Preparations Under Way…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Just 11 days to go now! No, I’ve no idea who those people are in the photo, lol, but I just wanted an image of people getting ready for some sort of celebration, and that one fits the bill very well.

Ordered a new charger for my Kindle Paperwhite – have found that sometimes when I plug it in, the light doesn’t come on and it’s not charging, so there may be a dicky connection. Don’t want that once I start going away again, so I thought it best to get a new one.

Talking of my Kindle, I resumed another ebook the other day, a book about books, funnily enough, lol! The book is called Bookworm, A Memoir of Childhood Reading, by Lucy Mangan, and it was 16% read when I resumed it. It is now at the 50% stage so we are exactly halfway through it now. A good chance of it being finished this month.

However, it does face a bit of a challenge to be my 20th finish of 2020, because I have resumed another Ongoing Concern, indeed one of the Object Lessons books that I mentioned frequently last year. The book is Hotel, by Joanna Walsh, and it has been in my handbag for ages, partially finished. This is largely because I felt the writer didn’t like hotels all that much, whereas I love them, and also due to all the philosophy-related waffle. 57% of that book has been read now.

I love hotels, as I have mentioned before. For me, they represent holidays and short breaks, time when I am staying somewhere different, even if that is still within my own country. After all, Mum and I had a short break in the Lake District last year, which you can read about in the September 2019 archives should you wish to!

Of course, we started this year off in Madeira, and also got in a visit to Ireland to see our family at the end of February before things went Pete Tong and everywhere here shut down in March, so you have my January and February 2020 archives, too, which have more mentions of hotels. I even mention the bookshelves at the VidaMar in Funchal!

It’s a pretty common thing for hotels to have bookshelves, and the books are a right mixed bag, not just in genres, but also often in languages! Hotel guests will often leave books they have finished with, and may well take others. As is well-documented on these blogs, one of my holiday souvenirs from my 40th birthday holiday in Mexico in 2013 was my copy of Attention All Shipping, by Charlie Connelly, which I brought home from the El Dorado Seaside Suites on the Mayan Riviera, because I hadn’t quite finished it when we had to head home after a fortnight of luxury and a good percentage of the cocktail menu sampled, lol!

I did finish the book off when I got home, though! One of my favourites, not just because it is a souvenir, but it is a really good book anyway!

Mr Loverman, by Bernardine Evaristo, is now at 10% read, and definitely very enjoyable. I do still read fiction, lol! It will be my 5th fiction read of the year. Departures, by Tony Parsons, was my first fiction of 2020, and my last three finishes have been fiction, but we are returning to the factual matters now, and a book about music…

I am 18% of the way through How Music Works, by John Powell, which I only actually bought at the weekend. Those familiar with my blogs will know I have already read another of his books about music, as Why We Love Music was finished early in 2017, but this book is about the science of music, the physics of how sound is produced by instruments and heard by our ears.

I do know some of it. After all, I can play several musical instruments, and I did take physics for my science when I was doing my GCSEs at Wentworth High School all those years ago in the late 1980s, lol, but I’m considerably more of a musician than I am a scientist! Science was my dad’s department, his responsibility, ha ha! Chemistry was the main one, that was his job, but if there was anything scientific I needed help with, mostly my physics homework, lol, I knew Dad would know the answers!

I saw and shared something the other day which reminded me of doing music at high school. It was on Facebook, and it was a performance of Dido’s lament, “When I Am Laid In Earth” from the Baroque opera, Dido and Anaeas, by Henry Purcell. It will forever remind me of studying the history of music for my GCSEs, and the fact that Mrs Gajda, our music teacher, pointed out that it was a classic example of a ground bass!

A ground bass, as a musical concept, is a tune of about 4 to 8 bars long, in the bass clef, which is repeated throughout the piece of music. This is an idea which has clearly been revived since rock & roll began in the late 20th century, particularly in genres where there is a huge emphasis on melodic and driving basslines. Reggae springs to mind here. Think of “Stir It Up” by Bob Marley and the Wailers. Also think of house and dance music from the late 80s and early 90s. Those tunes were based on melodious basslines which repeated throughout the songs! There is nothing new under the sun, as they say!

OK, so 1980s acid house is a far cry from Dido’s Lament, lol, but take a Baroque idea about how to write a bass part, and just shift it to a major key and a higher tempo, and you have the modern dance music bassline! House music owes a lot to Purcell, more than its creators realise!

Right, anyway, enough about music history for now, ha ha, back to the books! I haven’t forgotten other Ongoing Concerns, but I think I’d like to start August by getting through Bookworm and Hotel, and also making further progress with How Music Works, and Mr Loverman. There’s also The 33, as we are almost at the date ten years ago where the mine caved in and the miners were trapped. I have read 23% of it so far, so nearly a quarter of the way through it.

Ideally, with two books at the halfway stage, or just over halfway, I would like to get at least one of those finished in time for the blog’s 10th birthday bash next Friday, 14th August. Not beyond the realms of possibility! I get to publish THE LIST next Friday! Woo hoo! Yeah, that’s right, the massive one!

Maybe I might have some transfer news on the footy front?! I may well have some footy news anyway, as European football is about to be finished off at last for this season! United are in action on Wednesday at home to Lask Linz of Austria. If you can remember as far back as early March, United won the away leg 5-0, so this is the home game that should originally have been played the following week. We are finally getting around to it in August! Mad old season, eh?!

I think that’s probably about all for now. There may or may not be blogs before next Friday, but I definitely aim to blog on 14th August as it is the 10th anniversary, or birthday. Either will do! This blog was “born” on 14th August 2010. Until my next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Bookworm – Lucy Mangan
  • Hotel – Joanna Walsh
  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • Mr Loverman – Bernardine Evaristo
  • Departures – Tony Parsons
  • How Music Works – John Powell
  • Why We Love Music – John Powell
  • The 33 – Jonathan Franklin

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Filed under Authors, Books, Books About Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Humour, List Challenges, Music, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Object Lessons, Ongoing Concerns, Travel

July Review: Jolly Ole Days and 12 Books Read!

24 years ago today…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

I know it’s not quite the end of July, two more days to go, but I thought I would blog tonight as I’ve got another couple of books read since the last blog and 29th July is the anniversary of a few things…

In 1981, when I was 8, it was the Royal Wedding, of course, when Charles and Diana tied the knot, and I had chicken pox, as has been well-documented on here over the years, lol! Two years later, 29th July 1983, our family moved house on this day. Not very far, still in Monton, but from a terraced house to a sizeable semi-detached, and pretty much just around the corner from the building where I would spend my first two years of high school from September 1984 to July 1986.

Then, on 29th July, 1996, 24 years ago today, Manchester United signed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer from Molde for a mere £1.5m. Absolute bargain! A tenth of the price Newcastle paid Blackburn that same summer for Alan “One Medal” Shearer! Of course, a lot of people couldn’t pronounce Ole’s name at the time, and there are still football commentators who can’t get it right after all these years!

* sings * You are my Solskjaer, my Ole Solskjaer, you make me happy when skies are grey! ‘Cause Alan Shearer was f***in’ dearer! Please don’t take my Solskjaer away!

Who put the ball in the Germans’ net? Who put the ball in the Germans’ net? Who put the ball in the Germans’ net? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer!

Oh, what a night! Late in May in 1999 Ole scored a goal in injury time! What a feelin’, what a night!

Oops! Sorry, not sorry! Not had as much chance as normal to sing terrace songs as games have been behind closed doors since footy resumed, so you’re getting my Stretford End choir practice in this blog instead! There’s been a lot to sing about, too, given that we overhauled Leicester City and Chelsea to end up 3rd in the league and back in the Champions League, the European Cup as us oldies still call it!

Anyway, that’s the jolly Ole days sorted, now for the books, and this month has seen a LOT of books read. These are all books that had been started earlier, but they have all been finished off during the course of July 2020…

My Autistic Fight Song, by Rosie Weldon, was the first finish of the month, a book I’d found out about via Facebook and downloaded on my Kindle. It was either free or only 99p, so I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity of a bargain book, lol! That was followed up by The Antidote, by Oliver Burkeman, which was a paperback I bought and started reading in 2018, an antidote to toxic positivity, basically.

My second Mary Roach book of the year was my third July finish and the book that took my 2020 total into double figures overall. Stiff: the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, was a fascinating read and it was another ebook finished off. I still have a couple more of her books lying around, couple of paperbacks, so they may well get read in the coming months.

There were a lot of four-letter words next, lol, as my fourth July finish was the very enjoyable and informative Swearing is Good for You, by Emma Byrne. The last section took me back to my language-learning days at school and college, and looking up foreign rude words in bilingual dictionaries! Zut alors!

Then came back-to-back ebooks, although all my finishes since these two have been physical books. Anyway, the last two of the ebooks finished, for now, covered the topics of Live Aid and mental health respectively. The Eighties: One Day, One Decade, by Dylan Jones, which was an account of Live Aid, was finished off the day after the 35th anniversary of the “Global Jukebox” although I was getting fairly near the end on the anniversary. The next day, as well as finishing off the book, I also had my first post-lockdown hairdo and, that evening, went for my first meal at a restaurant since eateries reopened for dining in.

This Book Will Change Your Mind About Mental Health, by Nathan Filer, was the final ebook finish so far this year, and my 6th overall in 2020.

When I finished Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain, I had taken my annual total up to 14 and thus had read as many books in July, at that point, as I had read from January to June! By this point I was really on a roll. No, not a sausage roll, or a bog roll, lol, but felt like Chief Bookworm was making up for lost time, particularly between March and May and the Coronacoaster Book Slump of 2020!

As a tribute to the recently-departed feline, I finished off A Street Cat Named Bob, by James Bowen, next. That was a really good book. Hope James is coping OK since the loss of Bob, particularly as man and cat helped each other for so many years and looked after each other on the streets of London.

Another who’d had a very rough past next, as I polished off My Name is Why, by Lemn Sissay. He is a poet, but this is the start of his memoirs, and details his very-troubled childhood in care here in the north-west of England. It wasn’t until he was a teenager and getting close to leaving care that he was actually given his birth certificate and found out that his real name was Lemn Sissay and that he was half-Ethiopian on his mum’s side. He’d had other names as a child in foster care and children’s homes.

I hope he is going to bring out another volume and look forward to reading it if he does. In the background, his social worker, Norman Miller, about the only person on Lemn’s side as a kid, was trying to contact Lemn’s mum. I know from his page on FB, that in recent years he certainly has been reunited with her, but I’d love to read about the process that got to that point.

Slaughterhouse 5, by Kurt Vonnegut, was my next finish, my 17th overall, and my 10th during July, and I would certainly read more by him, and there are plenty to choose from, lol! Although I hadn’t previously considered it as such, it is at least partially science-fiction as there is time travel, and there is also abduction by aliens, lol!

That was pretty much where we were up to the other night when I blogged, which would have been Sunday, when the Premier League season ended. The reading didn’t end, though, and I polished off Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne. A lot of that was very familiar already, such have been the Disney animations based on the stories, especially the one where he eats far too much honey and gets stuck in the entrance to Rabbit’s house!

So, to our twelfth book finish for July, my n-n-n-n-nineteenth finish for the year, lol, and that was All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, which I really enjoyed. That was finished off early this evening after work.

I studied a fair bit of poetry from the First World War for my GCSEs when I was at high school, so I had poetic accounts of it from our side, so to speak, courtesy of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. With this book, I was getting a novella from the German side of it. Combined, you realise that the ordinary soldiers, on both sides, had a right load of nasty shit to contend with, and that both sets of men developed a dark sense of humour to cope with it all.

So, that is a summary of the books I finished off this month with a couple of days remaining. August I see as a month to resume the book about the Chilean miners, plus perhaps resume a couple of the chunkier Ongoing Concerns. I may start a new book. I might even get something finished, which would be my 20th book read in 2020, but after a month of getting a lot of slimmer books finished off, I think it’s time I turned my attention to the bigger reads.

There are no new books to add to either the 10th anniversary list or the 2020 mentions list as these are all books I’ve already mentioned. There may be some new mentions in August, though! There’ll be some footy as well, as the Europa League gets finished off!

Winning that, which would be our 2nd time as we won it in 2017, would get us in the Champions League if we weren’t already in it for next season anyway. I’d love to see us win it again and thus win a trophy under Ole. Especially as we’ve accomplished our mission in the league, and thus Europe is the only remaining matter to be settled in this crazy season!

Anyway, that’s about it for now, lol! You can’t say I’ve not mentioned many books in this blog! Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • My Autistic Fight Song – Rosie Weldon
  • The Antidote – Oliver Burkeman
  • Stiff – Mary Roach
  • Swearing is Good for You – Emma Byrne
  • The Eighties – Dylan Jones
  • This Book Will Change Your Mind About Mental Health – Nathan Filer
  • Quiet – Susan Cain
  • A Street Cat Named Bob – James Bowen
  • My Name Is Why – Lemn Sissay
  • Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut Jr
  • Winnie the Pooh – A. A. Milne
  • All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Foreign Languages, Half-Finished Books, List Challenges, Mental Health, Month in Review, Music, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, School, College & Uni Reading, Science Fiction, The TBR Pile

3rd Place Finish and a Month of Books

Good evening fellow Bookworms!

A very happy Chief Bookworm here, as my lads won 2-0 away to Leicester City earlier this evening to give us a 3rd place finish in the Premier League this season, meaning that we are back in the Champions League next season when it comes to European footy! So chuffed for Ole and the lads, and this 3rd place means more to me than coming 2nd under the Bus-Parking-One a couple of seasons ago, as we are back to doing things the right way under Ole, which could never be said about the Numpty’s time in charge!

It means we get into a group automatically without having to pre-qualify as we have come 3rd. Chelsea came 4th so they have to play a qualifying round to go in a group.

Anyway, chuffed as I am on the football front, this month has also seen a massive increase in the books I have finished off so far this year. At the very end of June, I had just finished my seventh book in 2020. Today, with another five days left in July, I have finished off my seventeenth book of 2020, as I polished off Slaughterhouse 5, by Kurt Vonnegut this afternoon! Quite a good read when you get used to the fact that Billy Pilgrim does a lot of time travel and flits around a lot! So it goes.

You may remember from my blog on my niece’s birthday, on Wednesday, that I’d polished off Quiet by Susan Cain. In the days since I last blogged, A Street Cat Named Bob, and My Name is Why, were both finished, and then I got to the end of Slaughterhouse 5 this afternoon, so even if I don’t finish any more off before the end of this coming Friday, I have reached double figures for the number of books finished off in a month, and I am not even sure if that has happened before on this blog.

It probably happened years ago when I was a kid, pretty sure that I easily wolfed down a large number of books per month when I was a young and growing bookworm in the 70s and 80s! However, in more recent years, particularly given that I’ve had a few book slumps, ten finishes in a month constitutes a rarity.

Went to town yesterday, and had a bit of a spree in Waterstone’s, as you can probably tell from the above photo! Two different branches, I might add, lol! Mostly the big one on Deansgate, but also the one in the Arndale. Already had a look on the lists, but some of these need to be added, even if others have already been mentioned overall, or at least in this year’s blogs.

This coming Friday will mark two weeks to go to the blog anniversary on 14th August, so not long to go now until the big list gets published on List Challenges! I can’t wait! It is HUGE! There will be a lot of pages of books when it gets published! Ten years of blogging and mentioning a hell of a lot of reading material leads to one Hugh Jass list, lol! And a very random list, too, I might add!

I’d been considering The Complete Maus, by Art Spiegelman, for some time. Regular readers might recall that one having been mentioned previously. It’s a graphic novel based on the author’s parents and their survival during WWII. The Jews are mice and the Nazis are cats.

Dead Wake, by Erik Larson, is one of my current Ongoing Concerns, as regulars will know, but I thought I’d get another book by this writer. In the Garden of Beasts is the true account of an American family in Nazi Germany. Larson has a writing style that gives his books a historical fiction feel to them, but they are factual and found in the history section.

I think I mentioned Around the World in 80 Trains earlier this year, actually. Possibly when I was doing the blog about travel books. It’s one I had seen on display tables at Waterstone’s on a couple of occasions this year, and I think it was giving me the Call of the Book, as it felt the need to make me aware of its papery existence, lol! OK, book! You won! You got my attention and jumped in my basket!

Musicophilia, by Oliver Sacks, is next up in the pile. A book about the neurological side of music, what music does for patients from a medical angle. I already have another of his books on my TBR list, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat. Not sure which I will read first of those. Possibly the hat one as it’s shorter. Work my way up.

Two novels by Bernadine Evaristo up next, as I got my hands on a copy of Mr Loverman, which still reminds me of the Shabba Ranks song, lol, and also Soul Tourists, as the blurb for that one looked good as well. I look forward to starting on those at some point.

Then we have 1989 The Berlin Wall, by Peter Millar. As you no doubt know, I was 16 and studying GCSE German alongside my Bastard A Levels at Eccles College in the November of 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down, and then Mum and I went to Berlin for a short break in 2012, so that period in history, when the Iron Curtain was coming down, is of particular interest to me.

Last, but by no means least, we have Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me, by Kate Clanchy. Published last year, she looks back at 30 years of being a teacher, so she must have qualified as a teacher when my compulsory education was coming to an end in 1989 and I was going on to college and, later, to uni.

That concludes my list of book purchases from yesterday! I do have a bit of a funny, though, from one of the books I bought from the Trafford Centre last weekend, Humble Pi, the book about maths errors, by Matt Parker. His book dedication reads as follows…

Dedicated to my relentlessy supportive wife, Lucie.

Yes, I appreciate that dedicating a book about mistakes to your wife is itself a bit of a mistake.

LOL! Maybe I should seek out a few other amusing book dedications for a future blog? I know there are some other witty ones out there!

With so many books having been finished off this month, giving some thought to what happens next. Carry on finishing off books, or start more new ones? Should I get to my 20th finish by polishing off some more of the half-read books, or should I just say “sack it” and get stuck in to Mr Loverman or something?!

I will be resuming The 33 soon enough, as we head into August and the time when part of the Chilean mine actually caved in on the miners and the rescue efforts began which led to the dramatic news footage which kept many of us up late into the night in the October of 2010.

I think that’s about it for now, though. Going to get this finished and published so I can enjoy Match of the Day in a bit and watch my lads winning 2-0 at Leicester. Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut Jr
  • Quiet – Susan Cain
  • A Street Cat Named Bob – James Bowen
  • My Name Is Why – Lemn Sissay
  • The Complete Maus – Art Spiegelman
  • Dead Wake – Erik Larson
  • In the Garden of Beasts – Erik Larson
  • Around the World in 80 Trains – Monisha Rajesh
  • Musicophilia – Oliver Sacks
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat – Oliver Sacks
  • Mr Loverman – Bernadine Evaristo
  • Soul Tourists – Bernadine Evaristo
  • 1989 The Berlin Wall – Peter Millar
  • Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me – Kate Clanchy
  • Humble Pi – Matt Parker
  • The 33 – Jonathan Franklin

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Filed under Authors, Books, Football, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Science Fiction, Sports, The TBR Pile

Interesting Gin in Hogwarts Cups!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Chief Bookworm is back, on the day she has been an auntie for exactly ten years! Yep, it’s Junior Bookworm’s birthday, so I was round at my sister’s after work, which is where I had the interesting gin, lol! Actially, the tonic was interesting too. Orange marmalade gin and blood orange and cinnamon tonic water! The overall result was a spiced orange drink and very pleasant it was too! Quite Christmassy, actually!

Yes, those are Hogwarts cups. Very much a Harry Potter theme for Charlotte’s birthday. We were supposed to have been going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter over the next few days if it hadn’t been for the coronavirus, but that will have to wait. It did mean that my colleagues were reminding me of some annual leave I had forgotten I had booked, lol!

When we got our money back for our holiday because we couldn’t go to Gran Canaria, I took back some of the days I was going to have off. I just had a week off in June instead of a week and 3 days, but I totally forgot about the two days I had booked off in July for the whole Harry Potter thing for my niece’s birthday, so it was a pleasant surprise to be reminded and to have to set an out of office reminder on my emails this afternoon! More time to read, possibly time to go book shopping…

Anyway, I did do some book shopping on Sunday, as I made my first post-lockdown visit to the Trafford Centre, and headed to Waterstone’s, as you would expect! Actually, I also went to Card Factory and Marks & Spencer’s, and I got a free jute bag from M&S, yay, but you’re obviously here reading this blog because you want to know about the books! They are the books in the photo above, and I have read one of them already, as you’re about to find out, which means I’ve read 14 books so far this year!

At the end of June, I had just finished Sunny Side Up, by Susan Calman, which was my 7th finish of the year. I have now doubled my annual tally within a month! July has been a great month for getting books finished off! I am pretty sure I have a copy of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain, lurking somewhere, as I definitely remember reading some of it a good few years ago, but I have no idea where that copy is, so I got a copy while I was out, and then finished it off yesterday for my 14th book of 2020!

I think the sister book, Quiet Power: Growing Up as an Introvert in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, is possibly for younger readers, rather than middle-aged introverts, lol, but I will find out soon enough when I get around to reading it!

111 Places in Manchester That You Shouldn’t Miss, by Julian Treuherz and Peter de Figueiredo, is a guide to attractions in Manchester, both in the city centre and some on the outskirts of town – shops, bars, restaurants, parks, any sort of weird and wonderful places in the locality! It mentions Affleck’s – best known as Affleck’s Palace – a very studenty place, lol!

Humble Pi: A Comedy of Maths Errors, by Matt Parker, is a look at the mathematical mistakes people make, and the sometimes funny, sometimes disastrous consequences they can have. Sounded an interesting book for a nerd like me, lol!

Last, but by no means least, of my Sunday purchases from Waterstone’s was Wham! George & Me, by Andrew Ridgeley, and you shouldn’t really be too surprised by this purchase given what an 80s nut I am, lol! I do not need an excuse to listen to 80s music, as you already know, ha ha, but I have found another one anyway!

Of the five books, I think Quiet is probably the only one already mentioned on the 10th anniversary book list on List Challenges, so there are at least four new books to be added to that, and five to be added to my 2020 list. We are so near to the anniversary now! Less than a month away from the 10th anniversary… just been on the List Challenges lists, and, amazingly, Quiet was not already on there, so I have added all five new books to that list, as well as the list of books mentioned during this year’s blogs.

I’d better tell you about the books I bought Charlotte, hadn’t I? As she has opened her pressies, I can now tell you about the two books I bought for her. One was The Tales of Beedle the Bard, by J. K. Rowling, and the other was from the Little People, Big Dreams series of books, and it was the one about David Attenborough, by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara. So, now you know! I also got her some stationery and some chocolates, and I got Reuben some chocolates as an unbirthday pressie, lol! They both love Ferrero Rochers, another thing they have inherited from Auntie Jo, lol!

I came home from Ellie’s with a party popper in my pocket – I think Reuben must have given it to me, lol! He’s quite good with those, even though he’s only 3 going on 4. He just needs to be reminded to point them away from himself and then he’s OK.

With having finished a book off yesterday, it’s back to that bookworm dilemma… which half-read book to resume next? Or should I start another of my brand new items of reading matter? There’s certainly scope to get another book done and dusted by the end of July, particularly given the two days of annual leave that I rediscovered this afternoon, lol!

It is very satisfying to have got so many books finished off so far this month, some of which had been partially-read for a while. Thus I might continue with the partially-read stuff and make more progress with some of those. There’s a good chance of getting more books finished that way.

The other thing, of course, as well as targetting the half-read books, is the fact that more things are open now. There’s been progress reports on the news regarding potential vaccines and treatments, I’ve been able to have a hairdo, and have been out for a meal. All of these things have improved my mental well-being, thus I have my reading mojo back.

Compare that to March and April when things were shut and no-one knew for sure when stuff would start to re-open. I wasn’t in the mood for reading back then, thus blogging would have been pointless, and there was a bit of a gap until May when John Taylor’s autobiography got things going again on the book front. Non-fiction always does the trick for me.

It was also May when announcements were made about things opening up again… more places reopened for takeaways at first, and we were able to go and get a takeaway from Tim Horton’s. Then the “non-essential” shops reopened… which, of course, included shops that we bookworms DO consider essential, like Waterstone’s and W H Smith’s! I was able to go to town in mid-June and browse books again!

Well, I shall go and have a read, I think. My lads drew 1-1 earlier, but despite the disappointment of not winning, the point actually moved us up to 3rd, and Chelsea have just lost, meaning that we remain above them with one league game left for everyone on Sunday. If we win or draw we stay in the top four, essentially. Then there’s just the Europa League to finish off.

I think that pretty much rounds up all my news for now. Off to have a read, get yet another book further down the road to completion, lol, so, until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Sunny Side Up – Susan Calman
  • Quiet – Susan Cain
  • Quiet Power – Susan Cain
  • 111 Places in Manchester That You Shouldn’t Miss – Julian Treuherz & Peter de Figueiredo
  • Humble Pi – Matt Parker
  • Wham! George & Me – Andrew Ridgeley
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard – J. K. Rowling
  • David Attenborough – Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
  • In the Pleasure Groove – John Taylor

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Duplicate Books List, Food & Drink, Football, Half-Finished Books, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Mental Health, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Reader's Block, The TBR Pile

Haircuts, Music and Finished Books!

Celebrating the hairdo with a large gin. As you do.

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

As you can see, the mop is shorter! On Tuesday afternoon, after work, I was at Monton Hair and Beauty for the first time in months to have my hair done – the huge 1986 style barnet is gone! To celebrate this, Mum booked the pair of us in at La Turka for that evening, so I had my first post-lockdown hairdo AND first meal out on the same day! That drink is a large rhubarb and ginger gin with ginger ale, by the way, and, yes, I thoroughly recommend it!

The other big news, other than finally getting my hair trimmed, is that I have now read 13 books so far this year, as a couple of ebooks were finished off in recent days. The Eighties, by Dylan Jones, which was about two thirds read on the anniversary of Live Aid on Monday, was finished off, and then later this week I also finished off This Book Will Change Your Mind About Mental Health, by Nathan Filer.

So, a baker’s dozen of books read so far in 2020, and it’s actually quite balanced in terms of physical books and ebooks on my Kindle. 7 physical books, 6 ebooks. It’s not intentional, mind, as I really don’t care one way or the other. Books are books, and both physical and electronic formats have their advantages, but it’s just quite interesting that, so far this year, it has been very even.

Oops, sorry, was distracted by Farcebook. Someone had posted a clip of the London Boys performing “Requiem” on Top of the Pops back in the day, a song I loved, and it reminded me that I saw them a year or so later at a Radio One Roadshow! 1991. We were on holiday down in Paignton, Devon, and the roadshow was coming to Torquay, which wasn’t far away from there, so we went to see it.

Radio 1 Roadshows… that takes me back to when I was a kid and into my early adult life. They used to go around the country every summer, at coastal resorts, and I have been to two. Firstly the one in Torquay when I was on my jollies down there, and then a few years later, Mum and I went to one at the Floral Hall Gardens in Southport. That’s up here in the north-west.

Not sure what year we’re up to with Top of the Pops reruns now. Need to watch BBC Four on a Friday night. Might be on for 1990 by now. They were doing 1989 last time I saw one, but it was the autumn of 89 and Black Box were number one with “Ride On Time” around the time I had just started at Eccles College, lol! (They can’t show all of the old recordings of TotP, due to the unacceptable behaviour of certain presenters, one in particular – they wiped all the shows with this guy on them, as far as I remember.)

I think the London Boys might have been on one of those shows, performing “London Nights”, and I looked them up, wondering whatever happened to them. Sadly, it was bad news. The duo were killed in January 1996 in the Austrian Alps when their car was hit by a drunk driver.

I’d better get back to books, I guess. Gould’s Book of Fish is now at 24% so almost a quarter of the novel read now. There aren’t really any other significant updates for a lot of the other ongoing concerns, although a couple of the shorter ones have been read. 15% of The Gourmet, by Muriel Barbery, has been read and 20% of My Name Is Why, by Lemn Sissay, so those are well under way.

You see how random my book choices are?! Various books on the go to suit my moods and a mix of short books and chunky monkeys, so I can get some read, while others will be on the go for a while.

Sorry, Chief Bookworm needed to nip downstairs and make herself a mug of coffee. Back now with my brew. I think Lisa Simpson’s idea of light reading is pretty similar to mine, lol! Especially if you count all the books I am actually part-way through, ha ha! I have A LOT of Ongoing Concerns, lol!

One that I noticed the other day and have replaced on the landing bookshelf with another book, is Just My Type: A Book About Fonts, by Simon Garfield. It’s a hardback, published in 2010, and as you can imagine, it’s about different typefaces! 16% of that has been read, presumably when I bought the book, which is likely to have been ten years ago. It needs to be resumed!

It even mentions the April Fool’s Day joke in The Guardian in 1977, where they ran a report about the anniversary of the independence of the San Serriffe islands, lmao! Even a map was created – the two islands looked like a colon, and the place names were all fonts or to do with typefaces! Even a beach called Gill Sands, as in Gill Sans!

Back to music again, and to YouTube, and not sure if any of my followers enjoy Rick Beato’s videos, but I’m quite partial to them, and he was having a live one yesterday, and a complaint about the people who block him and get some of his videos taken down.

Personally, I side with Rick. The blockers are dumbasses. Firstly, they’re ungrateful, and secondly, they’re foolish. OK, they are not going to get money directly from the videos, but if Rick is telling the world, via YouTube, how great he thinks your songs are, then he is introducing your music to a potential new fan base! People might hear a band’s song, or at least a riff from a song, and think it’s awesome, they need it on their playlist, and then go out and download it or buy a physical copy on vinyl or CD! So, they will get royalties indirectly!

Rick’s videos are positive about music. He does this series called “What Makes This Song Great?” and he also does these top 20s of various parts of songs, such as top 20 piano intros, top 20 bass riffs, top 20 drum fills, etc… so it’s not like he’s dissing any songs or bands. I would understand the blockers if they were taking down videos where someone was rubbishing their music, but why do it when someone’s saying how much talent, creativity and inventiveness there is in your songs?

By the way, the top drum fill was from “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins, to the surprise of no-one, lol! Love that bit, maybe even more so since the song was used by Cadbury’s to advertise Dairy Milk with that drumming gorilla! Oops! I now want some chocolate, lol!

We are less than a month away from the blog anniversary now! Can’t believe how quickly it’s coming round! Not long to go until I publish that extremely long list of every damn book I’ve ever mentioned on here! The criteria is simple – if I have mentioned it on here in the last ten years, it goes on the list. Doesn’t mean I even own a copy, or have read it. It might not even be my cup of tea, but it has somehow got a mention on this blog, therefore the book is added to the list.

I can think of one or two I’ve read, or tried to read, but didn’t enjoy. I’m thinking particularly of a so-called “self-help” book about the “Law of Attraction”, a book which is the biggest pile of unrealistic bullshit ever! If it even belongs on a bookshelf, it belongs in extreme fantasy, NOT non-fiction! It’s about as realistic as the prospect of flying unicorns that fart rainbows! No, it wasn’t by that toxic ex-friend of mine, but it was one she raved about. Enough said!

The other book that springs to mind was a book club book 5 years ago, which was just a pity party in writing! It was only a short book, but not short enough! Essentially, the writer loves this poet and actually pays for him and his missus to come over to her part of the world, but has a massive sulk, like an overgrown child, because he won’t leave his wife for her. She tries to get in his pants anyway, then has another sulk because other people, understandably, disapprove of her behaviour!

I had one idiot on FB sticking up for that writer not long ago over that book, and daring to ask me if I knew who the writer was. I said yes I do, she’s a marriage-wrecker! Funnily enough, the commenter went quiet after that! Ha! One-nil to Chief Bookworm!

Then there was the big bulky graphic novel that was also a book club read. I didn’t have a problem with it being a graphic novel, but it might have been better if it had been split into a series of books rather than one big bulky one, and if the orientation of the pages didn’t keep switching between landscape and portrait! That was so annoying. Also, some of the speech bubbles were tidgy and hard to read. If it’d been more legible and stuck to the same orientation throughout, it might have been a better reading experience.

Titles and authors have been spared to protect the guilty, lol!

Well, I think that’s about it for now. Got some shopping to do tomorrow, as there’s an important birthday coming up, so the likelihood of me also venturing into Waterstone’s is pretty high, lol! Anyway, until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Eighties: One Day, One Decade – Dylan Jones
  • This Book Will Change Your Mind About Mental Health – Nathan Filer
  • Gould’s Book of Fish – Richard Flanagan
  • The Gourmet – Muriel Barbery
  • My Name Is Why – Lemn Sissay
  • Just My Type: A Book About Fonts – Simon Garfield

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Chunky Monkeys, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Food & Drink, Half-Finished Books, List Challenges, Mental Health, Music, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Rants, The TBR Pile

Live Aid Anniversary and Hairdo Eve!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Chief Bookworm here again, and I can assure you there is some mention of books today, even if a lot of it is more to do with music, and with the fact that I am off to Monton Hair and Beauty tomorrow after work to get the lockdown mop trimmed at last! Therefore, in honour of there only being a day to go, I came up with this, to the tune of the old Gene Pitney song… Enjoy…

Hope you liked that! I thought of it the other night, but obviously it’s only relevant today! And I’ve got some book news for you before I get back to 1985 and 1986 with Live Aid and then the following year when I first had a perm, lol!

It’s big book news, too… I have finished another book! Yay! Swearing Is Good For You, which was an effin’ good read, lol, was finished at the weekend! The final chapter, about swearing in foreign languages, really took me back to the mid to late 80s anyway, so it’s pertinent to this blog really, as it reminded me of learning languages at high school and how everyone looked up rude words in their bilingual dictionaries, lol!

Anyone who claims they’ve never done it I am pretty sure must be telling porkies! Let’s say, for argument’s sake, you’re learning French… you and your classmates are flicking through your English and French dictionaries… “What’s the French for shit?”… and eventually you get to the page… “Merde!” And you’re all so chuffed because now you know a rude word in another language, lol!

Anyway, so I have now finished 11 books so far this year, and the ebook about Live Aid, The Eighties, by Dylan Jones, is now up to 68%, so we have just passed the 2/3 milestone on the anniversary of the concert. OK, so I have not actually finished it in time for the event, but I am a good way through it and it shouldn’t take too much longer to finish it off.

Apart from the obvious well-known memory of Queen absolutely doing Live Aid like a boss, what else do you remember from that day? Were any of my followers there at Wembley or in Philadelphia? I was watching on TV at home, on BBC1. I have always thought it was hugely apt that the whole thing started off with “Rockin’ All Over the World” by Status Quo! They couldn’t really have found a more appropriate song. I also remember Phil Collins playing on both sides of the Atlantic as he did his bit at Wembley, then he went and got on Concorde and flew to the States.

From reading his autobiography, Not Dead Yet, a few years ago, I learned that Cher was also on board that flight and he told her about the gig, and then she fetched up at the stadium for the finale over in Philly to perform on “We Are the World”!

Even before Live Aid, though, I had found the whole Band Aid thing amazing the year before. Back at the tail end of 1984, I was 11 and a half, had just started high school that September, and had been to the USA for the first time that October for a holiday in Florida. When I got back, all the talk was of a news report from Michael Buerke, that had been on the BBC news while I was Stateside, a report about famine in Ethiopia.

Then word started to get out that a significant percentage of our nation’s pop stars were getting together to do a record to raise money… That original (and still the best) Band Aid line-up in 1984 was amazing, and as a music-mad kid, it felt as though nearly everyone in the charts was number one at the same time when “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” topped the charts for a 5 week run from 1984 into 1985 including the festive season!

It would be the UK’s biggest selling single of the 80s and would remain the nation’s best-seller until the autumn of 1997 when Sir Elton John’s rewritten version of “Candle In the Wind” in honour of Princess Diana took over.

As I read John Taylor’s autobiography a couple of months ago, his recollection of it was that Bob Geldof was on the phone to Simon le Bon about it, bending his ear, and then Simon put it to the rest of the band about the Band Aid record. This is John’s recollection of the day in late November 1984 when everyone piled into the recording studio…

“Who was there? Everyone. Sting. U2. Phil Collins. Boy George. George Michael. Paul Young. Status Quo and Kool and the Gang. A real hotchpotch of talent. Sting and I both played bass.”

Like Dylan Jones’ book, John Taylor also echoes the sentiment that there was a huge sea change that came with Band Aid and Live Aid. The 80s was really a decade of two halves, the second half of it, after that record and that gig, was very different to the earlier half of the decade.

You can certainly tell by the charts, and the fact that, after Band Aid, there were quite a few other charity records around during the remainder of the 80s, not just “We Are the World” by USA For Africa, but also for other causes. Even in 1985 itself, there had been a fundraising chart-topper by The Crowd following the horrific fire at Valley Parade, home of Bradford City on the final day of the 1984-85 league season, when they should have been celebrating, as they had won Division 3 and were due to get their divisional trophy that day.

The following year, 1986, in which I would have my first-ever perm, lol, and become a teenager, it was the year that the comedians got on board with the charity fundraising events thing and Comic Relief started.

Even though the first Red Nose Day was still a few years off, comedians started doing their bit by putting on a variety show full of stand-up routines and comic sketches, like Rowan Atkinson doing his Headmaster routine, and the comedy even extended to the charts. Cliff Richard teamed up with the stars of The Young Ones for a hilarious remake of “Living Doll” that was number one that spring! Other comedy records for Comic Relief would be released in subsequent years.

Then there was Ferry Aid in 1987 after the Herald of Free Enterprise car ferry capsized in Zeebrugge, Belgium, and a charity record led by Gerry Marsden of Gerry and the Pacemakers in 1989 after Hillsborough, so the second half of the eighties had plenty of charity records, quite a few of them fetching up at number one.

I initially thought I would just be reviving 1986 today, lol, due to the imminent hairdo tomorrow, but I’ve ended up covering 1984 to 1986 and then the whole charity record phenomenon in the second half of the 80s! You don’t just get books on here, you get 80s music history from someone who not only lived through it, but who taped a lot of it off the charts on BBC Radio 1 on a Sunday evening, lol! Tape at the ready, record, play and pause all pressed down, releasing pause if a song came on that I liked, and then trying to press pause again before the DJ starts talking over the end of the record!

Well, by this time tomorrow, my hair should definitely be shorter! Shouldn’t get in my eyes while I have a read, for example Gould’s Book of Fish. Yes, I shit you not – I have actually started it! The first 10% of it has now been read! Chief Bookworm has decided she really should make a start on it having owned a copy for all these years, lmao! As I finished the book about swearing, I thought there’s room on the Ongoing Concerns list to start a new book and have that ongoing for a while, so I decided to finally give that one a whirl!

Well, that’s about it for now, I think. I’m off to find a YouTube clip of Freddie Mercury doing Live Aid like a boss 35 years ago today! All we need is Radio Ga Ga, lol! Until next time, or while you’re waiting for the Hammer To Fall, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Swearing Is Good For You – Emma Byrne
  • The Eighties – Dylan Jones
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • In the Pleasure Groove – John Taylor
  • Gould’s Book of Fish – Richard Flanagan

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Filed under A Round Tuit!, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Football, Foreign Languages, Half-Finished Books, Humour, List Challenges, Music, Ongoing Concerns, School, College & Uni Reading, Television, The TBR Pile

I See a Little Silhouetto of a Man…

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Back again, and whatever that is that’s buzzing around in Chief Bookworm’s lair can get the hell out and buzz off! I doubt it has come in here to read, or to help with the blog, so it can do one! I am not an insect person, to say the least. The only “insects” I like are Adam and the Ants, ‘cause I’m an 80s music nerd, ha ha!

Talking of music, I’ve got some answers to give you, haven’t I? From the last blog on Friday when I set a lyrics quiz, the one I gave my admin colleagues in our virtual team meeting at work. The answers all mention far-flung places in the titles. So, before I get on with any mentions of reading matter, I’d better give you the answers…

1. I said “do you speaka my language.” He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich Down Under – Men At Work

2. With a step to the left, and a flick to the right, you catch the mirror way out west. You know you’re something special and it looks like you’re the best. Rio – Duran Duran

3. I’ll give you television, I’ll give you eyes of blue, I’ll give you men who want to rule the world. China Girl – David Bowie

4. Could we have kippers for breakfast mummy dear, mummy dear? They gotta have them in Texas ‘cause everyone’s a millionaire. Breakfast in America – Supertramp

5. Was it something I’ve said or done that made him pack his bags up and run? Japanese Boy – Aneka

6. It won’t be easy, you’ll think it strange when I try to explain how I feel, that I still need your love after all that I’ve done. Don’t Cry For Me Argentina – Julie Covington (will also accept Madonna)

7. I don’t want to be a bus driver all my life, I’ve seen too much of Brixton Town in the night. Barbados – Typically Tropical

8. We walked in the cold air, freezing breath on a window pane, lying and waiting. Vienna – Ultravox

9. A miracle sensation, my guide and inspiration, now my dream is slowly coming true. Barcelona – Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé

10. I’ve seen places, faces, and smiled for a moment, but, oh, you haunted me so. From Russia With Love – Matt Monro

So, how did you get on? Hope you did well. This is probably only going to be short as I’ve got something planned for tomorrow ahead of going to the salon on Tuesday, so this is really just to get the answers published and to give you a few progress reports.

I’ve only got two progress reports, really, since last time, and they involve the two ebooks I have resumed. The Eighties, by Dylan Jones, about Live Aid, is now 60% read, and This Book Will Change Your Mind About Mental Health, by Nathan Filer, is now 62% read, so both nearing the point where I will be two thirds of the way through them. Tomorrow is 35 years since Live Aid, so I felt the Dylan Jones book needed to be resumed.

Swearing Is Good For You, by Emma Byrne, is at 65%, so, again, another book approaching the two thirds milestone, but I put that on pause, so to speak, to read about Live Aid, particularly the bit about Queen totally bossing the event!

What they got right, that a lot of other bands and singers didn’t, was that this was supposed to be a “global jukebox”, so Freddie Mercury and co decided to fill their 15-20 minute slot with greatest hits, which is what the occasion really called for. This was not really a gig to launch your next single, it was a gig to give the Wembley crowd (and also Philadelphia crowd) something well-known to sing along with! Queen understood that.

* goes to Music on her iPad and plays “Bohemian Rhapsody” – starts singing along *

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality… oops, sorry! Don’t mind me!

Right, OK, I’ve now had my little singalong. Couldn’t really blog while,I was trying to get in all those vocal parts, could I?! I am also well aware I’ve only mentioned three books in this blog thus far. Sometimes it’s like that, and I only have a few to mention. There is not really any point in naming books just to have a long list at the end of a blog.

Reasons to mention a book: I’m currently reading it, have just started or just finished it, a member of my family is reading it or has read it, I’ve just bought it, I’ve seen it mentioned on Facebook, a song or event has reminded me of it, or I am going through my TBR list, or a particular pile of books, and reminding myself of books in my collection that I really need to get around to reading. Gould’s Book of Fish and English Passengers spring to mind here, for some reason, lmao!

Yeah, I know! Those two have been on my TBR List for donkey’s years! It has become a bit of an in-joke on this blog that these two books have been on the TBR list forever, hasn’t it? Maybe I should get around to reading one of them soon? I say that now and again, but maybe 2020 is the time I actually get at least one of them read? Maybe when I’ve finished one of the current reads that’s nearly 2/3 of the way through?

Talking of the books I’m almost 2/3 of the way through, I am now going to get some more reading done, so I will be back soon with another blog and the pre-hairdo special! Until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Eighties – Dylan Jones
  • This Book Will Change Your Mind About Mental Health – Nathan Filer
  • Swearing Is Good For You – Emma Byrne
  • Gould’s Book of Fish – Richard Flanagan
  • English Passengers – Matthew Kneale

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Che Guevara and Debussy To a Disco Beat

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Chief Bookworm is back again for another blog! That and it’s an opportunity to wish a Happy Birthday to Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys, as he is 66 today! No, can’t believe it, either… can’t adjust to how old my 80s music heroes are! Vince Clarke of Erasure, my all-time 2nd fave group, was 60 last week! Doesn’t really seem that long ago that these guys were in their 20s or 30s and I was a teenager!

Anyway, happy birthday, for today, to the author of One Hundred Lyrics and a Poem! Before we move on from PSB, I will add that I found out yesterday that there will be Funko Pops made of Neil and Chris! Yay! Not sure when they will be available, but when the time comes, I will be off to Forbidden Planet in town to acquire them!

The title of tonight’s blog comes courtesy of the birthday boy, and is taken from the spoken bit in the middle of “Left To My Own Devices” in case you thought it sounded familiar. The photo is from the last time I saw them in concert, in June 2017 at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, Chris Lowe’s home town. There was a massive heatwave that day, actually – it was absolutely roasting!

Right, Ok… book news now I’ve finished wittering on about the Pet Shop Boys and made you wonder “What Have I Done To Deserve This?”, lol!

Swearing Is Good For You, my book about expletives, by Emma Byrne, is now 65% read, so almost two thirds of the way through that one already. The 33 is at 11% read so a good start has been made before the actual 10th anniversary of the events starts next month. Dead Wake, by Erik Larson, about the sinking of the Lusitania, is now 15% read, and A Street Cat Named Bob is at 36% read, so some good progress made all round, really, especially with the four-letter words and our feline friend, lol!

And find time to read as well. 🙂

Looking on the Kindle now for books I’m part-way through, which could be resumed, and we have This Book Will Change Your Mind About Mental Health, by Nathan Filer, which is 54% read, so resuming that should see it finished off and on the “books read in 2020” list. Let’s see if there are any more… he has another book on here, his novel The Shock of the Fall, at 13% read. Also at 13% read on here is Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache, by Martin Aston, about music coming out, a book I also own as a physical copy, but as it’s pretty big and chunky in that format, I decided to have the ebook as well.

The Eighties: One Day, One Decade, by Dylan Jones, about Live Aid, is at 46% and Monday 13th July will be the 35th anniversary of Live Aid, so I think we’ve got ourselves the ebook to resume, and then resume the Nathan Filer book about mental health. Just for the record, I was 12 years old when Live Aid took place, and watched it on telly. I imagine it must be pretty awesome for those who were at Wembley or in Philadelphia to be able to say “I was there” for that event!

I have my “I was there” moment, but mine’s to do with footy, and took place in Barcelona on 26th May 1999! Clue: It involves the guy who is now our manager putting the ball in Bayern Munich’s net in the third minute of stoppage time…

Talking of Ole, the current side are 5th at the moment, but only a point behind Leicester and two behind Chelsea after our 3-0 win away to Aston Villa yesterday evening. 4 league games to go now for all teams as the Premier League nears the end of this weird season! The win last night meant United became the first team to win 4 consecutive Premier League games by a margin of at least 3 goals! Our last four games have been won 3-0, 3-0, 5-2 and 3-0!

Nothing mentioned in this blog will be new to the Anniversary Book List, everything I’m waffling on about tonight is a book I have at least started at some point since 2010, lol, but there may be one or two to add to the list for this year’s mentions, like The Beach Hut, by Veronica Henry, for example. I was up to page 132 before it was put to one side. There are 373 pages, so I am 35% of the way through it. I’m at around 30% of the way through The Edible Atlas, by Mina Holland, so there’s a couple of books I could resume, one paperback novel and one hardback book about travel and cookery.

Mention of beach huts and travel brings us on to more relaxations over here as people can now go on their jollies and not have to quarantine when they get back home, but I still think I’ll be leaving it for a while before heading abroad. I love travel, as you know, but I will travel within the UK first before venturing anywhere far-flung. Give people in travel jobs a chance to get used to their work again, and the current guidelines, before I fetch up at Manchester Airport.

With that in mind, my quiz in my team’s catch up meeting had a “home and away” theme. Not sure if I mentioned it, but my team at work has a virtual meeting every week as we’re working from home, and although part of it is work-related, the other part is just fun, and we have started doing a quiz. Winner gets an hour’s flexi credit and has the honour of setting the next quiz. I won last week’s quiz, so I got my hour which I used on Monday to finish early, and today I was the quiz show host, so to speak, lol!

It was all music. Two sections, 10 questions each, the first round being spot the intros and the second being a lyrics quiz. The intros round had songs whose titles mentioned house or home, and the lyrics round had songs whose titles mentioned far-flung locations. It would be tricky to do spot the intros on here, but I could do a lyrics quiz. In fact I will… Have a go at these and see how you do!

1. I said “do you speaka my language.” He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich.

2. With a step to the left, and a flick to the right, you catch the mirror way out west. You know you’re something special and it looks like you’re the best.

3. I’ll give you television, I’ll give you eyes of blue, I’ll give you men who want to rule the world.

4. Could we have kippers for breakfast mummy dear, mummy dear? They gotta have them in Texas ‘cause everyone’s a millionaire.

5. Was it something I’ve said or done that made him pack his bags up and run?

6. It won’t be easy, you’ll think it strange when I try to explain how I feel, that I still need your love after all that I’ve done.

7. I don’t want to be a bus driver all my life, I’ve seen too much of Brixton Town in the night.

8. We walked in the cold air, freezing breath on a window pane, lying and waiting.

9. A miracle sensation, my guide and inspiration, now my dream is slowly coming true.

10. I’ve seen places, faces, and smiled for a moment, but, oh, you haunted me so.

Right, so, those are the ten “away round” questions I gave to my colleagues. See how you get on! Good luck, and I will give the answers in the next blog! For number 6, there are two artists who’ve had a chart hit with that song, and I will accept either of them. I’ve pretty much given you all my news for now, so I’m off for a read and a bit more PSB to celebrate Neil Tennant’s birthday! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • One Hundred Lyrics and a Poem – Neil Tennant
  • Swearing Is Good For You – Emma Byrne
  • The 33 – Jonathan Franklin
  • Dead Wake – Erik Larson
  • A Street Cat Named Bob – James Bowen
  • This Book Will Change Your Mind About Mental Health – Nathan Filer
  • The Shock of the Fall – Nathan Filer
  • Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache – Martin Aston
  • The Eighties: One Day, One Decade – Dylan Jones
  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • The Edible Atlas – Mina Holland

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Yippee! My Pass Still Works!

So true!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Yes, it’s me again! One week away from the mop chop, lol, and with another blog for your reading pleasure. I reported, in my last blog, that I had finished three books over the weekend, so I thus started The 33, by Jonathan Franklin, about the rescue of the Chilean miners in 2010, and resumed Swearing Is Good For You, by Emma Byrne. I had barely started it originally, so reading almost from the beginning. I am on page 70 of that one now, so good progress made already (35%), and page 30 of The 33, so the first 10% of that has been read. As we are still only in early July, we are a month away from the anniversary of when the mine caved in, as that was 5th August. My aim is to either get to the finish, or at least the rescue bit, by around 12th October to mark the anniversary of one of the most amazing news stories in recent times.

Current reads.

Obviously, I saved myself three quid on that one at the time, as you can see from the Waterstone’s sticker which is still on there, so it set me back £11.99 instead of £14.99, which it says on the flap of the dust cover – it’s a hardback, in case you were wondering. The book about effing and jeffing is a paperback, and is an excellent read so far. The way things are going, I hope it will soon be on the books read list.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering about the title of tonight’s blog, aren’t you? I expect you’ve figured that it may have something to do with work, and you would be right. It’s my staff pass. I’ve been working from home, as you know, since late March, so the previous time I had actually needed to use it to open the pass-activated doors at my normal place of employment was on 20th March. Since then, I had only been using it as proof of my place of work so that I could get discounted takeaways! Until today…

We have got phone headsets for our laptops now, and I was collecting mine today, late morning, having arranged this yesterday, and I was also picking up some stationery while I was there. Thus I actually needed to use my work’s pass for its usual purpose today, for the first time in over three months! You do wonder, don’t you? Well, I did anyway… it’d been a while since I had had to waft it near a sensor to let me through a door at our office, so there’s always that nagging doubt… would it still remember that I work there and let me in?

It let me in, and I was also able to see a couple of my colleagues in person for the first time in ages, one of our service managers and one of my admin team colleagues, so it was nice to have a socially-distanced chat! Back to seeing my workmates virtually again now, via Microsoft Teams, but it was good while it lasted!

Watching Now 80s, as per usual, lol, while I type away at this blog. “We Belong” by Pat Benatar playing at the moment – top tune!

I was reading a good article earlier today from The Reading Lists on Facebook. They ask a lot of well-known people about their reading lives, what they like to read, their reading habits, books that mean something to them, and some recommendations. Anyway, this particular article was an interview with Spanish football journalist, Guillem Balague, so it was quite good to read about someone being interviewed who would usually be doing the interviewing!

I like Balague a lot, he’s one of the few footy journalists who is clued-up and knows what he’s writing about, he frequently gets it right, whereas most football journalists often get things hopelessly wrong, lol, especially transfer rumours! Also, I recall an interview of his which I mentioned on this blog last year, and I think the article was some time around March 2019, I was still on leave due to bereavement at the time, and he was interviewing one of my favourite players, Juan Mata.

I think I said that I’d love a natter with Mata!

This was the interview where the Special Juan recommended Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari, which is one of my current reads. I bought it and started it in April last year, though. It was a departure lounge purchase from W H Smith’s at Manchester Airport when we were waiting to fly off to Paris Charles de Gaulle to go to Disneyland Paris.

What’s the difference between Bing Crosby and Walt Disney? Bing sings, but Walt Disney! (Sorry, old joke, lol!)

Shall we have a Golden Year? We’ve not had one for a few blogs, so let’s get in the time machine and head back to some dim and distant year, lol!

* Chief Bookworm and followers step into the time machine and head back to a mystery year… *

Countdown is progressing… uno, dos, uno, dos, tres, cuatro… Ah, I hear the sounds of the “Theme From S Express” by S Express, a number one from our mystery year. I am 15 years old in this year, at high school, and halfway through my GCSEs which I will sit the following summer. I am in the school orchestra, playing the clarinet, and I sing alto, lowest woman’s voice, in both the ladies’ choir and the mixed-voice choir. I am also in the Salford Youth Training Band at this stage in my life, playing the clarinet, as I do in the school orchestra.

It was also the year my dad ate a daffodil at a wedding in Barnsley – I shit you not, this actually happened! It was the week after my birthday, we’d been to the ceremony and were now at the reception, and I’m sure you can imagine long tables leading off from the top table… we were on one of these for the meal, there were vases of daffodils at various points along the tables, as decorations, and Dad ate one! He picked a daff out of a vase and ate it. To say my sister and I were gobsmacked would be an understatement!

We also had an eventful start to our summer holiday in Hastings that year when our car broke down on the way there and we ended up arriving at the Haven caravan park in the recovery vehicle! We also got abroad that year, camping in France and Switzerland as my sister was taking part in a trampoline competition near Neuchatel.

We lose legendary musician, Roy Orbison, in this year as The Big O passes away in the December. However, it is the year that two United heroes are born. Current midfielder and all-round class act, Juan Mata, who I was mentioning just before, is born in the April of this year, while former striker, Javier Hernandez, aka Chicharito, is born in the June.

It is an Olympic year, and still in the days when the Winter and Summer Games were held in the same year. The Winter Olympics were held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and were particularly famous for Eddie the Eagle Edwards’ attempt at ski jumping, and, of course, the first appearance by the Jamaican bobsleigh team, whose story would later inspire the film “Cool Runnings” albeit with a fair bit of poetic license!

The Summer Olympics were held in Seoul, South Korea, and these were the Games where Greg Louganis banged his head on the diving board, but still ended up winning the gold, but also the Games where Ben Johnson was stripped of his gold a few days after the men’s 100 metres, when he failed a drugs test, introducing many of us to the words “anabolic steroids”!

Great Britain won 5 golds at the Summer Games, including a notable win for our men’s hockey team. Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time”, which was the USA’s theme for their TV coverage of the Olympics, was a UK number one in this year.

One other bit of sports news from this year, which didn’t involve the Olympics, was that there was a shock in the FA Cup as Wimbledon pulled off a giant-killing in the Final to beat Liverpool 1-0! Serves the Scousers right for inflicting the awful “Anfield Rap” cup final record on the charts! Anfield Crap, more like!

In the news, it was a Presidential Election year in the USA. Ronald Reagan was the President for most of the year but was coming to the end of his second term. He was succeeded in the White House by George Bush. Meanwhile, in Europe, the Cold War was starting to defrost… Hungary opened their border with Austria in this year and started to allow freer travel to the West. Also, Yugoslavia became the first Eastern Bloc country to get a McDonald’s, when a branch opened up in Belgrade.

In the December of the mystery year, Pan Am flight 103 from London to New York exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie due to a bomb on board the plane. All passengers were killed, as were 11 people on the ground as the plane fell on to the town.

I think we need some books from our mystery year, don’t we? Matilda, by Roald Dahl, first hit the bookshelves in the children’s section in this year. There were two new Discworld books from Terry Pratchett in this particular year, Sourcery and Wyrd Sisters. One I have read, now, and that is The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho – yep, that was published in this year, as was the controversial novel, The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie, although I remember all the kerfuffle about that book happening the following year. Rushdie’s book is on my TBR list, and, while I enjoyed Coelho’s book when I read it, I didn’t find it “life-changing” as some have claimed it to be.

Before we head back to 2020, some more music news to wrap up our Golden Year. The Pet Shop Boys had their fourth number one in this year with “Heart”, while a couple of oldies were back in the charts and at the top… Phil Collins was number one with a cover version of “A Groovy Kind of Love” from the film “Buster” in which he played the starring role of Buster Edwards, one of the Great Train Robbers. The Hollies, who’d originally had a hit with “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” back in the 60s saw this song re-released in this year and that was also a chart-topper!

Kylie Minogue had her first number one in this year, with “I Should Be So Lucky”. She was still starring as Charlene Mitchell in Neighbours, but had also started to become a pop star. Robin Beck hit the top spot with “The First Time” after the song was used in a Coca-Cola advert. I remember our Ellie buying that record! The Christmas number one in this year was by my mum’s favourite – Cliff Richard, with the song “Mistletoe and Wine”. In terms of albums, the Now That’s What I Call Music series of compilation albums released Now 11, Now 12 and Now 13 in this year, so they were pretty busy, lol!

Right, well, I think that’s everything, so it’s time for you to hazard a guess, if you haven’t already worked it out, and then step back in the time machine as we head back to 2020. As usual, the answer will be given at the end of the blog.

* Chief Bookworm and followers return to 2020 and step out of the time machine… *


We’re back in 2020 now, aren’t we? Yep, we are. Just checking!

Anyway, back to Guillem Balague, whom I was mentioning before the Golden Year… he said “books are an extension of ourselves”, which is something I’m sure we can all agree on! He mentioned one book that I have read, albeit some years ago now, that being Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel García Marquez, plus some books which sounded interesting. He was re-reading Memoirs of Hadrian, by Marguerite Yourcenar, a favourite of his. I went to Hadrian’s Wall once, when I was at high school, on a history field trip as we were studying Roman Britain at the time. Hadrian’s Wall sometimes crops up on travel lists on List Challenges, and reminds me of going there on that school trip.

He also recommended a book called Silk, by Alessandro Baricco, which is one he often recommends when asked, and he had a football book recommendation, which was The Italian Job, by Gianluca Vialli and Gabriele Marcotti. I will be Googling some of Guillem’s choices soon enough, to see if any appeal to me. The Italian Job certainly does, as a football fan! I remember Vialli as a player, particularly as he spent a few seasons in the Premier League when he played for Chelsea.

I was putting the books onto List Challenges earlier, from the previous blog – well, the books that hadn’t already been listed. I will say that, on the list of books mentioned in these blogs during this year, I had got up to 252 books, although there will be some new ones to add after this blog, certainly! I won’t spoil the surprise of how many books there are on the Joanne’s Bookshelf 10th Anniversary List, though! There are A LOT!

When I publish the list next month, I would recommend you make yourselves comfortable, put the kettle on, make yourselves a mug of tea or coffee and settle down for a Hugh Jass list, lol! I am pretty certain it’s the longest list I’ve ever been responsible for so far! It’s VERY big and it’s VERY random! I would think there was something on there for everyone, regardless of your tastes in books.

I think that’s about everything covered for now. I plan to get another blog in before this time next week, as I will have had my hair done by the evening of next Tuesday! Before I wrap things up, time for the answer to the Golden Year, which was… 1988! Did you guess correctly? As Arnie would say, I’ll be back, lol, but until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The 33 – Jonathan Franklin
  • Swearing Is Good For You – Emma Byrne
  • Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari
  • Matilda – Roald Dahl
  • Sourcery – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Wyrd Sisters – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  • The Satanic Verses – Sir Salman Rushdie
  • Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel García Marquez
  • Memoirs of Hadrian – Marguerite Yourcenar
  • Silk – Alessandro Baricco
  • The Italian Job – Gianluca Vialli and Gabriele Marcotti

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, European Literature, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Golden Year, Half-Finished Books, List Challenges, Music, Non-Fiction, Olympic Games, Ongoing Concerns, Sports, Television, Travel

I’ve Started, So I’ll Finish!

Pretty much, lol!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Chief Bookworm returns with another blog. Just over a week to go to the hairdo, so I’ll soon bid farewell to the Big 80s Hair, lol! I’ll still be listening to 1980s music, of course, I hardly ever stop listening to the music of that decade, but I won’t have a massive 80s mop after next Tuesday!

Anyway, in the month in which Junior Bookworm reaches double figures for age, it seems fitting that I have now reached double figures for the number of books I have finished so far this year! Yep! You read right… I have now finished 10 books so far in 2020! You already knew that Sunny Side Up, by Susan Calman, had become my 7th finish of the year, but over the weekend just gone, and into the early hours of this morning, I got some good reading done and three books have been polished off! Yay!

The first of the trio was finished off on Friday, and it was My Autistic Fight Song, by Rosie Weldon, on my Kindle. She was diagnosed as an adult, while she was a student, and is her account of how it affected her in terms of studying and then in her working life. I think it might even be free at the moment for Kindle readers, certainly in the UK, so definitely well worth downloading! Pretty sure I saw something from Rosie herself on Facebook this morning about her book being on offer at the moment on the Kindle.

The Antidote, by Oliver Burkeman, was the next book I finished off. That one was a paperback, and I had actually started that a couple of years ago, in August 2018. I’ve still got a lot of page marker tabs in it and pencilled-in comments about pertinent comments that a certain toxic ex-friend of mine would have done well to take note of, especially bits about being ridiculously over-optimistic and then ending up seriously disappointed. She did that to herself time and time again, numpty that she is. She’s probably still doing it now, getting her hopes up over some unrealistic idea! And when I say unrealistic, I’m talking batshit crazy! Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it, as the saying goes…

So, having polished that book off, it was back to the Kindle, and the second Mary Roach book that I have read this year, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. I finished that off in the early hours of this morning before getting my zeds. I can certainly recommend Mary Roach’s books, and I have a couple more to read, both paperbacks. If you’re looking for them in a bookshop, you should be able to find them in the popular science section.

So, I have thus reached double figures. Technically, I could now publish my list on List Challenges, but obviously, I am not going to as that will happen at the end of the year, but it does mean I have enough books to be able to publish the list. Last year, I finished 20 books, and that was despite my bereavement and not starting to read again until the April, just before my birthday, so this year’s reading, which had been disrupted due to Coronavirus-related-stress at one point, is back on track, and if I can manage 20 or so books this year, I will be chuffed.

Matching bookmarks, lol!

Obviously, we now have the Bookworm’s Dilemma… what the hell to read next?! I’ve been busily finishing off books in the last few days, and now the attention turns back to other partially-read books and books I’ve not even started yet.

Mention of the latter brings us on to The 33, by Jonathan Franklin. The ultimate account of the Chilean miners’ dramatic rescue. This year marks 10 years since that incredible rescue operation – I remember staying up to watch live coverage on the news. Was pretty bleary-eyed and knackered at work later, lol, but so were many of my colleagues in Chorlton, so I was hardly the only one!

The collapse of part of the mine happened in early August 2010, and the miners were rescued on 12th October. So I could read that to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the event. My niece is nearly ten, my blog is nearly ten, so it does seem quite appropriate to read a book about a news event that also turns ten years old this year.

While I was on the landing last night, getting The 33 out of the bookshelf, and replacing it with another book to fill the gap, I chanced upon my copy of Swearing is Good For You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language, by Emma Byrne. That promises to be an effin’ good read, lol! Actually, it reminds me a bit of Planet Word, by J. P. Davidson which accompanied a BBC series a few years ago. There was an experiment involving actor Brian Blessed and the fact that when he swore his head off, he was able to keep his hand in a tank of freezing cold water for longer than he would if he kept his language clean! The swearing served as pain management.

Just looked at Planet Word again – published 2011. If it’d been a year earlier, I’d have had another potential 10th anniversary book. However, I think we’ll stick wth the rescue of the Chilean miners, and probably the book about swearing. That’s a recent one, only came out in 2017. I had to put the Sellotape to Planet Word, so it’s a good job I got it out. A small section of pages had come out at the back, part of the notes and index, though, so not really the main body of the book.

The title of my blog, for those who are not familiar with the quiz show Mastermind, is what the late great Magnus Magnusson used to say when he’d started asking a question only for the timer to sound to indicate the time was up. He would always finish that last question and allow the contestant, in the famous black chair, to answer it if they could. I’m guessing the phrase is still used, but not seen Mastermind for a bit. Have watched it some years ago as Colin, my ex-colleague who also stewards at music festivals, has been a contestant a couple of times. John Humphrys is the current quizmaster.

Mastermind is, to us, such an iconic quiz show that there is a very famous spoof of it in a sketch by the Two Ronnies, in which Ronnie Barker is the quizmaster and Ronnie Corbett the contestant, answering the previous question! Just look up “Two Ronnies Mastermind” on YouTube and enjoy!

Anyone else do List Challenges? I know I mention them frequently, but do any of you regularly do them, especially the book lists? I often do the travel lists as well, but I love a big long book list to go through, and this is what I’m like as I scroll through the pages and tap on books to say I’ve read them… * I have chosen a list to go through so you get the idea what I’m like *

“Not read those, read that at uni, that’s on my TBR list, scroll down, next page… nope, nope, yep, read that one… and that one… read that one twice – read it at high school and at uni… yep, that one… and those… there’s one here called The Daffodil Mystery, by Edgar Wallace, but I bet it doesn’t mention my dad at that wedding in Barnsley back in the 80s, ha ha, nope, not read that, don’t mention philosophers or I’ll start thinking about the drinking song from Monty Python… oops, too late, there’s a book by Nietzsche on here… * sings Philosophers’ Drinking Song * ah, the usual suspects from George Orwell, read Animal Farm for my GCSEs and 1984 a couple of years later, sees A Little Life on the list and thinks about the Epic Book Hangover after that novel, lol, yep read that, that one’s on the TBR list, ah, here’s all 7 Harry Potter books, so that’s those ticked… carry on in similar vein through the list remembering books I read for various stages of my education, plus other read or half-read books… then see how well I did at the end…”

Do you ever see a book that you’ve either read or have on your TBR list that you thought was really obscure or unusual? When you see it on a list on List Challenges you can’t quite believe that someone else knows about that book as well, because you thought you were the only one nerdy enough to know about it?! Like S, by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst. I got this book in 2013 from Chapter One in town, a cafe-cum-bookshop in the Northern Quarter, and have not “done” it yet…

I say “done” it because there’s all sorts of things inside it. It’s in a box and it looks as though it’s an old library book, but apparently it’s the story of two students who write comments to each other in the margins of the book, and there’s postcards and stuff inside… I have therefore had this book for 7 years and not tried it yet as I’m not sure how to get going with it, although there may be advice on the internet about it. I really should give it a go one day – would give me plenty to blog about on here, I’m sure!

We get ever nearer to the 10th anniversary! Just over a month to go now, and the book list of all the books I’ve ever mentioned on here from 14th August 2010 onwards is exceedingly long! It is also exceedingly random, lol, but I suspect that you’ve come to expect that from me by now, ha ha! I am looking forward to publishing the list on 14th August 2020! Not much longer to wait!

Well, I think I should perhaps make some inroads on some more reading matter, so that’s about all for now. I still plan to do the 1986 themed blog soon, ahead of my hairdo next week, but until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Sunny Side Up – Susan Calman
  • My Autistic Fight Song – Rosie Weldon
  • The Antidote – Oliver Burkeman
  • Stiff – Mary Roach
  • The 33 – Jonathan Franklin
  • Swearing is Good For You – Emma Byrne
  • Planet Word – J. P. Davidson
  • The Daffodil Mystery – Edgar Wallace
  • Animal Farm – George Orwell
  • 1984 – George Orwell
  • The Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling
  • S – J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

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Filed under Books, Books About Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Free Books, Half-Finished Books, List Challenges, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Television, The TBR Pile, YA Books