Tag Archives: John Fowles

Other People’s Bookshelves #17 – Karyn Reeves

So while I am away wandering the streets, well more realistically the bookshops, of London I thought I would leave you with the lovely Karyn Reeves (whose blog, A Penguin A Week, I adore even if am rubbish at commenting) and her wonderful bookshelves. Before we have a good old nosey through her bookshelves though shall we find out a little bit more about her? It would be rude not to.

Karyn is the owner of about 2000 Penguins published before 1970 (well actually many more than that if you count duplicates and Penguins published in other series), and is always on the look out for the 1000 titles She is still missing. Her blog is a little different to many in that it has one single idea which is to create some kind of online record about the 3000 titles Penguin published before 1970, as some of them are well known but others, many of which are worth reading, are at risk of being forgotten. Karyn says “It can be quite sobering to look at a wall of books and see the names of so many people who must have been very successful during their lives – and I think that to have even written one book is a major achievement – who are now gradually slipping into obscurity.” So she started the blog partly as a way to help retain that knowledge, and partly as a way to cope with the stresses of doing a PhD (in Maths and Statistics). Happily, the PhD is now finished and she has now become Dr Reeves. Her thesis was on the analysis of HIV data and about how HIV mutates at a phenomenal rate inside every infected person, partly in response to their specific immune system, which is one of the things which makes it such a devastating disease. Now she works at the Murdoch University in Perth as a research officer. If that wasn’t enough she is also a mother of five, her two youngest daughters following in her footsteps as constant readers. Here are her shelves…

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Do you keep all the books you read on your shelves or only your favourites, does a book have to be REALLY good to end up on your shelves or is there a system like one in one out, etc?

There is simply no limit to the number of books I would like to own. I would happily cover every wall of our home with bookshelves, so I could never contemplate any sort of culling system like one in, one out. I love that I own such a large number of unread books so that each time I am ready to read another one I have many hundreds to choose from, from a variety of genres. I think of the books I own as providing some kind of record of my life, and the collection is a reminder that time has passed to some purpose. The books capture the memories of the holidays on which they were purchased, and of what I was thinking or experiencing when each one was read. Many of them have been sent to me by people I have never met, so then they capture the memory of completely ordinary days when a package has turned up at the end of the driveway, always an exciting moment. I much prefer the option of buying more and more bookshelves to that of getting rid of books.

Do you organise your shelves in a certain way? For example do you have them in alphabetical order of author, or colour coded? Do you have different bookshelves for different books (for example, I have all my read books on one shelf, crime on another and my TBR on even more shelves) or systems of separating them/spreading them out? Do you cull your bookshelves ever?

Most of my non-Penguins and all of my Penguins published after 1970 are currently in storage while I wait for my house to sell, but normally I have them grouped together by spine colour, and within that by author. The old Penguins, on the other hand, are ordered on the bookshelves approximately chronologically by issue date, as they have spines which are numbered roughly in that order. I find that that is the best way to keep track of them, and once you accumulate enough vintage Penguins they look very attractive filed that way. The chronological order means that you can easily spot various patterns in Penguin design, such as when they moved from the vertical to the horizontal stripes, or when the various colours (cerise, yellow, dark blue, purple, red and grey) disappeared, or when they altered the direction of the words on the spine, and some other brief experiments in their design. I never cull books, although when I do have more than one copy of a Penguin title, I will sometimes give surplus copies to others, such as to Pam who has the blog Travellin’ Penguin and who also collects old Penguins and often sends books my way.

What was the first book you ever bought with your own money and does it reside on your shelves now?

The first two books I remember purchasing were Saturday Night and Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe and Room at the Top by John Braine. I had read about them, I think, in The Collector by John Fowles, a book (and movie) I loved, and which had a big influence on my reading when I was in my late teens. I think they were also mentioned on the back cover of A Kind of Loving by Stan Barstow. I remember them particularly because they had to be ordered in, possibly even from the UK, as they weren’t the sort of titles you were going to find being stocked in a Perth book shop all those years ago. I still own both books, and at least another four copies of A Room at the Top in its varying Penguin covers – it must have been exceptionally popular in the early 1960s because it went through at least 17 issues in the first year of publication, and I haven’t come across any other old Penguin title which can equal that.

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Are there any guilty pleasures on your bookshelves you would be embarrassed people might see, or like me do you have a hidden shelf for those somewhere else in the house?

No. These days I post about every book that I read, so it wouldn’t make any sense to feel embarrassed about what I was reading.

Which book on the shelves is your most prized, mine would be a collection of Conan Doyle stories my Great Uncle Derrick memorised and retold me on long walks and then gave me when I was older? Which books would you try and save if (heaven forbid) there was a fire?

Fire is something which has long troubled me, because until recently I was living on a bush block on the outskirts of Perth, and summer inevitably brings the possibility of bushfire. All the eucalypts in the backyard still display evidence of at least one fire which came far too close to the house before we lived there. The vintage Penguins are the things I would need to save, all 2000 of them, for the reasons that I mentioned early, for the memories they capture. As books they are all replaceable and most of them are not particularly valuable, but as artifacts of my life I would have difficulty living without them. 

What is the first ‘grown up’, and I don’t mean in a ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ way, that you remember on your parent’s shelves or at the library, you really wanted to read? Did you ever get around to it and are they on your shelves now?

I don’t recall any books on my parent’ bookshelves that I wanted to read, and I don’t have recollection of thinking of books as off limits when I was young. What I do remember from my teenage years is the frustration of not knowing what to read, or where to get advice. I solved it by turning to second hand bookshops and eventually working out that books with orange spines were a safe bet, so that you could buy titles at random and be assured of discovering something worth reading, and that was what led me to start collecting Penguins.

If you love a book but have borrowed the copy do you find you have to then buy the book and have it on your bookshelves or do you just buy every book you want to read?

The project I’ve taken on through the blog keeps me very focused on the books I already own; I suspect there are already more of these than there will be time left to read. And each time I am ready to choose another book I have hundreds to choose from that I am looking forward to reading so I am never tempted to borrow one from anyone else, or from the library. But if I did read a borrowed book I am sure I would be looking for a copy to put on the shelves, just in case I wanted to refer to it later.

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What was the last book that you added to your bookshelves?

Maigret Mystified (Penguin no. 2024) is the last book I purchased for myself, and as I own so few of the Simenon Penguins – and I don’t know why this is, perhaps Australians didn’t have a taste for translated fiction in the 1960s – I am always happy when I find another one.

Are there any books that you wish you had on your bookshelves that you don’t currently?

Well there are about one thousand books that I wish to have on my bookshelves and don’t currently own because my goal is to find (and read) all of the titles Penguin published before Allen Lane died in 1970. They are getting more difficult to find these days, and so I tend to only look for them now when I am on holiday, but one of the very lovely things about having a blog is that people now help me in my quest. I have had wonderful help in tracking down bookshops which stock them over east and overseas, and I have been taken on book shopping expeditions on my travels, and I have had many books turn up in the mail.

What do you think someone perusing your shelves would think of your reading taste, or what would you like them to think?

I think anyone who loves books appreciates the sight of an old Penguin and is likely to feel overwhelmed by a whole wall of them. I suspect people probably think I am a little obsessive, and I agree that choosing what you would read according to the backlist of one particular publisher is an unusual way to go about things, but it works for me. In a world in which there are more books available than you could possibly hope to read, you have to find some way to make a choice, and this one introduces me to books and stories I would otherwise know nothing about.

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A huge thanks to Karyn for taking part in Other People’s Bookshelves. Don’t forgot if you would like to participate (and I would love you to – hint, hint, hint) in the Other People’s Book Shelves series then drop me an email to savidgereads@gmail.com with the subject Other People’s Bookshelves, thanks in advance. In the meantime… what do you think of Karyn’s responses and/or any of the books that she mentioned?

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Other People’s Bookshelves #16 – Jared Shurin

This week, in the latest of the Other People’s Bookshelves series, I am honoured to be sharing the shelves with someone who I consider to be a real legend in the book world. His enthusiasm for books, reading, publishing, promoting, prize giving, you name it, is amazing. He is the powerhouse that is Jared Shurin. Before we have a nosey at his books, let’s find out even more about him and his fabulous bookish projects and the like.

Jared is, among other things: a trained BBQ judge, a licensed (but not particularly talented) bartender, a proud holder of a passing grade (barely) in freshman Latin, a struggling baseball fan, accidental cat owner, passionate alphabetiser and level 230 in Avengers Alliance. His best celebrity sighting so far has probably been Angelina Jolie. He is co-founder of The Kitschies award. He also runs a small press, Jurassic London where he has edited and co-edited eight anthologies (including a couple on mummies, one on space and a Western) which publishes original fiction in partnership with museums, charities and other not-for-profit institutions. He can be found at Pornokitsch and on Twitter as @pornokitsch. Here are his shelves…

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Do you keep all the books you read on your shelves or only your favourites, does a book have to be REALLY good to end up on your shelves or is there a system like one in one out, etc?

Yes. (To all of the above!) Our shelves are at maximum capacity, by which, I mean everything is double-shelved, plus books are wedged in at the top, plus we have a half dozen piles on the floor plus we have storage units all over the place from various moves. For the past year, we’ve been trying for one in, one out, but it never seems to work out that way.

Do you organise your shelves in a certain way? For example do you have them in alphabetical order of author, or colour coded? Do you have different bookshelves for different books (for example, I have all my read books on one shelf, crime on another and my TBR on even more shelves) or systems of separating them/spreading them out? Do you cull your bookshelves ever?

Kind of. There are separate shelves for proofs, “fragile old stuff”, history, books on books, “London books”, “creepy books”, “ridiculously over-sized stuff”… the landing is for art books and comics, the bedroom is for all the vintage paperbacks. The bulk of our collection is hardcover fiction. It is vaguely alphabetical (by author), but there are a lot of exceptions. Certain publishers get separated out, as do certain authors (basically if there are enough of them to make the alphabetical shelving aesthetically awkward, they get their own corner). This leads to a weird series of prioritisation. Like a proof goes on the proof shelf unless it is by x publisher, in which it goes on that shelf, or by y author, in which case it goes on this shelf… If China Miéville and Dorothy Sayers ever co-author a book by Hard Case Crime, the whole system will collapse. No one – not even us – can find anything. I use a catalog software – Collectorz – which at least tells me what we have. But as to finding it on a shelf? Doomed.

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What was the first book you ever bought with your own money and does it reside on your shelves now?

I’m not sure I know. I think one of the first commercial transactions I ever engaged in – full stop – was buying several Handbooks of the Marvel Universe from my friend Jori when I was… really young. There was probably money involved, but I think the lion’s share of the negotiation involved Muscles (anyone remember those?). Those and all my other books are currently stored in Kansas City. There are these caves on the outskirts of town and companies use them for temperature controlled storage and paintball (hopefully not at the same time). So my books are actually under a mountain. Which makes me feel a bit like Thorin Oakenshield.

Are there any guilty pleasures on your bookshelves you would be embarrassed people might see, or like me do you have a hidden shelf for those somewhere else in the house?

No secrets. Anne’s astounding collection of books on the history of science? Impossible to see. My collection of Midwood Press pornographic pulps? In plain view. We have no shame. (I swear, this shelving arrangement was her decision, not mine.)

Which book on the shelves is your most prized, mine would be a collection of Conan Doyle stories my Great Uncle Derrick memorised and retold me on long walks and then gave me when I was older? Which books would you try and save if (heaven forbid) there was a fire?

Oh hell, at the first sign of smoke, I’ll be renting a forklift. We have one glass case. I say “glass” – it is an IKEA Billy case and we shelled out the extra 46p for the glass door component. (Which I promptly built on upside-down, because I’m useful.) Anyway, after much fussing about which books go in there – value? Rarity? Fragility?! – Anne and I went with the books that have the best stories. By this, I don’t mean the text of the books, but our connection to them. So it is a weird mix: Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats is rubbing shoulders with Watchmen, Ghost Dance, She, The King in Yellow and about fifty other oddities. It is a strange sort of cocktail party. Anyway, I say all this because, if there were a fire, I’m sure I could muster one of those crazy “read-about-it-in-the-tabloids” feats of adrenalin-fueled strength and chuck the whole thing out the bedroom window.

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What is the first ‘grown up’, and I don’t mean in a ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ way, that you remember on your parent’s shelves or at the library, you really wanted to read? Did you ever get around to it and are they on your shelves now?

My parents used to have a zillion of the old leather-bound Franklin Library books – I’m pretty sure they were hand-me-downs from a family friend. I used to stare at them like they held ALL THE SECRETS IN THE WORLD, and, as soon as I could, I read the hell out of them. It was amazing to learn how dull the world’s secrets are, especially when they come packaged as The Last Days of Pompeii.

If you love a book but have borrowed the copy do you find you have to then buy the book and have it on your bookshelves or do you just buy every book you want to read?

The only problem with borrowing books is that then you’re under pressure to read them right away. I’d rather buy everything and then pick my way through them at my own pace. Generally speaking, if I want to read something, I buy the cheapest edition I can find (or better yet, an ebook). Then when I’m done with it, I’ll pass it on. But if I like it, like, like-like, in the “I’ll ask your best friend if you think I’m cute” kind of way… I’ll actively hunt down the best copy I can find: hardcover, signed, proof, the author’s mummified hand, whatever.
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What was the last book that you added to your bookshelves?

Last five, in reverse chronological order: the novelisation of Short Circuit, Something Wicked Volume 2, The Lowest Heaven, Bonjour Tetris, Life After Life.

Are there any books that you wish you had on your bookshelves that you don’t currently?

A billion. I mean, there’s the big stuff, why yes, I’d love a manuscript of The Magus with John Fowles’ annotations as he prepared the revised version or a presentation copy of D’Israeli’s memoirs that he sent to Gladstone inscribed with “My Reform Act now, HA HA – Dizzy”. But it is more the little things – it bugs the hell out of me that my Engineer trilogy is made of mixed US and UK editions and that I never have a reading copy of Kraken and there’s that one damn volume of The Walking Dead that I always forget and there are several holes in the Hard Case Crimes and don’t get me started on the D-series Ace Doubles and I’ve been missing one – one – of John D. MacDonald’s books for as long as I can remember and… and…

What do you think someone perusing your shelves would think of your reading taste, or what would you like them to think?

Not really sure. Some friends have been a little disconcerted by the landing filled with comics, but then, what are they going to think, that we’re big geeks? Odds are they knew that before they stepped through the front door… It is always fun to watch people browse our shelves. It is the first thing I do when I step into everyone else’s homes, so it is only fair that they return the favour.

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A huge thanks to Jared for taking part in Other People’s Bookshelves. Don’t forgot if you would like to participate (and I would love you to – hint, hint, hint) in the Other People’s Book Shelves series then drop me an email to savidgereads@gmail.com with the subject Other People’s Bookshelves, thanks in advance. In the meantime… what do you think of Jared’s responses and/or any of the books that he mentioned?

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The French Lieutenant’s Woman; First Impressions

My aim to have read John Fowles ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ as one of my ‘Three for Thirty’ may just be achieved before the clock strikes midnight tonight, however my plan to have reviewed it before then hasn’t come to fruition as I haven’t quite finished it. I am actually about two thirds through at the moment, though I have a long train journey to Shropshire later so should finish it then. I thought I would do something I haven’t done before, might do again though if its popular, and give you my first impressions of the novel because I am thoroughly enjoying it, so much so I am very hesitant to rush it.

Vintage Classics, paperback, 1969 reissued 2012, fiction, 528 pages, kindly sent by the publisher

Naturally with this being my first real impressions I won’t give any spoilers away, if you can avoid them in the comments that would be lovely too, but I think it is ok to say what the story is really about from the start. As the novel opens, with a superb atmosphere of Lyme Regis in the 1860’s, we follow Charles Smithson and his fiancée, Ernestina Freeman, taking a stroll. As they do they spot a lone figure staring into the sea, Ernestina tells Charles that this is Sarah Woodruff known locally in the village as ‘Tragedy’ or ‘The French Lieutenant’s Whore’ after she was disgraced when she had an a relationship with a French naval officer who was already betrothed. Shock, horror, the very idea! Charles becomes rather fascinated by her story, and so do we as the reader.

I loved how the novel started; there is a real atmosphere of some of the writing of the time, the slight sensation elements of the likes of Wilkie Collins etc, which I love anyway. There’s a certain darkness in the writing and the depiction of Lyme Regis and the people who inhabit it. This leads me to the characters, and what a marvellous bunch they are. Charles himself is both a complete charmer and a bit of a wrong ‘en as far as I was concerned, I didn’t think I would warm to him but strangely I have. Sarah is of course marvellously intriguing and Ernestine is brilliantly gossipy and demanding, I love her. My favourite character though has to be Mrs Poulteney

‘She was like some plump vulture, endlessly circling in her endless leisure, and endowed in the first field with a miraculous sixth sense as regards dust, fingermarks, insufficiently starched linen, smells, stains, breakages and all the ills that houses are heir to. A gardener would be dismissed for being seen to come into the house with earth on his hands; a butler for having a spot of wine on his stock; a maid for having slut’s wool under her bed.

Isn’t that just marvellous? Doesn’t it instantly evoke this woman? It also shows how wonderfully Fowles writes, which having not read him since ‘The Collector’ (which couldn’t be a more different book, apart from the dark tone) I had forgotten. I did worry that the way the narrator (and I have just got to the point where Fowles has introduced himself and it looks like there might be multiple endings coming) describes everything with hindsight and throwing a lot of information about the state of politics and the structure of society might get on my nerves. It isn’t hidden in the text, it’s fairly in your face, so I was worried I would feel like I was being lectured at, but I’ve gotten used to it and am learning even more about the Victorian period. Lovely stuff!

So you can imagine I am rather looking forward to several hours on the train with the characters and seeing how this possible multi-ending is going to go. I hope it carries on so wonderfully…

I am hoping to do a proper full review in timing with Cornflower Books next Book Group which ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ is the subject of, until then let me know your thoughts on this book. Though no spoilers please! Oh and let me know what you think of ‘first impressions posts’ good, bad, would prefer a full review at the end and nothing more?

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Three For Thirty… and a Possible Few For Forty

Thank you all so much for your comments and recommendations on my post about three books I should read before I am thirty and forty books before I am forty. It is exactly three weeks today that my thirties will start and so I have made a decision on the three books I will be reading in the final three weeks of my twenties. It was a tricky choice…

Well actually the first decision was a pretty easy one. I wanted one to be a non fiction novel regardless, and I have always liked letters and diaries and so ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank fitted the bill and is a book I have always meant to read. What has stopped me? In all honesty I have always been worried it might not affect me and what that would say about me. Is that bad?

Anyway that was my first choice. I decided I wanted one of the books to be rather chunky, and ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ by John Fowles ticks lots of boxes. Its set in my favourite period in history, the Victorian era, has a fallen woman at its heart and John Fowles is an author I have wanted to return to. Oh, and it has a gorgeous new cover which popped through the door the other day. Oh, and… the lovely Karen has chosen it for her Cornflower Book Group in April, so maybe a few of you could join in.

Last but not least (and I might not read them in this order anyway) thanks to Annabel of Gaskella who mentioned Beryl Bainbridge, yet another author I have ‘always meant to read’. Well on World Book Day I wanted to buy a book and not something new. ‘The Bottle Factory Outing’ is one I have heard great things about and sounds like a good way in so that is the third and final choice.

So what about the forty to read before I am forty. Well you mentioned some corkers (some I had read and loved but that means we are on a wavelength) and here is the list of the twenty four titles that have come in so far that could end up in the mix.

Maps for lost Lovers – Nadeem Aslam
Miss Hargreaves – Frank Baker
The Regeneration Trilogy – Pat Barker
2666 – Robert Bolano
The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz
Famous Last Words – Timothy Findley
Through a Glass, Darkly – Jostein Gaarder
American Gods – Neil Gaiman
Cranford – Elizabeth Gaskell
The Major of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
For Whom The Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer
Independent People – Halldor Laxness
Three Horses – Erri de Luca
Night Train to Lisbon – Pascal Mercier
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
The Raj Quartet – Paul Scott
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
The Map of Love – Adhaf Soueif
The Life and Loves of a She-Devil – Fay Weldon
In Great Waters – Kit Whitfield

Isn’t it a great and rather diverse list? Would you second any of these? Are there any that I might be missing and should consider (there is still space for sixteen more, and I might change some), if you think so do let me know. What do you think of my three before thirty? Let me know if you fancy reading any of them too.

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What Happens When You Move & Don’t Update Publishers With Your New Address?

Well, you go and visit the lovely family members you were staying with after a few weeks of being in your own little new world and find they have had an avalanche of parcels for you, which you then have to lug all the way back to your new abode. Let me illustrate that for you…

Oh and…

I stopped doing ‘incoming posts’ but know some of you like them so see this is a random special return. (I’m not going to list all the books just some highlights, you can click on the pics for a bigger image I think.)

There was some delightful parcel opening once I had dragged several ‘bags for life’ (and really tested them to see if they live up to their name) brimming with parcels home, as some of the finds were wonderful. In general these were unsolicited copies, but I had asked for a few. Maura at Riot PR had sent some of the Waterstones 11, so I think I have almost all of those now, as I don’t have relationships with all of the publishers on the list. I have been very excited about them all but both ‘Care of Wooden Floors’ by Will Wiles and ‘The Lifeboat’ by Charlotte Rogan in particular, but didn’t think those two would be appearing via my postman, I was wrong as I had a copy from Little Brown, so I might give one away when the book comes out. ‘The Art of Fielding’ by Chad Harbach I asked for with the clause that I would try it but I might not finish it, I am being honest, and so I will at some point.

I am beyond excited about Peter Ackroyd’s biography on ‘Wilkie Collins’ and the new short story collection ‘Guilt’ by Ferdinand Von Schirach as I greatly admired ‘Crime’ when I read it last year. I think William Boyd’s new book, which Alice at Bloomsbury had signed for me as I couldn’t make the Bloomsbury Blogger event, ‘Waiting For Sunrise’ might be the next from these piles I read, though it is getting a lot of mentions on blogs, we will see. It could have some stiff competition from ‘Love From Nancy’ (which is more Nancy Mitford letters than I could dream of) as to who makes it from the TBR to the bedside table, we will see.

Pretty much all the other books came unsolicited as I mentioned but there are some titles there that I am intrigued by, I will have a proper sift over this weekend, and so am pleased arrived. I have yet to read Peter Carey, ‘Oscar and Lucinda’ just looks so looooong, but ‘Chemistry of Tears’ looks shorter and sounds very interesting so I will give this major Man Booker winner a whirl finally. I am also thrilled with two of the recovered (in a team up with the V&A) and soon to be reissued Vintage Classics which turned up, ‘The Sea, The Sea’ by Iris Murdoch and ‘The French Lieutenants Woman’ by  John Fowles. They are authors I have read one book by before and then I said I will return to and then haven’t. Both look very good, and I fancy some more chunksters this year, and I had no idea ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ was neo-Victorian until recently so I am definitely going to give that a whirl soon.

What books have you bought/been sent/been given lately? Which of these would you like to see me give a whirl on a whim? What are you reading now?

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Housekeeping & Other Bits & Bobs

So I have had rather a belated spring clean at Savidge Reads and changed a few bits and bobs. One of the things I have changed is finally putting up links to other book blogs that I like, which you should see on the top right. This was actually down to two other bloggers; one was Novel Insights who has now moved, the other was after receiving a lovely award from Matt at A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook who wrote some very nice stuff. I will be keeping this updated as I discover new lovely book blogs. 

I have finally updated the About Savidge Reads section as some people mentioned thanks to your feedback the other week. I like to add blogs every now and then about me as well as all the books that I read and bookish things that I think about. So that is all up. I will be adding a ‘Savidge Reads Grills’ links once I have some more author interviews up in the next few weeks. 

I have also added the final twenty books into the Savidge Reads – Great Reads page so now you have forty of them, I think this will be changing quite a lot as the year progresses and new books and some classics get read from my never ending TBR pile. Speaking of which a few more second hand books have somehow appeared in Savidge Reads Towers, rather than write all the blurbs I will pop a list of them below and if you have read any of them do let me know. At work a huge pile of books for all the staff for free turned up and I managed to collect…

  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery
  • Mystery Man – Bateman
  • Guernica – Dave Boling
  • A Start in Life – Anita Brookner
  • Girl With A Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • The Aristos – John Fowles
  • The Electric Michelangelo – Sarah Hall
  • Down River – John Hart
  • I’m The King of the Castle – Susan Hill
  • The Piano Teacher – Janice Y.K. Lee
  • Something Might Happen – Julie Myerson
  • From A View to a Death – Anthony Powell
  • Precious Bane – Mary Webb

Now when I have this many new books I shouldn’t be asking you about more books… but I am going to. I am looking for books that are based in Tel Aviv as I am off there with ‘The Converted One’ for a week of beaches, reading and sunshine in September and I would love to read something that was written by someone from there or something set there, so you have your mission.

This trip sadly means that I will be missing out on Septembers Book Group which of course will have its page updated after tomorrow when we all meet to discuss ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath. I will still read the next months chosen book by Armen and email one of the fellow book groupers with my thoughts and pop them up here the day after.

Phew that’s been quite an event, I don’t think there is anything else. Do let me know what you think; I do love your feedback. What have you all been up to lately? Don’t forget your thoughts on my new additions to the TBR and any Tel Aviv books that you can think of. Right I am off to catch up with the final few chapters of A.S. Byatt’s ‘The Children’s Book’ which I am still loving, more on that later in the week.

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