Educational Porpoises

Books that make you happy

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Don’t you think that above photo contains some much-needed advice?! I have lost count of the times I’ve had to rant about the unnecessary issues which seem to crop up all too often in the otherwise wonderful world of books! Therefore, I’m going to offer bits of advice and some random waffle here…

Firstly, the ONLY age restriction,when it comes to books, is for erotic novels! Such “mucky books” should only be read by those of us 18 years old or over! That, for me, is the only age restriction I would ever place on any book! If the content is of a sexual nature, it’s adults only. Otherwise, anything goes! Read above your age, read below your age. You could be 77 and reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, or you could be 7 and reading Pride and Prejudice. Whatever floats your boat!

Read books written by men, and read books written by women. If you only read one of those sets, you are missing out on some great books in the other set! Stop restricting yourself unnecessarily! It’s pointless and stupid!

The “Dead White Men” couldn’t help being white. Or male. And at least some of them may have been dead before their works finally got published! Some of them wrote some great books – don’t snub them just because you’ve heard some “right-on” person slagging them off! They didn’t choose their works to go on some literary canon or other, it wasn’t their decision, so don’t take it out on them! Try a bit of Dickens – I can recommend A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations.

PROPER diversity is about including everything, therefore in book terms, that means reading books by all sorts of authors INCLUDING some dead white men, it does not mean reading books by all sorts of authors except the DWM!

Read books by people from all around the world! Books give you the chance to “travel” when you have to stay where you are! Sometimes they can remind you of where you’ve been, or give you ideas of where you might want to go. Well, books set in real locations can, anyway. You might have a spot of bother doing this with fantasy fiction, as I’ve not yet discovered how any of us can get to Hogwarts, Narnia, Middle Earth or the Discworld! Sorry! You should still read some fantasy, though, but travel to those places is still only in our imaginations as yet. (A pity, ’cause I’d love to go to Hogwarts!)

Don’t over-analyse books and read loads of extra meanings into them! Yes, OK, you might have learned this skill at school, college or uni, and might have to apply it to certain books you are studying, but I can assure you there is NO need to apply it to any other books you’re NOT studying! I had to do it in my student days, but it’s not something I’ve bothered with since graduating! As I’ve said before, if an author describes a room as blue, it simply means the room was decorated in that colour scheme, it does not necessarily mean the author was going through a bout of depression when he or she wrote that book!

If you’ve ever read, or even heard of, A Farewell To Arms, by Ernest Hemingway, and wondered if there was such a book as A Farewell To Legs, I’m pleased to be able to tell you that such a novel does exist! It’s by Jeffrey Cohen, and it’s the second book in the Aaron Tucker mystery series. So now you know!

There’s NO shame in reading Young Adult novels when you’re an older adult! There’s some damn good stuff out there which is seen as YA – don’t be afraid to read it! Yes, even on buses, trams or trains! I was already in my late 20s when I started reading the Harry Potter series, and it was recommended to me by one of my colleagues at work.

There’s also NO shame in reading younger kids’ books, either! There’s loads of good books out there for youngsters, and you can’t beat a bit of Roald Dahl! I’ve recently read Esio Trot, one of my niece’s books.

Join a library and borrow books for free! Not just physical books, but you can also borrow audiobooks, too. You may even be able to borrow e-books which would then go on your device for a limited time, just as you would borrow a physical book from a library for a number of weeks, but you’d have to check with your local library.

Check out charity shops for cheap books! There are plenty of bargains to be had! It is still on my notorious TBR pile, but I bought The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, from a charity shop, for a mere £1. AND it was the hardback edition! Epic Win! Also, if you do need to make space for new books, donate old ones you’ve read, or are probably not going to get around to reading, to charity shops so they can offer them as bargains to other bookworms!

As the penguin in the photo advised, read books which interest YOU! The raved-about books might not float your boat, and I myself have had issues with some of the books which have won prizes in recent years! Don’t get me started on Booker Prize Winners, lol! If you read the blurb, and the book appeals to you, read it. It doesn’t matter how popular it is, if it means something to you, that’s all you need to care about! No need to give a shit about what anyone else thinks!

If a book ISN’T grabbing you, give it around 70 to 100 pages, and if it still hasn’t done anything for you, put it down and find another book. There is NO point wasting time persisting with something you’re not enjoying, so unless you have to read it for educational purposes, or even educational porpoises, try another book. You can always try that book again later, see if it’s any better on a 2nd or even 3rd attempt, but you don’t have to finish it! Giving up is NOT a negative thing! It is a positive thing because it shows you’ve had the common sense to stop wasting your time with something you’re not enjoying, and you’ve decided to try something else instead! One day, I might try The Luminaries again, which was a book I didn’t make much progress with the first time I tried a few years ago. I swapped my original copy for a copy of Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier, which I loved, but I have since bought another copy of the Eleanor Catton novel at a charity shop, so it might end up being given a second chance.

Educational porpoises

Are there such things as educational porpoises? Who knows?!

Read fiction and non-fiction. Find factual stuff which interests you, and read about that, as well as reading stories. As I’ve said in other blogs, when I’ve been off on a rant, the ONLY distinction we ever need to make when it comes to any book is whether it is fact or fiction we are reading! We do NOT need to worry nor care whether an author is male or female! There is absolutely NO need to budget for any flying f**ks on that front, as they do not need to be given!

If you’re learning another language, try finding a translation of a book you already know in your own language. When I was studying GCSE Spanish at evening classes in the late 90s, I bought myself a copy of Charlie y la fábrica de chocolate – I’m pretty sure you can work out which Roald Dahl book that is…

Poetry anthologies can be dipped in to. Even with a “favourite poet” you’ll like some poems more than others. I don’t think we are meant to “get” every single poem, we are to find the ones which resonate with us. So, even if you’ve only read one or two poems by that particular poet, I’d still tick off the anthology if it turns up on List Challenges! A couple of my faves are quite long poems – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Goblin Market, by Christina Rossetti. The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe, is pretty good too.

There’s no such thing as too many books! The most common problem amongst bookworms is having insufficient bookshelves! I definitely experience this problem, lol! I think it’s time I brought this entry to a close, as I think I have covered most issues! As long as it’s not spam, do feel free to comment on these blogs. I appreciate that a lot of people seem to enjoy them, some entries more than others, but if there’s anything you want to ask or say, please do! As I said, as long as no-one’s spamming, and people are asking relevant stuff, I don’t mind!

So, until I publish another long waffly post onto this blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books and poems mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  • Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  • A Farewell To Arms – Ernest Hemingway
  • A Farewell To Legs – Jeffrey Cohen
  • The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
  • Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
  • The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  • The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • Charlie y la Fábrica de Chocolate – Roald Dahl
  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – Samuel Taylor Coleridge (poem)
  • Goblin Market – Christina Rossetti (poem)
  • The Raven – Edgar Allan Poe (poem)

 

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Filed under Adult Fiction, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Foreign Languages, Handbag Books, Humour, Literary Issues, Rants, YA Books

Book of the Irish

Happy Reading Gaelic

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

If there are any Irish bookworms amongst my followers, Happy St Patrick’s Day! We’ll get some Irish books, or at least Irish-themed books in this blog, as that’s our obvious theme for this one! Talking of which, as you know from My Family and Other Bookworms, two of my aunties were over from Ireland last weekend, Andrea and Jennifer, and I had mentioned that my Auntie Jenny had left her Kindle on the plane on the flight over from Dublin to Manchester. Actually, her Kindle and her iPad. Thankfully, though, they were found by cabin crew and looked after at Manchester Airport, so when my auntie phoned up, they were able to put an owner to the items and were sending them out to her in the post, so I hope she’s now received them and has got all her electronic books back!

As we are going to be mentioning Irish books, or at least books set in Ireland, I think we should start off with one I read and loved very recently, that being Round Ireland With a Fridge, by Tony Hawks. I can definitely recommend this one, as can my dad! It’s the result of a drunken bet, and it’s VERY funny! For anyone who doesn’t know, Hawks was a minor pop star back in the late 80s, as part of a one hit wonder act called Morris Minor and the Majors. You may recall, if you were around in 1988, a song called Stutter Rap (No Sleep Til Bedtime), which was a parody of No Sleep Til Brooklyn by the Beastie Boys. Well, Hawks was partly responsible for that! Hmm…. that’s “responsible” in the loosest possible sense of the word, of course, lol!

I also mentioned, in a recent blog, one of my Paulo Coelho books, one of the as yet unread ones – Brida. Now, I KNOW Coelho is definitely NOT Irish – he’s Brazilian if I am not mistaken, but Brida is set in Ireland, so it’s getting a mention in this blog! That’s hanging around here, in Computer Corner. Talking of which, if we actually go under the laptop and thus into the sort of Computer Cave, as it were, we will find Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt. That is definitely set in Ireland and by an Irish-American, as it’s the first instalment of his memoirs. He followed that up with ‘Tis, and also wrote Teacher Man, a book about his experiences as a teacher in several New York schools.

Onto books lurking in my wardrobe… Not that I can get to this without shifting some stuff in front of the doors, but I know the Barrytown Trilogy, by Roddy Doyle, is somewhere in my wardrobe unit, or at least I am pretty certain it is! I have the trilogy edition, but as separate novels, the books are The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van, all of which feature the Rabbitte family in Dublin, and I’ve put them on the List Challenges list as a trilogy and as the three separate novels, so come the end of this year when I publish the list, you’ll be able to tick them off as you see fit if you have read the all-in-one version or individual novels. Or even both!

Well, we can’t have a blog about Irish books without mention of James Joyce, can we?! That would be an epic fail! I have to admit that the only book of his that I have read is Dubliners, which is a collection of short stories of Dublin life in the early 20th century. I have yet to attempt Ulysses – if anyone has read that one, what’s it like? I have heard it has a reputation as a “challenging” read!

It’s not the most comprehensive blog regarding Irish books, I know, but if it gives readers a starting place and a few ideas, that’s the main thing. I do need to move on to an update regarding the Ongoing Concerns now, as I made progress with a few of them yesterday! I have started Moonstone, by Sjón, and am almost a third of the way through it already, reaching 32% according to Goodreads! It has been added to the OCs, so there are currently 8 on that list right now, and I have updates for three more of them…

The Pie at Night, by Stuart Maconie, now tops the OC charts, as it is up to the 70% read mark, and is a truly good read. He just strikes me as the sort of bloke I’d like to have a good chat with about music, and books, and footy! I was reading the chapter about footy yesterday, actually, which mentions matches at all sorts of levels, including Manchester United’s Champions League home game against Olympiakos in March 2014, three years ago, when we overturned a 0-2 first leg deficit, winning 3-0 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate, thanks to Robin van Persie’s hat-trick! Rochdale and FC United also get significant mentions in this chapter. Mention of ‘Dale reminds me of one of my former colleagues, Mark Owen (no, not the one from Take That, lol, a less-famous one) who once called his fantasy footy team Up The Dale Down The Ale!

Before we go on to the other two books with which I made progress yesterday, I must also mention that United made progress yesterday in the Europa League, as we won 1-0 on the night with a 70th minute goal by Juan Mata at the Stretford End, to win 2-1 on aggregate, and we found out this lunchtime that we have been drawn against Anderlecht of Belgum in the quarter-finals, with the first leg away, second leg at Old Trafford. Anderlecht were United’s first-ever opponents in Europe, back in the autumn of 1956 in the European Cup. We stuffed them comprehensively, as we won one of the legs 10-0, which is still our record victory to date, I believe. I doubt a 10-0 thrashing is on the cards this time, but I just hope we win and make progress – we need to be more clinical and finish teams off. We also really need to stop fannying about at the back! (That’s a technical term, by the way, lol!)

OC List March 16th 2017

My Ongoing Concerns wipe board…

So, back to the books now we’ve got the footy out of the way, and I decided we needed to make some further inroads with the YA novels on the Ongoing Concerns list, and got Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist up to 40%, and Finding Audrey up to 29%. They are still quite a bit behind some of the other books on the OC list, but if we can get some of the others OFF that list, we can focus more on some of the YA stuff. The likelihood is that Moonstone will be finished fairly quickly, which gets that out of the way, and Tuesdays With Morrie will be read again this coming Tuesday and thus that will be even nearer completion. I also think getting The Pie at Night finished off fairly soon is a distinct possibility.

Yes, those are magnets from a few of my holidays at the bottom of the wipe board! From Berlin, Chichen Itza and Marrakech, respectively. The books are listed in order of closest to completion. If I added another couple of books, I could have a top ten, like the charts, lol, but eight is more than enough, really, and I need to get it down a bit! As I have said, though, in previous blogs, I had to have several books on the go at one time in my student days, so it goes back to the early 90s and I never got out of the habit even after graduating in 1994. Half of my degree was in literature, so I had to half-read a lot of books!

Anyway, I think that’s about all for now, so I hope you’ve enjoyed our little look at books of an Irish persuasion and an update on the Ongoing Concerns! Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • Brida – Paulo Coelho
  • Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
  • ‘Tis – Frank McCourt
  • Teacher Man – Frank McCourt
  • The Barrytown Trilogy – Roddy Doyle
  • The Commitments – Roddy Doyle
  • The Snapper – Roddy Doyle
  • The Van – Roddy Doyle
  • Dubliners – James Joyce
  • Ulysses – James Joyce
  • Moonstone – Sjón
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Computer Corner, Football, Handbag Books, Humour, Music, Ongoing Concerns, Travel, YA Books

One Word Titles

Books and nibbles March 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Been to book club this evening, so If I Could Tell You Just One Thing, by Richard Reed, has been discussed, and we’ve gone from one extreme to another in terms of book title, as Moonstone, by Sjón, is our next book, and our next meeting is on 12th April. While I was at Waterstone’s, I also purchased Ink, by Alice Broadway, as I couldn’t resist the strikingly beautiful cover of this YA novel. Thus, this blog has a bit of a theme – one word titles. Well, if it’s a good enough policy for Pet Shop Boys album titles, then it’s good enough for a book blog theme!

Technically speaking, Moonstone bears the subtitle The Boy Who Never Was, which, I think, might actually be the title of the book in other editions, perhaps overseas in certain countries. Don’t get me started on that matter! There is a book I read some years ago for book club, one which I enjoyed, called The Other Hand, by Chris Cleave, but in the USA and New Zealand, this same book is known as Little Bee.Why do publishing houses do this?! It’s just bloody confusing! It’s actually a good job I’d read this book and knew both titles, because I was once in Waterstone’s in the Trafford Centre a year or so ago, and was able to help a fellow customer who said she was looking for Little Bee by letting her know that it’s known as The Other Hand over here! Is it really asking too much for publishers to have the same title for any given book the world over?! Stop confusing bookworms! Different editions having different covers is one thing, but different bloody NAMES?! Find a title you like and stick to it!

And, while we’re at it, this latest book club book is Moonstone, and is set in Iceland, so it’s not to be confused with The Moonstone, which is a much older, and chunkier, novel by Wilkie Collins. If I make that distinction here, it means both books are on List Challenges, on the Joanne’s Bookshelf Blogs – Books Mentioned 2017 list, and therefore people will know I mean two different novels! There shouldn’t be any of that “D’ya think she meant THE Moonstone?” type of confusion. There’s a volcano in this Icelandic one, so that should be of interest to me, plus the fact that I’ve been to Iceland, so I can picture it, as I could when I read the excellent Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent.

I was actually looking for a rather long-titled book in the YA section, but couldn’t find Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, and it was while I was meandering amongst the young adult novels that Ink caught my eye – well, it couldn’t really fail to with that beautiful cover! I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover if proverbs are anything to go by, but it can’t be helped sometimes! Some covers are just too eye-catching and/or gorgeous to resist!

I’ve also got my eyes on Diary of an Oxygen Thief, by Anonymous, for a future read. Has to be said the rather mad-looking snowman on the cover attracted me, lol, and it seemed amusing and fairly short, so it would be a good potential Handbag Book.

Anyway, back to short titles… there are a fair few books I have in on my notorious TBR list which have one word titles. There’s Fishbowl, by Bradley Somer, which was one of the ones mentioned when I put books to the vote to be my Wembley Book for the EFL Cup Final last month. My sister gave that one a vote because of the title! There’s also Dumplin’, by Julie Murphy, which is hanging around on my book piles wondering when I’m going to get around to reading it! I also have a YA trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater, all three books of which have one word titles – Shiver, Linger and Forever, so if we were having a one word title book binge, that would be a good trilogy to go for! I have three books by Kate Mosse, each with a one word title, although I think Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel are all stand alone novels.

Wonder, by R. J Palacio, and Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli, are another two YA books on the TBR pile, they were both in the rainbow tower I featured in a recent blog, and there’s Ghostwritten, by David Mitchell, which is on the notorious Half-Read Books list! Only thing is, last time I tried to progress with that one, I wasn’t really in the mood for it. Maybe I will be in the mood to progress with it some time soon, but it wasn’t doing anything for me the last time I picked it up. Even following it via audiobook seemed like a chore, it just wasn’t grabbing me, so it rejoined the Half Read Books list.

I’ve just looked on the Bass Amp Book Pile, but none of those books have one word titles, so that rules those out of our current theme. Just looking around Computer Corner, I see my Paulo Coelho books, and notice Brida, one I’ve yet to read, and one which would fit the bill on the one word title front. It also has an Irish setting, so would be rather apt given that it’s St Patrick’s Day on Friday. Down here, by my side, on a revolving shelf unit, I have Lolita, or “that book by Nabokov” as mentioned in the lyrics of “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” by The Police! I also have Nocturnes, by Kazuo Ishiguro, which is a book of short stories about music and nightfall. Should I want the original vampire novel, Dracula, by Bram Stoker, is close at hand, and for my volcano fix, Krakatoa, by Simon Winchester, is also readily available, and you know I like my non-fiction as much as my fiction!

Anyway, I shall see what at least one of my new books is like, as Moonstone will have to be added to the Ongoing Concerns for now, and I will be giving you an update on the others pretty soon, although none of the other OCs have one word titles, so it’s not really the time and place to do an update in this particular blog entry. Thus, I shall bring this blog to its conclusion and, until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • If I Could Tell You Just One Thing – Richard Reed
  • Moonstone – Sjón
  • Ink – Alice Broadway
  • The Other Hand – Chris Cleave
  • The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Fishbowl – Bradley Somer
  • Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
  • Shiver – Maggie Stiefvater
  • Linger – Maggie Stiefvater
  • Forever – Maggie Stiefvater
  • Labyrinth – Kate Mosse
  • Sepulchre – Kate Mosse
  • Citadel – Kate Mosse
  • Wonder – R. J. Palacio
  • Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli
  • Ghostwritten – David Mitchell
  • Brida – Paulo Coelho
  • Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  • Nocturnes – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Dracula – Bram Stoker
  • Krakatoa – Simon Winchester

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Filed under Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Half-Finished Books, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Music, Rants, The TBR Pile, Volcanoes, YA Books

Put The Kettle On!

Tea and coffee books 1

Nothing quite like a brew and a good book, is there?!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

You may recall yesterday’s blog, and the rainbow tower of books, which contained two books by Vanessa Greene on the theme of tea, those being The Vintage Teacup Club, and The Seafront Tea Rooms. I mentioned, at the time, before I went downstairs for a brew, that I had had an idea for a themed blog. Well, here it is… I would definitely advise you to put your kettle on and make a hot leaf or bean-based beverage, because my theme for tonight is books about tea and coffee! I hope you enjoy this blog – I’ve been into part of my wardrobe unit to get some books and teas out for the photos, and I’m now having a mug of Maple Tea. As you can imagine, I purchased the tin of Maple Tea when I was in Canada, which was October 2009. The maple teabags were in a bag within the tin, though, and so they seemed OK!

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me” – C. S. Lewis

In recent blogs, I also mentioned a non-fiction book on the discovery and history of coffee, that being The Devil’s Cup, by Stewart Lee Allen, and, as I like both tea and coffee, I thought I’d do a blog about books on a theme of those drinks. One or two books are non-fiction, plus a few fictional works with mention of either beverage in the title.

Tea books 1

The Maple Tea is a souvenir of Canada, the other tin was in a set from a shop in Manchester’s Chinatown!

Obviously, we have the two Vanessa Greene novels, dealing with vintage teacups and with tea rooms in seaside resorts. I have yet to read these, and I have also yet to read The Tea Planter’s Wife, by Dinah Jefferies, but I expect I will get round to them. Ooh, that maple tea is nice! Anyway, sorry, where was I?! Ah, yes, unread novels about tea, lol! I have, however, read the non-fiction books about tea in this photo, those being A Taste of Tea, by Brian Glover, The Book of Tea, by Kakuzo Okakura, and Tea: The Drink That Changed The World, by John Griffiths. At the back of that book, in the sources list, as I’ve read this particular tome, is a bookmark from Niagara Falls, so I obviously acquired that in 2009 and must have been reading that book some time shortly after I came home from Canada. I doubt very much I was reading that book when I was in Toronto or Montreal on that particular holiday, as it is a chunky hardback and thus not really the most ideal reading matter for overseas travel!

On the first photo, at the top of this blog, you will also see the spine of The Story of Tea, by Mary Lou Heiss, another non-fiction guide to the history, preparation and world traditions surrounding tea. You can tell I like a cuppa, can’t you?!

So, that’s the tea sorted, now the coffee, lol! Obviously, my non-fiction book for this beverage is the Stewart Lee Allen book, The Devil’s Cup, a fascinating read about the discovery and history of coffee. It was discovered by Arabs who, being practising Muslims, found the plant’s berries and beans were great for keeping them awake and alert for their night-time prayers! Thus were the joys of caffeine discovered! I was actually reading Allen’s book when I was still working in town, so that shows you how long ago that was! That particular office closed in 2009, so it’s at least 8 years, probably more, since I read The Devil’s Cup! I was on some course or other in our meeting room, possibly a fire & bomb warden refresher session which I had to have every two or three years, and we were having a break from our training, so I was having a read while I could.

One of my younger colleagues didn’t seem to get why I loved reading. I find it hard to understand why people don’t love reading! Well, I can understand it if they have dyslexia, or some similar issue, but if you have no actual difficulties in reading, you just need to find a book you like! There’s plenty out there for everyone!

Along with the factual coffee book, I have put my hands on two fiction books with coffee in their titles, although how much either book focuses on the java remains to be seen as I have yet to read one of them, and have only read a very small percentage of the other. The one I have yet to read at all is The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, by Deborah Rodriguez, and the other book is Last Bus To Coffeeville, by J. Paul Henderson, of which I have read a smidgeon, but not really much. Can’t really call it an ongoing concern as yet. It was a free book I acquired last year at Chapter One in town, a giveaway for World Book Night.

Anyway, it’s a start. A selection of tea and coffee books, some factual, some fictional, and if you have any suggestions for books about either drink, feel free to mention them in the comments! I’m quite happy for people to comment, as long as I don’t get spammed! I don’t like spam! (Just don’t get me started on Monty Python sketches, or we’ll be here all bloody night, lol!)

“I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK! I sleep all night and I work all day!” – Oops! Sorry!

You’ll probably be ready for another cuppa now, so I suggest you put your kettle on, make yourself a brew, and until next time, Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Vintage Teacup Club – Vanessa Greene
  • The Seafront Tea Rooms – Vanessa Greene
  • The Devil’s Cup – Stewart Lee Allen
  • The Tea Planter’s Wife – Dinah Jefferies
  • A Taste of Tea – Brian Glover
  • The Book of Tea – Kakuzo Okakura
  • Tea: The Drink That Changed the World – John Griffiths
  • The Story of Tea – Mary Lou Heiss
  • The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul – Deborah Rodriguez
  • Last Bus To Coffeeville – J. Paul Henderson

P.S. Which one of you’s called Brian?!

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Filed under Books, Food & Drink, Free Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, Non-Fiction, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel, World Book Night

My Family and Other Bookworms

Family Photo March 2017

Ellie, me, Auntie Andrea with Reuben, Charlotte on Mum’s knee, and Auntie Jenny…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

That photo was taken this afternoon after we’d got back from lunch. My aunties are two of Dad’s sisters, and they’ve been over to see him and also keep an eye on him, lol, and make sure he actually starts taking advice about his health and looking after himself! But they also came to meet up with the rest of us and have some lunch at Vintage Ambiance here in Monton, which was lovely! My aunties are bookworms, particularly Jenny, although she’s had a bit of a problem and needs to contact lost property because she left her Kindle on the plane! I hope she can get it back!

Reading to Reuben 2017

That’s not my tractor! Its engine is too bumpy…

Reuben was treated to some reading time while we were out, Ellie reading to him from That’s Not My Tractor, from the Usborne series of touchy-feely books for babies. Charlotte had quite a few of those books when she was a baby, and she is a right bookworm, so I hope her little brother will also have a love of reading. He certainly seemed to enjoy being read to by his mummy at Vintage Ambiance. I, for my part, borrowed Esio Trot, and have already read it! It’s a very quick read, actually, which is quite ironic given that it’s about tortoises, lol!

I’ve now got 12 books on the Goodreads Challenge for 2017. OK, I admit the last two were children’s books, but all books count! When your niece is a bookworm, you get to read her books as well as your own! It’s research – you need  to know what sort of stuff she’s into on the book front, so I make no bones about having some kids’ books on my Goodreads Challenge and therefore on my List Challenges lists! If family members are reading books, there’s every chance I will blog about it, no matter how young they are!

As well as making swift work of Esio Trot, there’s more progress on the Ongoing Concerns front from the past night or two. I’m over halfway through The Pie At Night now, 53% of it completed according to Goodreads, putting it level with I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the moment, and An Equal Music is now up to 68%, so I have 4 out of 7 books on the OC list which are over halfway on the reading front, the other being The Saffron Trail – that’s at 55% if my memory serves me well. This coming Tuesday will see a return to Tuesdays With Morrie as the main focus, see how much more progress I make on that. I am just over a quarter of the way through it already having only had one Tuesday session with it, so I hope to make more good progress in the week ahead.

Rainbow Book Tower March 2017

Reading Rainbow: Selection of books in one of my TBR piles…

What can I say about the above? I was bored, I saw a photo on Facebook of some books arranged in a rainbow, and decided to have another reshuffle of my book piles, lol! Actually, most of those were already in that particular pile, the only one I added was Prince, by Matt Thorne, as it had a purple spine and I needed that for my rainbow tower! The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt, is just underneath as the “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow due to it having a gold spine! Technically speaking, The Sisters Brothers is a partially-read book, and also on my notorious Duplicate Books List, but all the other titles in that photo are definitely unread as yet!

Sisters Brothers

Great cover, isn’t it?! Funnily enough, my very good FB friend, Liz Craig, has borrowed The Sisters Brothers from her local library and is loving it thus far, and she said it was the cover which caught her eye. It is, I think, one of the best book covers I’ve seen in recent times, although another excellent one is that of Look Who’s Back, by Timur Vermes, which I read and enjoyed last year, and would definitely recommend!

Let’s have a look at some of the other books on that rainbow tower of reading matter… China Mieville gets two entries, as does Vanessa Greene. Technically speaking, so does Stephen King, as one of his books is lurking at the bottom of the photo under the “pot of gold” so we should include 11/22/63 as well as The Green Mile, which is definitely in the rainbow! The City and The City, and Un Lun Dun give Mieville his two entries in the book rainbow, while Greene‘s books are both on the theme of cuppas, with The Vintage Teacup Club, and The Seafront Tea Rooms appearing in this literary spectrum! Actually, mention of those books makes me want a cuppa, so if you don’t mind, I’ll just nip down and get a brew! Won’t be long…

* goes downstairs to put kettle on, returns with mug of tea… *

Right, back again! Sorry about that, but I made myself thirsty mentioning books about tea! That’s given me an idea for a themed blog, though, so stay tuned for that in the coming days!

Back to our reading rainbow and YA is well-represented in this colourful tower of books. At the top, with pink and red spines, we see Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli, and Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli. Then we have a couple amongst the yellow-spined books, with Boy Meets Boy, by David Levithan, and Eleanor & Park, by the aptly-named Rainbow Rowell – only right and fair that we had at least one book by Rainbow Rowell in a rainbow of books! Then, in the blue corner, as it were, we have Wonder, by R. J. Palacio, and Paper Towns by John Green. Those are NOT my only YA novels, either, there’s quite a bit more where that came from knocking around in my room for when I’ve finished a few more of my Ongoing Concerns, lol! There’s a couple of YA novels on the OC list as it is!

As I’ve said before, I’m in my 40s, I read YA books, and a flying shit is not given!

* flicks the Vs at any book snobs *

Anyway, back to our reading rainbow… There are three books outstanding we have not yet mentioned to complete our literary spectrum, and the first of those is Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood, with the fetching orange spine. I think I bought that one not long after I’d read the brilliant Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent,  so probably about 4 years ago now. Just below that one is Capital, by John Lanchester, and the one remaining book, with a blue spine, is English Passengers, by Matthew Kneale, one of those books I seem to have had for absolutely donkey’s years and really must get around to reading some time!

And that concludes the votes of the Swedish jury, as they used to say during the Eurovision Song Contest, lol! In other words, we’ve mentioned a considerable amount of books tonight! Lengthy reading list coming up! Therefore, I’ll bring this to a close for tonight, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • That’s Not My Tractor – Fiona Watt & Rachel Wells (Usborne series)
  • Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
  • The Pie At Night – Stuart Maconie
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
  • Prince – Matt Thorne
  • The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt
  • Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes
  • 11/22/63 – Stephen King
  • The Green Mile – Stephen King
  • The City and The City – China Mieville
  • Un Lun Dun – China Mieville
  • The Vintage Teacup Club – Vanessa Greene
  • The Seafront Tea Rooms – Vanessa Greene
  • Stargirl  – Jerry Spinelli
  • Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
  • Boy Meets Boy – David Levithan
  • Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
  • Wonder – R. J. Palacio
  • Paper Towns – John Green
  • Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • Capital – John Lanchester
  • English Passengers – Matthew Kneale

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Filed under Books, Childrens' Books, Duplicate Books List, Facebook & Other Social Media, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Junior Bookworms, My Bookworm History, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

All The Books We Cannot See

Ongoing Concerns 8th March 2017

The Ongoing Concerns – NOT missing books, obviously, lol!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Don’t you just know it?! You do a blog, claiming that four of your books have gone walkies, and then, after you’ve published it, you’re checking off books on someone else’s list on List Challenges, and you remember there’s ANOTHER book you can’t bloody find! Typical! All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr, needs to be added to the infamous Missing Books List, which therefore takes our total to 5 at the moment and gives us the title for tonight’s blog!

  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  • A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  • Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  • All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

Oh, and this week is apparently British Pie Week – you learn something new every day, lol! I had a pie for my evening meal tonight, and in keeping with British Pie Week, I got a bit more of The Pie At Night read when I was out and about in town earlier, and intend to continue with it later, and probably at least for the rest of this week now I know how apt the title is! The other Ongoing Concerns can wait! Zlatan can bloody wait until after his next goal for us, lol! I love him, but he’s been a tad disappointing these past couple of matches, and he’s got a 3 match ban coming up domestically, although he’s still eligible in the Europa League even while he sits out FA Cup and Premier League matches. So, if he scores against Rostov next week in the 2nd leg, I shall get a bit more of I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic read! Plus, my sister has put in a request to read it after I’ve read it. Pull your socks up, Ibra, and give us a goal next Thursday, my Swedish chum!

I may have some missing books, but I noticed a few earlier, down the side of my bed, which I’d forgotten about, lol! I have found the illustrated edition of A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness, plus two books about the Olympic Games! Woo hoo! I don’t just read about Manchester United when it comes to books about sport, lol! The Olympics are a huge love of mine and have been since February 1984, when Torvill & Dean won gold for Great Britain in the ice dance at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. I have found The First London Olympics 1908, by Rebecca Jenkins, and The Games: A Global History of the Olympics, by David Goldblatt. A turn-up for the books, quite literally, lol! I am pretty chuffed, and it makes up at least a little for my Missing Books problem with certain other titles I own…

It’s all swings and roundabouts around here! You mislay some books, you find others…

Pretty sure some of the missing books will make a miraculous reappearance some time when I am looking for something else – maybe other books, maybe even something which has nothing to do with literature… As I said last night, though, it’s not as though I’ve not got any books on the go right now, is it?! I have seven Ongoing Concerns, so even though I would love to find the missing reading matter, it will have to wait a while to be read anyway!

I have got my copy of Round Ireland With a Fridge back, my dad had finished reading it when he was still in hospital, and I have recently lent my mum The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer. I’d read that one some years ago now for book club and really enjoyed it. Mum and I had been enjoying the recent BBC2 series Back In Time For Dinner, and I thought she’d like the book as she enjoyed that series. As for any other books of mine out on loan, I think there’s only Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but I know that’s with my friend Sarah in Preston and has been for ages! Perhaps I should stop being such an utter Muggle and cast a summoning charm on it, lol?! Accio libro!

I, for my part, am going to have to ask my niece if I can borrow Esio Trot. I have read a few Roald Dahl books when I was a kid, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, but there are still quite a lot of his books I’ve not read, and I would quite like to read that one! I’ve read quite a lot of Charlotte’s books, actually! Some because I had a read when I was buying them for her, and others because I was round at my sister’s and Charlotte was showing me her books and recommending them to me! She is most definitely taking after me as a bookworm, she has been for years, even when she was still very much a baby! A couple of particular favourites of mine from the Junior Bookworm’s library are Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy, by Lynley Dodd,  and The Day The Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt. My niece has some seriously awesome books!

Anyway, I feel the need, the need for tea! So, I shall head off to put the kettle on and make a brew, and get a bit more of The Pie At Night read! Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  • A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  • Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  • The Pie At Night – Stuart Maconie
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness
  • The First London Olympics 1908 – Rebecca Jenkins
  • The Games: A Global History of the Olympics – David Goldblatt
  • Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling
  • Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
  • Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy – Lynley Dodd
  • The Day The Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt

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Filed under Books, Childrens' Books, Computer Corner, Food & Drink, Football, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, Literary Issues, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Olympic Games, Ongoing Concerns, Sports, Television, The TBR Pile

Missing Words

Eric the Seagull

Eric the Seagull – he’s following the trawler!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Those who have ever read at least the first book of the Discworld series, The Colour of Magic, by the late Sir Terry Pratchett, will know of a character called The Luggage, which is a wooden treasure-style chest on a lot of little legs. I am beginning to think some of my books have similar little legs as I can think of quite a few in my collection which I cannot put my hands on and I haven’t a Scooby where they’ve got to!

I know I had a bit of a clear-out last year, taking a number of books to charity shops in the local area, but I am pretty convinced that the books I have in mind as being AWOL were not amongst those taken and dished out to help local causes in 2016! Thus the Missing Words title of this blog – also, as music fans will know, a song by ska band The Selecter, in the late 70s or early 80s. (It was 1980 – I’ve just looked it up.) Fronted by Pauline Black, whose autobiography, Black By Design: A 2-Tone Memoir, should be available from all good book shops, as the saying goes!

Anyhow, onto the missing books themselves, and the first, which has been AWOL for some time, is The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy. I have absolutely NO idea where that has got to! It used to be around here, near Computer Corner, but it hasn’t been for some time now and I am at a loss as to where it has got to. It could be in the Book Chest, but I can’t remember seeing it when I went in the garage the other week.

The English Patient has also gone walkabouts, and I don’t mean discharged from hospital, lol! In my case, it’s actually part of a box set of  various Picador books, the rest of which are on our landing, in their box, and I have read one of the books from that set, that being Holidays In Hell by P. J. O’Rourke. I had started on The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje, but I can’t continue it at any time in the near future unless I actually get my hands on the damn book!

A Man Called Ove is also amongst the disappeared! The Fredrik Backman novel about Sweden’s answer to Victor Meldrew is nowhere to be seen! I know I’ve got this book somewhere , but the fact that it has gone missing is enough for me to do a Victor Meldrew impersonation and exclaim loudly I DON’T BELIEVE IT!!!

The fourth and final book of the quartet of missing reading matter is one of my YA novels, Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher. Again, I’d started the damn thing, and I now haven’t got a Scooby where it’s buggered off to! In fact, apart from The God of Small Things, I had actually started the other three on this list, which makes it even more bloody frustrating that I haven’t a clue where they are! They could well be in hard to get to places, they could be lurking in a dark corner of my room. They are not in Computer Corner, that’s for sure. If they were round here, they wouldn’t be missing as I’d have found the little buggers by now!

That reminds me, I had a bookmark when I was a kid or at least a teenager, and I think it was a Forever Friends one with one of those teddies on it… I probably still have it somewhere. Anyway, it had a little rhyme on it, which went…

If this book should chance to roam

Box its ears and send it home!

Well, there are at least four books of mine right now which could do with a clip round the ear for doing a runner on me! I know there was a time, a few years ago when I thought I had a book but didn’t know where it was, but it turned out I didn’t have that book, however, one of my Facebook friends very kindly sent me a copy! The book in question, in that instance, was Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and the irony is that I DO know where that book is, even if I can’t find these four others which are clearly having a game of hide and seek with me, and are very much winning right now, lol!

Ongoing Concerns 8th March 2017

The Ongoing Concerns

With seven books on my Ongoing Concerns list, I’m not really in a major hurry to add any of the Missing Books to the list and resume them, but I still want to know where the damn things are in good time for when I get a book or two finished and need some new ones on the OC front!

As yesterday was a Tuesday, I made good inroads with Tuesdays With Morrie, and it is now part of the OC list, as seen in the above photo! I still need to decide if I’m just going to read it on Tuesdays, or going to get it finished off sooner and not care what day I read it. I want to get some more finished, and the short ones are a decent bet, especially as they make for good Handbag Books, so there’s always a chance I can do some reading when out and about. My current placement, though, is pretty local, so, as I think I said the other day, unless I’m stuck in particularly heavy traffic coming home from Eccles, there’s little chance of getting some epic Bus Reading done! I’m not there tomorrow, though, and have to go to town, so that’s a better bet for a bit of reading on the bus or tram!

No need to go to Wythenshawe now, however, as my dad is back home in Macclesfield. Hopefully looking after himself, but I know what he’s like and he is going to have to change the habits of a lifetime and get off his arse a damn sight more than he had been doing! He is such a stubborn git, always has been, and won’t be told! He thinks advice doesn’t apply to him and that he can do what he wants and he’ll be fine. Over the years, my sister has tried her hardest to get it through to him that his lifestyle has been doing him no favours, but he wouldn’t listen to her. The one sensible thing he did do was when he gave up smoking back at the end of 1987, so this December, just before Christmas, it’ll be 30  years since he gave that up!

He used to smoke a pipe, but that particular December, he had the flu and was having a massive coughing fit any time he tried to light his pipe, so he decided to pack it in while he was ill. By the time he was well again, probably early in January 1988, he realised he’d not smoked for about 2 or 3 weeks and just didn’t go back to it!

Fake gnus

Anyhow, enough of that waffle about my dad! Back to the books! I am well aware that today is International Women’s Day, but I have said in countless previous blogs that we should move away from fussing over whether authors, or even main characters, are female. There is only one true distinction we need to make when considering any book… Is it non-fiction or fiction? Or, as The Fart would put it, does the book contain facts or alternative facts?! This is 2017 – we shouldn’t be caring about what an author looks like, we should be more bothered about what he or she has put in their books!

There is no need to over-analyse! Yeah, I’ve been to school, college and uni, I learned to read things into books, and into poems, and I’m not saying it’s completely useless once you graduate, but it’s mostly unnecessary! It’s a skill which comes in handy AT TIMES, like working out what some lying arsehole politician is not telling us, for instance, lol, but I truly believe analysis of literature is done to death and it’s annoying and actually gives a false idea that people even care about these things!

If an author writes that the room was blue, can we not just accept that as a description, without reading anything else into it?! The room was blue, as opposed to being red, or green, or cream, or whatever alternative colour scheme you choose! It does NOT mean the author was depressed! He or she could be as happy as Larry, but they were simply describing a room in a house which had clearly been furnished and decorated with a blue colour scheme!

And, for crying out loud, STOP over-analysing children’s books! Especially those for young children nowhere near going to college or uni yet! They should just be encouraged to enjoy books, reading whatever takes their fancy. They generally couldn’t give a toss if the main character is a girl, a boy, a polar bear, a hippopotamus or even a damn caterpillar! And why the hell should they?! There’s plenty of years ahead, when they’re much older, for all that shite, but for f**k’s sake let them develop a love of reading so that they’re not put off reading when they are in their teens and have to suffer that obsession with analysing every damn word of a novel or poem which they’ll probably be forced to do when they are working towards their GCSEs!

Look, I fulfilled my childhood ambition in 1994 when I graduated, I wore my cap and gown and I am still proud of that, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have issues with education as a whole. There is so much unnecessary rubbish we seem to need to learn in order to get those qualifications which we will never or rarely need again once we’ve got them! And don’t even start me on that crap about it preparing you for work – it does nothing of the sort!

Why the hell is education such a big long test of how good one’s memory is?! I’m lucky that I have a very good memory, but others aren’t so fortunate. But you can’t take notes into a test or an exam because that’s “cheating”. Why?! Seriously, why?!

When you’re in work, you are ACTIVELY ENCOURAGED to take notes! You are also ACTIVELY ENCOURAGED to take notes into interviews in order to try to get a job! People do NOT expect you to memorise stuff! Companies are perfectly happy for you to make notes, in fact it’s expected! They KNOW you’re not going to remember everything, and there’s a lot of important stuff for you to know, so you have to write it down and have it with you the first few times you perform a certain procedure, or if you’re doing something you don’t need to do very often. Yes, you’ll get used to some things which you’ll need to do every day, or at least quite frequently, in your job, but you will need those notes you made in training and, seriously, no-one is going to mind at all! They’d rather you had your notes than you forgot how to do something important, or you forgot some vital piece of information because you didn’t write it down!

If you REALLY want to make education a good preparation for work, you need to make a lot of changes, mostly in your attitude towards those at school! Have a dress code, perhaps smart casual, as not everywhere has uniforms. Sure, some places still do, but not everywhere. Plus, that old tale about school uniforms being a great leveller is just a load of bullshit! They’re not. They don’t prevent bullying for a bloody start-off!

Don’t make a big fuss about hairdos or jewellery except where there are hygiene or health & safety concerns. I was a civil servant for 13 years, and worked with some great colleagues, some of whom were long-haired guys. Some of my colleagues had multiple piercings and tattoos. Didn’t stop them getting hired or doing a bloody good job once they were in work! So stop trying to knock the individuality out of kids! They need to stand out at least a little bit in order to get noticed and chosen, so stop doing them a disservice!  And, for crying out loud, stop expecting them to rely on memory! They wouldn’t need to in work, so why the hell should they have to at school?!

I guess you could argue that school assemblies prepare you for being bored out of your arse in meetings, though, so that is SOME preparation for working life, lol!

Anyway, I really should stop waffling on and get this published! Just had to get a few things off my chest, but having done that, I can bring this to a conclusion until next time when, maybe, the Missing Books might have turned up. Stranger things have happened, lol!

So, until that next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Colour of Magic – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Black By Design: A 2-Tone Memoir – Pauline Black
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  • Holidays In Hell – P. J. O’Rourke
  • A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  • Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  • Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Computer Corner, Facebook & Other Social Media, Literary Issues, Music, My Bookworm History, Ongoing Concerns, Rants, School, College & Uni Reading, The TBR Pile, YA Books