Simon’s Bookish Bits #14

You might be wondering why I have jumped from Simon’s Bookish Bits #12 to Simon’s Bookish Bits #14 and its because I am a little bit (or even a lot some might say) supersticious and suspicious about the number that falls between the two. But hey, its another random fact about me that you now know. Oddly that sort of ties in with the first thing I want to talk to you about and ask you help with and that is to do with these two books…

As some of you might know I volunteer for the wonderful Highgate Cemetery and am currently in the midst of my training to be a tour guide and so I want to have lots of nuggets of information of the whole place and the practices just in case. So naturally I am really keen to try and get my hands on a copy of ‘Highgate Cemetery: Victorian Valhalla’ by John Gay and Felix Barker as well as ‘The Victorian Celebration of Death’  by James Stevens Curl.  These fit the bill delightfully and actually the former has been offered to me on loan by one of the guides… me being me I want my own. So I went for a hunt down a certain shopping river but the prices on were really quite expensive (I won’t be buying them I am seeing if someone lovely I know will buy me a copy of each for my Birthday – which is Wednesday). I am hopeless at knowing other good sites to get them from so I wondered if you could hunt any copies down and email me if you find some links of places where they are more reasonable? A random request I know, but one I would most appreciate your help with, so thats mission one for you today.

Now for a book for you, just who was it who won a copy of ‘Solar’ by Ian McEwan? Well that lucky person would be Sandy! Sandy do drop me an email with your address and the publishers will be winging a book to you that looks very like this one (I like to think it says ‘To Simon, Love Ian’ but I think its just ‘To Simon, Ian McEwan’ you can make your mind up hahaha). If you still want a copy do pop over here where Lizzy is giving a signed copy away too!

That picture was taken from an event I went to on Thursday night with Polly of Novel Insights, in fact you should pop and see her post on it rather than have me prattle on about it. It was a delightfully interesting evening and I can announce that ‘Atonement – The Opera’ is now being planned for 2013. Should be interesting. McEwan was very entertaining, however when Polly and I got to meet him we both went a bit hysterical, you could say we went back to being 5 again. Like this in fact…

Savidge Reads and Novel Insights (aged 5)

Yes thats really us. Do pop and see her thoughts on the evening. I am doing more bookish meets of sorts in the forthcoming day. In fact if some of you are reading this late in the morning I will be having coffee and goodies with Elaine from Random Jottings at this very moment and then on Tuesday I am off to see David Vann with Kimbofo! Phew and on my birthday something else bookish is going on plus throw in the latest NTTVBG meeting on Sunday… It’s going to be a busy bookish few days, I cant wait!

What about you? Off to do anything bookish over the next few days? Got any author events on the horizon? Whats being read by you all at the moment?


Filed under Book Thoughts, Simon's Bookish Bits

28 responses to “Simon’s Bookish Bits #14

  1. winstonsdad

    i should imagime getting chance to work at highgate is exciting so much history and a magical place .not sure what mcewan wrote seems to short to be ian

  2. So sad I didn’t win Solar! I have a copy of The Victorian Celebration of Death…if you want to borrow it, let me know! I bought it a few years ago when it was still in print.

    • Sorry Rachel, there was quite a response to it so the odds were smaller on this one with some other awards, mind you I am sure now you are possibly almost in south africa when I type this you will have not been disheartened for too long. I am most envious of your trip.

  3. I love the photo of you as children! Very cute!

  4. Aw that picture is great! Oo volunteering at Highgate Cemetery sounds so interesting, I’m currently applying to be a volunteer at my town’s castle 🙂

  5. Huh, that’s crazy, I never knew that there was a Highgate Cemetery and that it looks so interesting to visit. It’s really close to me, although I’ve never actually been to Highgate, so I’ll have to swing by at some point.

    Book-wise, Abe Books is usually my first port of call, but they seem to have failed a bit on this front.

    You can get the James Stevens Curl book for £18 inc. postage (from Germany) there, but that might still be a bit pricey. 😦

    It might be worth calling Blackwell’s at Charing Cross Road and seeing if they are able to print them for you with the Book Espresso machine?

    • You should definitley go and visit if its near by and you havent yet, you never know you might just see a certain Savidge around and about.

      £18 does seem a little pricey, but then I won’t be buying it hee hee hee.

      These book espresso machines… I am just not convinced you know.

      • The Book Espresso machines are ever so much fun to play with, though! The one I used in Blackwell’s is all transparent so that you can see the workings of the machine as it prints the book, and it’s better than TV. There’s printing and cutting and at the end it all comes out in a big “whoosh”. Pretty cool.

        I think it has great value in terms of making ‘out of print’ books – some of which certainly do not deserve to be out of print! – more accessible for the general reader.

        And technologically speaking, they really are pretty cool. I do grant you that the name stinks; partly because it feels too commodification-y for my liking, and partly because I really dislike coffee. Still. Cool.

      • I might give one a go though actually I cant until 2011 as I am not allowing myself to buy books this year (and so far so very good and almost too easy) but I might go and see this cappucino/latte book thing do its magic hee hee.

  6. I keep meaning to go to Highgate for a tour but I’ve been meaning to go for the past few years ever since I read ‘Necropolis: London and Its Dead
    by Catharine Arnold.

    You might have luck from this site for your books – that site can normally find anything

    • I have Necropolis and its on my never ending list of books to read, funny how this lengthly list of books is always intended to ‘be read next week’ and yet reaches about 20 titles… as if!

  7. Well, I love Highgate Cemetery and the whole Magnificent Seven, which I think I’ve told you before, but I can’t help you on the book front. For secondhand books I usually try or

    I love that piccie of you and Polly; neither of you have changed a bit! 😉 Very sweet.

    • You have indeed, in fact it was on your advice I went to Kensal which is amazing but lacks the atmosphere of Highgate for me. I need to pop to Highgate’s sister cemetery soon (oh dear the name has escaped me – thats not a good sign) but I want to have ventured into them all eventually.

      Am sure Polly hasnt changed, my face has morphed… honestly, you can’t quite tell from that picture. I do still occasionally wear my coat as a Batman cape after one or two too many Ribena’s though.

  8. Fun fun fun. Neat picture – how great that you two are still friends.

    Author events – I am so excited because my university has a lecture series that I am heading up this semester. Who is coming? SARAH VOWELL. I’ve been working so hard on all aspects of the lecture and the reception and am just so pumped about her coming to Texas.

  9. Isabel

    i am taking 1/2 day vacation on Friday to hear David Eggers at the Tenn. Williams Festival.

    If I can get tickets, I will also be attending the St. Louis no 2 Cemetery Tour on Saturday.

    Good luck on becoming the tour guide!!

    • Oooh I imagine that Eggers will be very interesting to hear speak, especially as his new book (which I thought I didnt want to read and now do) sounds very intriguing dark and most concerning of all, very real.

  10. mee

    You guys looked so cute. Are you two childhood friends or brother and sister?

  11. Sorry, I can’t help you find the book. But I did want to say how much my husband and I loved Highgate Cemetary.

    We took Roger Ebert’s book “The Best London Walk” or something like that, along with us on our big trip to England. The walk is delightful, lots of stops for pastries and drinks along the way. It crosses Hampstead Heath, meanders around the neightborhood and ends up in Highgate Cemetary.

    It’s hard to find a copy of thesedays, but well worth it if you do.

    • Ooh thats interesting, just out of curiosity when was it that you did that walk? It would be interesting to know as so much has changed around there in a relatively small time.

  12. novelinsights

    I love this picture so much. Very happy memories, and glad we can continue to make more!!

  13. HI Simon,

    We’ve not seen you back at the cemetery in years…. how come you quit?


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