Monday 10 May 2010

Bloggers Galore!

My laptop is still not working, although there is hope on the horizon, but I'm managing to sneak onto the internet for a few minutes to give you a little round-up of bookish things from the past few days.

First things first, Saturday saw the first UK Book Bloggers' Meet-Up - hopefully the first of many. Although numbers dwindled steadily, due to all sorts of unfortunate reasons, there were still 18 of us who met up. Some started at the Persephone Books shop (where I resisted temptation manfully, partly aided by the fact that I have twenty-three unread Persephones at home - and partly be sublimating my desire to buy into an over-zealous desire to recommend) and then we moved onto The Lamb, a very nice pub with an elegant function room. We talked books, and exchanged ones we'd brought wrapped up (picture below, courtesy of Marcia). I did well - receiving Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier, and also Nightrunners of Bengal by John Masters: David Nolan had won this on Gaskella's blog, but very kindly asked Annabel (Gaskella) to pass it onto me - thank you David, and thank you Annabel!

The bloggers present were, apart from me:

Annabel (Gaskella)
Boof (The Book Whisperer)
Claire (Paperback Reader)
David (Follow the Thread)
Guy (Pursewarden)
Hayley (Desperate Reader)
Jackie (Farm Lane Books)
Katy (5th Estate)
Kim (Reading Matters)
Kirsty (Other Stories)
Lizzy/Marcia (Lizzy's Literary Life)
Naomi (Bloomsbury Bell)
Polly (Novel Insights)
Rachel (Book Snob)
Sakura (Chasing Bawa)
Simon (Savidge Reads)
Verity (The B Files / Verity's Virago Venture)

Do go and see them, they're all wonderful. And fear not if you weren't able to make this meet-up - we're already talking about the next one, which will hopefully be in Oxford in the summer. The prize for furthest-distance-travelled went to Marcia this time, all the way from Glasgow to London - who will win the prize next time? Although it's got 'UK' in the title, anybody fancying getting on a 'plane is very welcome...

In other news... I've been meaning to mention Nymeth's 1930s Mini-Challenge - basically the idea is to read at least one novel from the 1930s before July 18th. The challenge actually started about a month ago, but I forgot to post it in a Weekend Miscellany - better late than never! Now, it's no hardship for me to read something from the 1930s. It's probably the decade from which I read most, although review copies etc. now slant things towards modern-day as well. But I thought I'd pick a novel in particular to represent this challenge. It was recommended by my (non-blogging) friend Clare, and is Images in a Mirror by Sigrid Undset. I don't know much about it, but Clare says it is right up my street, and she knows my tastes pretty well by now. I'll be writing about it before too long - and to sign up for Nymeth's challenge, pop along here.


  1. Glad it was a success Simon! Hope your next one in Oxford is also well attended and with even more wonderful people to talk to.

  2. The gathering sounds like a lot of fun - and, 18 is quite a sizeable group. Choosing a book from the 1930s wouldn't be too hard for a Mapp and Lucia fan (the last four of six). The E.F. Benson group will take up the book Miss Mapp in a couple of weeks - but, the plan is to take a couple of weeks per chapter(!!!) for discussion.

  3. Thank you for organising such a good event. I look forward to the next one :-)

  4. I'm instantly hooked to your extensive blog on books. Having read about the meeting, I was wondering whether it was particularly for bloggers who are serious about books?

    I'm just a fan of English literature and would like to meet people who wouldn't think I was an outsider whenever I started discussing a book.

  5. Wasn't it good fun?! Can't wait for the next one! Was lovely meeting you, Simon and thanks again for organising! I trust we'll be getting a walking tour of Oxford on our next jolly for those of us not shouldn't take longer than fifteen minutes, should it, seeing as it's such a small town?! ;) TOTALLY joking!

  6. Thank you so much for organising and hosting the event, Simon; it was a fun evening. Looking forward to Oxford.

  7. It does sound like a great time. I'm still a little glum that I missed the festivities by a mere week :-( If I come back to the UK next year, I'll have to check in to see what you all are planning!

  8. It was a lovely evening with a nice group of people. I think we all mingled beautifully, and the bookswap was fun too. Looking forward to the next one!

  9. I think Oxford would be great - let me know if you want help planning! Sorry I couldn't stay for most of the main event - I probably would be able to if it was in Oxford!

  10. Thank you for organising such a fab event, Simon. It was so lovely to meet everyone (my first meeting with any UK book bloggers!) and despite my "interesting" journey it was totally worth it - what is better than spending several hours talking books? (erm, not much!).

    Can't wait for the Oxford gathering.

    Boof x

  11. Sounds like a fantastic meet up Simon - I wish that I could have been there!

    Also - I am looking forward to the 1930s challenge which I think is a brilliant idea. Juliet Gardiner's "biography" of the '30s is a stunning read which I finished a month or so ago.

    happy reading


  12. My work is set in the 30's so possibly fits the challenge, but I'm writing because, although this is embarrassing, I don't know what Persephone's Books are!

  13. I am so sorry I missed it Simon - about the time your meal started I was in bed feeling appalling. Much better now though I have a dreadful cough and sound like I am headed for the knacker's yard and feeling very fragile. I would be happy to come to Oxford for the next meet up - have not been to that city for ages and I can combine it with a stay and a visit.

  14. Peter - thank you! And Oxford will be nice and handy.

    Nancy - I got that email, but I didn't realise it was a couple of weeks per chapter! Wow. Not sure I could cope with that much detail... we'll see.

    Jackie - lovely to see you there, here's to the next one!

    Murni Budiadi - it was for book bloggers, so anyone whose blog is all or partly about books is welcome!

    Rachel - Fun indeed! There *are* official walking tours, but I believe they're full of lies... and it's a CITY, I'll have you know, which is more than can be said for London - conurbation, chuh!

    Claire - lovely to see you again, I'm already looking forward to the next.

    Teresa - so sorry you missed it!

    Annabel - yes, the book swap was a great idea, though I can't remember whose it was!

    Verity - definitely an incentive for it to be in Oxford, isn't it?

    Boof - I didn't realise it was your first blogger meeting! You did start at the deep end!

    Hannah - if you can pop over from Paris for the next one... and thanks for mentioning the Gardiner book, that sounds interesting.

    Shelley - they're a wonderful reprint publishers, specialising in early-20th century novels etc. Do check out

    Elaine - such a shame you were ill. Next time!

  15. W.B.Yeats is an irish poet but his brother Jack Yeats was famous (only in Ireland) before William hence the "brother of the more famous Jack".


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