Tag Archives: Random Savidgeness

Resolutions for 2017

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

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

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

Personal Guidelines

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

Reading Guidelines

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

Blogging Guidelines

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

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


Filed under Random Savidgeness

Blowing Away The Cobwebs of 2016 & Looking Forward to 2017

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


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

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


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

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


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


Filed under Random Savidgeness

My Favourite Books of 2016

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

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

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


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


Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

Merry Christmas and a Happy Boxing Day

Belated Christmas wishes to you. After waiting what seemed like forever for Christmas and the Christmas break to come suddenly it was upon me and then it had gone so I didn’t get a chance to wish you all a very very very Happy Holidays and a…

I had a lovely, lovely Christmas. I hope you lovely lot did too whatever you were doing?

I know Savidge Reads has been a bit ropey with content (and reading which has been awful for me, I never have slumps like this) in the past 6 months so I appreciate all of you who have stuck by and popped by. You wait for 2017 it’s going to be all fresh and new, you’ll see.

In the interim I am celebrating my favourite day of the year today… Boxing Day. A day spent having a big lie in, a lovely leisurely brunch and then long walk in the countryside with my family before heading home with my brother and sister in tow for a week having lots of fun with them while they stay here and my mother has a holiday.

Very lovely times ahead. How were your christmases, or holiday if you don’t celebrate Christmas? I would love to know. I’ll be sharing the (impressive considering people don’t normally by then for me) pile of books I got with you tomorrow, what did you all get?


Filed under Random Savidgeness, Uncategorized

Christmas Wishlists & How You Could Win Yours…

I don’t know if you have noticed but Christmas is arriving fairly shortly. I have to admit that despite putting up the tree and having made one or two (well 17) videos for Vlogmas this year, I have mainly been in denial. I was too ill with a dercum’s flare up to go to the Christmas party which normally sets my ‘season to be jolly’ bells off. I have also been in a slight end of the year anxiety meltdown, does anyone else get really tense by the end of a year. I love the start of a new one, it’s like a lovely new diary – all those crisp white pages. The end though, oh it’s battered to bits and everything feels like its unravelling rather than being tied up.  I have digressed, oops.

Anyway, I have been being forced into thinking about it by being asked by my mother (mainly, often) what on earth I would like for Christmas. The answer is obviously books or book vouchers. Well, she won’t do vouchers so of course a list helps. Well just as I was thinking about the books I would like for Christmas something very fortuitous happened. A new bookish social media site called Bookwitty got in touch asking if I would like to give my readers anywhere in the world a chance to win the top five books they would most like. I instantly said ‘of course’ because who doesn’t want to win some books at any time of the year. I know, you want me to shut up and tell you how to do it. Well I shall leave instructions under this little video of Bookwitty which looks like it might be a potential book website of choice for the future (I have had a play around with it and entered the competition myself, I am no fool, before just so I could see if it was good before I sent you there and it is) so have a gander.

How to create your list and win the five books…

  • Sign up at Bookwitty.com
  • Create a reading list of five books that you want for the holidays by clicking on Add content/Reading list y December 22nd 2016.
  • Link your new reading list to the topic page: Holiday reading list contest.

And you’re all set! The winner will be announced on December 23rd. Good luck!

Now I have to say I really found this link the most helpful explanation of how to do it, so off you pop, have a gander and have a go and you could win five books (worth upto $125 in total) and considering there are only five or so entries I would get clicking over there sharpish.

Oh and what were the five books that I wanted most for Christmas? How nice of you to ask the books are…

The Book of Bees by Piotr Socha

9780500650950How do bees communicate? What does a beekeeper do? Did you know that Napoleon loved bees[unk] Who survived being stung by 2,443 bees? This book answers all these questions and many more, tracking the history of bees from the time of the dinosaurs to their current plight. I saw this at the Wellcome Collection bookshop and thought it looked stunning. Plus I have a small obsession with bees. Not wasps, they are horrid.

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? Stories by Kathleen Collins

9781783783403Lovers. Lovers who meet at Civil Rights Conferences, sit-ins, church rallies, art galleries. Lovers who send letters back and forth from maximum security prison. Lovers with dislocated jaws. Lovers who lose themselves or shoot themselves. Lovers who let go too soon. Love that is “colour free”. Love that makes men cry. Love that defies the strictures of race and class. In prose that slips between lush sensuality and electric melancholy, Kathleen Collins has gifted us a universe of lovers. Of poets and freedom riders struggling to get through hot lonely summers, spending night and day in dingy New York apartments. A universe of young women who step outside of their father’s homes, grow their hair wild and discover sex. Of young men whose daredevil antics disguises an abiding sadness. I saw this on the Book of the Month subscription service (they so need to ship to the UK). Admittedly this is a tough one as it isn’t out in the UK yet but will be from Granta in Feburary and I have all the wants for this.

Bitten by Witch Fever: Wallpaper and Arsenic in the Victorian Home by Lucinda Hawksley

9780500518380Bitten by Witch Fever presents facsimile samples of 275 of the most sumptuous wallpaper designs ever created by designers and printers of the age, including Christopher Dresser and Morris & Co. For the first time in their history, every one of the samples shown has been laboratory tested and found to contain arsenic. Interleaved with the wallpaper sections, evocative commentary guides you through the incredible story of the manufacture, uses and effects of arsenic, and presents the heated public debate surrounding the use of deadly pigments in the sublime wallpapers of a newly industrialized world. I saw this in Foyles earlier this week and it was too heavy for me to carry home, sadly. It is also quite expensive but when you open it up you know why, it is stunning. Plus, it has witch in the title, is about arsenic and the Victorians = ultimate winner.

The Other World, It Whispers by Stephanie Victoire

9781784630850From the secrets of the forest, to the magic of the sea, these nine stories tell of what happens when passion, desire, loneliness and imprisonment lead us on a search for freedom and empowerment – no matter what the cost. A woman makes a deal with gods and goddesses in order to bring a slanderous town down to its knees, a man who has lost everything finds himself in the graveyards of Paris, turning to dark magic to ensure success, an opulent masked ball becomes the stage of spite and revenge, a teenage boy who believes he is in the wrong body calls out to mermaids to enchant him. With strands of classic fairy and folklore weaved through, the unknown – the silent and dark – is explored. Where spirits, deities and witches lurk, but also where the beauty of life and renewal can be found. I have seen this on Jen Campbell and Jean’s channels on booktube and have been jealous ever since. It is a collection of modern fairytales, or a modern collection of fairytales depending on your view.

Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived But Will Never Die by Alex Werner

9780091958725Ever since his creation, Sherlock Holmes has enthralled readers. Our perception of him and his faithful companion, Dr Watson, has been shaped by a long line of film, TV and theatre adaptations. This richly illustrated book, compiled by Alex Werner, Head of History Collections at the Museum of London, is an essential guide to the great fictional detective and his world. Using the museum’s unrivalled collections of photographs, paintings and original artefacts, it illuminates the capital city that inspired the Sherlock Holmes stories, in particular its fogs, Hansom cabs, criminal underworld, famous landmarks and streets. Accompanying the landmark exhibition at the Museum of London, the first since 1951, this book explores how Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation of Sherlock Holmes has transcended literature and continues to attract audiences to this day. I bloody love Sherlock Holmes and I saw this when I went to the Museum of London and nearly bought it then, but I was being good for which I am now kicking myself.

So there is the top of my Christmas wishlist. Do go over to Bookwitty and win some books, I would love it if one of you lovely lot won out, that would be ace. Do also tell me which books you would love to get for Christmas in the comments below, and if you have read any of the above tell me about that too – no spoilers. Thanking you.


Filed under Book Thoughts, Give Away, Random Savidgeness

Oops I Did It Again…

1622-stacked-and-wrappedYep, once again I have left Savidge Reads dead and deserted for far, far, far too long. Two weeks roughly, who do I think I am?

I was thinking about closing the blog until the end of the year and wishing you all a Merry Christmas and then returning with a slight revamp in the New Year but I still have so many brilliant books to tell you about that I have read this year so am going to focus on getting them up and out there.

That said I will be making some blog resolutions and changes for 2017 though, nothing too drastic, in fact kind of the opposite, it’ll have me blogging more regularly I think. Yes I know I have said that before. I do think moving and the end of the year has played quite a part in my book and blog funk. As have work, which is mental as I have taken on a lot more work, which is very exciting and seeing me work on some amazing events which I am very happy about. Plus there is the relaunch of The Green Carnation Prize 2016, which you can find out all about here.

Speaking of the end of the year, is anyone else freaking out about how soon the end of the year is and how all those books they so thought they would read in 2016 might now not get read. I have been having some right old strops and stresses at myself in the last few weeks. That said most of my books are still in boxes with no sign of being unpacked until the library is built (with walls being knocked down and all sorts first) until mid to late January so I can’t get to them anyway which I think has added slightly to my book and blog funk in the end part of this year. I have unpacked all the books I have read and loved though and the sitting room is looking lovely and oh look suddenly I am blogging again, funny how my bookshelves and my book psyche seem so linked with one another.

How is all with all of you lovely lot? I would love to know what books you have been reading and loving, any favourite books of the year yet? Any books you are desperate to get for Christmas or buy for your nearest and dearest? Anything you think I should be getting to before 2016 disappears? Do let me know. Let’s have a natter in the comments below, I have missed it.


Filed under Random Savidgeness

Construction Work & Catching Up…

Where does the time go? Seriously, how are we almost in December? Well we are and things at Savidge Reads have been looking pretty sparse… on the outside. However, while you have all been thinking ‘what a lazy toe rag, where has all the content gone, has he given up blogging?’ or ‘has he abandoned us in the blogosphere for booktube?’ no. I have actually be secretly squirrelling away both reading and catching up on reviews so that within the next week or two as well as getting lots of lovely new content, which I am scheduling, there will also be a backlog of reviews and the like of books I have read in the last few months that I just haven’t found the time to talk to you all about yet. I have also been working on The Green Carnation Prize up and running again for another year of wonderful LGBT fiction. Oh and I have been sorting out my real life home, not just my internet one, so basically my life has been filled with construction men… I wish.


As I have you all here I should catch up with the winners of some of the competitions I have had going over the last few weeks. First up were the copies of Daphne Du Maurier’s The Birds and Other Stories and the three lucky randomly drawn winners of these are… LittleHux, A Kiwi in Oxford and Tom Ruffles. If you email me with The Birds in the subject and your address in the email, Virago will wing these to you very soon. Now for the winner of the Books Are My Bag Fiction Shortlist, and the winner is (drum roll please)… Langers. If you email me with your address I will get that hefty set of books out to you.

Whilst I still have you all what is news with you? I myself have been a bit ill again (my operation has been put back to Spring 2017, ugh, major annoyance) and in a bit of a reading slump, but I am getting back there. I have also had the first guests to the new Savidge Reads HQ, I could call it my house but that doesn’t sound so grand, as my mother and co all came to stay which was lovely. I am also very excited as on Friday I am off to Hogwarts in the snow, hoorah. What have you all been upto? And what have you been reading, the good, the bad and the ugly – you might inspire me, which would help with the reading slump and I would be forever grateful!


Filed under Random Savidgeness