Simon’s Saturday Salon… Or Bookish Bits

This is something a little bit different for the blog which I thought might be fun. I have seen on various people’s blogs such as Stuck-in-a-Book who does weekly miscellany posts with links they have liked and other bookish bits and so I thought well why not? I also thought I could throw in some questions for you all. The first question I think I should ask you all is whether you prefer Simon’s Saturday Salon or Simon’s Bookish Bits, your choice shall be what this feature becomes.

This feature might become a weekly thing; it might become something I do once a month one a year who knows let’s just see how we go for now. As with reading it seems nicer to do things on a whim rather than to plan things for weeks to come. After a rather awful case of book burn out/readers block I am back to reading on whims it’s the only way. Mind you having to read the latest book group choice pushed me through it. You can see what the latest book that Linda chose was on the Book Group page.

Do any of you do podcasts, I dont mean do you make your own. I wish I could I would love that. A weekly Simon Says can you imagine… ok back to earth now. If you do enjoy a podcast then my podcast of the week has to be the BBC’s National Short Story Award podcasts where you can get them all for free!

The one book I am racing through at the moment is Small Island by Andrea Levy. I think I might just be one of the last people on earth to have read this book. I simply have to finish it by 9pm Sunday night as its on the BBC and I cant watch it and then read it, never have been able to never will. You can see the trailer here and I think it will be available on BBC iPlayer afterwards, I think its going to be a not to be missed drama. So this has been my favourite book this week what has yours been?

Oh and speaking of youtube links… are you looking for the perfect Christmas book? Then what about a slightly twisted and comic collection from the wonderful Augusten Burroughs? You can see all here. It’s one that I want quite badly, even the book cover makes me really, really giggle! I am quite a fan of Augusten Burroughs work and know that these tales will have me giggling throughout the festive season! If you haven’t already read Burroughs and in particular ‘Running With Scissors’ then you absolutely must. It’s heartbreaking and heartbreakingly funny all in one go. What books are you hoping Santa brings you this year?

Now I have to tell you all something shocking next and I don’t know how to do this. I have been out to a book shop. Not just any book shop, this is a shop Simon T of Stuck-in-a-Book told me about that rivals my 5 for £2 shop in Notting Hill. I decided that now the book ban has been lifted I would have a mooch and so I mooched through the first room…

And mooched through the second room…

And mooched through the third room…

And what did I leave with, how many books did this book addict walk away with… None, absolutely nothing! I think I might be ill. Mind you its probably for the best as my TBR is out of control. The lovely Kimbofo has been sorting her TBR pile out and has listed what she has. I am so nosey I loved this post. I then thought ‘oh maybe I should have a go’ however the shame of listing all 793 books I have on my TBR piles/shelves and in my TBR boxes is too shameful to share I think. Maybe one it decreases? Maybe!

I really must dash as I have to pick a very special someone up from St Pancras Station today; can you guess who it is? That’s right Granny (though she hates that term its ‘Gran’) Savidge Reads is coming to stay for a while. I have a shift at Highgate and then I will be picking her up and we have a rather hectic London itinerary which she knows nothing about yet. I shall of course report back. I did wonder though if you would all enjoy a bookish interview with Granny Savidge Reads? It would be a bit like a Savidge Reads Grills though instead of an author I could interview my Gran about ‘the life of a reader’ at 68 she has been reading quite sometime and am sure has anecdotes and novel tales aplenty. So what would you like me to ask her?

Blimey you do have a lot to answer today. What do you prefer Simon’s Saturday Salon or Simon’s Bookish Bits for this feature title? What’s the best book you have read of late? Last but certainly not least… what would you really like to ask Granny Savidge Reads, though remembering to respect your elders of course, about a literary loving life?


Filed under Andrea Levy, Augusten Burroughs, Book Thoughts, Simon's Bookish Bits

29 responses to “Simon’s Saturday Salon… Or Bookish Bits

  1. ooh yes, what a lot of questions! I like Simon’s Bookish Bits best. There seems to be a lot of weekly blog things with ‘Salon’ in the title so I think the ‘Bits’ one is more original.

    I’d love to read an interview with your granny. I think it would be interesting for her to list the 15 books that have stayed with her. I always interpret this list to mean books that are not necessarily your favourites but books that have stayed unforgettable.

    My best book this week. …well, I’m still in the middle of the Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley and I’m love, loving it. Love the character of Flavia.

    • I think maybe I over did it with questions, I call its first bookish bit excitment it’ll wear off, actually knowing me it probably won’t!

      The Gran is now officially here and is looking forward to being grilled. She even started trying to get me to do it in the British Library Cafe. I told her it wasnt for now.

      Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is amazing. I am getting very excited about the sequel which have been promised an advance of in the new year!

  2. I prefer Bookish Bits too.

    I’ve started the Girl with Glass Feet and after 4 chapters am loving it already. There’s a feel of the Shipping News about it with the odd little community within …

    I’d like to ask your Granny how she gets on with contemporary literature – My Mum (78) reads many of the books I read, but always comments about the bad language and so on …

    • Oh I am soooooooooooooooooo jealous. I have been wanting to read The Girl With The Glass Feet for ages, lucky you! I havent tried the Shipping News is it any good?

      • The Shipping News is possibly my favourite book ever. Quirky characters, a remote coastal setting in Newfoundland where everyone knows each others business – but there is space in the remoteness. Quoyle, who is retreating from the city, has to find a way to fit in. Classic themes lovingly created, and each chapter prefaced with a different fisherman’s knot.

      • Oh that does sound interesting. I have always wondered if I might like it, but then again have always seen books with the film cover which I refuse to buy! I am going to have to give this a go though.

  3. I love this post, Simon! I’m with The Literary Stew and Annabel – I prefer Bookish Bits. There’s already a Sunday Salon, so it might confuse some people — well, it’d confuse me anyway.

    Thanks for linking to my TBR post… In the past week I’ve acquired 8 more books without even trying… mind you they have been gifts / review copies so I haven’t actually spent any money.

    Yes, please “grill” your gran. A couple of questions I’d like to know is, how have her reading tastes changed over the years? I know that the stuff I’m reading now in my 40s (shudder, am I really that old??) is not the same stuff I read in my 20s, and likewise, should I be lucky enough to reach my 60s, I assume the books I read then will be different to what I read now. Also, are there any books that changed her life, or made her change the way she looked at the world?

    • Bookish Bits it is and already have few things for next week so it could become a regular, glad you like it. The whole Salon thing confuses me full stop, it makes me think of hairdressers.

      I have funnily enough aquired more books too! An additional twelve which were mainly publishers. There was the book group secret santa and also a read it swap it! My post finally seems to be arriving, Gran was most jealous by the packages awaiting me from the postman.

      I have written all your questions down, think she is going to absolutely revel in it.

  4. PS>> I’m really impressed you mooched through an entire bookshop without buying anything!

    • I didnt and in fact have only bought one book of late. And one with a valid reason… Which was a copy of Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop from the 70’s Penguin series which I collect and all for £1. I will also have to buy book group book at some point… unless I can get the Converted One to… big hints may need to be dropped!

  5. sandynawrot

    Too many questions? My mind can only hold a couple then it forgets. Anyway, I vote for the Bookish Bits, limited to three questions please. Yes yes absolutely I want to hear from Gran. I like her even though I’ve not met her. Does she need a maid yet? I’m for hire. No you are not the last person to read Small Island, I am. I don’t necessarily need books this year, but really want Amazon gift cards so I can shop for books on my Kindle whilst sitting and drinking wine.

    • Was that too many, sorry Sandy. I think got a bit too into the bookish moment.

      I’ll mention your offer fo being a maid and see what she says. I think shes a woman who likes her own levels of clean though and thats that hahaha.

      I am going to ask my Gran her opinion on the kindle… you might not like her so much after that hahaha.

  6. Bet

    I prefer Bookish Bits as well. And I would love to hear from your Gran. The previous posters have excellent questions for her– I am not quite done with my second cup of coffee, so I can’t come up with anything. 😉

  7. I don’t make podcasts, just the very occasional video for my own blog, but I’ve become hooked on listening to short story podcasts. I can’t seem to make it through an entire audio book lately, but the short story podcasts are just perfect. They last just about the length of one commute.

    I’m off to check out the BBC podcast you mentioned.

    • I have seen you fab vids as Dakota once picked me… in fact its shameful I have not read that book yet, am very sorry.

      The podcasts are great in fact the BBC have a few. Book time (or some such title) with Simon Mayo is good, so is Guardian books and BBC worldwide book club… oh and of course the wonderful Open Book!

  8. You bought none! At 50p each! Simon! I am all astonishment, as Lizzy Bennett once said.


  9. I prefer Bookish Bits too. The Sunday Salon is an established weekly event that many bloggers use to discuss bookish related matters and/or recount their reading/blogging week. As for the word, salon is french for ‘large room’ and has come to take on the meaning of any meeting in a large room; in the modernist period there were many literary salons (meetings) in France between the literary stars of the time.

    You reminded me about the Small Island adaptation; I’d love to see but you aren’t the last person to have read it – I am!

    I am very impressed at your restraint in the Notting Hill secondhand book shop; I have been resisting visiting but now I am itching with curiosity for a close-up of those Viragoes in the first photo!!!

    My favourite book this week has been Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri.

    • Oh no I get the salon thing I go to two in London each month have just always found the word funny as takes me back to my hairdressing days.

      Small Island am loving and am hoping have now read past the first of the two parts of the drama so nothing gets spoiled.

      The Notting Hill shop is good, dont get me wrong I just didnt seem to be unable to contain myself like normal ha!

      I have some Lahiri to read soon, am much looking forward to it.

  10. lizzysiddal

    My vote’s goes to “Bookish Bits” also. The other one is far too close to Sunday Salon for comfort.

    As for your restraint in the bookshop, are you seriously telling me that they didn’t even have a copy of “The Tin Drum”? 🙂

  11. I like Bookish Bits! It’s much more you, I think. And I can’t believe you didn’t get anything from the bookshop. Did you give yourself enough time?

    My favourite recent read out of quite a few is George R.R. Martin’s ‘A Game of Thrones’.

    And finally, I can’t wait to read your Gran’s interview. She sounds very cool.

    • Gran will be doing her interview on Wednesday morning so you will all get to see it on Thursday when sadly she will have gone back up north.

      I havent heard of A Game of Thrones.

      As for the book shop… I was in there for about an hour, nothing grabbed me.

  12. Bellezza

    You have admirable self control for walking away from that fascinating book store with nothing! I’d love to peruse it, myself, but I probably wouldn’t be as good as you are. I can’t even leave a lipstick counter without a new one, as if I don’t have enough red in my drawer already…let alone enough books in my stack as yet unread.

    I read Running With Scissors which I quite enjoyed, better than Dry which was the last I read. I have to admit, You Better Not Cry does have a titillating cover, causing spontaneous laughter, but I haven’t read it. My son loved the film of Running With Scissors, and I told him he should read the book because books are always better than the film. Always!

    • Running With Scissors is great, I didnt like the film quite so much. I have enjoyed all of his books so far but do think Running With Scissors is my fav as yet.

      The book shop had lots, I just wasnt inspired, am a bit worried for myself.

  13. Pingback: Gran Needs Your Book Thoughts… « Savidge Reads

  14. I forgot to leave a question for ‘Gran” Savidge! Mine is what is her favourite bookish memory?

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