin’s ‘The Woman in White’. There is another thing that has come out of this delightful little excercise and that is the desire to re-read quite a lot of my favourites. Rebecca, The Woman in White and The Time Travellers Wife all may have to go back onto my TBR in the neare future. Is this something that any of you ever do at all?

I also noticed that despite having written some of my favourite books I have never read another book by some of the authors in the top 20 let alone the top 40. Obviously some of them have only written one book, however I definately need to read more Wilkie Collins (I am desperate to try ‘Armadale’ and may now have to treat myself as have more long train journeys this weekend to see my mother and my Gran), John Boyne, Evelyn Waugh and Cormac McCarthy. I am also aware I need to read a lot more classics as I think this will change the list, which is a constant everchanging work in progress.

If any of you want to do your own ‘Readers Table’ page do let me know, and do say where you saw it hahaha! So which books would you have in your top twenty? Can you guess what might make it in my my top 40 – 21? i look forward to your thoughts and hope you like the new page!

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Frank McCourt 1930 – 2009

The sad news was announced this morning that the Pulitzer prize winning author Frank McCourt has passed away. I always think when an author dies what stories we might have missed from them and what there next book would be.

If it is an author that I haven’t read before such as Frank McCourt I then of course wonder what I have been missing out on and now think that I should get a copy of ‘Angela’s Ashes’ and read the work of what sounds like a brilliant author who is sadly no longer with us. Because of this mornings news I have decided to hold of the new page launch until tomorrow, its doesn’t seem quite right to have a blog party.

Have you read any of Frank McCourt’s books, where would you recommend I start? What is his style and which other books apart from the incredibly well known ‘Angela’s Ashes’ would you recommend and why?

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Your Turn To Review…

As I am internet-less for a weekend and actually want to embrace it, for a day at least, here is a blog I made earlier! I thought that this would be a good time for me to do something a bit different and Dovegreyreader did something slightly similar a while back (though she was lucky enough to be using it to speak at a festival, most envious) and I thought I would dare to give it a whirl. 

Normally you get to see my thoughts, reviews and feedback on the world of books. I have decided to switch it and let you have your say about Savidge Reads after all you are all the ones that come and visit and comment. So I have devised some questions for you to fill in and feedback to me via the comments. I will then take these away and see what changes can be made etc… 

  • How did you find Savidge Reads?
  • Why do you read it?
  • What makes you come back? 
  • What do you really like about Savidge Reads, what are your favourite things?
  • Have you bought anything or read anything for a Savidge Reads recommends?
  • What makes you want to comment and what doesn’t?
  • What about Savidge Reads don’t you like?
  • What could Savidge Reads do to improve?
  • If you were asked for three words to describe Savidge Reads what would they be?

For all of those who actually take time to do this (which I would be so, so, so, so grateful if you did) I was going to do a prize draw for a book that will relate to tomorrow’s blog and tomorrow’s all new shiny page (am quite excited if it turns out the way I have planned) but then ‘The Converted One’ said ‘if people want to fill it in let them fill it in, you shouldn’t bribe people’ and I had to agree actually. So if you would be kind enough to do this over the weekend I would be super douper thrilled, I can’t say anymore than that really!

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