I have been wracking my brain to work out if I have ever done a post mid-year about the books I have loved so far that year? I think it is only something that I have done since Booktube, but I could be wrong. I know I have done books that I am excited in the second half of the year, but I don’t think that I have done favourite books so far. Anyway, I could debate that for hours it seems and you don’t need that in your life.
What you might need, or maybe like, in your life is (as part of us catching up) is to know what my books are so far this year and, possibly even better, win some of them. How can this magic happen? Well, I shall insert the video of my favourites books of 2018 so far below and you can watch and then comment as instructed to potentially win a package of some of them.
A brief post I know, but thought it would be a good chance for a catch up AND a chance for you to win some lovely books. Hurray. You have until the end of July. Good luck!
I don’t know if you have noticed but Christmas is arriving fairly shortly. I have to admit that despite putting up the tree and having made one or two (well 17) videos for Vlogmas this year, I have mainly been in denial. I was too ill with a dercum’s flare up to go to the Christmas party which normally sets my ‘season to be jolly’ bells off. I have also been in a slight end of the year anxiety meltdown, does anyone else get really tense by the end of a year. I love the start of a new one, it’s like a lovely new diary – all those crisp white pages. The end though, oh it’s battered to bits and everything feels like its unravelling rather than being tied up. I have digressed, oops.
Anyway, I have been being forced into thinking about it by being asked by my mother (mainly, often) what on earth I would like for Christmas. The answer is obviously books or book vouchers. Well, she won’t do vouchers so of course a list helps. Well just as I was thinking about the books I would like for Christmas something very fortuitous happened. A new bookish social media site called Bookwitty got in touch asking if I would like to give my readers anywhere in the world a chance to win the top five books they would most like. I instantly said ‘of course’ because who doesn’t want to win some books at any time of the year. I know, you want me to shut up and tell you how to do it. Well I shall leave instructions under this little video of Bookwitty which looks like it might be a potential book website of choice for the future (I have had a play around with it and entered the competition myself, I am no fool, before just so I could see if it was good before I sent you there and it is) so have a gander.
Create a reading list of five books that you want for the holidays by clicking on Add content/Reading list y December 22nd 2016.
Link your new reading list to the topic page: Holiday reading list contest.
And you’re all set! The winner will be announced on December 23rd. Good luck!
Now I have to say I really found this link the most helpful explanation of how to do it, so off you pop, have a gander and have a go and you could win five books (worth upto $125 in total) and considering there are only five or so entries I would get clicking over there sharpish.
Oh and what were the five books that I wanted most for Christmas? How nice of you to ask the books are…
The Book of Bees by Piotr Socha
How do bees communicate? What does a beekeeper do? Did you know that Napoleon loved bees[unk] Who survived being stung by 2,443 bees? This book answers all these questions and many more, tracking the history of bees from the time of the dinosaurs to their current plight. I saw this at the Wellcome Collection bookshop and thought it looked stunning. Plus I have a small obsession with bees. Not wasps, they are horrid.
Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? Stories by Kathleen Collins
Lovers. Lovers who meet at Civil Rights Conferences, sit-ins, church rallies, art galleries. Lovers who send letters back and forth from maximum security prison. Lovers with dislocated jaws. Lovers who lose themselves or shoot themselves. Lovers who let go too soon. Love that is “colour free”. Love that makes men cry. Love that defies the strictures of race and class. In prose that slips between lush sensuality and electric melancholy, Kathleen Collins has gifted us a universe of lovers. Of poets and freedom riders struggling to get through hot lonely summers, spending night and day in dingy New York apartments. A universe of young women who step outside of their father’s homes, grow their hair wild and discover sex. Of young men whose daredevil antics disguises an abiding sadness. I saw this on the Book of the Month subscription service (they so need to ship to the UK). Admittedly this is a tough one as it isn’t out in the UK yet but will be from Granta in Feburary and I have all the wants for this.
Bitten by Witch Fever: Wallpaper and Arsenic in the Victorian Home by Lucinda Hawksley
Bitten by Witch Fever presents facsimile samples of 275 of the most sumptuous wallpaper designs ever created by designers and printers of the age, including Christopher Dresser and Morris & Co. For the first time in their history, every one of the samples shown has been laboratory tested and found to contain arsenic. Interleaved with the wallpaper sections, evocative commentary guides you through the incredible story of the manufacture, uses and effects of arsenic, and presents the heated public debate surrounding the use of deadly pigments in the sublime wallpapers of a newly industrialized world. I saw this in Foyles earlier this week and it was too heavy for me to carry home, sadly. It is also quite expensive but when you open it up you know why, it is stunning. Plus, it has witch in the title, is about arsenic and the Victorians = ultimate winner.
The Other World, It Whispers by Stephanie Victoire
From the secrets of the forest, to the magic of the sea, these nine stories tell of what happens when passion, desire, loneliness and imprisonment lead us on a search for freedom and empowerment – no matter what the cost. A woman makes a deal with gods and goddesses in order to bring a slanderous town down to its knees, a man who has lost everything finds himself in the graveyards of Paris, turning to dark magic to ensure success, an opulent masked ball becomes the stage of spite and revenge, a teenage boy who believes he is in the wrong body calls out to mermaids to enchant him. With strands of classic fairy and folklore weaved through, the unknown – the silent and dark – is explored. Where spirits, deities and witches lurk, but also where the beauty of life and renewal can be found. I have seen this on Jen Campbell and Jean’s channels on booktube and have been jealous ever since. It is a collection of modern fairytales, or a modern collection of fairytales depending on your view.
Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived But Will Never Die by Alex Werner
Ever since his creation, Sherlock Holmes has enthralled readers. Our perception of him and his faithful companion, Dr Watson, has been shaped by a long line of film, TV and theatre adaptations. This richly illustrated book, compiled by Alex Werner, Head of History Collections at the Museum of London, is an essential guide to the great fictional detective and his world. Using the museum’s unrivalled collections of photographs, paintings and original artefacts, it illuminates the capital city that inspired the Sherlock Holmes stories, in particular its fogs, Hansom cabs, criminal underworld, famous landmarks and streets. Accompanying the landmark exhibition at the Museum of London, the first since 1951, this book explores how Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation of Sherlock Holmes has transcended literature and continues to attract audiences to this day. I bloody love Sherlock Holmes and I saw this when I went to the Museum of London and nearly bought it then, but I was being good for which I am now kicking myself.
So there is the top of my Christmas wishlist. Do go over to Bookwitty and win some books, I would love it if one of you lovely lot won out, that would be ace. Do also tell me which books you would love to get for Christmas in the comments below, and if you have read any of the above tell me about that too – no spoilers. Thanking you.
Yes, having asked very nicely and the lovely people behind the Sunday Times Peter Fraser Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award 2016 saying yes, I can kindly give you all the chance to win the whole of the shortlist for this years prize. Oh and it is open internationally. Hoorah. As an inaugural official shadow judge I have read them all and can confirm they are all brilliant, tough decisions ahead.
In case you have missed it here is the shortlist, and links to my reviews…
How do you win? Simple, tell me your favourite author under 35 and why you love their work so much in the comments below and one of you, from anywhere in the world, will be picked at random after midnight GMT on Wednesday the 30th of November and announced on the blog when the winner of the actual prize is. Hoorah. Good luck.
I have been meaning to mention this sooner but as everything is still a little bonkers post move, and me having a week being a bit of a poorly sausage, I am still catching up with everything. However, one of the things that has delighted me of late was being asked to be one of the bloggers/vloggers for Books Are My Bag and their Readers Awards 2016. A few weeks ago I was sent a box brimming with book treats in the form of the shortlist, which you can see in the video below…
In case you need a list of books (and seriously who doesn’t like a list of books, then you can see all the titles which you can vote for here http://www.nationalbooktokens.com/vote below. There are some stonkingly good books and there is some tough competition.
The Green Road by Anne Enright
Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
The Loney by Andrew Hurley
The Muse by Jessie Burton
This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
SPQR by Mary Beard
Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane
The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanthi
It’s All in Your Head by Suzanne O’Sullivan
Biography & Autobiography Award
Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham
The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink
The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
At the Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell
The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf
Alive Alive Oh! by Diana Athill
One by Sarah Crossan
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Beetle Boy by MG Leonard
The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt
The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield
The Detective Dog by Julia Donaldson
Breakthrough Author Award
Abi Elphinstone (The Shadow Keeper)
Amy Liptrot (The Outrun)
Andrew Michael Hurley (The Loney)
Han Kang (The Vegetarian)
Joanna Cannon (The Trouble with Goats and Sheep)
Kit de Waal (My Name is Leon)
Lisa McInerney (The Glorious Heresies)
Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (Harmless Like You)
I was given the Biography and Autobiography to talk about on my channel. Initially I was a bit puzzled because those aren’t the sort of books that I would rush to read. However after having a dabble with trying a chapter of the five I had not read I am now eager to read them all. And over the next few months I will be. You can see a video of me trying them all out below.
Now one category that I am most familiar with is fiction. I bloody love contemporary fiction. So familiar am I that I have already got all of the fiction shortlist. So I thought in my second and final giveaway this week, to mark my full return to blogging (you can see the first here) I thought I would giveaway the entire fiction shortlist, in a books are my bag bag, to one lucky winner. Oh and this is open internationally. Here are the books looking all resplendent.
So what do you have to do to win? Well two things. Firstly you have to tell me what your favourite fiction AND non ficton books of the year have been and why. You also need to tell me the name of my cat which makes a guest appearance in my Try A Chapter video above. You have until the 14th of November when voting closes, don’t forget you can vote here http://www.nationalbooktokens.com/vote That is it, good luck.
Get ready for a couple of book giveaways happening over the next few days on Savidge Reads because I feel like after having abandoning you on and off over the last few weeks, those of you who have carried on visiting (you hardcore bunch) deserve some thanks. The first of these is a book giveaway that is utterly befitting of the time of year and that is the newly reissued edition of Daphne Du Maurier’s collection The Birds and Other Stories. Be warned, the cover is so stunning it is X rated on the book cover porn stakes…
… See I told you that it was stunning. I read this collection for the first time back in 2010 and, as you can see from my review here – which is old so don’t judge it too harshly, I absolutely loved it. Not only does it have the title story, which Hitchcock then immortalised in the movie, but it also spooky tales like ‘The Apple Tree’, ‘Monte Verita’ and ‘Kiss Me Again, Stranger’. So perfect for this time of year.
Speaking of the movie, this weekend I will be hosting a special screening of The Birds in Waterstones Tottenham Court Road with The Bluestocking Club and Virago, which you can find more details here though I think it is almost sold out so if you want a ticket grab it quick. Virago and I thought it might be nice to share the (creepy) birdy book love, as it is so apt for this time of year, and so they have kindly offered up THREE copies of the book to give away to Savidge Readers in the UK. So, if you would like a copy of the book then please let me know what your favourite creepy book or story is and why in the comments below. You have until the stroke of midnight on All Hallow’s Eve (so midnight GMT next Monday) to enter. Good luck, I can wait to hear all your scary suggestions…
…Next week with Gavin of Gav Reads and An Unreliable Reader when we are both in London. Gavin and I haven’t seen each other in aaaaaaages, though we talk all the time, but we thought a fun way to spend a day would be to wander the streets of London book hunting, and possibly book hauling. What could be better? The question though now is which bookshops do we go to?
Now while I lived in London for 12 years the first few were spent in a barren period of book buying as I only regained my love of books and bookshops in the last few years that I was there and then I generally spent times in the ones in central or the ones in and around Tooting. So I was wondering if you lovely lot could tell me about your favourite bookshops (be they chains, indies, in central or out of it) in the capital and why you love them so much? We may just pop to them and I may just get one of you, picked later at random, a gift as a thank you, ha!
Hoorah! I have just (within the last twenty minutes or so as I type this) got over half way through the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist, as I popped down my tenth read My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout, which I am reading for the Bearded Bailey’s Book Club. Whilst I have a break to celebrate, then play catch up on reviews and start book ten, I thought it would be a nice idea to give some of the twenty books away…
This isn’t because I don’t want them or don’t like them, not at all. Thanks to the kindness of the lovely team at the Bailey’s Prize (who sent me the whole longlist last week) aswell as the kindness of some publishers who before, and since, the list was announced have sent me additional copies I have some extra. I thought that one of you might like them. Here is the selection…
I also have a slightly battered copy of Lisa McInerney’s The Glorious Heresies, so if you want that I can pop that in too. So what do you have to do to win this lovely selection of books? Simple, just tell me (in the comments below) what your favourite book is by a female writer and why. The competition is open worldwide, as I am still in the birthday spirit, you have until Monday April the 11th when the shortlist is announced. Good luck!
UPDATE – We have a winner chosen by random.org. Congratulations Cathling, you have been emailed for your details!
As it is unusual that anyone buys me books as Christmas presents, because understandably they think that I have probably read it or have it within reach, and so to make up for this I treat myself to a book or four two to compensate. Well imagine my surprise when after I ordered myself the treat of Anthony Marra’s collection of short stories The Tsar of Love and Techno (which has been out in the US for a few months but isn’t out until August 2016 and I couldn’t wait after loving A Constellation of Vital Phenomena so much) and then a parcel from America turned up in the post, which I had no idea was coming, and I opened it to discover… A signed copy of that very book, which then was followed by the one I ordered on Tuesday!
So I thought as a lovely person has done such a lovely thing and I like to think I am a lovely person (most of the time) I would give one of you a copy as a thank you for being lovely folk who pop by, leave comments, have a chat on Twitter etc. Then I thought why not go one step further. You see after the shelve sorting I not only discovered all the books I meant to read this year, I also discovered all the books that I had doubled up copies of, so I thought I would give those away too. So joining a copy of Anthony’s The Tsar of Love and Techno are the following…
Nora Webster – Colm Toibin
Stammered Songbook – Erwin Mortier
The Well – Catherine Chanter
How To Be Both – Ali Smith
The Room – Jonas Karlsson
Yes, I think that is a decent thank you for popping by, commenting or lurking and lingering, ha! Oh and it is open worldwide as you lovely lot visit from all over the place! So what do you have to do to win these treats? Well as The Tsar of Love and Techno is a book that was out in 2015 and will be out in 2016 (which sounds bonkers doesn’t it?) I would like to know which book was your favourite read of 2015 AND which book you are most looking forward to in 2016? You have until the clock strikes midnight in the UK and 2016 officially begins, then I will announce the winner in this post (which will be updated, so keep your eyes peeled) sometime on the 1st of January 2016! Good luck, and thank you again for being a lovely bookish bunch.
Update: Very belatedly, because of being a bit busy, I have finally pulled a draw for the winner from the 47 eligable responses and the winner is…
Who is Frances Evangelista (@nonsuchbook), congratulations! I have dropped you an email and will be winging that pile of books out to you next week, hoorah! Commiserations to everyone else, though there will be many more giveaways in 2016 I am sure.
One of the things that I don’t tend to have waiting for me under the Christmas Tree each year is bookish shaped parcels. Such a shame as really I wish all presents were bookish shaped. That said those who know and love me have (somehow, goodness knows how) realised that buying me a book I don’t already own is quite a task and so instead I tend to get lots of book vouchers. I am not complaining, just explaining. This year though I will have bookish shaped parcels under the table, two of them, thanks to the lovely folks at Penguin Books – a bundle of which arrived in the post just the other day, a secret selection of books (I know not what) they think I will love and be overjoyed to open…
You may have noticed that my bundle of parcels contains two that look the same, an astute lot aren’t you? Ha! Well those lovely people at Penguin have sent me two lots of one set of books because they thought (and I agreed) that one of you lovely lot might also like a selection of books awaiting you under the tree on Christmas Day and so I will be sending a parcel, with a little Christmas note to one of you lucky lot wherever in the world you may be (in general or over Christmas itself). Spreading festive fictional cheer at this special time of year.
So how can you win this parcel of comfort and joy? All you have to do is let me know the one book you are really, really, really hoping for under your tree and one you will be giving away to people you love this year, that simple. You have until 2100 hours GMT tomorrow (the 15th of December) and I will then send it out first thing on Wednesday, if the winner gets their details to me ASAP. So off you go; a book you want and a book you’ll be giving…
THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED. The winner has been picked at random (by random.org) and is Martine Frampton, who has been emailed, congrats!!!!
Ben Fergusson: The Spring of Kasper Meier, a critically acclaimed historical fiction debut
Sarah Howe: Loop of Jade, a poetic exploration of heritage and identity
Sunjeev Sahota: The Year of the Runaways, his Man Booker shortlisted second novel
Sara Taylor: The Shore, a Baileys-nominated collection of interlinked short stories
Now I have to admit that I have all three of these on my shelves (well Sarah Howe popped through my letterbox yesterday which was nice of her) but have yet to get around to any of them because clearly I am a fool. I do like the sound of all four of them. I know Rob of Adventures with Words loved the Fergusson and Kate has raved about the Taylor, obviously Sahota was up for the Booker and the Howe was new to me but exciting (and slightly petrifying as its poetry which I always think I am rubbish at understanding yet really enjoy) because I hadn’t heard of it and wanted to know more.
Anyway, before I move on to giving away a signed set of all four of the books and how you can win them, I will just flag up the fact that if you happen to be in London the on Monday then there is a special free Foyles event happening with 3 of the shortlisted authors and 3 previous winners, who will be in conversation with Sunday Times Literary Editor Andrew Holgate more here http://www.foyles.co.uk/Public/Events/Detail.aspx?eventId=2689. I wish I could go, I’m quite jealous. The winner will then be announced at a ceremony on Thursday 10th December.
So, the question you now all want to know, how can you win a signed set of the four shortlisted titles? Well I thought I would make it simple… ish. I say ish because I was going to do a post around it and struggled, though this might have been because I was off my face on Lemsip. Anyway. What I would love you to do is tell me who your favourite author under 35 is and why, recommendations of their titles would be a delight too! Good luck, you have until midnight GMT on Friday the 27th of November!
Apologies for the blog silence, more on that in the next post, however I am back and about and there will be some new posts very soon. Before that though I have the results of the two signed copies of Margaret Atwood’s Stone Mattress give away, as chosen by the random number generator at Random.Org. And the winner, who everyone is going to want to be best friends, or best relative, with now is…
…Sarah Jasmon, congratulations!!! I have sent you an email so do get back in touch so the lovely folk from Virago can send you the two signed copies asap!
My second give away of the day is doubly delightful. You can win not one but two signed copies of Margaret Atwood’s ‘nine wicked tales’ that make up Stone Mattress thanks to the lovely people at Virago and Little Brown. So that is one for you and a friend or family member. (Good Christmas present alert!) If you have yet to read any Atwood (are you mad?) then this would be an ideal introduction, if you are a fan of Atwood then this will just be a treat. Here is a teaser from the tale Dark Lady which is so my cup of tea…
Every morning at breakfast Jorrie reads the obituaries in all three of the papers. Some of the write-ups make her laugh, but to the best of Tin’s knowledge none of them has ever made her cry. She’s not much of a sniveller, Jorrie. She marks the noteworthy dead people with an X – two Xs if she plans to attend the funeral or the memorial service – and hands the papers across the table to Tin. She gets the real paper papers, delivered right to their townhouse doorstep, because according to her they skimp on the obituaries in the digital versions. “Here’s another,” she’ll say. “‘Deeply missed by all who knew her,’ I think not! I worked with her on the Splendida campaign. She was a sick bitch.” Or else: “‘Peacefully, at home, of natural causes.’ I doubt that very much! I bet it was an overdose.” Or: “Finally! Creepy Fingers! He groped me at a company dinner in the ’80s with his wife sitting right beside him. He was such a lush they won’t even have to embalm him.”
So what do you have to do? Well firstly you have to be from the UK, apologies international readers, and secondly you have to leave a comment telling me what your favourite short story collection AND fairy tale is. Two book recommendations which could win you two signed copies of a wonderful book (which I am now popping in my case for a weekend at Ilkley Book Festival!) You have until midnight GMT on Monday the 5th of October 2015 – this is a day extension as Monday is a busy day on the blog. Good luck!
Today is a day of giveaways, as I am still too jetlagged to actually write a review or even concentrate on a book (which is quite annoying frankly). The first of today’s two give aways might not initially seem that booky but in fact is rather booky indeed, as Stylist Magazine have kindly given me 10 pairs of tickets to give away for Stylist Live to the first 10 of you to apply for them. What is Stylist Live? Well, funny you should ask that, it is a four day event where Stylist Magazine (who emailed me and said they were a fan of the blog which thrilled me to bits obviously) quite literally comes to live. They have live fashion shows, live events with celebrities, masterclasses on all kinds of journalism, live baking and cookery (and cocktails, woohoo) as well as some very booky events. These, which I know you will be the most interested in, though the line up over the four days is pretty brilliant, are quite first rate. Two highlights are such as Salman Rushdie & Emma Cline: Literary Legend vs 2016 hottest debut author. Salman Rushdie converses with American writer Emma Cline whose debut novel The Girls is 2016’s most anticipated novel months before its release – The audience will each receive an advance copy of this 2016 must-read. There is also a Q&A with one of Stylist’s favourite feminist writers, Caitlin Moran known for her bestselling books How to be a Woman and How to Build a Girl as she talks to journalist Sophie Heawood. You can also see Yotam Ottolenghi talking about his cook books and what we will all be eating over the next year. Plus, one of my favourite things… a daily book club with the Booker winner, Nina Stibbe, and Kate Griffin. You can see the full event schedule right here.
Now of course what you want to know is how you could win and get your self down there (well you have to physically get yourself there but you know what I mean) on one of its four days in London. It is really simple. You follow this link here then type in Quills and select your date and if you want a ticket or two – that is all. I will be there on a few of the days and am hoping to see some of your lovely faces there. Good luck and let me know if you win and are heading there!
This weekend sees the launch of the UK’s Pride season (which seems all the more apt after the news in America today, well done United States you should be very proud) where the cities, towns and all sorts of places celebrate everything LGBT up and down the country over the (hopefully sunny) summer months. To coincide with this, the lovely folk at Vintage have decided to proudly (see what I have done here) celebrate some of their classic novels both by LGBT authors and with LGBT themes. The books they have chosen are Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness, Alan Hollinghurst’s The Swimming Pool Library and Rita Mae Brown’s Rubyfruit Jungle. None of which I have read yet, shame on me. They look gorgeous and I happen to have a spare set…
I couldn’t even line them up straight, ha!
So I thought I would do a giveaway of a set to some lucky person. All I want to know is which book with an LGBT theme you have most loved and why, without spoilers? That simple. Now because postage of books across oceans is so expensive, as I have discovered trying to get some books I want from America, I’m afraid I can only send these to a lucky winner in the UK or Europe*, sorry but the Hall is huge so it’s a bulky set to post – *unless you are coming to Booktopia Petoskey and can wait until September in which case I can pack them in my luggage. Right, get recommending. and good luck. You have until end of play Sunday the 28th of June.
Oh and in case you’re wondering mine would be a tie between Catherine Hall’s The Proof of Love or Bethan Roberts’ My Policeman. If you’ve not read either or both of those then you really must!