Life Is Too Short

Well hello to all of you and hello to August, how on earth did we suddenly get to the EIGHTH month of the year already? As you will no doubt be aware I have had a bit of a break from the blog over the last few months now I am back, back, back. I probably sound like I am stuck on a loop at the moment, but I don’t care, as I just want to say thank you again and again and again for all the support you have given me through everything with Gran and also the way you have all embraced #GreeneForGran, I have found it all rather overwhelming and very touching, so thank you, again and again… and again! Ok, I will stop now. So let’s talk about the new ‘life is too short’ turn Savidge Reads is about to take.

While Gran was ill and in the lead up to her sadly passing away (and I won’t go on about that forever, honest) my reading time was really limited, and so I didn’t read much, and also my patience with books was much lower. Any book that landed in front of me needed to bowl me over fast and then have me with it the whole way through and not let go. You would possibly therefore assume that it was mainly the crime novels that were the books that worked far above any other. What I found interesting, because I would have thought the same thing, was that some ‘literary fiction’ had me completely spell bound when I wasn’t expecting it and also that some crime books just didn’t interest me at all and the thrills and spills the authors tried to put on show left me colder than one of the cadavers in the book. Seriously!

So I have made a pact with myself, I will only read the books that hook me and win me over straight away. Life is too short for the books that you feel ‘meh’ about; I would rather enjoy loving a book, and equally enjoy really despising one, than just feel a bit nonchalant about the experience. So from now on books that aren’t fully grabbing me, and this isn’t to be confused with books that are challenging me as I love that, simply won’t get finished. This will hopefully mean that I find myself trying a lot more books I normally wouldn’t as if I don’t like them I will stop and move on. How liberating!

I have also decided to stop saving books for a bloody rainy day which I am the King of. Reading, and of course blogging by default, should be all about enjoyment and reading that book you are simply desperate to. It shouldn’t be about making sure you have read the latest ‘buzz’ book before everyone else does or be reading a prize longlist if you don’t genuinely fancy reading any of them unless you want to try a book you hadn’t heard of before but piques your interest. I have a new term for this, I call it ‘book blagging’ not book blogging. Having become a spectator of Twitter recently rather than a participant I have been watching, and laughing, at how much this goes on and I have no time for it. Say no to ‘book blaggers’! Maybe I should start a campaign?

To clarify, if I read the latest Margaret Atwood book, which as it has just arrived is a prime example, it is because I am a huge fan of her and all her works not because I want to read it before everyone else or am hoping to gain loads of hits off the back of it. It will just be because I bloody well want to read it and read it now! Or I won’t! Can you tell I have come back a bit blunter?

Reviews will also be changing, not long ago Gran said how proud she had become of how the blog had changed, the reviews she felt were becoming stronger and, I quote, ‘less like those awful Amazon reviewers’. She might have questioned my taste sometimes but she felt I had really found my feet in the last year or so (it has only taken me almost six years of blogging to get there, ha) and also that my ‘often wicked’ sense of humour was beginning to emerge more. ‘You’re a very unique person Simon, you should have a very unique blog’ and so that is what I will be doing. Even now she’s still influencing me and the way I read and even write.

So that is the latest with me and the blog. I will be back much more regularly and tomorrow I will be telling you about my thriller of the year! It makes ‘Gone Girl’ seem a little tame, but what could it be? What have you all been up to whilst I have been away? What have you been reading and loving or loathing, no ‘meh’ books please! What are your thoughts on life just being too short?

Note: I would like to apologise for the lack of pictures in this post.

18 Comments

Filed under Granny Savidge Reads, Random Savidgeness

18 responses to “Life Is Too Short

  1. Life is far too short to read books you really don’t want to. I generally only read what I want to – sometimes those are books others have been talking about and so pique my interest, but more usually they are the books that have been sitting on my bookcase already for a while.

  2. Sam

    Lovely to see you back. I was challenged by The Bone Season – I rarely read sci fi/fantasy, but I was convinced it would appeal and I adored it. Definitely going to read the next book in the series!
    Loving Underground too, a Tube history (I have a Tube obsession, somehow I see it as the nirvana compared to our train system) which is beautifully illustrated.

    Life is definitely too short for bad books and wasting time not doing what you love. Who cares what anyone says – if you love it, do it, whether it be trying exotic dishes, making yummy food or just reading gossip magazines.

  3. Welcome back too – go for it Simon! My Mum was supportive of me and my blog just the way your Gran was (and Mum I’m sure is), and although my Mum died three years ago, she’s with me still when I read.

    I think I may have an idea on your thriller of the year – I bought it yesterday on a friend’s recommendation, and have heard that it beats recent contenders out of the water. I shall see if I was right tomorrow….🙂

  4. Completely agree with you Simon – as I get older (!) I realise I have no time to waste on books I’m not enjoying, which is why I’ve abandoned the Barbara Pym readalong for the moment – it was just a chore and I was starting to find the books a tad dull…. Follow your reading muse and pick up the books that are calling to you. Although I’ve made a plan for August, it’s very unlikely I shall stick to it……!

  5. Ann Fuller

    It is good to talk about grief. Grief is hard enough to get thru (I did not say over — we never get over losing a loved one – so write your heart out Simon and I for one will be glad to listen to you talk about your Gran. It is very healing for you to talk and write about her.

  6. I totally agree that life is too short to be reading books that aren’t any better than meh. I thoroughly enjoyed The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin. It’s an interesting take on polygamy and written by a Nigerian writer. Her specialty is poetry. Have you checked out The Cuckoo’s Calling yet?

  7. I just hope the blaggers disappear over time it is getting very annoying now ,I spend less time on twitter due to them and the constant arse licking ,all the best stu

  8. I’m not much of a YA reader, but I just finished reading Eleanor & Park, and it was SO GOOD. So good. I loved it. I cried. A lot. It was brilliant and lovely and sad and hopeful. It was everything everyone has been saying it is…and then some. I’m so glad I read it.

    I agree with life being too short. I think your decision here is a great one.

  9. Kats

    Savidge, you’re absolutely right; life is too short to spend it with ‘meh’ books, and as per your advice I’ll ditch that Tarquin Hall book I’ve been faffing around with for The Readers Bookclub. It’s very much ‘meh’ to me. Sorry.

    A thriller that makes “Gone Girl” look tame? I can only guess you’re referring to that blood & gore sociopathic book “Alex” I finished last week. Still recovering from that one but then started reading “Tampa” which makes you want to have Amy Dunne and Alex as flatmates rather than being in the company of this nymphomaniac paedophile. The grubbiest read ever.

    Finally, I’m on holiday in Cornwall, and as I’ve been thinking of you much lately, I shall go on a Daphne tour in Fowey next week, in your honour. Hope you liked my “Green Carnation” shout out on Twitter a couple of weeks ago.

    Do I sound as though I’m turning into your stalker? Worry not, after Cornwall I’ll be in Bristol, then home counties before heading back to Switzerland, so I won’t be coming to Liverpool and camping on your doorstep, feeding your cats. Haha.

  10. You are absolutely right about ditching books that aren’t really doing anything for you. I used to be fanatical about finishing a book I had started, but not now. Too many good books are waiting to be read to waste any time.
    I’m currently reading Nightfall by Isaac Asimov, my first Asimov, and it is fantastic, I highly recommend it.
    I was really sorry to hear about Granny Savidge, she sounds as though she was a wonderful, wonderful person, and using the blog to tell us about her is lovely, so please don’t apologise.

  11. I usually give books about 50 pages or so and if I still can’t get on with them I give up – there’s too much to read to keep going with something that doesn’t grab you.
    I’ve always enjoyed you reading whims, less popular stuff – I hear about other things elsewhere but it’s great to pick up recommendations from you on books I might otherwise not hear about – I always enjoy your library loot posts!
    Don’t apologise for talking about Granny Savidge, she sounds so wonderful and a reading inspiration.

  12. Ana

    Just read We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo. Saw it on the Red Hot Reads at wonderful local library. Marvellous cover and such a lively engrossing read. As you know it’s on the Booker long list

    Highly recommended! No meh moments

  13. Oh Kats, you didn’t like The Case of the Missing Servant😦

    The ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ thing is only fun for a short while – and sometimes you have to wonder why you’re doing it – the dialogue can genuinely be exciting especially around prizes but sometimes it does feel like a club that you can only join if you’ve read 8 billion books.

    And you’re right unless you’re doing criticism not worth sticking with a ‘meh’ book even if it was a book club choice Kats😛

  14. Kateg

    Glad you are back and I am with you about meh books. This year I have put down a couple of books this year and am pretty much reading what keeps me interested and happy. A couple of selections for my personal book clubs have underwhelmed, but unlike Kats I liked the Tarquin Hall. Keep talking about your Gran; she was truly part of your inspiration. I really enjoyed the part of her eulogy you shared. I feel you are so lucky to have had someone to share your bookishness with and I hope your grief eases over time. While I am not leaning towards Graham Greene my son who is entering his last year of high school here in the US will read The Power and the Glory this coming year. I may read along with him as I have done previously. It gives us a starting point as teenage boys can be notoriously close mouthed. I have read it before probably 15 years ago for my first book club and I think I enjoyed it (?)!

  15. simon – i LOVE this post. it really encapsulates the frustration i’ve been feeling lately, but was unable to sort out (so thank you for that). my TBR numbers over 180 now and i’m horrified that i let it get that big! surely there aren’t 180 fabulous 5-star reads in there. and the only way out is to start going through them and ditching the ones that don’t grab me.

    as proof that this approach is the right one (at least for me), tonight i ditched a book i’ve been trying to get into for over a week but, sadly, hadn’t given myself permission to put down until i read your spirited post. instead, i picked up “the confidential agent” (**fist in the air** – for gran!). to show you what a fab move this was, let me just insert this gorgeous little snippet . . . our main character, a foreign spy, is on a steamer that is docking in foggy dover when he looks across the bow and meets the eyes of an enemy (english) spy. here’s how he describes him “The other man was the first to move away; thin as celery in his thick coat, tall, he had an appearance of nerves and agility; he walked fast on legs like stilts, stiffly, but you felt they might fold up.” seriously – can you beat that??

    so thank you (and gran) for the inspiration. life’s too short!

  16. sharkell

    I am finding that I am leaving the books that I really want to read on my shelves as I am nervous that I won’t like them. Silly, hey! I have so many good ones there to read. I’ve read a couple of books recently that I have really enjoyed – A Perfectly Good Man by Patrick Gale, Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell and The Heaven I Swallowed by Rachel Hennessy.

  17. I too am trying to liberate myself from books that aren’t grabbing me. It can be so hard though to stop reading a book because it feels like giving-up. However I totally agree life is too short for books you feel ‘meh’ about when there are tonnes of books out there I am longing to read. Good luck with making the changes🙂

  18. Sherry

    In February I started a new job as a Fiction specialist at a public library and now feel pressured to read all the latest award winners etc. as people ask me what I have read lately. I have also began not finishing books that do not grab me but I am missing my usual reading – off on tangent where one author leads to another. I just finished Z – a novel about Zelda Fitzgerald and want to read more of her short stories, etc. And now you have also got me onto Graham Greene.

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