Tag Archives: Wallace Stegner

The First Book of the Year

As I mentioned before the festive season hit, I like to wind down at the end of the year and start the year afresh. This normally means finishing off any serious or bigger reads before reading some nice comfort reads over the festive period making sure I have finished whichever book I am reading before the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. I managed the latter, though Vere Hodgson’s diaries Few Eggs and No Oranges was a close call as its much denser than you think (thoughts to follow soon) and because, rather shockingly, I hardly had any time for reading over the Christmas period making me even more Scrooge like than normal – which I didn’t think was possible. Now 2014 has started but I am yet to start a book, because I always think the first book of the year is an important year.

Part of this is superstition, as I think if you love the book that you start first in a year you are going to have a very good year of reading. Part of this is because it feels like the start of a new phase in reading with a fresh momentum. So I always choose a few options which I hope will reflect my reading mind in the months ahead before I pick a definate…

Possible First Books of 2014

First up a classic, or modern classic, because every year I want to delve into the literary past as well into what is about ‘right now’. One such modern classic that seemed to fit the bill is Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety which I have been meaning to read for a couple of years now and unintentionally haven’t. It is also an American classic which ticks a subliminal box as I read very little of the American classic (be it modern or not) oeuvre, well less than I might intend anyway.

Then there is the modern and the new, well it is a new year after all, and Ray Robinson’s Jawbone Lake is one I have been looking forward to since I discovered it is set in my home region, the Peak District. I also loved Robinson’s Forgetting Zoe so have been meaning to read more of his books to see if he might become a fav, something I mean to do with many an author. It also starts at this time of year which could be apt.

Ali Smith is an author that I love, and I tend to pass over authors I know I love to read someone new, or newish (as above shows) and Artful ticks an important box as a possibility as it is a book which I think will be very different, and may make me think outside the box of what a book can stereotypically do from all reports, it may also be a little bit difficult which is no bad thing. Give the brain some extra work! Oh and it is my choice for the next episode of Hear… Read This! which we are due to record next week. Hmmmm.

Finally, a book from the previous year which I meant to read and didn’t! A shoulda-woulda-coulda read from 2013 if you will. Rupert Thomson’s Secrecy is a book which went a little under the radar, despite Fiction Uncovered (my favourite bookish endeavour) listing it last year. It sounds deliciously Gothic too, possibly murderous as well, which I love in a book.

Which one will I choose? Here I should say that any thoughts above are NOT reading resolutions, I am going to discuss those (and my blogging resolutions all in one) tomorrow. Back to these books, I aim to have made a decision by bedtime but whichever it is I hope it will be a sign of a brilliant reading year ahead. I might try a bit of each one or just see which my mood leads me to. I will, of course, keep you posted. In the meantime what is your first read of the year? Are you superstitious about it at all? Or am I, as many suspect, a little bit bonkers?


Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

Catching Up… Again…

Sorry for a little bit of Savidge Reads silence again last week. I have very much had the intention of blogging much more regularly yet last week was my last week with Culture Liverpool and it seemed to whizz by (lots of finishing up, lots of gossiping and lots of laughing and feeling a teeny bit sad) and then suddenly my leaving lunch had happened and I was handing in my pass and heading for the door, leaving behind lots of weeping co-workers obviously. I have had a brilliant time over the summer working on events and festivals throughout the city and it has been hard work but its also been a real hoot too. I know I have made some friends for life, and who knows I might just go back there at some point. Mind you not too soon as they might want me to give this lovely leaving loot back…

Leaving Gifts

Cat stationery, moustache memorabilia, sweets and book vouchers. My team knew me well it seems as these are indeed just a few of my favourite things. You can never have too many notebooks can you? I am actually thinking of doing something on stationery on the blog in the future as I have noticed lots of people who love books tend to love stationery in a big way. Naturally I was straight down to Waterstones at the first chance I had (which happened to be this morning) to buy some lovely new books and after really really long time perusing the shop I came away with these…

waterstones loot

Looking at this selection you might think that I am in quite a dark place mentally, in fact Gav has pointed this out on Twitter, this is not the case. I have already got ‘Sharp Objects’ by Gillian Flynn, which I grabbed in a second hand shop after loving ‘Gone Girl’, but I love having a matching set of books and I absolutely LOVE these covers so a second copy along with ‘Dark Places’ was snapped up. Wallace Stegner’s ‘Crossing To Safety’ is a book I have been meaning to read since it was discussed, and loved, on The First Tuesday Book Club, then mentioned in the amazing ‘End of Your Life Book Club’ and these being two of my favourite sources of book recommendations was snapped up. (Note – I am thrilled Waterstones have chosen some older titles for their book clubs, not just the ‘new’ books.) Finally at the counter they had a ‘You’ll Love These…’ shelf and so I swiftly nabbed Erin Kelly’s ‘The Sick Rose’ at a pinch of £2.99, she is on You Wrote The Book! this week and I have read her first and third book so this seemed like a last minute destined purchase. Hoorah.

So what else have I been upto? Well, thank you so much for asking, I have had my lovely friend Ms Emma Unsworth come to stay this weekend which was an absolute joy. We managed to spend a lot of time eating cheese, drinking wine, talking books, reading and writing plus putting the world to rights. We also managed to eat donuts on an island in the middle of the sea at low tide…

Emma and I

We also went to go and look at TATTOOS! I have been meaning to get on for ages. Alas ‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again’ won’t fit on the inside arm, but it looks like this will…

Danvers Tattoo

Now I might have to change the ‘s’ because it looks like an ‘f’ but I think you can all tell what it says… if you can’t tell that it is indeed my favourite character from Daphne Du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’ (not it doesn’t say Rebecca) then we might be in some trouble as I am booked in to get this in a few weeks.

If that wasn’t enough I have also been researching the purchase of one of these (including what licence I need to drive it and many other boring admin things) which I am possibly thinking of doing on a kick-starter kind of funding thing…

mobile library

It is all a bit up in the air at the moment but I am working it all out and seeing if the idea I have had, think bookshop on wheels (if any of you steal this idea I will cry) that goes around the UK especially to places with no indie bookshop nearby, can become a reality and indeed viewing some mobile libraries next week… I shall report back.

What have you lovely lot been up to? Book wise and all other ways wise?


Filed under Random Savidgeness