Tag Archives: Random Savidgeness

Object Lessons in Book Lust

By the time you read this, this could be less of a blog post about book lust and more about the books I have just been and bought because the book lust bug has me under it’s spell. As I type this it is very late on Wednesday night, I should really be in bed sleeping before I get up at 5.30am and get ready to get the train to London for two days of meetings. Instead I am wide awake having spent the last forty minutes or so trying to find out about some books that I am lusting after; Bloomsbury’s new Object Lessons series. They look stunning…


Yes, you know what I mean now don’t you. You can feel your fingers straying to open a new window and google which ones have come out and where you can get them from. I know, because that is what has just happened to me. Having done some digging and visiting their website I am still not sure exactly what they are. I mean, what does this mean? Object Lessons is a series of concise, collectable, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things. Each book starts from a specific inspiration: an historical event, a literary passage, a personal narrative, a technological innovation-and from that starting point explores the object of the title, gleaning a singular lesson or multiple lessons along the way. Featuring contributions from writers, artists, scholars, journalists, and others, the emphasis throughout is lucid writing, imagination, and brevity. Object Lessons paints a picture of the world around us, and tells the story of how we got here, one object at a time. Does it even matter when the books look so gorgeous?

Of course it does, though having read this review I now want them all, and it looks like there are going to be 20+ of them in total over the next how many months. “The Object Lessons series achieves something very close to magic: the books take ordinary—even banal—objects and animate them with a rich history of invention, political struggle, science, and popular mythology. Filled with fascinating details and conveyed in sharp, accessible prose, the books make the everyday world come to life. Be warned: once you’ve read a few of these, you’ll start walking around your house, picking up random objects, and musing aloud: ‘I wonder what the story is behind this thing?'” Yes that is me sold, so much so that if I see any of these (when I happen to fall into any London bookshops between meetings) I am probably going to have to buy one or two, or three… or four.

What books are you lusting after at the moment? Have you heard of the Object Lessons series? Have you read any of them? Would you be interested in me writing about random books I am lusting after, or would you rather I kept them to myself so it doesn’t become contagious and doom us all?


Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

Catching Up With Myself and All of You…

Blimey it has been a bonkers week or so. I swore to myself that I would get some more reviews up on the blog last week and this week but it seems I am slightly delusional, or I just think overly hopeful which is much nicer, as with trips to Paris and back, fireworks for over 15,000 people, the installation of the stunning poppies and then Remembrance Sunday and today, the shortlist for the Green Carnation (annouced 2pm on the 12th of November) to sort and administrate, my mothers 50th and another trip to London for a few days of meetings in the morning… I have run out of time. Phew! It does give me a reason to share a picture of the Poppies Weeping Window now housed in Liverpool until mid January again though, this was taken by me on Sunday as over 13,000 poppy petals showered down to remember all those who lost their lives in WWI from Liverpool. Stunning and incredibly moving, do come and see them…


…Anyway, whilst I catch up with myself (and I have Monday off next week so am planning a lovely long weekend at my mother’s partying then coming home and chilling for two days) I thought I would catch up with all of you and ask you how everything was going on and what is going on in your book worlds!

So what is new? To steal from one of my favourite sections on The Readers… What have you read, what are you reading and what are you thinking of reading next? I have read Sophie Hannah’s The Visitors Book,  I am reading Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (I have literally read about three pages) and am planning on turning to Margaret Atwood’s collection Stone Mattress  next. You?


Filed under Random Savidgeness

That Old Chestnut, What Do I Really Want To Be Reading?

Hip, hip, hooray and cheers all round… I have finished reading my first novel in over a month. A huge thank you to Ruth Ware’s In A Dark Dark Wood which has proved the perfect thriller to (cliché alert) grip me and have me page turning like a loon, more on that soon. I have also spent some of the weekend streamlining, rather than culling, not only my mighty bookshelves but also my ‘read’ shelves and the shelves (yes, shelves) of books that I have yet to review that I have read this year.

I have pondered the books I have read to see if I want to keep them. I have whittled out books I thought I wanted to review but actually am not so sure I do (there are lots of Fiction Uncovered submissions etc where I am not sure it’s appropriate or, worse, if I have very much to say – ouch) and the ones I have been busting to tell you about and have been a busy sausage and not done, yet. The shelves (and shelves) of books I have yet to read has been the hardest to whittle down and to be honest I have barely made the tiniest of dints or dents or whatever. The reason being I feel I am back at that crossroads in my reading life we all go through every so often where we ask… What the **** do I really want to be reading in the future?

The answer is alas illusive because I don’t like my reading straight forward or clean cut, who does? I don’t only want to read one genre, I don’t only want to read certain authors (though it would be nice to return to some of the ones that I love and have failed to read again, as seeing Brooklyn reminded me) and I don’t want to only be reading books that change my life – that would be exhausting, sometimes you need some fantastic escapism be it ghosts, crime or fairytale, not that they can’t change your life. I want to read the odd prize winner, I also really want to head off the beaten track and go and delve into the lives of casts of characters I will fall in love with the stories of all over the world. Sooooo many books, so little time – it’s sods law isn’t it?

I do know that I want to avoid some of (not all, but some) the big shouty hyped books. Twitter has been giving me a slight headache when I have been popping back online, I am on less frequently yet the same titles and voices seem to be shouting about the same books. I was actually saying to Rob, Kate and Gav earlier today how it’s become quite odd going from someone so in the industry and the chatter to now being much more on the outside. That’s not a bad thing, it means I can go rogue, which is the plan I think. Though an unplanned plan, no rules and no deadline reading for me for a while I think*.

Over the past few months on and off I have said I want to give Savidge Reads a slightly new direction, I am just still not quite sure what it is. However with 2016 looming and a new period in my professional and personal life having started I think that whatever that change will come in January. I am just going to pick up books by whim until then and see where they guide me. After all that was what Savidge Reads was meant to be (and is on the whole) from the off; the ramblings (verbal and literal) of a book lover on his journey discovering great books, so let’s see where that takes us shall we – as obviously I am expecting you to all come along for the ride. In the meantime while that all tinkers in my head it’s back to that pesky question of which book to read next?

*Unless some amazing book prize comes a knocking.


Filed under Random Savidgeness

My Worst Reading Slump… Ever!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness… Who ever thought I would be quoting Charles Dickens on this blog, yet here we are. In all seriousness though the last few weeks/months have felt a little bit like that. In going to America on my Readers adventure, heading to book festivals in Ilkley, Harwarden and Durham and then spending last weekend in London I have been having a gay old time left, right and centre, as it were. I am also really enjoying my new job and my new team. Yet all this has come at a slight cost in the terms of reading. When I say slight I mean epic, I have not read a whole book for over eight weeks the longest time since I gave up reading for 5 years in 1999.

Actually, that is a teeny weenie over exaggeration as I have read some books in full, just with big gaps in between meaning the reading of them felt somewhat disjointed. Yes folks, I was book juggling, that horrid state where several books seem to be all up in the air in your head at once as you read bits of one and then the other and another and go back and forth and around in circles. This was not helped by a secret project I was doing for a book prize, sifting their submissions before they went to judging panel back in late August and early September. I was book juggling with fire and I think I got somewhat burnt, even though it was ever so much fun reading for that prize and then reading for America and trying to read for festivals. But I think it got too much and the slump arrived.

Admittedly, this reading slump arrived without me noticing it – the sneaky thing. On arrival back from The Readers Roadtrip, I was unaware that I had not picked up a book for almost a week, probably because I had spent so much time talking about books. What I did notice was that being away from the buzz and shouting of Twitter, which I love but sometimes you hear the same books being shouted about or the same voices shouting, and that I felt the need to have a bit more calm. My desire for buying books hadn’t left me, I had bought twenty in the USA and then five more in Ilkley and more damage in Durham – yet the urge to sit and read wasn’t there, admittedly in the last two cases my trains were filled with stag and hen parties in both directions which wasn’t conducive to reading.

Yet whilst all this was going on I was still having many a wonderful chat about books (when not at work, though actually we are quite a booky lot at Culture so maybe that is slightly untrue) just not actually picking them up and reading them, then it seemed I couldn’t. I was talking all the book talk rather than actually fully participating. I had done so much dipping in and out and multi reading I just think I needed to stop and so for a week or so I avoided books, reading about them, talking about them, blogging (I know, I have been a quiet bookish bear) about them – the end. It was bliss… For a few days and then I got twitchy, then a bit grumpy, then full on edgy. Then I started to resent all the books in the world, let alone on my shelves, that I have yet to read and all the time that it might take to read them. Ouch, hard times (oh a second Dickens reference, I really am ill) and dire times indeed.

However in the last few days things have changed a little. Whilst in London at the end of last week and over the weekend three things happened that made a switch. Firstly I saw Nina Stibbe (who my boss who was with me is a huge fan of) talking about her book and other books at Stylist Live. Secondly, staying at my friend Catherine Hall’s she told me of a book that she had read and really loved and we chatted about some random books the other had never heard of. Thirdly, I went and had a massive wander around Foyles on Charing Cross Road and just mooched and looked at some books I had never heard of before… the bug was coming back slowly.

It then took and actual bug to break the book slump curse. As on Monday night I was felled by a stomach bug from hell and spent most of that night and 50% of yesterday being sick (the rest of the time I was trying to work from home at my kitchen table, dedication) and then today feeling rather delicate. At lunchtime I was feeling a bit woe is me and the like and so I settled down on the sofa with…


…A children’s book and  I was hooked. All I needed was something simple, stunning and magical. Now it seems the sickness bug has gone and the book bug is back, which will hopefully mean the blogging bug is back to. Though I think I need a good cull this weekend to get me fully back on track, I have my sights on my unread books and the piles (and piles and piles) of books I have read and haven’t reviewed. Maybe a fresh start of sorts and a spring, well autumn, clean is called for? Anyway I am back, nice to be back in the bookish world with you all again.


Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

And I’m Back…

Though not quite back in the land of the living I am not far off, I don’t think. Jet lag has hit rather heavily since my return flight on which I got no sleep, so I spent all of Monday in an over tired fog. Yesterday was sorting everything out day after a corking twelve and a half hour sleep, which involved lots of shopping (because it was my first new job pay day, I bought one book which wasn’t even for me) and then sorting out of my luggage and loot. Here is my final collection of book haul from America… 

I think I did quite well with this nineteen strong haul! There’s some brilliant bargains, some random risks, some US only published chances, some gems I didn’t expect and two books I was bursting to buy. All in all a grand old haul. I will be telling you about them all over the next weeks, months and possibly years. Ha. I also came home to a small, select and brilliant bundle of parcels…

Today I have been back to work which has been a small effort as I have felt I have been behind a screen watching everything at a distance (my team were all so lovely to me about it) and at once point I thought I was seeing things at one meeting…

I wasn’t. I was just having a meeting that involved a Dalek. As you do. Can you see why I love my job?!? Now I am super shattered and am watching the semi final of the Great British Bake Off before going to bed with a book that probably going to terrify me more than any episode of Dr Who…

So what have you all been up to? What are you reading? What’s new? Let me know, or I will weep and being as overtired as I am that is quite likely!!!!


Filed under Book Spree, Book Thoughts

A Little Bit Late… Savidge Reads is Eight!

Shockingly, as someone who spends their life looking for the next opportunity to have a slice of cake or some sweet treat, I somehow completely missed the fact that this blog turned eight years old on tuesday. How the time has flown. I was reminded as the lovely Annabel of Gaskella is celebrating her 7th blog birthday today  (go and wish her a happy one too) and I suddenly thought ‘hang about…’ So now I will have to buy a cake on the way home. In the interim, would you all like to join me having a slice of this?


So 8 years old… almost at the big 1-0! I am not going to do an Oscar speech, as much as I might want to, I just want to say thank you all for reading, commenting, lurking, participating and chatting! Here’s to the years ahead, just as soon as I have finished that cake!


Filed under Random Savidgeness

I’ve Got A New Job!

…And when this goes live I will probably be sat at my desk head down working it all out. (If my new boss is reading this, I scheduled it last night.) Anyway, some of you will know that I have a new job if you have been following me on Twitter or listened to the latest episode of The Readers, if it has gone live. I haven’t said anything louder, like shouted about it on here with joy when I found out that I had got it, or very specific because I was waiting for references, occupational health green light and a definite start date but I am thrilled to announce that I am going back to Culture Liverpool  and Liverpool Council (after two years away) where I am part of a new exciting commercial team and I’ll be leading/heading up all their media partnerships for them and all the events and other fantastic things that the wonderful city of Liverpool has to offer. It feels like quite a grown up move, yet not so grown up that I can’t post this amazing picture (which I got via the lovely Nina, whose blog Notes from the Chair you should all follow) that says it all…


So there we have it. Not sure what this will mean for the blog as I think I am going to be fairly bonkers, though I have scheduled a lot of posts in the last week or so for the next week or so (especially when I am in America as of next Friday) but I will be posting plenty I am sure as my love of books, literary events, bookish chatter, podcasting and blogging isn’t going anywhere – it might just be a tiny bit more sporadic. So that is my exciting news! What is new and news with all of you, we haven’t had a random catch up in a while have we? Tell me all…


Filed under Random Savidgeness