Category Archives: Random Savidgeness

An Op-portunity For A Catch Up…

Once again the words ‘it has been too long’ are typed up on the screen, as once again all has gone a little quite on Savidge Reads. However for those of you who have been following me elsewhere on the internet, you will know that on Monday I had a rather large operation to remove the tumours and lipoma’s that my body produces as I have dastardly Dercum’s disease. These lumps can turn nastier but in the interim they just really hurt as they sit on a vein, a nerve or stretch the skin in the various places that they grow. (This has been getting really bad in the last few months and why I have been quieter, too much typing can be agony.) Anyway that is quite enough information, suffice to say I went in on Monday and was sliced to bits and now resemble a pin cushion/scarecrow/bruised cooking apple. Ha.

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Due to some slight complications with my blood pressure not all of those pesky lumps have gone, but 12 out of 20 sure ain’t bad. And I am finally home, though I feel like someone is still stabbing me or using the top half of my body as a bouncy castle. Interesting. Now I have the three weeks recuperation to look forward to where I aim to rest, relax, read and get this old blog back on track. That said it has taken me almost two hours to type this because a) woozy and forgetful b) ouch. Good to have aims and things to focus on though. The most skills I have at the moment seem to be the ones that involve lying on the sofa and moaning a lot. Ha. I have had some lovely bookish parcels, chocolates and flowers (the ones below from lovely Rob and Kate of Adventures with Words) which have made me smile, look I have proof I am not just a wincing whinge bag.

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So, how are you all? What are you reading? Any books you think I should be heading too while my body recuperates that will stop my mind being bored and me going insane with cabin fever? Not that I am desperately worried about that of course. Hope all is good with you all, fill me in on all your news and bookish recommendations please!

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Library Update; Getting Plastered and Stripping…

No this is not a blog post about some of the weekends I had in my twenties, and possibly into my thirties, this is an update on all things library wise since I told you last week that work had begun on the building of a library here at Savidge Reads Towers. Ha, if only this house had towers, I have always wanted turrets. Anyway, as I mentioned before, two rooms have been knocked into one and shape wise were looking much more like the final design…

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So this week it has been all about getting plastered. Literally. There have been men in and out of there for most of the week (it has played havoc with my carpets, dust and dried plaster are now on my list of things I loathe) and where there was a divide is slowly starting to look more like it is all part of one room…

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Well a room with a big alcove which is bang on what I want, I am aiming for a room that feels very much one room yet sort of two or three separate zones if that makes any sense. You can’t even spot where there once was a door.

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What I hadn’t realised was that all the room was wallpapered. Oh the plasterers weren’t impressed when they made this discovery I can tell you. I thought it was just the wonderful (and camp as can be) pastel animal wall, which I know many people on here and on twitter have been huge fans of. Alas this will soon be no more, if you really loved that wallpaper then look away now…

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…Yep it is going, going, gone.The question is of course what is going to take place of butterflies, giraffes and other unidentifiable creatures? This is the next big decision, paints. I know in my head I want it either blue or green, I just can’t decide between the two and of course the tones. Blue can become too oceanic or really cold, green can make you feel like your on acid or in an army bunker, so these are tricky times. Luckily I have discovered a very bookish series of paints which might help me whittle down my decisions, or go for something completely different, simply because it might be wrong to have anything but a pain collection called The Bookcase on my library walls.

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I can hear you all gasp almost as loudly as I did when I discovered it. Any thoughts on paint do let me know, I have until the end of Monday to make my decision as there is a deadline between now and having my operation in late February to get everything done. No pressure.

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#DiverseAThon 2.0

Last year over on lovely booktube, I had the pleasure of joining in with a great initiative called #DiverseAThon which was started with the simple desire to make people read more widely and diversely. Well, we all want that really don’t we? I mean one of the great joys of reading is that we can learn about all walks of life from all over the world, walking in their shoes whilst actually sat on our own sofa’s or lying in our own beds. I have always been a fan of anything promoting diverse and minority groups, that is why I started the Green Carnation Prize for LGBTQ writing. So imagine my joy when the organisers of last years DiverseAThon kindly asked if I would like to be one of the hosts for its return, I jumped at the chance and excitingly it all starts today.

Now before anyone switches off or clicks away (unlikely I know, but possible) thinking this is something just for booktubers, this is most definitely not the case. Christina Marie, Joce, Monica and myself are all incredibly keen that everyone who wants to join in can join in. You don’t have to have a channel, a podcast, a blog (though if you do lovely), you just have to have some books to hand that fit the bill. Buy them, borrow them, root through your shelves, the more the blooming merrier. All we would like you to do is try and read books from own voices, so not just books about race, sexuality, disability etc, or with characters of those groups… We want you to find the authors writing from those groups and writing through that own narrative voice. That doesn’t mean we are anti straight writers writing about LGBTQ stories or white writers writing about issues around race, we appreciate those voice hugely but we all know the publishing industry could used a little more diversity and if we don’t support those own voices publishers won’t think we want them in our hands and then we miss out on some incredible books and we all lose out then.

I have made a video on the whole idea behind #DiverseAthon 2.0 including some of the books I am planning reading over the next week, I will link them down below. Grab a cuppa and have a watch if you care to take the time, if not ask me any questions down in the comments below.

I am quite passionate about this so I would love lots of you to join in, be it a twitter chat, the instagram challenges, posting on your blogs and vlogs and pods, ha the options are endless. I will be sharing some own voices reviews as the week goes on, some from the backlog I have mentioned a few times, and reviewing the books in my #DiverseAThon TBR as I go, so should hopefully be talking about and sending some great own voices stories, fiction and none, in the forthcoming week. Who is up for this then? Which books will you be reading? Which books do you recommend?

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And The Library Starts To Be Built

Apologies for the Savidge silence (again) I have a very valid reason though, there have been builders invading my life rather a lot of late as, get ready for it, my library is being built. No, you heard right I am having a library built here at the new house and work has finally started which is so exciting but also somewhat disruptive and distracting. I thought however it would be nice to have a series of posts as the process happens and that you might be quite keen to read about it and join the journey. Ugh, journey has become sucha cliche saying but you know what I mean. So what are the plans? Well they look like this…

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However that doesn’t really cover the logistics as lovely as that picture is. Basically two bedrooms are being converted into one, though the smaller one will feel slightly like a separate space where my reading chair, youtube filming area and desk and the like is. The rest will be wall to wall bookshelves and nothing more, well apart from a comfy sofa bed for me to read on and very special guests to sleep in. Only very special ones, the others just get the normal two spare bedrooms though they have some bookshelves in too of course. So week one has been the rooms being joined, or as the Spice Girl fan in me likes to say, two become one.

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Is it just me or does anyone find this sort of thing, getting to look at what makes a wall essentially, really bizarrely interesting? As you can see it has gone great guns…

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Though they did make the hole between the rooms which will make the one room feel like two spaces a bit too big so they will be rebuilding some.

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I was told this made me a diva by someone, however my thoughts are if this is my forever home and that is going to be my dream library then I need it to be just so. Plus they have to build a new wall where one of the doors has been taken out. It is looking good so far. Then next week, the second in what will probably be a month (so just in time for my operation in late February) the plasterer comes, and the floorboards get sanded down, week three is decorating, so I need to do the painful decision making on that, followed by week four when the bookshelves will get built. I will report back as it goes on. Hopefully it will be of interest…

In the interim how are all of you and what are you reading at the moment?

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Resolutions for 2017

In an attempt to break with tradition and also give a little more personal insight I thought I would share all of my resolutions with you for 2017. I did mention in a previous post (where I was seeing the New Year in by the seaside) that I am not someone who strikes those who know me as the resolution type, and they would be right really as to be honest I see these more as guidelines. Clearly we can see tangents are not something I am resolute against in 2017, where were we? Oh yes, sharing my resolutions guidelines for the forthcoming year with you all. Personal wise, reading wise and blogging wise. Right…

Excuse the cheesy image, but I didn't know what else to use.

Excuse the cheesy image, but I didn’t know what else to use.

Personal Guidelines

  • Free up more time, ‘real’ time – I am quite busy. I have a full time job, I also consult for Orion, I also blog, booktube and podcast. I also spend far too much time faffing around on the internet with apps and other shenanigans on my phone when I could be a) reading and/or b) doing real things in the real world with real people. So this year I want to free up more ‘real’ time, with less time on the internet and slightly less of my ‘scheduled reading hours’ (I have told you about those haven’t I?) and do real things which means…
  • Stop procrastinating and be more organised – I am the world’s worst procrastinator. I mean it has taken me until the 4th to actually type up my new year’s resolutions, says it all. Less faffing and waffling about will mean I can have more of the time and be…
  • Doing more things – By ‘things’ I mean travelling, weekends away, walking in the countryside, going to events and concerts, having guests to stay (that was the whole idea of a bigger house) and just doing more of all the things. I am planning a spring break, either another all inclusive like Cyprus last year or a week in America for my birthday (35, jeez) and then off to Japan and Thailand in September fingers crossed. It doesn’t have to be grand though, trips to galleries and museums and all that sort of stuff too please. All the culture please. Good for my brain and my…
  • Wellbeing and health – After being diagnosed with Dercums last year I am more aware than ever of my health. I have been aware for a while that less Mars bars and more stairs might be the attitude I should take, it is good for the body and the brain, and so I am heading back to the gym next week. I also want to do more walking, here there and everywhere, I have loved going on walks all over Christmas and the new year so more of that please.
  • More reading time – I know I said I was thinking of having less ‘scheduled reading time’ but this is also to break the habit that I have of reading in big stints and just reading whenever and wherever. Which leads onto…

Reading Guidelines

  • Read by whim – I have started to plan and plot what I read too much and I think this is in part what made me have a more ‘meh’ reading year last year and read less. So far this year I have picked up what I want as whim dictates, even stopping one book ten pages in yesterday to flit to one of the Costa Book Awards category winners. Fickle and whimish but it was the right choice, I am reading like a demon.
  • Read older books – I don’t just mean the classics, though I would like to read more Bronte this year. I am talking about authors back catalogues; I have loads of favourite authors whose backlists I am ignoring. I also want to start a few authors from the very beginning and work my way through their books in order, Sarah Moss and Helen Oyeyemi,  I am coming for you.
  • Diversify my reading even more – non fiction, graphic novels and poetry could all do with a little more work from me, short stories I am getting addicted to since I started reading more. I would like the same here.
  • Books set in Japan and the rest of Asia – as I am off there later in the year I would like to read all about this part of the world in all the genres. This includes Manga, recommendations of where to start welcome.
  • Own voices – I am still getting to grips with the ‘own voices’ discussion going on in the book sphere, however I am all for it and would like to make sure I am reading more own voices works. So those are my guidelines there, finally…

Blogging Guidelines

  • Find a better balance – I have noticed with blogging I either do it all the time for week and months or I am really patchy, this has admittedly been more in the last year or two (maybe since Gran died actually when my flow was as broken as I was) I would like to get an even keel. I don’t want to be reading to blog, I just want to blog what I read. Same for booktube and podcasting. Real life and reading come first, the blog will be the retellings and the rewards of all that lovely stuff.
  • Have a random schedule – yep, I know this sounds like a complete contradiction but what I would like to do ideally is have two or three posts a week, it might not always be possible but it would be nice, maybe on a Wednesday, Friday and Sunday (with a bonus of Other People’s Bookshelves as and when I get them) maybe. Regularly irregular.
  • More unusual content – not sure what yet, am still thinking about it.
  • Keep on keeping on – simple as that. I love the blog and all the wonderful chats, friends and books it has brought me, so I want to carry one and keep having fun with it and enjoying it. As I said, simple as that.

Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions and/or recommendations books, blogging and anything else wise. Blimey, that is  quite a list isn’t it?

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Blowing Away The Cobwebs of 2016 & Looking Forward to 2017

I am not exactly renowned for my traditions and rituals. In fact many people I know would imagine that I would say ‘oh come on it is just another day like any other’ or ‘you can make changes in your life at anytime you don’t need a special day’ when it comes to a New Year. However, there is something about a New Year that, well apart from it literally being new, really does chime with me as a time to rid yourself of the silly or stressful stuff, the negativity and just look forward to the forthcoming year and years ahead. Nothing quite does that like a bracing walk by the beach and for the last few years, since I lived near the sea really, that is exactly what I have done. And this year was no different.

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There really is something quite calming, mind clearing and freeing about simply wandering along the sand, the waves crashing in the distance, saying a ‘hello’ to strangers and their dogs and watching nature (there were lots of wonderful squeaking sandpipers everywhere)  before just being still and staring off into the distance and revelling in the moment.

It is also perfect for blowing the cobwebs, negativity and the like of a weird old year away. Quite literally with the winds the way they were.

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So today, as you can see, I took part in that ritual again. Where I had a bit of an unwind in the freezing sea winds (and mini sandstorms which took me by surprise and made fellow passersby laugh with my squeals that competed with the sandpipers) said goodbye to the old, hello to the new, contemplated my resolutions – of which there are quite a few, more on those soon – and then just stopped. Something I rarely do. I just stopped and took it all in, thought how bloody lucky I am and how we can all be responsible for the future and our futures, we just have to appreciate it and work on it and try not to take too much shit. It isn’t always easy, things can be crap, but we need to celebrate what we do have, quit grumbling and act on it, making every moment count.

It is time to simply look forward. So here’s to 2017… again.

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P.S I know this had nothing to do with books and that is probably why you are here. I just felt the need to jot these possibly nonsensical and rambling thoughts down, after all this was always meant to be a diary of sorts. You don’t just come here for the books do you? Hahaha. Course you do.

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My Favourite Books of 2016

And so with not that long to go until the clock strikes midnight here in the UK and we say fare thee well to 2016 (and in some cases goodbye and good riddance) I thought that I would share my favourite books of 2016. With a bit of a difference. Normally, bar one year I think in Savidge Reads whole history, I do two lists of the books I loved. Those that came out in the year it has been and then the best of all those I read published in the years before. Well… After one of my slumpiest most unreaderly years I didn’t have enough for either, quite (well maybe actually one, but time has been tight with the madness between Christmas and New Year) and so in a change to the normal schedule I have made a video of my FIFTEEN favourite reads, with a few honourable mentions.

So grab a cuppa/glass of prosecco/some hair of the dog, and have a gander at the video below where I talk you through them all, how modern.

I will be reviewing those I haven’t already on the blog in the next few weeks, when Savidge Reads returns to some kind of routine. I am hoping for a much, much, much better reading year in 2017 so hopefully I will have two (written) posts at the end of next year. But more about next year in the New Year, which is now very very nearly here (and may have been for some of you) so I shall simply finish off by wishing you a very very very Happy New Year…

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…Here’s to a new year of fantastic books, lots of bookish chatter and may it be wonderful for all of us. As always thank you for sticking by the blog in the last, somewhat ropey, year. I have a good feeling about 2017.

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