Getting Ahead of Myself…

I can’t speak for everyone in the same position but recently when the doctors told me I had cancer I didn’t react like I thought I would. My initial reaction, after saying ‘oh bugger’ (which were my first two words), was ‘well I’ve blinking lots of things to do then haven’t I?’ Getting cross, reminiscing and resting were the last things on my mind but the first on everyone else’s.

Reading was the first thing that I concentrated on, shock horror, and what I am talking about on here today. The very idea that I have so many books at home,and so many out there, that I wanted to read and haven’t yet and possibly might not sent me into a complete panic. I also started to obsess over how diverse and well read I have been so far, more about that soon though.

I found myself reading two or three books a day and shutting the world out around them (this could also have been a coping mechanism to a degree), this has had it’s bonuses and it’s downfalls.

Subsequently I now have a silly amount of reviews waiting to be posted on the blog (particularly Orange longlisters). I have also interestingly found that scheduling and occasionally rearranging posts a much better way for me to review. I can have it scheduled and yet tweak it as the dust settles on my initial thoughts. I’m beginning to learn, after lots of years of reading, that time away from a book really helps just as much as how everything needs to be aligned when you read a book so does when you write about the reading experience, even when you love a book so much you’re desperate to tell the world.

The negative is that I suddenly got really bad book readers block and nothing old or current would do. So I’ve decided to get ahead of myself and read some of the books that people are expecting to be huge and I am really looking forward too (I’ve missed off the new Jane Harris as have just finished it).


No I won’t be able to talk about them just yet, but I’ll be able to think about them and read the new Alan Hollinghurst, Sebastian Barry, Ali Smith, Daphne Du Maurier collection etc, etc and have conversations to look forward to about them all in the future.


Filed under Book Thoughts

22 responses to “Getting Ahead of Myself…

  1. Chelsea

    I can’t imagine how I’d react to the C-word. But I imagine my thoughts would follow a similar pattern, or at least find a similar source of panic. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on what looks to be a wonderful stack of books!

    • Its weird, you dont react in the way you think you would I have to say.

      I am actually surprised that in a month I have managed three of those, I wouldnt have thought it would have been so many!

  2. I admire your drive, despite it all. Brings tears to my eyes anytime I hear that godawful “C” word. It’s so damn random, affecting people who don’t deserve it. I’m thinking of you, hoping all will be well. I don’t “know” you, but your blog posts mean so much. Consider yourself virtually hugged, and so many wishes for recovery are winging their way to you.

  3. Ti

    I can certainly understand the panic aspect. All I can say is that I’ve enjoyed your reviews and posts for quite some time and it’s been wonderful, getting to know you this way. I will continue to think positive thoughts for you.

    • Thanks very much Ti, I am finally having a mini hospital break and so am getting to respond to everyone slowly but surely. You’re comments and well wishes have meant a lot.

  4. Jo

    Positivity here and your coping mechanism sounds a good way. Though when you read so much, you sometimes hit that over read block!

    It normally does not last long, I hope you enjoy the new books that have been sent I will look forward to all your reviews however they are scheduled!

    • I did have a phase of feeling way, way, way over read. But it was the only constructive thing that I could think of to do. It did pass though and one of the books pictured above was the perfect, perfect cure (the Du Maurier).

  5. Do whatever makes you happy, Simon, and if that means “escaping” into a book or three then so be it. Spoil yourself by becoming immersed in great fiction and then tell us all about them! Being good to yourself is sometimes the best medicine, whatever the ailment.

  6. Hi Simon,

    Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your post today. Immersing yourself in books makes complete sense to me. Books can offer different thing at different times in our lives – they can provide new (and old) friends, cheer you up when you’re feeling down, offer you guidance/consolation, help you to appreciate those wonderful little everyday moments…

    What you said made me think of the bibliotherapy sessions The School of Life offer. I think the idea behind them is that they can give you a list of ‘book prescriptions’ which by reading them will hopefully help you at that time.

    With all the books you have been reading lately maybe you could put together a prescription or two…

    Sending you lots of good wishes for a very speedy recovery!


    • Thanks very much David, really nice comments and thoughts. I like the idea of the The School of Life reading only I bet if you put cancer in they send you lots of ‘stories of hope’ which are all well and good but when your living and breathing it you just want some escape, I will certainly have a gander though.

  7. Simon, I keep thinking about you and how bravely you are dealing with this. I am in awe. Whatever makes you happy is what is best for you right now and I look forward to many many great conversations in the distant and present futures about all the wonderful books you’ve read and will be reading.


    • Awww thanks Rachel, I don’t think its brave I think its more just getting up, dusting yourself off and getting on with it all really. I am very much a positive person so I think that helps too.

  8. ana

    So glad you have some really tempting reading to immerse yourself in and to tantalize your own readers!! Sounds as though you have indeed hit on the best medicine there. Soak up the virtual hugs and positive vibes from all of us as well!!

    • I do think that the reading I have had, well bar some of the dreadful Orange prize entrants (I’m a bit edgy today and rather blunt lol) helped through the book overload I had because I simply had to keep reading on!

  9. Jen

    Simon, I just want to add my positive thoughts to the well wishes above! We’re all pulling for you.

  10. Hello, I’ve dropped in after reading about Novel Insights visiting you. I wish I’d droppped in earlier – I love your blog and your taste in reading! I’ll definitely be back, especially to read more of your Orange Prize long listers.
    All the very, very best with your health. Take care and keep reading.

    • Hi Sam, thanks for popping by and lovely to see you have found Savidge Reads, also thank you for reminding me that while I have read all of the Orange longlisters I haven’t popped all my thoughts on them up yet. I must get around to it.

  11. Simon, I will think about you and your family. Reading is a good way to deal with the news. As long as you don’t read too many depressing novels, you will be OK.

    If you need any medical articles, just contact me. I work at a medical school library and have free access to a lot of information.

    Some patients like to know everything about their disease and treatments, and some don’t. If you don’t want to know everything, I understand, but if you want all the details, shoot me an email.

    • Its quite random actually Isabel because sometimes a depressing read is just what you need, either to remind yourself or just cheer yourself with the fact there are people a lot worse off than you. I hope that doesnt make me sound mean and you understand what I mean lol.

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