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!
One of the exciting things that I have been meaning to tell you about for ages, after it being a secret for quite a while, is that I am working on and hosting a very exciting event this week… as the Man Booker Shortlist is coming to Liverpool on Thursday night . When I say the shortlist I actually mean four of the shortlisted authors; Paul Beatty, Deborah Levy, Graeme Macrae Burnet and Ottessa Moshfegh, who will be popping to the stunning Liverpool library to meet some reading groups and then doing an event (hosted by me, not nervous at all) in the evening in the stunning Concert Room at St George’s Hall (if you fancy coming details are here).
Having read the shortlist I am really excited to talk about the authors books this year, which in case you have missed it (as if you have, though I have just realised I never posted anything about the shortlist which only shows what a dreadful book blogger I have been for the past few months, do forgive me) are…
- The Sellout – Paul Beatty (Oneworld)
- Hot Milk – Deborah Levy (Hamish Hamilton)
- His Bloody Project – Graeme Macrae Burnet (Contraband)
- Eileen – Ottessa Moshfegh (Jonathan Cape)
- All That Man Is – David Szalay (Jonathan Cape)
- Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien (Granta Books)
Now I am holding fire on talking about all the books in full until after the event, though I will then dish all and predict a winner, but you can see me chatting about the shortlisted books, the first chapters of five and the whole of one, in the video below which I hope will give you a taster of what to expect if you are still debating which to read as the list is quite an eclectic one, which I like.
In the interim before I report back I just thought I would give you that quick update. If you are near Liverpool on Thursday do pop by (I know it is short-list notice, see what I did there, but I have been bonkers busy organising the event and now suddenly it is here). I would also love to hear your thought on any of the shortlisted books that you have read. It seems a while since we had a good old bookish natter about some specific books.
I have moved. I have wifi. I am back. At the risk of sounding like an ‘I am back, honest, I really am’ record that has become stuck on repeat… I really am back. I have moved into a lovely new house (with the space for a library, hooray) and whilst it has been one of the most stressful experiences I have endured but the reward of being in this house – which I think will be my forever home – is more than I could have imagined. I genuinely beam when I come home to this…
Admittedly it is still utter chaos (and I have yet to have many family or friends round really, let alone the rooms ready for a readers and writers retreat, but fret not that will come) and is mainly rooms filled with boxes. I should add there were 67 boxes of books and the movers were heard to mutter ‘hasn’t he heard of a bloody Kindle’ which made me laugh. Slowly but surely though we are all getting used to the space, even Mildred who is a slight agoraphobic and to whom this feels utterly giant.
Ha! So now I can officially between unboxing, walls being knocked down, kitchens being ripped out and the like, I am back. How are all of you? What have you been up to and what have you been reading?
Well that teaches me doesn’t it? Here comes Simon promising you that Savidge Reads will be all singing and all dancing again and then what happens… I promptly fall into an epic, seemingly never ending Book Funk. So severe in fact I haven’t picked up a book in just over two weeks which is really, really, really horrid and really, really, really unlike me. I have just felt a bit booked out, like the world was a never ending spiral of books I would never read, let alone write or talk about. Yes, THAT BAD! The sort of thing that is almost nightmare inducing.
The book wormhole of doom…
This is quite possibly all my fault, I may have taken on too much at once. I decided to take on the Not The Booker shortlist, which is a prize I really love and indeed loved being part of the judging panel a few years ago. This year though the entrants have just isolated me with the exception of Dan Micklethwaite’s The Less Than Perfect Legend of Donna Creosote and Tiffany McDaniel’s The Summer That Melted Everything (to be fair I haven’t tried the Deborah Andrews yet, I will ay some point) and also I have found it unusually snarky on the comments this year. It seems people are focused on what they don’t like about the books rather than what they do which loses its charm and appeal, so I have backed of a bit. I also agreed to do a buddy read of Christina Stead’s The Man Who Loved Children which the bloody lovely Adam of Memento Mori, but it is a beast and one with a very annoying and rambling main character who utterly pisses me off, so I had to have a break… after three chapters. I will continue again soon though because it is good and there is an absolute harridan in it who I love to hate, plus a promise to a fellow booktuber is like an oath. Ha. So I will pick that up soon. I also think work and moving and all that jazz has taken over. Sometimes, as weird and frankly disturbing as it sounds, maybe we just need a break from books now and then? Or have I just blasphemed?
Yet a book has arrived that I really want to curl up with and read later this evening, which is something I have not felt the desire for in quite some time – in fact my bedside table is currently awash with half read or just started and abandoned books that I don’t seem to be getting anywhere with. Which is the book? Well it is Angel Catbird which is Margaret Atwood’s first foray into graphic novels and I think, with it’s mixture of superhero and Atwood, will be the perfect thing to get me back into the joy of words., so wish me luck.
Have any of you got any tips for how to deal with book funks? Or any ways to keep them at bay or spot the warning signs? All suggestions welcome. I decided just to sit it out until the right book came along, should I have just plundered on?
Well who would of thought it? Savidge Reads is nine years old today, where has the time gone? It seems eons and eons ago, yet strangely only like yesterday, that I opened up a browser on Blogspot (for that is where it all started) and began keeping a diary of all the books I was reading and some of the random things I was doing. And then look what happened!!
I have actually been feeling quote nostalgic about it all over the last few weeks, especially with things like the Orion news and mainly last week when I was down in London and spent a few days with lots and lots of lovely people (Rob, Kate, Jen, Jean, Will, Catherine, Katie etc) all who I might not have met without the existence of this blog which is one of the greatest joys is has brought me, be they people in real life or online as I have made great friendships both ways, along with some wonderful opportunities and also some bloody marvellous books and reading experiences (some in other countries) ever since. Here is one of my highlights but there are many more, many, many more. I think that all calls for cake doesn’t it…
It is all this wonderful nostalgia, great books, delightful people etc that have made me feel rather and guilty and rather bad of late because I have not been the best book blogger, in fact I have been wondering if I could still call myself that with the lack of posting. So I have had a break, done some thinking… And now I am ready to come back and get cracking with recommending you great reads all over again. More on that soon, because I might go wild an post a book review tomorrow (crazy I know). In the meantime though I just want to say thank you. Thanks for visiting here, be it little or often. Thank you for commenting, or just for lurking. Thank you to everyone who has had great bookish chats with me over the years, and thanks to many of you for some ruddy wonderful reads. Here’s to the next 9 years, more wonderful books, chats, friendships and memories. I need to get planning on what to do for the big 1-0 next year. In the meantime though, I think I best get back to that cake! Thank you all again. (Simon goes and weeps in a corner from all the emotion.)
After twenty four hours in the wonderful city of Lucca, we spent several hours (some of us having to go back for some luggage that has been forgotten, not me for once after the awful incident with my passport in America last year) driving from there to the wilds of the mountainous woods of Perugia and into our, simply stunning, villa. I think you will agree it looks like a reading haven and no mistake…
We are now here for a week and with no other house in sight, or near us for miles, let alone a town we are just going to spend the days chilling by the pool, reading, playing games and eating vast amounts of the gorgeous local produce and hole ourselves up here for a while. This really, for me with my Dercums, means mainly lying by the pool with books. Which books have I packed with me? Well funny you should ask that, and how kind of you for doing so, I have actually packed seven books in my case and I made a video all about them and why I chose them which you can see below…
… I have finished of the Gerritsen already and am now heading into the Atwood, perfect pair of authors to start my holiday with. That said, the library that this farmhouse is pretty brilliant. I have been eyeing up Ross Raisin, the new Sarah Waters and several more already. Oooh the tempation. Hope you are all well? What have you been upto of late, what are you doing this weekend and what have you been and what are you reading?
I meant to do a post saying I was going off to Italy for a holiday, but in a pre-holiday whirlwind of all sorts of shenanigans I forgot to. I’m now here and, as we are waiting for the worst service by a car company (Firefly Car Rental) ever for the last hour or so and I’ve caved in and turned my data roaming on. It does mean I can share the view of the Alps on the way though.
They were stunning. I was mesmerised and had to put my Tess Gerritsen (one of my favourite thriller writers as you may know) down for quite a while. Fingers crossed we will be off to Pisa shortly.
Let me know if you’d like some blogs of Italy along ten way, we are mainly in a farmhouse in the middle of the mountains away from it all so I’ll also be able to catch up on reviews and most importantly… Loads of reading. I am hoping for a day trip to Assissi which is supposed to be lovely. So I may do some posts along the way if you like it or not.