Tag Archives: Random Savidgeness

A Bloomin’ Brilliant Birthday

Thank you for all your lovely birthday wishes. I had an absolute blast and managed to turn a day into a week and a half thanks to a weekend in Newcastle with my Mum, a trip to London for my birthday and a few days after and then my birthday party proper this weekend. I was quite pleased with it all and thought, as this blog is about books and more, I would share some of the lovely times I had over the week.

First up was the weekend that I had in Newcastle with my mother which was just lovely. I might report on it in the next few weeks but in the meantime, and in case I decide not to or my Mum doesn’t want me to, we had a marvellous time visiting the old haunts we lived in and visited, eating marvellous food, drinking wonderful cocktails, shopping and seeing Still Alice. Note – Still Alice is just wonderful (I haven’t read the book and feel like I now might need to, should I?) I cried from about twenty minutes in until the end. Julianne Moore is sublime, see it.

This is not me and Julianne Moore, it's me and my Mum outside the old flat we lived in 30 years ago!

This is not me and Julianne Moore, it’s me and my Mum outside the old flat we lived in 30 years ago!

Next up, after a brief day back in the office, I headed off to London on my birthday morning (after opening a large array of wonderful presents from my wonderful loved ones) and to the first meeting of the Fiction Uncovered 2015 judges. It was only at the bloody Groucho Club – I couldn’t take pictures, not of the amazing macaroni on a bed of grilled mushrooms which won everything nor the cake and Happy Birthday they wrote around the bowl, it was lovely though. We all had a marvellous time and are now fully ready and prepared for the mammoth yet marvellous task ahead of us. I then spent a few hours with Catherine Hall and Kerry Hudson with far too many sweet things and bubbles before meeting Polly and going to Ebury’s Fiction Party where I had a good old natter and catch up with many lovely folk and met some wonderful authors

Wednesday was meetings and then it was my London party night, woohoo. I was joined at dinner by the aforementioned Polly and Catherine and also Kate and Rob of Adventures with Words, who are also my cohosts on Hear Read This, as well as the lovely Leng Monty – who is one of the Independent’s Rainbow List Ones to Watch, so watch out.

Polly, Rob, Kate, me, Leng and Catherine - post food and cocktails!

Polly, Rob, Kate, me, Leng and Catherine – post food and cocktails!

Things carried on in a more messy vain as Polly, Catherine, Leng and I headed to my favourite beardy bar in London, The Duke of Welly, and were joined by my mates Uli of Gays The Word, Eric of Lonesome Reader (a blog which makes me sick with jealousy because his reviews are sooooo good) and that Kerry Hudson…

Uli (not impressed at having a selfie), me, Catherine, Kerry and Leng - living it up in the Welly

Uli (not impressed at having a selfie), me, Catherine, Kerry and Leng – living it up in the Welly

It all ended in many giggles on a nightbus as all the best nights do.

You can't take them anywhere!

You can’t take them anywhere!

After another day in London and a day in the office, Saturday was birthday party part two. I had my lovely friends Kate, Barb, Sarah, Sue and Rachael (or my harem as now I refer to them) for some wonderful (rather amazing to be honest) grub and lots and lots of drinking and laughing…

The Lovely Liverpool Ladies and I...

The Lovely Liverpool Ladies and I…

It has, all in all, been a ruddy marvellous week. I think 33 is going to be a really, really, really good year – I just feel it in my bones. Finger crossed eh? What have you all been up to?

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Savidge Reads 3.3

Today is my birthday and I turn 33! I will have woken up with some presents and cards and now be whizzing down on the train to London, or in London where I will be having a wonderfully booky day. First up the judges for Fiction Uncovered 2015 will be meeting for the first time over lunch (there is possibly going to be cake) and discussing what we want from winning books and indeed some of the books we have been sent. As you know I love this prize so much so meeting today seems doubly apt. After that I will be meeting two of my fav writer chums (and also fav writers) Catherine Hall and Kerry Hudson, or the other way round, before meeting Polly, formerly of Novel Insights for a night at a publishing party, I am then staying for another two days of fun and booky nonsense, a big night out on Wednesday, all in all a mini birthday break.

I don’t know if I have mentioned before but I celebrate my birthday for as long as I can. My mother and I had a weekend in Newcastle which was a late Mother’s Day and early birthday celebration with much cocktails, yesterday at work we celebrated with these…

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Yes those are cupcakes with books on that The Beard baked for me. Seriously, aren’t they amazing. If you don’t believe me and think they are from a stockphoto, here is me about to eat one in the office yesterday…

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Then Friday is my birthday part two, where I might go and see Cinderella *coughs*, and then my birthday (dinner) party is on Saturday night. Exciting times! Oh and if that wasn’t enough… My book buying ban is officially over, watch out London bookshops, I am coming! Oh and now I am 33 I am thinking it is time for for a 3.3 upgrade of the blog – maybe not in look but certainly in feel.

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I’m Off Away For The Weekend…

By the time this goes live I will be off on my travels to meet my mum, or just on my way, or even sat with her in a cocktail bar. We are going to be spending the weekend visiting going back down memory lane to the city that we lived in for about 5 or 6 years from when I was about three years old…

No we didn’t live in Sydney, we I have always thought this looks like, we lived in the wonderful city of Newcastle up in the north of England. The weekend looks like there will be lots of nostalgia as we visit the old houses we lived in plus places like Jesmond Dene (and the awesome ‘Pets Corner’), the Hancock Museum, Tynemouth Beach and more that we used to visit. There will also probably be plenty of food, cocktails and talk of books. Oh and of course reading, though not when we are together I mean on the never ending journey to and from, I have two Fiction Uncovered submissions packed at the ready.

I will report back on me and my mums adventures in due course. In the meantime what will you be doing this weekend and, of course, what will you be reading?

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And So Uncovering Fiction Starts…

So a while back I told you of my recent exciting news, fingers crossed I will have even more coming in the next few weeks and months. While I have been busy getting lots of reading done before I dive into the submissions, I have also been thinking about what I will do with the blog over the forthcoming books. I am not sure how much I will talk about my reading habits and adventures over the next few months. I was told that I could review the books that came in for the Fiction Uncovered, just not say they were for the prize, yet I know what cunning clever kinds of folk you lot are and I think you would guess. However fret not I am not about to go silent on you all for a few months, honest…

I have got a backlog of a whopping, yes I counted them, twenty three books that I have yet to read – well twenty four once I have finished Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven which I am reading before I interview her next Friday for the first episode of You Wrote The Book when it returns for the new series in July. With a some posts on non booky outings, other bits and bobs and booky thoughts in general which the Fiction Uncovered submissions might inspire as the reading gets under way. I can safely say it has now indeed getting under way as the first batch (there will be a few) of submissions have arrived…

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Obviously I can’t tell you what is in the box, I can tease you all and say that there were some I had heard of, and indeed had hoped might be in the mix, there are also loads of books filled with promise which I hadn’t heard of so I am really excited and ready to get reading which is what this weekend will entail. Bring on the reading adventures ahead! There may be some phases of silence, do bear with me though – and think of all the reviews (almost a hundred) I will have afterwards and all the wonderful book to tell you about.

Now unlike me, with my now firmly sealed lips, you can tell me what you are reading at the moment and how you are getting on with it? You can also tell me what you will be doing this weekend, so I can live vicariously through my books and through you!

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Whoops!

I’ve been a little more silent on the blog the last few weeks with fewer reviews. I have been busy doing this…

Yep. Reading like a loon making sure I have got all my last Hear Read This, You Wrote The Book and book group reads before I have a break from them over the summer, plus some other books for various events I have. All this BEFORE I start the serious reading task of the Fiction Uncovered submissions, some of which have arrived already and I am really excited to read.

The picture above was taken by The Beard as I read my choice for book group. Seems I’m having a reading binge before the reading binge I can’t talk about. Means I have plenty of reviews lined up while I am hidden away judging though. Now best start Susan Hill’s I’m the King of the Castle so back to more reading!

What are you reading at the mo?

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Haters Gonna Hate…

Hold up, let’s just stop for a minute before we continue in the lovely world of booky thoughts and reviews as I just wanted to have a brief chat with you all about something. This was randomly brought up on Twitter over the weekend, by someone I am not linking to and giving more airtime, and then again by a ‘kind’ comment yesterday on the about page of this blog which initially stung before I was actually slightly flattered and then found very funny…

Rude Comment

Now I know I should take trolling like this, and the accusation was pretty much the same on twitter over the weekend, with a pinch of salt and in the main I do. I had an author on facebook calling me the ‘number one blogger of grammatical atrocities’ for a while. After all, I choose to put this blog and my thoughts and opinions out in the ether, I’m no fool there are negative wallies out there. Yet just for a minute I was stung somewhat; not by my ego, which is not as big as these people seem to think frankly, but for the fact that someone would need to chip in and be so unkind.

You see I am aware that my grammar and spelling can sometimes be a bit rogue yet I would hope that people wouldn’t judge something like this blog or any blog which is done for free and all for the enthusiasm and love of books. If it was a published novel or article (where I had an editor, which is what all authors and journalists need) then fair enough, I just can’t always edit my own words because I have stared at them for too long or written them in a whirlwind of excitement. (Gran used to remind me off this sometimes ‘ooh your grammar Simon’ but she was never mean and remembered I left school early. She was just chuffed I loved books so much again.)

But what if I had dyslexia or some other factor rather than enthusiasm or just being blind to my own grammatical errors which I am probably committing all the time? Does this mean, like the lovely lady on twitter was hinting at when she said ‘an illiterate blogger is judging a book prize’, that people with dyslexia or another disability shouldn’t be allowed to blog or have an opinion? What an awful elitist (another thing oddly she accused me of) world that would be!

I think any regular reader to the blog knows that I love books and want everyone to be able to get their mitts on them and enjoy the escapism, learning and enjoyment they bring. Hence why I am so passionate about libraries, where I spent most of my childhood, and why I love initiatives that celebrate books written by and from the perspectives of all walks of life.

So after feeling the sting for a while, I wrote a reply…

Rude Comment Comeback

I felt much better. Plus, it is true. If you don’t like the blog, or something else somewhere else on the internet, don’t waste your time writing a negative comment/review (and if you have to then don’t be an anonymous coward) just bugger off and read something else as frankly I don’t want you darkening my blog’s door. Go on, off you trot and please don’t come back thank you.

Also if you have received any comments, as I know I won’t be the only one hence another reason why I decided to post this, or snark on social media etc like this; just let the sting pass and think ‘blimey I should be flattered they wasted their time commenting/tweeting’ before reminding yourself of what lovely old Madonna, she of the falling down the stairs and getting back up again, has once said (I think, though it might have been someone else or I might have made it up) at some point… ‘You know you have made it when someone really hates it.’ It’ll make you feel much better. And with that let’s move on…

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London Diary #2 – Foyles Fills Me With Excitement

So one of the meetings that I had booked for my trip to London was to meet with the lovely folk at Foyles. I have shared my love of Foyles, and indeed their new flagship store, with you before on the blog. One of the reasons I was meeting them was to discuss the plans for the second year of partnership with The Green Carnation Prize in 2015, already it looks like the prize will have another exciting year ahead and (without spoilers) it might be a bit edgier this year, so watch this space. I was also there to discuss something else which I have been floating ideas about with them since last autumn and, though I can’t tell you everything about it yet, they have agreed to let me curate a week long festival in their flagship store over the summer. I can’t quite believe they have said yes, but they have…

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Now obviously I have to go into major planning mode, without being funny what could be more fun for a complete book geek than planning a book festival? I have lots and lots of idea’s and once things are all more formalised, shaped and sorted I will share more with you. I am really excited about this summer, with this news and some very exciting news I will be sharing next week about something else I am doing over the next months I think it is going to be booking brilliant!

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