Wednesday, 19 February 2014

In lieu of a review



Dear blog readers,

I haven't finished a book in a while, and I have run out (for the moment) of the incidental games and suchlike that I wanted to get people involved with - can I say how impressed I am with your titles-with-the-last-letter-missing?  So I was going to leave the blog blank for another day.  Then I remembered that some kind soul (I forget who) said that they enjoyed it when bloggers just gave a quick update about their lives.  So I thought I'd write you a little letter.

I've always given you something of a look behind-the-books into my life, but usually only the momentous bits.  Nothing particularly of note has happened to me recently, but I thought I'd write a little post anyway.

There is one thing I want to tell you about - a bookish thing, no less - but the time has not yet come.  It will help explain why I'm going to be a tiny bit quieter on here for the next few weeks, but it will be more than compensated for - and I hope you'll be excited.  Oh, Simon.  What a tease.

On the one hand, I've been very lucky since I submitted my DPhil thesis - apart from holidays in the US and for Christmas, I have worked solidly.  All of my previous bosses in Oxford approached me and asked me to freelance with them (at various departments of the Bodleian, and at OUP), and that was both very flattering and great fun.  I'm still doing it now, working mornings at OUP and afternoons for the Rare Books department of the Bodleian - now on Twitter, incidentally, in the hands of one of my besties, Lucy.

So, that's all lovely.  On the other hand, I would like to have a permanent full-time job, unsurprisingly... I've spent the past three years explaining to folk that, although I was doing a DPhil, I didn't want to work in academia (which is still the case) and now I'm hunting for jobs in publishing and similar companies.  Well, I haven't applied for a lot - I'm still being fussy, and only applying for jobs I really want - and I'm waiting to see what happens.  I'll report back when there is something to report... but I'm confident that there is a lovely team of people out there just waiting for me to join them!  (Truth be told, I wish I could stay with my current lovely OUP team, but sadly there isn't a permanent role there.)

And what's on the immediate horizon?  Well, this weekend I'm going to visit Colin - and while I'm there, Our Vicar and Our Vicar's Wife will be visiting.  Sadly I shan't get to see Sherpa or the countryside, but the rest of us will be together, and I am never happier than when I am with my family.  I'm excited about the quiz we have lined up...

At the New Year, we decided to write a quiz between us.  We each made up suggestions for two rounds and put them in a hat, and then drew out two rounds - and had to write on those topics.  Throw in a picture round (or similar) a-piece, and we had 12 quiz rounds to have fun with.  Indeed, it was so fun that we've decided to do it again.  I put in relatively restrained topics - art (nice and broad) and Virginia Woolf (just because I was so intrigued to see what questions would be written).  It turns out my crazy family isn't quite so restrained.  Here are the rounds we have been allocated...

Simon - Peru
Simon - woodwork
Colin - Virginia Woolf
Colin - 1953
Dad - art
Dad - goldfish
Mum - knitting
Mum - defenestrations and other unusual exits

It could be an interesting night!  I have gone a bit wackier with my picture round, but I shan't reveal anything yet, because my family might well read this...

That'll do for news for now - but soon(ish) I will stop teasing and unveil the exciting bookish thing.  And I might even get around to posting a book review, you never know.

Hope you're all having lovely weeks.  And, if you're not, remember that spring is on its way.  I can't wait.

Take care,
Simon

20 comments:

  1. "defenestrations and other unusual exits" - Ha! I can't stop giggling!

    While I do wish you well in your job hunt, I'm ridiculously jealous of your current positions. Incidentally, the group of girls I went to Oxford with [Informally known as "Pimms, Austen, & Shakespeare" ;] have all started following the @RareBooksofBod. Fun stuff.

    Best wishes!

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    1. Your envy would definitely be well-placed if they were full-time positions! Sadly they will end, and that is not to be envied... Thanks for the best wishes!

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  2. I hope your search for the perfect job goes well too, though of course you might have to compromise a little initially in order to pay your food & rent bills! I'm sure that in the end you will be very successful at what you really want to do.

    Best wishes Peter

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    1. Thanks Peter! I suppose I'm not being quite as fussy as all that - I'm just not applying for jobs if they don't appeal, which is already probably too fussy, given the job market...

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  3. Now I come to think of it, the Sunday Times several years ago had a section on defenestrations in their annual literary quiz - but of course not being a subscriber I can't get behind the paywall to see which year that was. Your family quiz sounds wonderful, and I might suggest the same to my family (who are all quiz addicts).

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    1. Well, I did terribly on that round, as I did with pretty much all of them - except Virginia Woolf!

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  4. Always nice to hear what you're up to Simon! As for the quiz - I think your poor mum has definitely drawn the short straw there!!

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    1. She did well with it - and included a few literary questions, so I did well on those! She chose the knitting round herself, and we all did terribly.

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  5. "...working mornings at OUP and afternoons for the Rare Books department of the Bodleian"

    Oh, the hardship....

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  6. Your life (especially the part about the Vicar's wife) sounds like something out of a Jane Austen novel. How wonderful!!! Enjoy and congratulation on finding work. (Why not come over to Wordpress, it is a wonderful tool!)

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    1. I'd love to be in a Jane Austen novel - no need to work at all!
      And I'm happy on blogger, but thanks :)

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  7. Where is the Cat Quiz, pray tell? And (inquisitively) I bet your Surprise is that you've written a book. Am I warm?

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    1. Afraid not! My news is not quite that exciting, sadly...

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  8. That's a very nice sounding tease, Simon -- you just keep us dangling... ;-) I love 'defenestrations' but really it was 'goldfish' that made me laugh and I'm now racking my brains for books with goldfish. So far only one: the Jonathan Kellerman crime series with the psychologist who was always going on and on about his koi pond.

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    1. Dad interpreted it literally, and exposed our general ignorance about goldfish...

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  9. Good to know what you're up to in the gaps between books. I'm guessing that your PhD is going to be published - hope I'm correct. I do want to read it some time anyway, of course. Enjoy your two jobs for the time being, and it's always good to hear from you.

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    1. Oh, there are a hundred ways my news could be more exciting than it is! Not that either :)

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  10. I love that selection of quiz topics! How did it go?

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