Tag Archives: Norah Ephron

Do I Want To Read… Ayn Rand?

I have to admit from a purely materialistic view I have often seen the massive books of Ayn Rand in book shops and merely wanted them because of the wonderful covers that the Penguin Modern Classic editions have. This, whilst natural, is also rather ridiculous as actually when they are on the shelves, after what would possibly be about two months it could take to read, all anyone is going to see is the massive spines. Yet it does seem like fate has been pointing me in her direction lately and this has got me wondering.

On The First Tuesday Book Club, possibly my favourite book based show, one of the choices for this months discussion (which you can see on their website) was ‘Atlas Shrugged’ which is one of host Jennifer Byrne’s favourites. It ended up, bar Byrne, being universally disliked and accused of being overly long and less a novel more a book of philosophy. Yet strangely I ended up thinking ‘oooh maybe that would be a monster I could try and tackle one day’ though of course I have said the same about ‘Ulysses’ and look where that got me… absolutely nowhere. I tried it failed, but have kept it on the book shelves for a rainy day or ninety.

Now, in fact just yesterday, I am reading (one of my naughtily ignored until now library loots) Norah Ephron’s collection ‘Wallflower at the Orgy’ and who is one of her essays about? You guessed it, Ayn Rand and also her book ‘The Fountainhead’ which Ephron seems to rather praise and which became rather a cult classic against all odds. This has piqued my interest yet again and I am left wondering if actually this is an author who not only has come out in delightful editions of late (I cant loose the materialistic streak, sorry) and who it seems can write a blinking long yarn or three.

I am tempted by the two mentioned ‘The Fountainhead’ and ‘Atlas Shrugged’ but am wondering whether I should really start at the beginning with ‘We The Living’ which has a rather saucy cover it has to be said. I haven’t yet looked at the blurbs and maybe that would be the place to head to next. However I thought you lovely lot might be the perfect place to start really, so…

Have you read any Ayn Rand? Was it a pleasant affair or really just hard work with no real rewards? Where would you suggest I start or would you actually say that the idea of even contemplating one of her novels doesn’t bear thinking about? Would anyone else be willing to join in with some ‘Rand Reading’ and maybe we could provide each other with some support and hand holding through the blogosphere?

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Library Lunacy?

I have not long just been online to renew my library loans and am now feeling rather guilty. You see I currently have fifteen books out… and I have renewed them for the THIRD time, eek! The problem is that when I look at them all I still don’t want to cull any, even though I know there are other people who might have read them and returned them by now. (Actually having said that no one has reserved them and they could have.) Also, I do feel I shouldn’t be getting books from the library, as I do have a library of my own indoors. Oh it’s a bit of a dilemma really isn’t it?

So what are the books that I have been hoarding for the last month or two with selfish intent…

  • The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
  • Portnoy’s Complaint – Philip Roth
  • Un Lun Dun –China Mieville
  • The Worst Street in London – Fiona Rule
  • Solo – Rana Dasgupta
  • Ghost Hunters – Deborah Blum
  • Honor & Other Peoples Children – Helen Garner
  • The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack – Mark Hodder
  • Dimanche & Other Stories – Irene Nemirovsky
  • Still Missing – Beth Gutcheon
  • Wallflower at the Orgy – Norah Ephron
  • Dark Places – Gillian Flynn
  • Barbequed Husbands – Betty Mindlin
  • The City & The City – China Mieville (half read)

I do want to read them all, its just not knowing where to start. I am off in Manchester for a few days so am only talking library books with me as my choice reads as I really do need to get through them, I am not allowing myself to press the renew button one more time. I am not!

Do you ever have a library loot dilemma? Any advice on how I should stop this naughty habit? Recommend any of these titles get read instantly, I always love your recommendations? What have you taken out of the library of late?

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The Long and Short Listing of It…

Over the next few weeks, and realistically probably months, things might be a little bit different at Savidge Reads. So I thought that instead of doing one of my ‘Bookish Bits’ I would instead have a natter with you about some possible forthcoming changes to service with the blog and also to ask you for some recommendations of a certain kind of reading material, because you are all always very good with helping me out.

 As you may or may not know I have helped co-found (and am now a judge of) a new book award ‘The Green Carnation Prize’ and yesterday the deadline for submissions closed. I can’t tell you exactly how many we have had as until they all arrive in the next few days I won’t be 100% sure, I can say it’s more than 20 and less than 125. We have been really surprised, and I think if we admit it out loud even a little shocked, at the response that we have had to this, people are really getting behind it, in fact we have already had already had lots of books arrive before the submissions deadline closed…

Sorry about the green shroud (which is actually one of my favourite t-shirts – no expense spared here at Savidge Reads as you can tell) but myself and the other judges have all agreed that until the winner is announced we won’t comment on any of the books that come in for the prize, even after the long list, short list and winner are announced. Whilst this is great for scheduling posts while I am in Brazil for a few months it could mean things change a bit on Savidge Reads as firstly I will be lost in a mass of books which I can’t blog about and also I am going to be dedicating much more time to reading and less to blogging. There may be some radio silence now and again too.

I do want to read some books in between submissions though and as judges we were all talking about what we might fit in. I think Lesley was going to read some crime along the way, Paul might be reading some Dr Who and his treasured Crossroads books – both of them will also be working on new books, Nick is going to be reading kids and YA fiction. I am plumping for short books, novellas, guilty pleasures and short story collections. In fact I sorted out a possible pile of them for the bedside…

  • The Only Problem by Muriel Spark (the Queen of shorter books which pack twists and punches, my Mum lent me this out of print gem)
  • The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen (looks big but I will be so gripped in one of my favourite guilt free guilty pleasure it can get done and dusted in mere hours)
  • Agatha Raisin & The Love From Hell by M.C. Beaton (what can I say an Agatha Raisin mystery is always two hours of pure murder, mayhem and laughter)
  • The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie (apparently this is like a collection of short Miss Marple tales, perfect)
  • In Between The Sheets by Ian McEwan (another short book my mother lent me, I know nothing about this McEwan at all)
  • The Comforters by Muriel Spark (another Spark that’s due back at the library quite soon)
  • A Bit of Singing & Dancing by Susan Hill (I love Susan Hill’s work but have never tried her short stories)
  • Between Us Girls by Joe Orton (another library book I picked up purely because it was by Orton, looks delightfully caustic and is also massive print so that will be a quick treat)
  • Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd (always meant to read it, now I shall try)
  • Heartburn by Norah Ephron (I was at a meeting and someone else was reading this and raving about it, plus I remember seeing some buzz about it last year or the year before on the blogosphere)
  • In Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote (he’s a genius and I would like the spirit of Capote with me while I try and whittle down the submissions, he would be my dream 6th judge – well it would be a tie with him and Oscar Wilde)
  • Dancing Girls by Margaret Atwood (tried and loved her shorts in Good Bones, want to read more and couldn’t locate my copy of ‘Bluebeards Egg’)
  • Hector and the Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord (have renewed this far too many times from the library need to get it read)
  • The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis (this arrived in the post the other day and seemed to be great timing, never read her – or heard of her before this showed up)
  • 13.55 Eastern Standard Time by Nick Alexander (my friend Dom raved and raved about this and lent me a copy so must see if its as good as Dom said – could be awkward if not)
  • Dark Matter by Michelle Paver (I love a good ghost story now and again and this sounds like its going to be great from the early buzz its already getting – its not even out till October!)

I have just realised I didn’t include the third Peirene Press title and some Anne Tyler, drat. The latter in particular I really need to read more of as I have loved everything I have read of hers so far and have been telling myself to read for ages.

So what do you think of that possible selection of non Green Carnation reading? Are there any titles on there you would like me to get to first? Are there any you have read and what did you think? Can you think of any other short fiction or collections that I am missing out on and must try and squeeze in my reading over the next few months? What are your reading plans at the moment?

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Simon’s Bookish Bits #26

I realised yesterday that I hadn’t done a bookish bits for ages and today seemed the perfect time to do one as everything seems to have had a major wobble and jolt in my reading. Interestingly its not that I am having a reading slump but more that I have too much at the moment that I want to read and can’t seem to get through. Do you ever find yourself in that very position?

In part its all down to yesterday’s news and ‘The Green Carnation Prize’, already some books have started arriving and with all the submissions arriving I am more that aware there are some books that I really want to get through before we start whittling down to a longlist between this coming Friday and the 1st of September. My current mini TBR pile on the bedside table is as follows;

  • Couples by John Updike (for Book Group, I have only just started so am thankful for taking a week of next week as its rather long. I need to have a think about Book Group though as dependent on the next titles and their length will I have time in the forthcoming months?)
  • The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (with the new BBC modern take on ‘Sherlock’ which is actually very, very good I of course want to read one of Sherlock’s original adventures)
  • Peace by Richard Bausch (I have heard rave reviews about this here there and everywhere and I haven’t read a fictional book about the actual war rather than the time period for a while)
  • Room by Emma Donoghue (I know it’s the book everyone is going to be reviewing but I don’t care as its one I am desperate to read regardless)
  • The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie (I have an urge for Marple at the moment and I always believe you should follow any urge to read a Christie)
  • Heartburn by Norah Ephron (some swine has ordered my copy so have to get this back to the library very soon)

The good thing is that four of them are fairly short and I do believe that going forward, between all the reading I am doing for ‘The Green Carnation Prize’ in forthcoming weeks, short books are the ones that will be featuring more and more on Savidge Reads. Especially since all submissions are made on a confidential basis and the judges have all agreed not to mention our thoughts on the longlisted books as we read them on our blogs, though we can mention them after the winner is announced on World Aids Day. The good news is that with all the reading I will be doing for this I will have masses of posts to schedule for here while I am in Brazil.

It has meant I have had to stop ‘The Slap’  midway through which was quite an effort for me as I thought it was shaping up nicely. But , though it hasn’t been yet, I am hoping it gets submitted… I shall say no more than that.

I have decided to give myself a bit of time off and so will be scheduling some posts for the week ahead today before heading off to the new Jimmy Spices in London (again, I went of Friday but its possibly my favourite place on earth) and having an evening of no books. Then, having booked a week off, its down to some earnest reading and a little more silence from me than usual on comments both here and around the blogosphere whilst I get my pre-judging reading sorted. So do bear with me.

So how is all your reading going? I have seen some slumps here or there in the blogosphere are occurring, do you have any advice for any of those bloggers? What are the top five books you have your sights on for reading in the very near future? Do you have any other bookish plans or news to share?

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Thanks, Treats, Loans, TBR’s & Wishlists

A little bit of a mixed bag and sort of catch up post today. I don’t feel like I have communicated with you all properly for a while. In part because I was really sick over the end of last week and weekend which has thrown me out of kilter a little bit. Then there was the blooming marvellous post by The Bookboy which has left me worrying about my own blog posts, ha, for an eleven year old he’s very good and has made this twenty eight year old slightly concerned. I have also been having a major clear out of Savidge Reads HQ, and The Converted One has been on a DIY binge, as we have Mummy Savidge coming down with my siblings and step dad this weekend. I have also been doing some blog housekeeping whilst clearing up the TBR which I showed you over the weekend.

I have several thanks to give out but have been waiting to amalgamate them all. Now seems a good time as some very kind readers out there (some don’t want to be mentioned so I will simply say you know who you are and a big thanks to you) have sent me some absolutely delightful treats. In fact two of them called them ‘book buying ban survival supplies’ which is a tag that I love and might need to trademark. The books that have arrived are;

  • The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle – which was sent by a kind reader after we announced the NTTVBG Summer Selection and is one of the novels Kim of Reading Matters put forward as a summer treat.
  • Pele: The Autobiography by, well, Pele – a reader sent this as they thought it might be a reading twist for my Reading for Brazil plans, they are right… am looking forward to it though.
  • Eight Months on Ghazzah Street by Hilary Mantel – I am quite shocked that someone offered me this as I have been wanting to read it ever since reading Kim of Reading Matters (goodness she features a lot in today’s post lol) review here. So I was very chuffed when without having discussed this here a reader wung a copy my way.
  • This Time of Dying by Reina James – This made me laugh as after getting sent another book by a reader a while back that I had said I wanted on another blog, this came through in a comment on here about that comment (make sense?) and I cheekily said oh if anyone wants to send me ‘This Time of Dying’ and an email arrived and someone did!
  • Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami – I love Murakami and have been told that this is one of his strongest so am ever so grateful for this lovely edition that came all the way from America!
  • A Samba for Sherlock by Jo Soares – I mentioned this before on the blog but thought I should mention it again as it teamed with the theme.

I am thinking I might be really cheeky and pop a ‘wishlist page’ on the blog so if you want to know what books I am hankering after you might have going spare, ha! Back to the books though…

I also got myself a ridiculous two books from the library this week. I was going to go mad but I still have five at home I haven’t read and my reason for going to the library was to pay a rather large fine for having forgotten to renew any… grrr! Anyways the library loot was;

  • Heartburn by Norah Ephron – because I have been wanting to read this book FOR AGES!
  • The Great Western Beach by Emma Smith – I saw this out the corner of my eye when I was on the way out so had to queue again. Lynne of Dovegreyreader suggested this as one of her summer suggestions for the NTTVBG.

There were more treats from a dear friend, Kim who I have mentioned already, and TCO who kindly offered to get me the next Riverside Readers book group choice and then got me some treats too. So here are those special arrivals;

  • So Much for That by Lionel Shriver – I wanted to borrow this after hearing great things and also seeing Lionel Shriver talk at Foyle’s a while back. Kim kindly gave me her old copy, she also gave me…
  • Mr Scobie’s Riddle by Elizabeth Jolley – which she reviewed here and I thought, sounded a treat. I am loving the retro fabulous cover too.
  • Couples by John Updike – the next book group read which TCO got me along with…
  • Brazil by John Updike – I have been hankering after this for sometime. I did ask a publisher but shall not say what the response was as they may feel shamed, ha. This has been on a mental wishlist of mine for a while but not as much as…
  • 253 by Geoff Ryman – which I will probably be reading next as I simply cannot wait! I heard Michael Kindness discussing this on Books on the Nightstand and it sounds amazing. 253 people can sit in a London underground train and this is a book about one such set of 253 people, that’s all I will say for now. It sounds awesome though and is a London book for a Londoner. I am most impress TCO knew I wanted this… maybe I have been mentioning it a lot more than I thought!?!

So these have all now been placed nicely into the recently culled TBR pile – do note none of the culled books have left the building in case they are on the Man Booker Longlist, it would be sods law wouldn’t it?  But more on my Man Booker thoughts for this year soon! I have decided to go crazy and share the TBR with you once again (I had it up a while back but took it down after the revamp) and now it is up and running, though will be changing as am still culling, and you can find it here!

So what new incoming books have arrived with you lately? Have you read any of the above, let me know if you have I always like to hear your opinions on books that come into Savidge Reads HQ! What else has been going on for you all of late?

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