SSDD #6 – Simon Savidge

I’m thinking of bringing in another round table soon as this one seems to be filling up fast. The sixth person to take a seat is renowned book blogger Simon Savidge. But, Simon doesn’t just blog; he is also a freelancer for many publications, he co-hosts a weekly book based podcast called The Readers, he is co-founder of The Green Carnation Prize (for LGBT writing) and he is a marvellous tweeter of tweets.

1. Which author inspires you? Whether in your work, life or reading habits.

Hmmm, this is actually rather a tricky one. Anyone who knows me would probably assume that I would say Daphne du Maurier, after giving it some serious thought they would in fact be wrong. I think it would be Margaret Atwood for two main reasons. Firstly she is simply a bloody good writer, as you I am sure are discovering with your Atwood challenge, and secondly because her books are never the same, she is prolific and also diverse. I don’t think the world needs to fear though, I can never be a Margaret Atwood, apart from the amazing writing I am not a woman (the beard gives it away I think) and I am not Canadian.

2. Which book has caused the biggest emotional response from you? (Not just sadness, but joy, anger, etc)

These are all going to be really tough questions aren’t they? Oh no! It depends if you mean right now or if you mean in my reading life. I almost feel like I shouldn’t be allowed to say that ‘One Day’ left me a weeping wreck, but I have let that cat out of the bag so too late really. Most recently Catherine Hall’s debut novel ‘Days of Grace’ made me very emotional as with the narrator being an elderly woman with a terminal illness that was a little close to home with my current personal life, cathartic too though. Overall… I don’t know, all my favourite books cause me to have an emotional response really, though having thought about it I tend to find books make me angry or sad more than they do happy, emotionally. I don’t know why that is.

3. Which book do you wish you had written and why?

Can I have a series… well I am going to anyway. I wish I had written all the Sherlock Holmes novels. I love them and think each one is just genius. I would also quite liked to have been a Victorian and lived in that period.

4. Go to a bookcase at random, close your eyes and point at a random book. What is the book and have you read it yet?

I am in my bedroom/study so I have only the shelves and shelves of ‘unread’ books to hand and I have randomly picked… ‘When Nights Were Cold’ by Susanna Jones. I haven’t read it, but have been meaning to since it was placed on this years Fiction Uncovered list. It’s about the Antarctic in the Victorian era and as well as my small obsession with the Victorian period, as I mentioned, I also have a bit of a fascination with the Antarctic and the Arctic and so this could be a perfect read for me. In fact I shall read it next, when I have popped my latest read down.

5. What is your favourite book and why? (One you’d save from fire, take to a deserted island and recommend everyday of your life)…

It would have to be ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier, no real surprises there. This book made me read after almost 6 years refusing to pick up a book. Since then I have just constantly read really and I am grateful to it for the excitement it reminded me there is in reading amazing fiction. It is a hugely underrated book sadly, but one I admire greatly. Also it has all the things I love in a ‘favourite’ book – stunning prose, lashing of atmosphere, an unnerving nature, a central brooding darkness, a wonderful villain (oh how I love Mrs Danvers) and twists and turns running through it. What more could you ask for in a book really? [It’s Simon’s passion for Rebecca that has pushed me to read it, and I have been this past week. After a slow start… it is stunning. The man knows his books! -Dan]

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