July Review: Poetry, Radio Days and Olympic Distractions…

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Another month done and dusted! We’re on 31st July, Harry Potter’s birthday, and thus it’s time to look back at this month’s stuff before I fill my face with takeaway from La Turka later and will probably be too stuffed to blog, lol! Then it will be the start of another day’s action in Tokyo and the start of another month. Therefore I thought I should blog now.

The twosome in that photo are two of Team GB’s medallists so far – Kye Whyte and Bethany Shriever, both won medals in their BMX racing finals, silver for Kye and gold for Bethany. As things stand on Day 7, and I think most of the action is now over for today, Team GB have 28 medals, 8 golds, 9 silvers and 11 bronzes, and today’s events brought about two of the golds and two of the bronzes.

Bronzes went to Emma Wilson in windsurfing and Karriss Artingstall in boxing, and both golds went to mixed relay teams – the triathlon mixed relay team and the 4x 100m mixed medley relay team in the swimming. We may be feeling disappointment about the rowing, but our swimmers have excelled themselves at the Tokyo Olympics! Best performance in the pool by British swimmers since the first London Olympics way back in 1908, 113 years ago!

More Olympic waffle later, probably, but let’s get on to the books and the situation on the reading front is that I have finished off 37 books so far this year, five of them being finished during the course of July.

I will now be able to publish the Books mentioned in July list on List Challenges and set up the August list for the coming month’s blog entries and any books I wiffle on about in those. 14th August will be 11 years since I started this blog – you may recall my 10th anniversary special last year.

For the benefit of more recent followers, you can always look up the August 2020 archives for that blog. There is also a massive list on List Challenges, in the Books category, from August 2020 which listed every different book I had mentioned on here from 14th August 2010 to 14th August 2020 – it is probably the biggest book list I have ever compiled on there, lol!

First book polished off in July was The Iron Man, by Ted Hughes which was one of the 30 books I’d acquired in Wales in June when Mum and I went to Llandudno. Then it was time for another dose of Charlie Connelly, as I read Last Train to Hilversum, the 6th book I have read by this writer! This book was about the history of radio and got me blogging about all my memories of tuning in to various radio stations over the years, from BBC Radio 1 for most of my childhood, up to the stations I have on now – Gold, Classic FM and Radio 4, plus sometimes Absolute 80s.

Next up was the poetry anthology Helium, by Rudy Francisco, the first of two poetry books read this month, but not the first poetry read this year. Indeed, I’ve read quite a bit of poetry in 2021.

The poetry started back in February when I read Alexa, What is There to Know About Love? by Brian Bilston, first of two anthologies by one of the best poets active on social media. March brought us Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic, by Simon Armitage, the current UK Poet Laureate.

Technically speaking, the next item of poetry was The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest works of literature in the world, if not the oldest. That was finished in May before we were back to Brian Bilston with his anthology, 50 Ways to Score a Goal – his book of football poems was always going to be on my “to read” list from the moment he announced it was forthcoming!

That brings us to Helium, by Rudy Francisco, which I have just mentioned, and there was then a non-poetry book in between, The Comfort Book, by Matt Haig, before I read Radio Waves, which was an anthology by various poets but edited by Seán Street, with poems celebrating the wireless!

That was on Facebook the other day – someone near Tom Daley’s hometown had knitted, or possibly crocheted, this model of Tom for the top of the post box! How cool is that?! He won gold in the 10m platform synchronised diving with Matty Lee. He may still have more diving events to come, I’d have to look that up, but he has Olympic gold at last, at his 4th Games.

Just as there has been disappointment in the rowing, there was one disappointment on the book front, having got halfway through a book only to find the writer slagging off my football club, so I showed him the red card and booted him off my Kindle. I simply got on with Matt Haig’s book and got that finished off sooner, as I had also been partway through that one at the same time.

Of course, I also had my niece’s 11th birthday this month. Charlotte has finished primary school and will start high school in September. Amongst the pressies I bought her were two books from the Disney “Twisted Tales” collection, A Whole New World and As Old as Time, both by Elizabeth J. Braswell, and I also had a Hogwarts acceptance letter done for her as she is still very much a Potterhead and it was appropriate with her turning eleven this year!

So, the day after my niece’s birthday, I was still on annual leave and thus able to enjoy the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics and that has pretty much distracted me ever since, lol, although I am over a quarter of the way through Black Coffee Blues, by Henry Rollins, so that will continue into August, probably in the evening before the overnight Olympics action starts up, lol!

That brings us up to date, really. 37 books so far. Hopefully I can get at least 3 read in August to get to the 40 books mark and have an average of 5 books per month. There may yet be some more Charlie Connelly, as I do have a couple more of his books on my Kindle that I’ve yet to read, I think, and possibly some Horrible Histories amongst my physical books. Don’t really want anythng all that long while the Games are still on, although I may be OK after next weekend and less distracted!

Just remembered that in the last book blog, I did a bit of a mini mystery year quiz with some sports news, book releases and songs from a particular year. I had said it was the year that the Winter Olympics took place in Lake Placid and the Summer Olympics were behind the “Iron Curtain” in Moscow which was still part of the Soviet Union back then. The mystery year for this quiz was 1980. Hope you guessed correctly!

There may also be some more blog entries on my Five Gold Rings blog while the Olympics are still on, but this book blog is done for now, we’ve reached the finish line or the end of the swimming pool, lol, and so, until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Iron Man – Ted Hughes
  • Last Train to Hilversum – Charlie Connelly
  • Helium – Rudy Francisco
  • Alexa, What is There to Know About Love? – Brian Bilston
  • Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic – Simon Armitage
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh – Unknown
  • 50 Ways to Score a Goal – Brian Bilston
  • The Comfort Book – Matt Haig
  • Radio Waves – Various (ed. Seán Street)
  • A Whole New World – Elizabeth J. Braswell
  • As Old as Time – Elizabeth J. Braswell
  • Black Coffee Blues – Henry Rollins

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Filed under Authors, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Golden Year, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, Month in Review, Non-Fiction, Olympic Games, Poetry, Radio, Sports, Television, Travel

Magic Monday Medal Spree! The Sporting Distractions of Chief Bookworm…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Day 3 of the Olympics and it has been EPIC for Team GB! There was a mad rush of medals today and, when you look at it from the point of view of what time it was over here (8 hours behind Tokyo), a couple of them came in the wee small hours!

Oh, and I have another book finish to tell you about, so there’s my 37th read of the year as well as Medal Monday, plus the answers to the final Blockbusters quiz column and any other waffle that I can think of!

The finished book is Radio Waves, the poetry anthology edited by Seán Street, so I am now on 37 books for the year and five for this month. That’s not bad, especially as I am currently distracted by my country’s pursuit of medals at the Olympics, lol!

I start reading a book, say, for instance, The Last Wilderness, by Neil Ansell, only to glance over at my telly and discover that one of my country’s athletes is in a good position and thus in with a decent shout of a medal, and then I get all nervous over that and can’t concentrate on the damn book! Then it gets too late anyway, as the time difference means that a lot of action is overnight and I really need to get some zeds, so no more reading. Time to nod off if I actually can…

But those pesky sports people go and win medals in the middle of the night! It started with Alex Yee getting the silver in the men’s triathlon, although he won his medal at a time I was still awake anyway… it was the swimming events at three in the bastard morning that were more of an issue, lol! I was actually watching women’s skateboarding, but was acutely aware that the final of the men’s 100m breaststroke was at 03:12h so, yeah, our first gold of the Games, won by Adam Peaty, retaining the title he’d won in Rio, was at that daft time of day!

Oh, and, as if I am not distracted enough by sports news at the moment… it’s not just the Olympic Games which are distracting Chief Bookworm from her reading matter, it’s now the footy as well! Just had an alert from Sky Sports News that United have agreed a fee of around £41m to sign Raphael Varane (see above photo) from Real Madrid! Subject to medical, obviously, but providing he’s fit enough, he should be able to team up with Harry Maguire at the heart of our defence. Yay!

I need something fairly short on the reading front, I think. Perhaps Black Coffee Blues, by Henry Rollins, a collection of his writings from 1989 to 1991. That might do. Funnily enough, that two year spell coincides with when I was at Eccles College doing my Bastard A Levels! The book is one of the 30 I bought in Llandudno last month on the epic North Wales Book-Buying Spree!

I might even read one of my Horrible Histories books, lol! I have a few in that I’ve not read yet, so The Savage Stone Age might be on the agenda soon enough. Those books are by Terry Deary.

Where was I with my tale of being distracted by Olympic medals being won? Ah, yes, we’d done the middle of the night medals, and now it’s the turn of the diving – the men’s 10m platform synchronised diving to be exact, and this is what I woke up to this morning as I was coming round and then getting ready for work.

Just as I was dressing and preparing to go downstairs for breakfast and to set up my “office” on the dining table, Tom Daley and Matty Lee performed the best dive ever and, after some nervous moments, it turned out that the Chinese pair couldn’t match it, and so we had won our second gold of the Games! Tom Daley was an Olympic Champion at last! He had been aiming for that since he was a teenager and was taken to Beijing in 2008 to get experience!

So, I head downstairs, put BBC1 on for the Olympics and have my breakfast before starting work for the day. Lo and behold, I am not far into my working day when a guy called Tom Pidcock goes and wins the men’s cross-country mountain biking event, so that’s a THIRD gold for Team GB! The medal haul for the day is completed in the afternoon with a silver medal for Lauren Williams in taekwondo! The current haul, prior to Day 4’s events starting, is 3 golds, 3 silvers and 1 bronze and a very chuffed Chief Bookworm!

Before we go any further, I just need to bring you the answers to the remaining column from the Blockbusters gold run quiz game… EFB, which was the unusal book my sister spotted when we were in Ireland last year was Economics for Babies, by Jonathan Litton. OGS, the Treble-winning legend and United’s current manager is, of course, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The comedy series MPFC announced with “and now for something completely different” was Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and PSO, which is a method of resolving a footy match if there’s no winner in normal or extra time is the Penalty Shoot Out.

Want another quiz? Let’s have a mini Guess the Year quiz! Given the current sporting events, this mystery year is an Olympic year, and is back in the days when the Winter and Summer Games were in the same year. The Winter Olympics took place in Lake Placid and Robin Cousins won gold for Great Britain in the men’s figure skating. The Summer Games were behind the “Iron Curtain” in Moscow, USSR. Our five golds were won by four athletes and one swimmer – Allan Wells, Daley Thompson, Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe winning in the stadium and Duncan Goodhew in the pool.

Hits of this year included “Ashes to Ashes” by David Bowie, “Going Underground” by The Jam and “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by The Police. Chief Bookworm was a mere 7 years old in this year, but some newly-published reading matter for older bibliophiles included The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco, and A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole. For those of a younger age, though, there was The Twits, by Roald Dahl.

Answers in the next blog!

I think that’s probably about all for now, so if I don’t blog again before then, I will need to on Saturday as the monthly review will need doing! Until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Radio Waves – Various (ed: Seán Street)
  • The Last Wilderness – Neil Ansell
  • Black Coffee Blues – Henry Rollins
  • The Savage Stone Age – Terry Deary
  • Economics for Babies – Jonathan Litton
  • The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco
  • A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
  • The Twits – Roald Dahl

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, Football, Golden Year, Music, Non-Fiction, Olympic Games, Poetry, Sports, Television, Travel

Birthday Books, Olympics and Other Random Waffle…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

I am back, and to prove it, I’m here, lol! I’ve got another finished book to tell you about, progress made with a poetry anthology, and, of course, now that my niece has had her birthday, I can let you know about the reading matter I bought her!

Let’s start with Junior Bookworm’s birthday, actually. Charlotte turned eleven this week, hence I have been quite busy since I last blogged, getting pressies ready for my niece. Obviously, these pressies included some books, and I got her two items of reading matter from the Disney “Twisted Tales” series. Those books were A Whole New World, and As Old as Time, both by Elizabeth J. Braswell.

She’s still also very much into Harry Potter, however, and I got her a Hogwarts Letter done as one of her pressies, which tied in with her birthday theme as she had a HP themed cake and balloons too. She is 11, so it was the right time for the Hogwarts acceptance letter!

The other stuff I got her was stationery and some chocolates, but I figured you’d want to know about the books and the Hogwarts letter.

In the previous blog, I’d had to kick one ongoing concern into touch when it turned out the writer hated my beloved football club, but that gave another of my books the chance to overtake that one and get finished, so we have our 36th finish of the year, my fourth finish for July, and that is The Comfort Book, by Matt Haig, which I can recommend.

Let’s do the Blockbusters quiz before I get on to the poetry. I need to give you the answers to the fourth column of hexagons, and then set the questions for the final column, so here goes…

TVHC, the children’s book by Eric Carle with a ravenous creature was, of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. AAS, the book in which Charlie Connelly takes a journey around the Shipping Forecast is Attention All Shipping. BW, the structure which divided a German city from 1961 to 1989 was the Berlin Wall, and TAD, who won gold at the 1984 Winter Olympics, skating to Ravel’s Bolero, were Torvill and Dean.

Talking of Ravel’s Bolero, I notice it was used in the opening ceremony of the current Tokyo Olympics the other day, when the flame was being lit! Still made me think of Jayne and Chris on the ice in Sarajevo in 1984! It will always remind me of them, even when it’s the full version of Bolero, and that is over 17 minutes long. T&D skated to an abridged arrangement that was about 4 and a half minutes long.

Anyway, I need to set the final column of questions, so here goes…

EFB = Unusual children’s book spotted by my sister last year in the library in Dun Laoghaire.

OGS = Treble-winning Legend and United’s current manager.

MPFC = Classic comedy show announced with the phrase “And now for something completely different…”

PSO = Manner of settling a football match if there is no winning goal in normal time or extra time…

Right, so I just have a set of answers to give you in the next blog and that should be that. At least for this game!

Going back to the Olympics, a mention for a couple of books I have on the matter. One is The Olympic Games by Peter Arnold. I got this years ago, a Christmas pressie from my parents, and so it went up to Moscow 1980 with a bit at the end about what they hoped the forthcoming Games of 1984 would bring, so there are far more up to date books since then, probably updated editions of that one, but I read it loads as a kid.

At the time, it kinda brought things up to date for me, as 1984 was when I got into the Olympics, both the Winter and Summer Games of that year, so that book gave me highlights of all the previous Olympics before I got into them in a big way.

Another book concerning the Olympics is rather more recent although it is about an event way back in 1988, as the book is The Dirtiest Race in History, by Richard Moore, about the men’s 100m final at the Seoul Olympics, the one where Ben Johnson tested positive for anabolic steroids and was stripped of his gold and booted out of the Olympics.

While Ben was the only one at the time who got caught, it has since been discovered that 6 out of the 8 finalists from that race in Seoul have been linked to drugs at some point in their athletic careers, so it was more a matter of them being lucky that they weren’t found out at the time. I still feel that Ben, and the others, could and should have said no, but reading Richard Moore’s book made me realise the pressure they were under from those around them at their athletics clubs…

I did say that I had some progress on one of my other ongoing concerns, the poetry anthology Radio Waves, which is now 34% read, so there is a good chance, with a week left of this month, that I could get that finished before July is out. It is not a long book.

Given that radio has been a big theme of this year’s blogs, and that I used to listen to her request show as a teenager, you won’t be too surprised to learn that Hey Hi Hello, the autobiography of Annie Nightingale, is a recent download onto my Kindle.

The Wrong Kind of Snow is now 56% read, as I have read as far as yesterday, 23rd July. Obviously, that one is going to be an Ongoing Concern all year and I’ll finish it off right at the end of 2021.

It was the church summer fair today at St Thomas’ in Pendleton and went pretty well for the first one we’ve been able to have since 2019! We had to have it indoors as it was too windy outside to have the gazebos, which is how we do it in the summer if the weather is nice enough, but quite a few people came along and bought stuff, and it was nice to get back to this sort of normality again!

It also meant that I was able to offload the two bags of books that had been on our landing for a bit, mostly books from Computer Corner and the bookcase downstairs. Still need to sort the Book Chest out and then take more books to the charity shops, but significant progress has been made.

Anyway, that is probably about it for now. If I am not back before then, next Saturday is the last day of July, so I will be back with the monthly review if nowt else! Until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • A Whole New World – Elizabeth J. Braswell
  • As Old as Time – Elizabeth J. Braswell
  • The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
  • The Comfort Book – Matt Haig
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • The Olympic Games – Peter Arnold
  • The Dirtiest Race in History – Richard Moore
  • Radio Waves – Various (ed. Seán Street)
  • Hey Hi Hello – Annie Nightingale
  • The Wrong Kind of Snow – Antony Woodward & Robert Penn

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, British Weather, Childrens' Books, Computer Corner, Half-Finished Books, Junior Bookworms, Non-Fiction, Olympic Games, Poetry, Radio, Sports, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel, Weather

More Book Mail and a Red Card…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to yet another blog! Got some updates for you, an item of Book Mail, a book as a pressie, but unfortunately, I have had cause to give one of my Ongoing Concerns the Grand Order of the Early Bath!

It is really disappointing to have to do that, and I was previously enjoying One for the Books, by Joe Queenan, and had just reached halfway, but then he happened to be going on about sports teams he hates, and included my beloved club! Not only that, but this ABU arsehole perpetuated the bullshit about none of our fans being local! As a local Red, and die-hard Stretford End season-ticket holder, I was fuming! Therefore, I have shown Joe a straight red card and removed his book from my Kindle! You do NOT diss Chief Bookworm’s club and get away with it!

You also don’t imply that I don’t exist!

He will NOT end up on the finished books list now. It’s a shame, really, as I had been enjoying his book prior to that, particularly the mention of The Uncommon Reader, by Alan Bennett, which I read and loved some years ago, but you do not write what he wrote about my beloved United and think that I am going to tolerate that crap! As I have shown him a red card, his book now has to serve a “ban” so it won’t be named in the list at the end of this blog!

Wazza and Ole. Two legends posted here to cheer myself up after having got halfway through a book only to find the writer is an ABU tosspot!

* Chief Bookworm puts away the ref’s notebook and red card *

Right, onto some books which DO, at least for now, deserve to be continued! The Comfort Book, by Matt Haig is 44% read, so that now looks like the next one which will be finished and is likely to be my 36th read of the year as it will soon overtake the now-unfinished Queenan book.

This is a bit like the 2012-13 season and the race for the Golden Boot… Chewy Luis (Suarez) was at Liverpool at the time and just before my birthday was the leading scorer in the Premier League. However, that’s when he bit Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea on the arm during a match and ended up being banned for the rest of that season (and the start of the next) which then enabled our man, Robin van Persie, to overtake Chewy and win the Golden Boot as well as winning the Premier League title. The Queenan book is obviously Chewy Luis and Matt Haig’s book is thus in the role of RvP for this analogy, lol!

The Last Wilderness, by Neil Ansell, is now 14% read, and at one point he mentions Ardnamurchan Point which is up in the western Highlands and is mentioned on the inshore waters forecast part of the Shipping Forecast, so we have yet another link to the weather and shipping books I’ve read this year!

When I mentioned my book mail the other day, and said I’d received Cuneiform, by Irving Finkel & Jonathan Taylor, and Myths from Mesopotamia, translated by Stephanie Dalley, I did say that there was another book yet to arrive. Well, that one arrived today, and it is Radio Waves, poems celebrating the wireless, edited by Seán Street. Ties in nicely with all my mentions of what I’ve been listening to on the radio this year. Largely Gold, Classic FM and BBC Radio 4, and that brings us onto another recent Book of the Week, which I might try to get, and that was The Madman’s Library, by Edward Brooke-Hitching.

Been to Preston this evening after work to see my friend Sarah and we finally got to swap birthday pressies at long last, lol! As you can see from the above photo, one of mine was Rio! by Wensley Clarkson. I also gave Sarah a book as one of her pressies, that one being Bohemian Rhapsody, by Lesley-Ann Jones, about the late great Freddie Mercury.

I was originally going to give her Total Recall, the autobiography of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but thankfully I checked and she already had that so I decided to risk it for a biscuit and hope that she didn’t already have the book about Freddie Mercury, which, thankfully, she didn’t. Both those books were amongst the 30 I brought back from the North Wales Book-Buying Spree in Llandudno and Conwy last month, lol!

Also got her a Chris Lowe Funko Pop, as she is a fellow Pethead. I will keep checking Forbidden Planet to see when they get any Funkos of Neil Tennant in.

Weather is still boiling here, by the way!

Church summer fair this weekend. Might take the two bags of books which are currently still on the landing and see if the ladies who run the book stall want them. The stall Mum and I run doesn’t really have books, although we do have a shedload of DVDs. I hope this weather continues as the fair will be outdoors under gazebos. I will need to put some sun lotion on, I think. Nice to be able to do that sort of thing again, though.

Just remembered… time for Blockbusters before I wrap this up. First up, the answers for the middle column and then the questions for the fourth column.

PSB, my favourite duo since my teens, is obviously the Pet Shop Boys, TFM, the film about the redundant steel workers who end up as a troupe of male strippers is The Full Monty, RVP, who helped United win their 20th league title in 2013 is Robin van Persie, and PS, the other name for Beethoven’s Symphony number 6 in F Major, is the Pastoral Symphony.

TVHC = Legendary children’s book by Eric Carle featuring a creature with a huge appetite.

AAS = Book in which Charlie Connelly makes a journey around the Shipping Forecast.

BW = Concrete structure which divided a German city from 1961 to 1989.

TAD = Ice dance legends who won Olympic gold in 1984 skating to Ravel’s Bolero.

So, that’s about it for now! If I am not back before then, I intend to be back at the weekend with more book mentions and more random waffle, but until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books deservedly mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett
  • The Comfort Book – Matt Haig
  • The Last Wilderness – Neil Ansell
  • Cuneiform – Irving Finkel & Jonathan Taylor
  • Myths from Mesopotamia – Unknown (trans: Stephanie Dalley)
  • Radio Waves – Various (ed: Seán Street)
  • The Madman’s Library – Edward Brooke-Hitching
  • Rio! – Wensley Clarkson
  • Bohemian Rhapsody – Lesley-Ann Jones
  • Total Recall – Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Filed under Authors, Books, Books About Books, British Weather, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Half-Finished Books, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Olympic Games, Ongoing Concerns, Poetry, Radio, Rants, Travel, Weather

Hot in the City

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

* sings * “Hot in the city, hot in the city tonight…”

Billy Idol was not wrong, lol! It was absolutely boiling in Manchester this afternoon when I went into town! Needed a few things, wrapping paper mostly, and given the gorgeous weather I decided I would go to town rather than the Trafford Centre. To be fair, the branch of Card Factory in town is bigger anyway, so that was another reason to head there. I actually had to put some Factor 50 on before heading into town – you know it’s good weather when you have to put sun lotion on in this country, ha ha! That’s normally something I have to do when I’m abroad! To be fair, though, I did also have to put that on when I was in Wales last month.

Anyway, when I last blogged, which was Wednesday, I brought you the news that I had reached the 35 book milestone and had to increase my Goodreads Challenge target to 40 books. I had finished off both Last Train to Hilversum, by Charlie Connelly, and Helium, by Rudy Francisco, and started The Last Wilderness, by Neil Ansell.

I have also resumed One for the Books, by Joe Queenan, and am now 30% of the way through that one on my Kindle. One of the reasons I’m particularly enjoying this book about books is that Joe has even more Ongoing Concerns than I do, lol! It’s quite reassuring when you discover a bookworm with even more half-read books than yourself!

I had Book Mail this week, which you can see in the photo at the top of this blog. We have Cuneiform, by Irving Finkel and Jonathan Taylor, and we also have Myths from Mesopotamia. The writers for those would be unknown, but the translation is by Stephanie Dalley. It includes The Epic of Gilgamesh, but also other stories.

I am still awaiting the remaining item of my order, which is coming separately. That one will be Radio Waves: Poems Celebrating the Wireless. It’s by various poets, but edited by Sean Street. It’s something I ordered due to enjoying Last Train to Hilversum.

I did get a few items in town, but I will do the Blockbusters Gold Run bit next before we get on to that..,

So, I’m due to give you the answers from the second column of hexagons and the questions from the middle column. Here goes…

DA, the author of the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series was Douglas Adams, PAP the Jane Austen novel featuring the Bennet family and Mr Darcy is, of course, Pride and Prejudice, which I studied for my GCSEs years ago, and still have a bunch of characters from that novel on my Literary Slap List, lol! ROD was the Alex Marshall book about travels in search of national anthems, so that was Republic or Death! Finally, MOTD, the long-running footy highlights show on the Beeb is, of course, Match of the Day.

PSB – Chief Bookworm’s favourite duo since her teens, hits include Suburbia and It’s a Sin.

TFM – Film in which a bunch of redundant steel workers in Sheffield becomes a troupe of male strippers.

RVP – Dutch striker whose hat-trick won Manchester United their 20th league title in 2013.

PS – Name by which Beethoven’s Symphony No 6 in F Major is also known.

No book-related stuff in that column, but the remaining two columns do have at least one book-related clue in them. Answers to the middle column will be given next time I blog.

So, now to today’s acquisitions from town. We have Fabulosa! by Paul Baker, which is the story of Polari, the secret gay language, Ramble Book, by Adam Buxton, which he describes as musings on childhood, friendship, family and 80s pop culture, so a waffly book that mentions 80s stuff was always going to attract my attention, lol! The other book is The Comfort Book by Matt Haig.

I’ve read a few of his already, one novel, The Radleys, and his two previous books on a mental health theme, Reasons to Stay Alive, and Notes on a Nervous Planet. I also own How to Stop Time, and The Midnight Library, but I’ve not got around to reading those yet.

If I can stay awake in this ridiculous heat, lol, I shall catch up with The Wrong Kind of Snow and read a bit more of The Last Wilderness and One for the Books. Probably a bit more of The Comfort Book, too.

Got a short week coming up this week at work as I’m only “in” up to Wednesday. Couple of days of annual leave. Not that I won’t be busy, though, lol! Time will be spent with the Junior Bookworms at some point! My niece, the elder of the two, is about to finish primary school, as I think I said recently, and will also celebrate her birthday shortly.

That is probably about all for now, so until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Last Train to Hilversum – Charlie Connelly
  • Helium – Rudy Francisco
  • The Last Wilderness – Neil Ansell
  • One for the Books – Joe Queenan
  • Cuneiform – Irving Finkel & Jonathan Taylor
  • Myths from Mesopotamia – Unknown (trans: Stephanie Dalley)
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh – Unknown
  • Radio Waves – Various (ed: Sean Street)
  • The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series – Douglas Adams
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • Republic or Death! – Alex Marshall
  • Fabulosa! – Paul Baker
  • Ramble Book – Adam Buxton
  • The Comfort Book – Matt Haig
  • The Radleys – Matt Haig
  • Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig
  • Notes on a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig
  • How to Stop Time – Matt Haig
  • The Midnight Library – Matt Haig
  • The Wrong Kind of Snow – Antony Woodward & Robert Penn

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Books About Books, British Weather, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Junior Bookworms, Literary Slap List, Mental Health, Music, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Poetry, Radio, School, College & Uni Reading, The TBR Pile, Travel, Weather

Tea, Chocolate and Books

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Another night, another blog, and I know I only blogged last night, lol, but I have a couple of book finishes to report, a new target for the Goodreads Challenge, and, as you can see, I’ve had the cuppa and started the chocolate from the Travelling Bookshop box!

I will also have the answers from last night’s Blockbusters column later if I remember, and I will give you the clues for the next column of acronyms.

But, first, let’s give you the news… I have now read 35 books so far this year! I finished Last Train to Hilversum, by Charlie Connelly, in the early hours of this morning, and have finished reading Helium, the poetry anthology by Rudy Francisco, this evening. As I am now at 35 books, the Goodreads Challenge target has been reset yet again and is now 40 books. I am just doing five at a time and seeing how long it takes to get to that target.

Today is Bastille Day, the national day of France, so if I have any French followers, I hope you’ve had a great holiday today!

On this day last year, I had my first post-lockdown hairdo, and also went for a meal at La Turka with Mum. July 2020 was quite a productive month on the reading front for me, I got 12 books read, quite a few of those were books I was finishing off. Mind you, I hadn’t read all that much prior to July last year, and had only managed 7 books up to the end of June, so I had a better second half of 2020.

This year, I had read 32 books before this month started and have read another three so far in July.

Anyway, as you can see from the above photo, this is me having my cuppa with the teabag from the book box and holding my copy of The Last Wilderness, by Neil Ansell, which I shall be starting shortly! I have also started on my block of chocolate which is dark chocolate and orange flavoured. Thanks, Ellie, for ordering this box for me!

As I said, I’ve also started on the chocolate – see above, lol!

Now onto the Blockbusters Gold Run, which I introduced last night, and I was going to give you the answers to the first column and then the questions to the next column, wasn’t I? So, here goes…

MR, United and England player awarded the MBE in October last year was, of course Marcus Rashford. ALL which gave me a book hangover in 2016 was A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara. LA was the event held at Wembley and Philadelphia on 13th July 1985 so that was Live Aid, which was apt as yesterday was the anniversary, and JLC who was an author of espionage novels such as Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was, of course, John le Carré, one of my late dad’s favourites.

So, are you ready for the next column? Here goes…

DA = author of the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.

PAP = Jane Austen novel featuring the Bennet family and Mr Darcy.

ROD = book by Alex Marshall about travels in search of national anthems.

MOTD = long-running football highlights show on the BBC, usually on a Saturday night during the season.

Again, with any book-related clues, they will feature on the list at the end of the blog when I give the answers, so the two from last night’s column will be on tonight’s list if you get my drift. Answers to tonight’s column will be in my next blog entry.

Need to go shopping at the weekend, need more gift wrap for one thing! Another birthday coming up soon. Can’t believe my niece, Charlotte, is about to turn 11 and leave primary school! Where has the time gone?! Is it really that long since I became an auntie? I started this blog not too long after that!

Talking of other bookworms, you may recall mentions in previous blogs of United players who like a book or two, and I said on here in the past that I’d like a natter with Juan Mata about books! I also mentioned Marcus Rashford MBE and his reading initiatives to get more youngsters into books. Marcus himself has brought a book out this year, You Are a Champion, a motivational book aimed at teens.

Anyway, I read an article during the recent tournament, in which Luke Shaw’s English teacher from high school revealed that besides his footy talents, “Shawberto Carlos” was also into literature when he was at school, so Luke is another one to add to the roll of honour on this blog!

I think that is probably all for now, really, and it may be a day or so before I blog again – would need more material to blog about for one thing! Ah, just one more before I go, and it was from a List Challenges list I was going through last night… I spotted a book with a great title… Assaulted Caramel – isn’t that a brilliant title for a cozy crime book?! It’s by Amanda Flower, and I just saw it and it made me lol!

That really is everything covered now that I was going to blog about on here, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Last Train to Hilversum – Charlie Connelly
  • Helium – Rudy Francisco
  • The Last Wilderness – Neil Ansell
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – John le Carré
  • You Are a Champion – Marcus Rashford MBE
  • Assaulted Caramel – Amanda Flower

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Blind Date With A Book, Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Goodreads, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Poetry, Radio, Television

1985 and All That: Radio Rewind and Musical Memories…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Good evening! Prepare for a load of waffle about music and books, lol! Today is 36 years since Live Aid, 13th July 1985, which I watched on telly at the time, as a 12 year old. Back in 2017, on this blog, I went back in time to 1985 to take 12 books to my 12 year old self and set it at the time of Live Aid. I also did a special blog this time last year when it was the 35th anniversary.

Another musical anniversary today, slightly more recent as it was only 30 years ago, back in 1991, but it was the day Bryan Adams, the Groover from Vancouver, hit the top of the UK Top 40 singles charts with “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” and there it would remain, at number one, for a whopping 16 weeks! I’d started university by the time it actually got knocked off the top spot in late October that year!

On the book front, we are heading towards our 34th finish of the year, as I am reading Last Train to Hilversum on my Kindle as I type this blog entry, and I am currently at the 88% read stage. Charlie Connelly has actually been over to Hilversum by this stage of the book – the town is in the Netherlands, not all that far from Amsterdam.

Reading about radio stations overseas takes me back to my younger days, and something I forgot in a recent blog when I was trying to recall all the stations I’d ever tuned in to… this goes back to the same era as Live Aid, around 1985, mid-Eighties, and twiddling the dial on an old radio we had back then, we found this Irish station and accidentally discovered their singles charts run-down.

If you remember the sporting events of 1985, you may recall that Barry McGuigan was world boxing champion that year, and although this song was pretty much unheard of on my side of the Irish Sea, there was this comedy record over in Ireland that year, which we taped off the radio as I found the station on our radio/tape recorder, and it was called “Thank You Very Much, Mr Eastwood” about Barry gushingly thanking his manager. I have just Googled this record, and it was by the late Dermot Morgan, better known for his role in Father Ted on telly, and the song was actually the Christmas Number One in Ireland for 1985!

It could possibly have been an RTE radio station, I’d have to ask one of my aunties, I think, as they might know which stations broadcast which kinds of music in Ireland. Over here, I taped the charts off BBC Radio 1 when they did the UK top 40 on a Sunday afternoon into early evening. Only the songs I liked, though, and tried to press pause back down when the DJ started talking over the end of the record!

So, I don’t just bring you silly novelty records on here, like “Fish Heads” for instance, I also bring you silly Irish novelty records, ha ha! Mind you, our charts have had their share of novelty records, and a fair few of those have been number ones! The video for the Dermot Morgan song is on YouTube should you wish to look it up, lol!

Helium is over half-way, as I may have mentioned in a recent blog, but it looks like the Charlie Connelly book will be my next finish, meaning Rudy Francisco’s poetry anthology will be the next finish after that.

I may then return to The Buried Book, which I have started recently – that’s the David Damrosch book about the loss and rediscovery of The Epic of Gilgamesh, thus revisiting one of this year’s main themes on this blog.

Onto the footy, and Jadon Sancho is understood to have had his medical at Carrington this afternoon ahead of his move to United from Borussia Dortmund. Football didn’t come home, it went to Rome, so to speak, but I’m still proud of the lads, and it’s still the best tournament performance by England in my lifetime. We have got over that semi-final barrier at last and got to a final. Now we need to get to another final, but win that one. Best England managers in my lifetime…

3rd: Terry Venables. Managed England to the semi-finals of the European Championships in 1996, here in England.

2nd: Sir Bobby Robson. Managed England to the semi-finals and then 4th place in the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

1st: Gareth Southgate. Managed England to the semi-finals and then 4th place in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and has now managed England to a runners-up place in the delayed European Championships which have still been called Euro 2020 even though it’s 2021, lol!

Well, I did say I might resume The Buried Book, but on the other hand, I might start the book that was in the Travelling Bookshop box, which was The Last Wilderness, by Neil Ansell. Then I could also have my cuppa and the bar of chocolate which were also in the box.

I could also resume one of my other books, after all, I have a fair few on the go, lol, including Bit of a Blur, by Alex James, and My Side, by David Beckham, There’s also Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache, by Martin Aston, and that one is something like 42% read if I remember rightly. The Black Flamingo, by Dean Atta, is 26% read if I’m not mistaken.

The Wrong Kind of Snow is up to date, you’ll be pleased to learn, lol, and today’s entry mentions that it was a rare sunny day on this day in 1985 for Live Aid, which is true, as I do recall the so-called “summer”that year being pretty damn wet! 1984 had been sunny. Not quite as epic as 1976 but 1984 was a hot one, however 1985 was back to Typical British Weather, in other words pretty cold and pissing down with rain most of the time. To use that well-known technical term, the weather here in 1985 was shite, lol!

I remember our family going on holiday to Harlech, North Wales, that summer, and if it didn’t rain in the morning, it rained in the afternoon, ha ha!

Before I start to wrap things up, I thought I would introduce you all to my “Blockbusters”-style Gold Run grid of acronyms… I couldn’t make the font look computery, unfortunately, but I found a blank template on Google and then edited it to put a bunch of letters on there.

The idea, for those unfamiliar with the Gold Run from Blockbusters, was that you have to get across the board from left to right in a line in the given time which started when you chose your letters from the left column. If you got it right, it went gold (i.e. yellow) but if you got it wrong it was blacked out. You could still win but might have to do it the hard way!

What I might do in blogs is give the clues a column at a time. I have no prizes to give out, sadly, but if you get enough right that you would be able to get across the board in a line of gold hexagons, that’s the main thing! Quite a few book-related clues on there, plus some footy, some telly and music… Clues for the first column coming up…

MR = United and England striker awarded the MBE in October 2020 for charity work during the pandemic.

ALL = Epic novel which gave Chief Bookworm a Book Hangover in 2016.

LA = Event at Wembley and Philadelphia on 13th July 1985.

JLC = Author of espionage novels, including Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

Right, let’s see how you got on with those! If I remember, I’ll give the answers next time, before I give the clues to the second column. Any books will not get mentioned on the book list at the end of the blog until I give the answers for the column they feature in.

That really is about all for now, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s been a packed blog! Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Last Train to Hilversum – Charlie Connelly
  • Helium – Rudy Francisco
  • The Buried Book – David Damrosch
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh – Unknown
  • The Last Wilderness – Neil Ansell
  • Bit of a Blur – Alex James
  • My Side – David Beckham
  • Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache – Martin Aston
  • The Black Flamingo – Dean Atta
  • The Wrong Kind of Snow – Antony Woodward & Robert Penn

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, British Weather, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Half-Finished Books, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Poetry, Radio, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel, Weather

Chief Bookworm’s Surprise Parcel

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

As I blogged last night, this is not really gonna mention many books, so there won’t be a long list at the end. This blog is mainly to mention the post I had at lunchtime today and to do a “grand opening” on here… I might mention one or two Ongoing Concerns at the end, but it’s mostly about the contents of this box in the above photo…

I’ve done similar things before on here, albeit not a box – there have been one or two books from Waterstone’s that have been a Blind Date With a Book or a Secret Santa and I have done an unwrapping on this blog, so think of it along the same lines.

Bit of a tale behind this parcel, but, to cut a long story short, as Spandau Ballet sang back in the day, lol, it’s a belated birthday pressie for last year. Back in 2020, one of my pressies, from my sister, was to go and see a show. This show, understandably, was postponed a few times due to Coronavirus. However, due to other issues affecting the person whose show it was going to be, it has now had to be cancelled altogether. Therefore, Ellie ordered something else for me as a replacement for going to this show, and that is what came this lunchtime. So, let’s have a shufty…

Box says The Travelling Bookshop, so once I had taken the outer brown paper off and saw the box (above photo), I knew it would need to be mentioned on the blog!

So, lift the lid of the box and we have this… a note saying happy birthday for last year and another little card saying The Travelling Bookshop, and some items inside some tissue paper…

Tissue paper opened up, and this is what we see… a bar of orange-flavoured dark chocolate and a packet with an English Breakfast teabag in it… but there is also something else underneath those items, so let’s move the choc and the tea to one side and see what else is lurking in this box…

More brown paper and string… something else to unwrap… However, given that this package is from The Travelling Bookshop, and the other items, so far, have been chocolate and a teabag, there is a bit of a clue that this might be an item of reading matter…

Time to untie the string and unwrap more brown paper…

And there we have it! The book is The Last Wilderness, by Neil Ansell, and apologies that the photo does look a tad blurred.

So, at some point, I shall settle down with my chocolate and cuppa and start on this book! Not tonight, obviously, as there’s the “small” matter of England v Denmark in the footy, but it will happen in the near future!

With regard to a few other books, I need to catch up on a few days of The Wrong Kind of Snow, I’m halfway through Helium, although I may have said so last night, and am now almost a quarter of the way through Last Train to Hilversum, by Charlie Connelly, as that is now 23% read. As you can tell, I’m very partial to his non-fiction! It’s the 6th book I’ve read by this guy!

Well, that’s about it for now, really! I just thought I would show you the contents of my book box, so you can see what I received. Also, I’ve got this blog done before the footy! Until next time, take care, Happy Reading and Come on England!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Last Wilderness – Neil Ansell
  • The Wrong Kind of Snow – Antony Woodward & Robert Penn
  • Helium – Rudy Francisco
  • Last Train to Hilversum – Charlie Connelly

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Filed under Authors, Blind Date With A Book, Books, Football, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Travel

Radio Ga Ga – Chief Bookworm Tunes In…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Ah, the national anthem of Italy… often gets stuck in my head, that one! We’ve had Spain’s anthem, and we’re about to have the first semi-final of the European Championships between two of the continent’s big guns! England v Denmark is tomorrow. But enough about the footy for now unless there are any goal flashes to bring you.

I have a warm arm! Not actually where I was jabbed on Sunday, but near that area. What I don’t have, at time of typing this, is a title for this blog, lol! Something might come to me while I get on with this blog and watch the match, though.

However, what I DO have is a finish for July, my 33rd of the year, as I finished The Iron Man, by Ted Hughes, the other day! Another two books and I will have to increase the Goodreads Challenge target yet again! I’ve got some books on the go…

Helium, by Rudy Francisco, is now 51% read! Really enjoying this anthology so far and there’s a poem called “Vanish” which really resonated with me.

Also, as you can tell from the photo at the top, we have yet another Charlie Connelly book on the go, this time Last Train to Hilversum, which is not actually about trains, but about radio. It kinda ties in with my frequent mentions of BBC Radio 4 and Classic FM this year, and with the Shipping Forecast stuff, as he goes to Radio 4 HQ to meet up with some of those responsible for broadcasting that national institution! So, there is a link to Attention All Shipping, Bring Me Sunshine and The Channel, all of which I read earlier this year.

Also made me think of the radio I’ve listened to in my life. For pretty much all of my childhood, it was BBC Radio 1, and I spent many Sundays taping songs I liked from the Top 40. Other fond memories include the Radio 1 Roadshows in the summer, of which I got to go to a couple in the 90s in my adult life, and discovering the joys, in my teens, of the Annie Nightingale Request Show, which was on a Sunday evening after the charts.

I kinda discovered it by chance as I left the radio on after whatever had been that week’s number one, and Annie started her show that particular night with the disco mix (the 12” version) of “It’s a Sin” by the Pet Shop Boys so the show stayed on! Annie’s show, as you can imagine, played just about anything, including the daft stuff like “Fish Heads” by Barnes & Barnes!

Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads. Fish heads, fish heads, eat them up, yum!

I’m not joking – it is a real song! Feel free to Google it! As you can imagine, knowing that I like random and daft stuff (Economics for Babies, anyone?!), you can imagine that this silly song appealed to me. Plus, I was a teenager at the time I first heard it, around 15 years old.

Anyway, I was on about radio stations, wasn’t I? It was Radio 1 growing up, although obviously, for half of 1978, we had to find some suitable Swiss station when we lived in Basel for 6 months. We didn’t bother with a telly while we were over there, but had a radio. They would have a mix of English songs that would be in our charts, foreign songs in German or French, and, occasionally, some songs that would be part German part English, like the version of “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” that we taped off the radio while we lived in Switzerland!

There was a bit of a spell in the 80s, when I wanted to know how radio stations closed down for the night and so there were brief listens of Radio 2, Radio 3 and Radio 4, before reverting to Radio 1. I first heard the Shipping Forecast as a teenager as I discovered how Radio 4 called it a night, lol, but wouldn’t return to that for years. (I already knew how the TV channels closed down, and I was a night owl, so I decided it was the turn of radio stations.)

The other time, as a kid, when I would have listened to something other than Radio 1, was on Radio 4. I know it was a schools series called “Singing Together” and I used to have the job of taping it each week as we listened to it and sung along when we were in Miss Burton’s class, second year juniors at Monton Green Primary School in 1981-82.

By the way, if you’re after a good book about telly in the 80s, I can recommend All In the Best Possible Taste, by Tom Bromley, which I read and enjoyed some years ago now! 80s Kid, by Melanie Ashfield, which I read last month, mentions both TV and radio from the 80s, the radio bit mostly about taping the charts on a Sunday, which is what we all did back then, lol!

Into the 90s now, and there was still Radio 1 – I even went to my first Roadshow in 1991, on holiday down south, at Torre Abbey Meadows, Torquay. However, I was getting more into football, and more away from the music. I think I may have listened to United’s away matches on a local channel. Piccadilly Gold may have had coverage, or BBC Radio Manchester.

I don’t think BBC Radio 5 Live started until 1994, so I am trying to work out which station I tuned into on 2nd May 1993 for Aston Villa vs Oldham Athletic… I do know that I had that match on the radio on my stereo system, and half an hour into the match came the commentary “And Henry’s there with a goal for Oldham!” That goal, which would remain the only one of that match, meant that Villa couldn’t catch us and United were champions for the first time in my life!

Generally, my adult life has been much more varied on the radio front! Still a bit of Radio 1, but many more stations, including Piccadilly Key 103, which reminds me that I was on holiday once and our room was 103, meaning that I could take a photo of “key 103” much to my amusement! Classic FM started in the 90s, so I have had various spells of listening to that, including the present day.

There’s also Gold (which we have on in the mornings), Smooth, the Absolute stations, especially Absolute 80s… Not had Radio 1 on for years, but then the stuff I listened to back then would be on Radio 2 now, plus the 80s stations!

As for the title of Charlie Connelly’s book, Hilversum is a place in the Netherlands, somewhere near Amsterdam. I am 13% through that one so far. In the footy, it’s half-time at the mo, and it’s 0-0 between Italy and Spain. Not for lack of trying, though – there have been attempts on goal.

Attention All Shipping, which I re-read early this year, is a journey around the Shipping Forecast and the reason why I started tuning in to Radio 4, and was a former Book of the Week. Tuning in before the strains of “Sailing By” has meant that I have heard serialisations of more recent Book of the Week choices, including a few I have mentioned on here, particularly Slow Rise, by Robert Penn, about his wheat-growing and bread-making adventures!

That, as we all know, is what led to all the bread books, and then The Epic of Gilgamesh, lol! As radio has played such a pivotal part in my blogs this year, it was only logical that I should read Last Train to Hilversum amongst the books by Charlie Connelly I have read this year! We also need to mention that Classic FM have been spying on my blogs and playing music related to bread and the Shipping Forecast on a frequent basis! They needn’t think I’d forgotten about that, lol!

And we have a goalflash – Italy have just scored and it is a top-drawer goal! Italy 1 Spain 0. Federico Chiesa 60 minutes. 🙂

Not all my books have been linked to one another this year, but it is fair to say that I might not have come out of that rabbit hole in May, after all – I may well still be down there with a lot of the things I have read! I merely popped up to the surface briefly after The Epic of Gilgamesh, but have since burrowed back down again!

Well, I think that’s about it for now. Italy are still leading 1-0 as I type, and I’m going to watch the rest of this match so I’ll get this finished and published. Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Iron Man – Ted Hughes
  • Helium – Rudy Francisco
  • Last Train to Hilversum – Charlie Connelly
  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • Bring Me Sunshine – Charlie Connelly
  • The Channel – Charlie Connelly
  • Economics for Babies – Jonathan Litton
  • All in the Best Possible Taste – Tom Bromley
  • 80s Kid – Melanie Ashfield
  • Slow Rise – Robert Penn
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh – Unknown


Filed under Authors, Books, British Weather, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Goodreads, Manc Stuff!, Music, Ongoing Concerns, Poetry, Radio, Television, Travel, Weather

4 Goals, 3 Lions, 2nd Jab and 1st Blog for July!

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

* sings* It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming… football’s coming home…

Oops, sorry! Still celebrating from last night when England enjoyed an emphatic win in their European Championships quarter-final in Rome, beating Ukraine 4-0! Especially chuffed about England’s second goal, early into the second half, when the Three Lions got a free kick and Luke Shaw took the set piece and floated the ball in to the penalty area where it was met by the head of Harry Maguire who thus headed home! A goal made at Old Trafford!

The semi-finals are both at Wembley, with Italy v Spain on Tuesday and England v Denmark on Wednesday. Denmark beat the Czech Republic in their quarter-final yesterday, that was the earlier match before the England game. Funnily enough, in my Nationalhymnen book of sheet music for national anthems, the Czech Republic and Denmark are on adjoining pages!

Right, anyway, further news just before we get on to the books, and as you can tell from my title, I am now fully-jabbed! I had my second dose of the Coronavirus vaccine this lunchtime.

Also, as today is 4th July, I would like to wish my American followers a very Happy Independence Day! However you’re celebrating, have a fantastic day.

OK, then… we’ve done footy, jabs and 4th July, so it’s about time I got on to the reading matter, lol! As you can see, I had some Book Mail recently – in fact, those arrived just after I’d published my monthly review blog on Wednesday! They are The Buried Book, by David Damrosch, which is about the loss and rediscovery of The Epic of Gilgamesh. The other book is Helium, by Rudy Francisco, which is a poetry anthology. I was attracted by the cover, as I’d seen it on someone’s List Challenges list and thought I would take a chance on it. It’s good so far, good poems.

The Wrong Kind of Snow reached the halfway point on Friday! Halfway through the year, so halfway through the book! Nearly up to date with it, just need to catch up with yesterday and today.

I have resumed the reading of One for the Books, by Joe Queenan, which is on my Kindle. I started it earlier this year as it is a book about books. Currently, that one is 12% read.

Might read The Iron Man, by Ted Hughes, one of the many books I bought in Llandudno last month, lol, and there are still a number of Horrible Histories I’ve not read yet, so I could always read those, although I did pick up a Horrible Science book, Ugly Bugs, by Nick Arnold, which I could read. I was at a local charity shop and couldn’t resist, lol! He also wrote Blood, Bones and Body Bits, which I read last year, also a Horrible Science book.

We’ve currently got a sourdough loaf, which Mum bought from Wandering Palate on Monton Road the other day, so this was an opportunity to take a “relevant read” photo and include Sourdough, by Robin Sloan, which I really should start. I also have another of his books that I should really get around to, that being Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.

Oh, not that bloody Verisure advert again! The people in that commercial are SO wooden! I know adverts are scripted, just as TV shows and films are, but at least, in most other adverts, the acting seems more natural, but those adverts for that alarm company seem so stilted! (I’ve got Sky Sports News on at the moment and it was an ad break. The sports news is back on again now, thankfully!)

I’m convinced the two women in that ad are reading their scripts on the sly, under the table! The blokes just nod – they’re like that nodding dog in the old Churchill car insurance adverts, ha ha! Just as well they weren’t given speaking parts, though, given what the women are like!

Back to some footy news from during the week, and Jadon Sancho, who is currently still on international duty with England, will be having a medical at Carrington once England’s involvement in the tournament is over, as the news broke on Wednesday that a fee had been agreed for United to sign him from Borussia Dortmund. Personal terms were already sorted, mostly from last year when we wanted him but the German club’s asking price was too high at the time.

I’ve started up the List Challenges list for July’s blogs, you’ll be pleased to learn, and published the June list on Wednesday, so if you haven’t already seen it, that one is up there for you to see. At the end of this month, you’ll get to see all the books I’ve mentioned here during July and you can check off any that you’ve read.

I think that probably is about all for now, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Nationalhymnen – Jakob Seibert
  • The Buried Book – David Damrosch
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh – Unknown
  • Helium – Rudy Francisco
  • The Wrong Kind of Snow – Antony Woodward & Robert Penn
  • One for the Books – Joe Queenan
  • The Iron Man – Ted Hughes
  • Ugly Bugs – Nick Arnold
  • Blood, Bones and Body Bits – Nick Arnold
  • Sourdough – Robin Sloan
  • Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan

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