Category Archives: Dorothy Savidge

Simon’s Bookish Bits #3

The first bookish bits of 2010 is a bit jam packed, I apologise though it will be worth it. There is a lot of help and recommendations needed today but as a thanks there is a chance of a winning some goodies (ooooh). One thing that there won’t be is any moaning reports on how difficult it is to not buy books as I am saving that for Monday I will be reporting back on that soon enough.

So first up was a bit of a request from one of your favourite non blogging people Granny Savidge Reads, or just Gran, who whilst on the phone the other day asked me if I could post something on the blog. She would love to hear some bookish thoughts from you all about ‘The Blue Flower’ by Penelope Fitzgerald. Now the message was a bit garbled as she was in the middle of stripping the kitchen but I gather that this was a choice at one of the many book groups that she is a member of which got cancelled. So she is now feeling slightly annoyed she can’t discuss it and as I hadn’t read it I couldn’t discuss it with her. If you have reviewed it on your blog leave a link as well as your thoughts and I think Gran will pop by. If they are rave reviews who knows it might go on my wish list.

It seems Gran has been rather snowed in, hence the book group cancellation and so no Blue Flower chat, as I showed you in a picture I am now going to show you again as it links to my next enquiry.

Books based in the snow! Yes, it’s been snowing in the UK if you have somehow managed to miss it. I was listening to the Guardian Books Podcast (this weeks favourite Podcast) was all about snow, when it wasn’t about the Costa winners including the amazing Brooklyn which is Costa Novel of the Year – it must be overall book of the year. Sorry I digressed back to snowy books… Overall I wasn’t too sure of their recommendations;

  • The Snow Tourist – David English
  • Doctor Zhivago – Boris Pasternak
  • The Shipping News – Annie Proulx
  • Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard – Sara Wheeler
  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  • The Call of the Wild – Jack London
  • The Snowman – Raymond Briggs
  • Miss Smilla’s Feeling For Snow – Peter Hoeg
  • The People’s Act of Love – James Meek
  • The Dark is Rising – Susan Cooper

Though I had heard of some, and of course read The Snowman (though I am not after Christmassy tales) as a child, most I know little or nothing about and so wondered which snow filled books would you recommend to me, would any of the above be on the list? Mine would be ‘Child 44’ by Tom Rob Smith which has some murders in the snow or my most recent snow filled read, and one that I adored, ‘Legend of a Suicide’ by David Vann. Both I have realised are quite dark snow filled books.

Funnily enough this book ties in with a giveaway, the first two of three opportunities to win a copy this marvellous book from the very kind people of Penguin open to you internationally. If you pop a link or your thoughts on ‘The Blue Flower’ by Penelope Fitzgerald then you will be entered into one draw. Leave recommendations for snow filled reading then you will be entered into another draw for a copy. Do both and you double your chances, you have until the end of Tuesday… Good luck!

P.S I know you would have all joined in without prizes but I do love a good giveaway!

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Filed under David Vann, Dorothy Savidge, Give Away, Penelope Fitzgerald, Penguin Books, Simon's Bookish Bits, Tom Rob Smith

Savidge Reads Grills… Dorothy Savidge (aka Gran)

Really I am quite sure that Dorothy Savidge aka My Gran needs no introduction as you all seem to have found a special place in your bookish hearts for her and the posts she features in are commonly some of my most read. Every other ‘Savidge Reads Grills’ victim (oh I mean guest) has had one and Gran would not be impressed if she had found she was being outdone. I always find author interviews interesting, I know some readers don’t, I thought that an interview with a reader would be something a bit new. Finding one who was an avid reader and has been so for many years was easy – my Gran! So without further a do I shall leave you to indulge in a spot of afternoon tea and bookish chat….

 What book/books are you reading right now and why that/those books?

Revolutionary Road. I’m reading it because it’s the choice of one of my book groups. 

What books started your reading life, and which books kept your passion for reading alive?

Enid Blyton, couldn’t get enough of her. The Famous Five to start with then the Castle of Adventure, Valley of Adventure etc. Next came the Chalet School books, how I longed to go to boarding school. Then historical fiction got to me, The Scarlet Pimpernel series and then the Anya Seton books. Eventually I graduated to Jane Austen and Thackeray and became a real lover of 19th century novels but I was in my 30’s before I read Hardy starting with the Mayor of Casterbridge I devoured  all his books one by one but for some reason have never reread any of them. Following these I started on the 20th century particularly Graham Green, but many others especially when Virago came out, I was able to read more women writers. I had a Muriel Spark period also. One of the biggest joys was discovering Trollope (Anthony not Joanna) who is my all time favourite author. The wonderful thing about Trollope is, he wrote so much, I’ve still go lots to go and would love to reread the Pallisers.

What are your reading habits, where do you most like to read? Are there any specific times which are your most responsive reading periods?

I read for an hour every morning in bed no matter what time I wake up. If I am at home at lunch time I read for an hour after lunch also. I rarely watch television because it stops me reading! So if I am at home in the evening I read then. I never go anywhere without a book, it would drive me mad to be sitting waiting for something when I could be reading. The place doesn’t really matter; the only place I don’t read is in the bathroom. I’ve never thought about it before but maybe that’s why I never linger there. 

How has your reading taste changed over the years?

This has happened over a great many years, if it doesn’t sound too precious I would say the only thing that has changed is that I can now tell the difference between good and bad writing and I don’t particularly want to waste my time reading rubbish when there are so many good books out there still waiting to be read.

Have you read any books that have changed your life or books that have changed your view on life and the world?

‘The Fatal Shore’ by Robert Hughes, I’d never realised how brutal the settlement of Australia was. ‘If this is a Man’ by Primo Levi. Both Mark Tulley and William Dalrymples writings on India.

How do you get on with contemporary books and authors?

Very well thank you. I remember many years ago looking with horror at my TBR pile and it only contained one book! However by this time my eldest daughter (Simon’s mother), also an avid reader, began to influence my reading habits and introduced me to writers such as Margaret Atwood, who is still one of my favourites. I love Anne Tylers books too, Poisonwood Bible is one of my all time favourites, Snow Falling on Cedars, Cold Mountain, English Passengers, anything and everything by William Trevor I could go on.

Which authors alive today do you think will be most remembered in a hundred years time?

I hope William Trevor. Maybe Margaret Atwood though I’m not sure, possibly John Banville. I’m thinking of the novel here but in actual fact it is more likely to be non fiction writers though I can’t think who.

What is your fondest bookish memory?

When I was a child we only owned a couple of books one was ‘Gone with the Wind’. In my early to mid teens and suffering from a bad bout of flu I decided that the time had come to try a ‘grown up’ book so I started Gone with the Wind, it is a long book so highly suitable for reading during an enforced period of bed rest. After that whenever, in my teens, I suffered from flu I would reread it. The attraction had worn off by the time I got to twenty and I have not read it since though I have seen the film more than once. I should add though we possessed few books there were always a lot of library books, in fact introducing me to the library is one of the things I am most grateful to my parents for.

What are the first fifteen books which you can instantly think of for being unforgettable, not ones that you love the most necessarily…

The ones already mentioned plus Dombey and Son, War and Peace, Emma, Small Island, A Suitable Boy, Our Mutual Friend, Anna Karenina, If this is a Man, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Katherine, The Chequerboard, The Rabbit books by John Updike, Lolita, Two Lives, Bel Canto, The Warden, East of Eden.

What book do you most want to read at the moment that you haven’t?

The Grapes of Wrath.

By the time you have read this Gran will be back up north. She did want to thank everyone individually for all of your thoughts on which books she should vote for as reads for one of her book groups next year. If you have more to add do pop here as she will be popping back. We didnt have time to set up her blog either… but maybe in the New Year!

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Filed under Book Thoughts, Dorothy Savidge, Savidge Reads Grills...