Tag Archives: Random Savidgeness

Eleven Years of Savidge Reads…

Eleven years ago today that I first pressed publish on a blog post here on Savidge Reads and look what has gone and happened since…

Okay, so I haven’t always been consistent in blogging (especially in more recent years) however what I hope has been consistent over the last decade-and-a-year (which sounds so long) is my love of books, reading and the sharing of the love of both and chatting to you all about them on various mediums.

So a huge, huge, HUGE thanks to all of you who’ve followed this blog, be it way back at the beginning or those of you who have joined me on here since or on The Readers Podcast, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube in the years since. (Gosh, have I bored you all silly for all that time? Oops.) This blog and books have changed my life in lots of ways and brought me lots of amazing friends and experiences which have meant the world. So ta very much. Aren’t books just the best?

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Going Forward…

So now that I am back into the world of blogging, what is the plan? The fact of the matter is that I don’t really have one. I know I want to keep it bookish, I mean obviously that isn’t even in question really – although someone did once say to me ‘why do a book blog and a book vlog’ and I think having been away from blogging for a while the answer is ‘I miss a bit of depth’. No, I don’t mean that I think all BookTube is shallow, quite the opposite I actually think it is brimming with some of the loveliest, most thoughtful and intelligent people I know. What I mean is that here I can really get into the depth of single books and my thoughts on them, something I find easier on paper than I do in speech. Partly because I really like a good tangent when I talk, also because to me there is a real craft in writing a review. I find them much easier than writing about a day trip out for example, which interestingly I find easier in a vlog. Anyway, this isn’t about blogging vs vlogging as I think they can complement each other or work for different audiences, same with The Readers podcast, not everyone likes every medium or even wants me on every medium. Throw in Twitter and Instagram and that is rather a lot of Savidgeness I have to admit.

So there will definitely be lots of reviews. That said I don’t think I will review everything that I read anymore, which I used to do. Why? Well, in the house I have a set of shelves on the landing which is all the books I have read but not yet reviewed for the blog since 2016 and to be frank a good third of them I don’t feel the need to tell you about because I either feel a bit ‘meh’ about them or I have nothing to say. This does mean I have a whole host of books I can talk about from those two years (and I will be doing so with some favourites if I haven’t sporadically whilst on my mini unofficial hiatus) though I won’t think about them too much as it might give me stage fright. Going forward though, I want to talk about both the bad and the fab (IMHO) books and why I loved them or not. Hopefully those books I love you might want to give a try, you might also want to give some of the ones I don’t because if I do reviews as I want to (and have always tried to) you might see something in them that piques your interest. I do not want to be someone whom if I loathe a book you should all damn it too, just as I don’t think you HAVE to get your mitts on every book I love however if you want to how lovely. I hope that makes sense.

So that’s books. Onto ‘bookish’ stuff. I think I will still do some prize stuff. I love reading the Women’s Prize longlist every year and have already roped my mother in to read them with me in 2019 which will be fun. I will of course be looking at the Costa Book Awards, I have seen this year’s judges getting parcels on social media and it has made me really nostalgic and miss it. The Wellcome is always on my radar and recently the Walter Scott Prize has really got my attention so I might go back to both their shortlists and have a mooch (might, I am not saying it is a definite). Plus Man Booker season is almost upon us, though my thoughts on Man Booker have become complex in the last year – maybe that is another post in itself.

I would also really like to do some ‘thoughts on reading’ kind of posts. They can selfishly be quite therapeutic. Speaking of selfishly, I would also love to do some posts on reading retreats, bookish places and bookish holidays – mainly because it would make me do more of them. I really enjoyed the Literary Trail with Northern Rail and would be excited to do that. On top of all that now I am working at a library, and such a stunner (see below, sorry not sorry that there may be lots of picture of it on this blog from now on) I would like to write about that in some way, if there is anything you would like to know let me know. We have some great projects coming up, so maybe behind the scenes around those and the library in general could work?

Picton

Then there is non-bookish stuff and here is where I am torn. On the one hand I loved how I felt there was a connection between readers of this blog and myself (and I suppose my life in many ways). I loved how you took my gran to your hearts so much when she made an appearance. However there have been struggles when times have been hard, like when she died or when my marriage broke up and I got divorced, that whilst it was lovely to have this community there it sometimes also felt like it was hard to escape or just put it all to bed. Yet at the same time in hindsight I wish I had written more about grief or a marriage break up as it might have helped people should they have come across it. So for example I could share the doing up of the house, though I am not sure if I want to, or will even be allowed to, share how there may be little Savidge’s coming into my life. Yet to write about the process could be helpful for other people. Hmmmm. Tricky. This all probably sounds very grand and I don’t want it to. I am just typing out loud 😉 I would be interested in your thoughts.

I do know I would like to write about some of the cultural things I get up to. Visits to castles and stately homes, concerts maybe, days out to beautiful parts of the North West etc. The things I am interested in that you might be too – so no politics, I promise, in fact no big world troubles as sometimes we all need escape from that. I might also bring back some series and maybe get some contributions going now and again.

What do you all think? What would you like to see in terms of books, bookish bits and bobs and non-bookish Savidge stuff? I would be really, really interested to know. So spill…

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So Where Have I Been & What Have I Been Upto?

And he’s back, though hopefully it will eventually look and feel like I didn’t really go away. However if you have followed this blog for some time you will know Savidge Reads has been on a sort of unofficial hiatus/wind down since mid 2016 but we aren’t going to focus on too much of that. Instead let’s focus on the fact that you have got a whole half a month of Savidge Reads overnight. I like to think of this as my blog version of when Beyonce drops an album overnight out of nowhere. Even more shocking is that I have scheduled the rest of the months blog posts too so I am always a little bit ahead. Who is this new Simon?

Well funny I should mention a new Simon because I do feel like rather a different and new Simon since I last blogged in earnest back in the early days of 2016. So I thought it would be a good idea to catch up properly on what has been going on in the last few years, despite my sporadic reappearances,ha. I am hoping that you will then update me on all of your goings on in the last few months/years in the comments below. So here goes.

New House…

So one of the biggest changes that happened and was sort of one of the reasons that I went quiet, was that I got a new house. After several lovely years in a one bedroom flat it was time to upgrade, mainly to make more space for books, and find somewhere that could be a home that we could keep growing into. You might think I am joking about buying a home to house all the books but it is sort of true. I now have a sitting room brimming with the books I have read and kept as well as my own library which is looking lovely and I will share more of soon. Here is a little teaser at the halfway point.

I found buying a house ridiculously stressful. As soon as we had found this one I just wanted to get it, get in and get cracking. It did not run smoothly and after almost six months of stress we were finally in. Then the joys of decorating and restoring it to its former glory began and it’s been all go since. We are currently in the midst of having the kitchen done which is probably the most chaotic work yet. Just the dining room to finish and one of the spare rooms to do after that and then we will probably want to start all over again.

New Husband…

One of the bits of news that I did keep you updated on was the lovely news that Chris and I got married back in March. It was meant to be in September last year however some family things came up and so we moved it. Little did we know that there would be more drama with the second date with one of my lovely colleagues at Culture dying, my stepdad having a heart attack and needing a quadruple heart bypass – he is doing amazingly, the snow meaning a third of our guests couldn’t make it and the roof falling in on the concert room we were getting married in the day before the whole shebang was meant to happen meaning changing the venue. Blimey! We did it though and have decided that if the wedding was slightly hellish the marriage will be heavenly. Venice afterwards was wonderful and it’s been bliss since, we are even planning little Savidge’s. Chris is now a Savidge and part of the brand, ha. He is actually hosting his first book event in August. He’s reading and everything. Seriously.

New Job…

One of the equally exciting bits of news is that I got a new job at the end of last year which I started in the middle of March. I am now leading on partnerships, sponsorships, events and retail for Liverpool Libraries (all 19 of them) and based in the gorgeous Central Library, which is like my idea of heaven.

It felt very weird walking in on my first day having been at the reopening of the library back in 2013 and thinking ‘I wish that I could work in somewhere like that, that would be the dream’ and now five years later I am. It is a proper pinch yourself kind of job, though I was very sad to say goodbye to the work, events and people at Culture Liverpool which was also a dream kind of job.

New Opportunities…

One of the things that I decided at the start of the year I wanted to do a lot more of was say yes to new opportunities and doing things I might not ordinarily do. So when I was at the Costa Book Awards Party (judging the Costa’s last year was amazing but I think stopped me blogging as much as I couldn’t really talk about what I was reading and was just reading, reading, reading) with my mother and a lovely man called Grant came up and asked me if he could possibly take me on at his agency, I thought ‘why not’ and last month I signed with Intertalent and have been enjoying some exciting meetings with all sorts of media bods about all sorts of radio, TV and journalism projects. We will see what happens. At the moment I am just enjoying meeting lots of people and having some lovely lunches, I am assuming nothing. You can find my profile here.

New Projects…

Finally I have also taken up some new projects. Since taking a step back from The Green Carnation Prize, though we are talking about its future, I felt that I would like to do something else for the LGBTQ+ community. Something that was still cultural but maybe a bit different too. I am delighted to say that I have now joined the board of trustees for the amazing festival Homotopia, which is going to be amazing when it comes back this November. Seriously the line up and variety is astounding. So there is that too. I also have a potential idea I am brewing over at the moment but am also trying really hard to understand my limits, something I have not always been brilliant at.

New Savidge Reads…

And so that brings me back to the new Savidge Reads, well it isn’t new, it is just a new chapter (see what I did there) and sort of new start to the blog. I have got the channel to where I want it and after having time to take stock of the Savidge situation was really missing it. But more of that and future plans tomorrow.

Now then, what have you all been up to and how have you all been. ALL the details please, would be lovely to have a natter and a catch up in the comments below. Hopefully some of you will still be out there.

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A Literary Trail With Northern Rail

When I was approached by the folk at Northern Rail to see if I would like to work with them* on a literary trail I was instantly intrigued. When I discovered it was to head to Hebden Bridge to learn about its literary links as part of the Northern and Manchester Literature Festival trail, also known as the Poetry Train, with a focus on the amazing places you can go by train finding the literary landmarks and hidden gems with some live poetry on the way how could I say no? I don’t think all the wonders of the north and its literary heritage, old and new, are celebrated or shown off enough.

So off to Hebden Bridge (which has the most beautiful old station) I went with poet Helen Mort reading There & Back, a poem specially written to celebrate the line and the stations on it. You can read it here. I enjoyed the poem and Helen’s chat with Naomi Frosby of Writes of Women (who you will see more of later) so much I have since managed to find copies of both her collections Division Street and No Map Could Show Them from the library.  Anyway, we were then taken through the town, which is beautiful, to find out more about its literary history past and present.

Of course the most famous of the people renowned for staying in the area are Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath and when we went though the town we found a rather modern homage to Sylvia…

…Another part of the walk too us to a place where it is believed that during one of the couples tumultuous points in their relationship things were smoothed over. I don’t know masses about the relationship between Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath is, but it seems that the Stubbing Wharf pub was a place Hughes took Plath to encourage her to stay in the area. Though from what I gather of the poem, Stubbing Wharfe from Birthday Letters, it wasn’t such a glorious day when they had that discussion, either way Plath stayed.

You might think from what I have said that the literary elements of Hebden Bridge, especially with the Bronte’s parsonage just up the road at Howarth, might all be very old school. Yet a lot of modern authors live in the area. You have Benjamin Myers (Beastings, Pig Iron, Turning Blue, The Gallows Pole and many more titles),  his wife Adelle Stripe who has written a fictional account of the life of playwright Andrea Dunbar Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile as well as Amy Liptrot whose memoir The Outrun was a huge success and shortlisted for the Wellcome Prize, a prize I adore. There is also an independent publisher, Bluemoose Books whose street we were taken into. I was going to post a picture but I don’t know if they will want you all popping in for a cuppa, sadly I didn’t have time to myself. After a lot of walking, including passing a pub Sally Wainwright of The Archers, Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax fame and more likes to frequent, we ended up in a book lovers dream, The Pages Cafe.

After this the lovely Naomi and I decided that we would go on an adventure to go looking for some literary graves, yes you read that right, we went off to find some graves up at Heptonstall churchyard. It has one of the steepest hill paths I have ever been up and am amazed that we made it with only one small break midway, but make it we did. The churchyard is incredible as it was bombed and so is a spooky shell of a church with a graveyard that ripples from the aftershock, it is a beautiful if slightly eerie spot.

So who were the graves that we were looking for? Well the first one was a lesser known grave, that of King David Hartley. You wouldn’t be blamed for wondering who on earth that is. Remember I mentioned Benjamin Myers The Gallows Pole earlier? Well it centres around David Hartley and the Cragg Vale Coiners who he lead and who clipped coins to make more, a very criminal offence at the time. I cannot wait to read the book and also bought the map which you can buy in The Bookcase in the town and go off on a walk around too. I should here mention that I also bought Ben’s new nonfiction book Under The Rock and hopefully I will be doing a blog and vlog as we are planning a day doing a nature walk around the area of both these books and even a spot of swimming in the great outdoors which I am very excited, and slightly, nervous about this summer.

And the other grave? Well I couldn’t go all that way and not visit the grave of Sylvia Plath. I have to admit I have actually been to see her grave before years ago with Paul Magrs, it didn’t help me trying to find it a second time. At one point I did feel rather like Naomi and I had turned into trepid explorers, literary Indiana Joneses. Ha. But we did find it.

Look how pleased we were with ourselves afterwards. We felt we both deserved a pint and so off we went for a beer and a shandy (mine, ha) at The White Lion which I would highly recommend.

All to soon, after a right good natter, it was time to head home after a really lovely day and so we wandered back down the hill, which was like a dream and headed for the station and back to Manchester and off on our ways home. But what a brilliant day and one I would recommend you all try and do if you get the chance. You can find the map here. Big thanks to Northern Rail for asking me to do it. I will be heading back again for sure, it would make the perfect place for a little mini break and reading retreat.

*This content was paid for, I will always let you know when content is. I get quite a lot of companies approach me to see if I would like to work with them; it is rare that I say yes. This is in part because the brand or opportunity might not be one that I think fits what you or I would be interested or they are so controlling that it involves no creativity for me. Working with Northern Rail was a delight and they let me do what suited Savidge Reads and hopefully all of you. Do give the literary trail a whirl as it was a lovely day out. You can find out more on the Northern Rail website here.

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Reader, I Married Him…

You may well have already seen this on social media, I wanted to share it on her too… The Beard, aka Chris, and I got married on Saturday.

After a really crazy week or so (one of my colleagues was killed outside our office, my stepdad was rushed into hospital with a heart attack, the Beast from the East and Storm Emma stopped a third of our guests getting there… oh and part the ceiling of the venue we were meant to get married fell in meaning a new venue was needed the day before the wedding) it was so lovely to share such a wonderful day with so many wonderful people.

So I wanted to share it with all of you who have lived it since the beginning. Plus a wedding is a really nice way (along with the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018 all starting this week) to get the blog back up and running.

How are you all? What have you been upto? I’ve missed you.

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Happy New Year… Here’s to 2018

Oh I do love a New Year, those fresh clean pages in your diary. The thoughts of a whole year of reading ahead and what wonders you might find. Ooh I do love a New Year and the opportunity to wish you all one (and I hope you had a Merry Christmas too, how rude of me not to wish you one, we hosted this year and so my mind was elsewhere, I do apologise). So without further ado…

happy-new-year-2018-greetings

Here’s to a wonderful year for us all. I hope you have some delights lined up? I currently have a week off, then the impending exciting things are the Costa category winners (tomorrow) before the party at the end of the month, some of my favourite bookish people coming in a few weeks (after having had two lovely booky chums staying for New Year) and then comes the two biggies… a new job and a new husband. More on both of those in due course.

In the interim have you made any resolutions this year, reading or personal? I have not made a single one, nope, not a one. I am going into this year merely with good intentions, to be kinder to myself and others (hence no resolutions), to read by whim, to embrace new experiences and to just see where the year takes me. That is it. What about you?

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What Have You Been Reading & What Should I Be Reading?

On Tuesday the 21st you will all get to finally hear what I have been reading over the summer. Well that isn’t technically true, you will all get to hear about a selection of the particular highlights of my summer reading as the Costa Book Awards 2017 shortlists are announced, including the First Novel selection which I have been judging along with the lovely Sophie Raworth and Sandy Mahal. We have had a wonderful summer of reading and the judging process has been hard (well, choosing the final four books was, the rest was lots of laughing, eating lovely food and having some great discussions about literature and life in general – lovely how books bring people together) because there was a plethora of wonderful books yet only four places allowed on the shortlist, we did ask for five but it was a no go. I can’t even think about how we will decide on a winner. Anyways, let us not think of that now.

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In what seems like a timely fluke two other things have happened which mean I am finding myself much more footloose and fancy free. Firstly my issues with WordPress seem to have been sorted and the site seems to be working now, meaning the end of the great ‘blog freeze’ which I have been fretting with behind the scenes (and then happened again hence why this is back dated) halting the lovely plans I had for the Savidge Reads relaunch and ten year celebrations. However they can continue now and we can all have a jolly time in the lead up to the New Year, which links nicely into the second timely thing…

I have now finished all my events (workshops, author interviews, etc.) for the year which feels very strange and now makes 2018 – and that small thing of hosting Christmas at my house for my family for the first time ever beforehand – feel all the closer and so my brain is now free to start plotting what I want to do next year. At the moment it is just a mulling but really regular routine is top of the list with blogging, podcasting and just life in general, there is still lots to do on the house including finishing the library.

There is also the biggest joy of being able to read just whatever on earth I fancy after a whole summer and most of autumn having a list of required reading. This is both thrilling and weirdly terrifying (I made a video about it here if you want to watch my full panic) as the options seem endless and suddenly I am rusty at just picking what I want to read, when I want to. There are just so, so, so, so, so many books that I could choose from, it is weirdly intimidating.

So I thought you might help, as well as it be a rather lovely way to catch up and have a chat in the comments below, by sharing the books that you have loved and read so far this year that I might like to give a whirl before I share four books I hope you will on Tuesday. So let me know, what books have you loved this year/summer and why should I be rushing to read them myself? I look forward to all the tempting recommendations.

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Savidge Reads in Spain

As this goes live, I will be in the city of Bilbao for a week of escape. It dawned on me a few weeks ago that I had not had a trip away to properly relax since Cyprus back in spring last year and so it seemed the perfect time for me to getaway with a big pile of (Costa) books and just go somewhere I could read, relax, wander and escape. So I picked a city that I have always dreamt of going to… Bilbao.

Believe it of not I actually took this picture.

Why Bibao? Well of course there is the Guggenheim which I have always wanted to see (and I have already walked past as I type this, it was closed so it was just an initial nosey as I walked along the river to get my bearings) then there is the pintxos (like tapas only more intricate and hand crafted, just as scrummy if not more so) then there is all the other culture which it has in abundance. A lot like Liverpool, only on a much grander scale and with possibly better craft and design) Bilboa went from an busy industrial harbour, where the river meets the estuary and meets the sea, to a place forgotten, slightly worn down and then has emerged through culture and art into one of the most exciting and vibrant cities. I type this like I know it (well, I do know Liverpool) yet this is my first trip though already a 30 minute walk has shown me it appears to be true.

So before I head back out to find some more pintxos, because when in Bilbao how can I not, I wondered if a) you had any delightful recommendations for places for me to go and b) if you would like me to do some posts on here of some of the things that I get up to while I am in such a culture brimming city? I have heard of a floating library which might be up many of your streets.

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A Decade of Savidge Reads

Dear lovely reader of this here blog,

Yes YOU looking at this screen, I do mean you. This is as personal as I can get through the ether to speak directly to YOU.

Today Savidge Reads turns ten whole years old, which (obviously) means that I have now been banging on about books on the internet for a whole decade, which just seems madness. Who would have thought it, eh? Certainly not 25 year old me when I first pressed published back in 2007. Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear me, happy birthday to me!

Kitkat-Cake

Last year I had a cake, this year I don’t but if I did it would be this one.

To commemorate this milestone I thought it would be nice to do three things (I wanted to do ten but some of them involve that figure so bear with) to mark the occasion over the next year. Yes, the next year. And one of them involves you as I think it would be lovely to hear more from you lovely bookish lot. After all it is thanks to lovely readers like yourself reading this now, that have made this blog what it is and I am super-duper grateful for that. I don’t know if I say it enough, thank you, you all mean and have meant a lot.

The first, which is all me, new content. Woohoo! Really I should have done my relaunch now, what a silly sausage. Life, it gets in the way sometimes doesn’t it, like that pesky thing – work, ha! Anyway, I will be backdating the blog with content now that a WordPress glitch has been fixed. I will also be bringing some new features and series onto the blog which I have been working on a while. I am still tweaking these but one will be a book club with the wonderful Sarah Schmidt where we choose a dark/gothic/creepy/unsettling book each month (launching the first six in advance soon)  for you to read along with us which I am super excited about.

The second, which will happen over the next few weeks/months, is that I would like you to suggest various lists of tens that you might like to see. I asked on Twitter what I should do to celebrate ten year of the blog on the blog and, apart from the obvious ask of actually write a blog) people came up with the following of which more suggestions are most welcome in the comments down below so get suggesting…

  • Top ten best things that have happened because of the blog.
  • Top ten tips for blogging.
  • A blog on blogging, ten highs and lows.
  • Top ten books of all time.
  • Top ten writers.
  • Top book from each of the ten years.
  • Top ten book to film adaptations.
  • Top ten authors or books I discovered because of the blog.

Now that last bullet point links into my third idea of celebration which all comes down to you. I would love, love, love, love, love for you all (yes ALL, ha) to email me with a favourite book that YOU have discovered because of this blog and give me a paragraph or two on why you loved it. So we all keep spreading the booky LOVE. Lovely. And as a thanks I will pick someone every so often at random who will win a book or two based on the book you loved and why you loved it. Does that make sense? Basically email me your thoughts on a book you found from Savidge Reads and then loved to savidgereads@gmail.com with ‘A Book of the Decade’ as the title and you could win a book or two at any point through the next year, and with that a new series was born.

I hope that seems like a nice set of ways to celebrate? As always I would love your thoughts on anything else you would like to see and the like in the comments below, let’s get book chatting. And thank you again for a decade of delight. It has been ace.

Here’s to the next ten.

Simon xxxxx xxxxx

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Ooh He’s in the News…

I am aware that this could be seen as a huge brag, when really I am just a little bit proud, however if you happen to be passing a newsagent or news stand today then you might like to pick up a copy of The Times where there might be a face or two (or three or four) that you know…

Times pic

Yes, myself and the fabulous Jen Campbell, Sanne of Books and Quills and Lucy The Reader, have all been featured in an article on BookTube and books which is all rather exciting. I have to say I was nervous as nervous on Tuesday when I went down for the photo shoot, as I am definitely not model potential, but had and amazing time and could quite possibly have quite easily got used to the pampering and hair teasing. Ha. Here is a picture from the set, well shoot, which I love…

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If you can’t get a copy (not that you might even want to, ha) to read physically, then you can head here to do so, it is behind a paywall but I think you can sign in once without paying to read an article. I think. If you don’t follow my channel but fancy a nosy it is here.

I know from some of the feedback that people like the blog or YouTube and not both, but as this is a bit of a moment I thought I would share it with you lovely lot as without people visiting this for the last nine and a half years (almost a decade, jeez) then it might never have happened. I think even my mother is quite proud of this, so it must be something special. Ha!

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And Savidge Reads Is Back…

Hello everyone, yes after some tinkering and some tearing out of hair (more on that in a moment) Savidge Reads is back. It has been a few months of false starts and was almost one again tonight (remember that tearing out of hair moment) but I am back and am ready to bring you lots of book reviews, bookish chatter and all that staff I did before with a few new occasional series and the like. Oh and a library update, finally. It is all finished and looking lovely.

So how have you all been, what has been happening? Huge thanks to those of you who filled in the survey that I asked you to give a whirl if you had the time, I am going to leave it open for a couple more weeks as I have found it really helpful. If you haven’t filled it in and fancy it please do, you could win some lovely books too as a thank you.

So what has changed on Savidge Reads? Well there are the lovely new logos (refresh the page and they change colour) because I fancied something that reflected me a little more. There is a new events page so if you fancy coming to some events I host with authors or any workshops or talks I am giving you can head there. I will update it fairly regularly as I have some lovely bits and bobs planned over the next few months. I have also given my bio, review policy and guidelines a tweak. Other than that not a lot has changed. I did try and give a new theme and layout a try and it all went wrong so I have kept it as is, familiar is the term I like, and actually lots of the feedback from the survey was simply ‘leave it as its, just post a lot more’ so I have taken that on board.

The layout change wasn’t what almost made me tear my hair out though (yes remember that) the fact that for some reason I can’t seem to upload backdated posts at the moment was. Ooh I am cross. I promised you some reviews to meander back through when I relaunched but I haven’t been able to upload them (they are just sat waiting in limbo for now) as soon as I can I will – if you are subscribed you will probably get notifications of these. These were reviews of some books I have read this year but now shared here yet, would you like my thoughts on some bookish highlights from last year too?

Anyway, I didn’t want to let that stop me so get ready for all the reviews and bookish business as usual to return. Is there anything in particular you would like to see over the next few weeks? Let me know. Looking forward to it!

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Feedback for The Future, A Relaunch is Coming (Plus a Give Away)

After an on and off few months or so, and several posts promising a return to the old routine of Savidge Reads, I have some news. Savidge Reads will be relaunching on the 1st of August 2017 and I am very, very, very excited.

New logos have been made, I have been beavering away making content both for the next few weeks (to get ahead of myself) as well as some backdated content (only a few weeks) so you to have some stuff to discover if you fancy a binge, I know I like a bookish binge here and there every once in a while.

In the interim while I make a few final tweaks and edit a few last posts I thought I would ask you all for some feedback moving forward, we all need feedback now and again and I know I love filling in a survey now and again, especially when there is the promise (or bribery) of a potential treat at the end.

So I have made a survey of ten questions here for you lovely lot to fill in all about the blog in particular.

Should you be kind enough to do so, which I am hoping all of you will because you are all a lovely bunch in my head, then one of you will be picked at random after the 1st of August and you can win this lovely selection of books which I am happy to send anywhere in the whole wide world. (See what I said about bribery, ha!)

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In the meantime though, please let me know that you are still out there, what you have been up to in the last few weeks/months and of course what you have been reading – the good the bad and the ugly. Ha.

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Manchester

Many of you who’ve been visitors here a while will know that I moved to Manchester at the end of 2010 during a very turbulent time in my life. I was welcomed, distracted, rebuilt and made incredible friendships, some will be life long. So the news last night devastated me for the city, the people (especially as it seems to be people so young) and there loved ones. I just wanted to leave this poem by Adam O’Riordan here for people to understand the Manchester spirit and why I love it and it’s people so.

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Catching Up With a Cuppa or a Costa…

So another month or so goes by and after promising to get the blog up and running and back in business, I haven’t. I am a dreadful sausage and should be ashamed. Well I am ashamed if I am honest, I am not going to apologise too profusely as a) I already have several times b) you can’t spend your whole life apologising for being busy can you? For I have been busy, very busy. There has been work where I have taken on another person’s workload because they have gone on maternity and I have also been part of the recruitment plus planning for the next year… exhausting. Then there has been all the bookish stuff which is frankly much more likely to be what you want to hear about isn’t it? Grab a cuppa this could be quite a post, ha.

So what have I been upto? Well… Firstly I was reading all of the Baileys longlist. As many of you know I don’t half love the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and so I was reading the longlist before the shortlist was announced which was quite a mission as even though there were 16 books instead of 20 it was still tough going. It does mean I have loads of wonderful books to talk to you all about though in the next few weeks and months (I may even cheat a bit and backdate some of them, ha naughty) which I am looking forward to.

Secondly I have been getting The Green Carnation Prize all sorted and the admin behind the longlist, shortlist and winner (which will be announced a week today) and the finale party. The judges have been amazing and the wonderful Maura Brickell has been a diamond organising things so really this year it has been minimal and I have felt slightly distanced from it but both long and short lists were wonderfully received, so I am thrilled. I am even starting to look towards next year. Have I read the shortlist? No, only one of them which is shameful isn’t it. But sometimes is it about time, which leads me on to the third and fourth things I have been upto.

Well actually I am a slight tease because one I cannot talk about until June, so let’s put the third on whole. The fourth though is amazing because (and many of you may have seen me explode with joy on Twitter) I have been asked if I will be one of the judges on one of my favourite book prizes. Can you guess which one it is?

Yes, it is the Costa Book Awards!!!! I am beyond excited and still think they might have had one too many coffees when they asked but I am running with it. I can’t tell you which category I have yet, I can say it is one that I am thrilled about and cannot wait to get reading. More in due course. Of course this does mean things might change with the blog as I can’t talk about the submissions I don’t think, however as I have been so shoddy with review since Christmas (ok and possibly a bit before) it does mean I have a stack of other books I can chat to you about. It’s almost like I planned it, in fact let us pretend I did. Ha.

Penultimately, fifthly, I have been doing lots of house and garden sorting. The library has been a slight nightmare but more on that in a future post, it is getting there now though and the lounge, dining room, bathrooms and master suite in the attic are all looking lovely. As is some of the garden, some not all.

Then finally, the sixth reason for being so bonkers busy, is because I have been doing quite a few events (I am wondering if I should have an events page on here?) with the likes of Paula Hawkins, Sarah Schmidt, Patrick Ness and Natalie Haynes over the last few weeks PLUS I have been quite a social butterly. I know, what happened to the man who liked to hide form the world with a book on the sofa or in bed? Well he has been up and down to London, had guests staying and been on a wonderful weekend in Kent. There are a couple more balmy weeks before June (do you want to come on some of these trips with me, would it interest you?) So it really has been quite busy. Oh and I have a wedding to plan, how do I forget that?

So that is me, what have you all been upto? I would love to know, let’s chat in the comments.

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