Monthly Archives: July 2011

The Busy Bookworm: World Book Night 2012 part 2 & the Booker Prize longlist…

Good evening, Bookworms!

Been quite busy on Facebook this evening, doing my Chief Bookworm duties as admin of my book group, “I’d spend all day in Waterstone’s if I could get away with it!” better known as the Waterstone’s group. There have been two major items of book news I have needed to impart to my group members, firstly concerning next year’s World Book Night on 23rd April 2012, and secondly concerning the announcement of the Man Booker Prize Longlist for this year.

Firstly, World Book Night, and the official website has, for this week, decided to show the current state of affairs by showing the current top 100 books in order of popularity, so we have a glimpse of how things are shaping up and which books are getting the most votes at the moment. Absolutely chuffed to bits to discover that The Book Thief is currently in 4th place with a very healthy 230 votes. I read this book 3 years ago after several of my Facebook friends, particularly Lizzie Harvey and Andrew Bennett, recommended it to me and said it was a “must read” book. It was a book I’d picked up and looked at several times before I bought it and read it. Once I’d finished it, I joined the list of those wishing to spread the word as to what a fantastic book it is and how everyone should read it! If it ends up in the Top 25 and I end up as a Book Giver next April, you may be in with a shout of getting a free copy from yours truly! Yes, unlike Liesel in the novel,  you won’t even have to nick it as it could be all yours for the grand sum of absolutely nought pounds and nought pence! Just try and make sure you’re in my neck of the woods come 23rd April next year, possibly at the Trafford Centre, and you increase your chances of getting a free copy of The Book Thief from the Birthday Bookworm!

The other major piece of book news, today, was the announcement of the Man Booker Prize longlist. I know… I can’t believe it’s time for this year’s longlist as it doesn’t even feel that long ago since The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson was announced as last year’s winner!

This year’s list includes a book I quite fancy and which I have acquired with the intent of reading, that book being Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman, a book which very nearly didn’t get published. Bloomsbury eventually took a chance on it and the book went to print and made its appearances in book shops. And now it has made an appearance on the longlist for one of the most prestigious prizes in literature! There is still some way to go yet, though. The longlist of 13 is narrowed down to a shortlist of 6 on 6th September, a list from which the winner will be announced on 18th October.  In the meantime, I think I shall suggest Pigeon English as a possiblity for our next book at my book club meeting on 23rd August, once we’ve finished discussing Tamar by Mal Peet.

Yes, I know, bookworms, I really need to get on with Tamar in the next four weeks, although I’m currently engrossed in Scar Tissue, the autobiography of Anthony Kiedis, lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers! My excuse being that I am hoping to get tickets to see RHCP at the MEN Arena in November!

I am also trying to get my Facebook group to supply nominations for a new 100 Books list, an alternative to that one the BBC did some time ago now and which has done the rounds on Facebook for the past few years, certainly since I joined in August 2007. One of those “How many of these have you read?” sort of things…. You probably know the list too! The one that has The Complete Works of Shakespeare as one entry, but then also lists Hamlet as an individual item! Apologies for this particular blog entry being a little disjointed, but, as tonight’s blog title says, I have been a busy bookworm this evening and have been busy dealing with Facebook notifications on my book group, and trying to sort out which Charles Dickens novels, amongst other books, featured on the original BBC list… Since Facebook updated groups, they have introduced this “document” feature. Only thing is, in the finest traditions of Facebook, it doesn’t work! I have registered my complaint with the FB bods, but, as yet, the document problem is yet to be rectified. What I had intended to do was to provide group members with the original BBC list in this document so they could refer to it without asking me all the time. However, you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and FB group admins….

Until next time, when I hope to be rather less preoccupied and disjointed, I shall take my leave from this blog for tonight! Take care and Happy Reading!

Books mentioned in this blog:

  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • The Finkler Question – Howard Jacobson
  • Pigeon English – Stephen Kelman
  • Tamar – Mal Peet
  • Scar Tissue – Anthony Kiedis
  • Hamlet – William Shakespeare

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I Love It When A Book Comes Together….

Gorgeous... Inside And Out

Home Visit From The Author!

Good evening, Bookworms!  I very nearly titled this post Happy Endings or “And They All Lived Happily Ever After” as a long-running book-related saga has finally come to a happy conclusion! If any of you are regular readers of this blog, you may well know by now that some months ago now, towards the end of 2010, I pre-ordered a self-help book that my Facebook and Twitter friend Helen Adams was writing. To cut a long story short (as Spandau Ballet once sang), Helen had more than a spot of bother with getting her book published and at times on this blog I lamented the length of time which had elapsed since I pre-ordered this book and expressed my concerns about the chances of this book ever existing. Anyway, in recent months Helen DID manage to find a reliable publisher and “Gorgeous… Inside And Out” has finally been published! Not only that, but I came home from work today to find the author herself at my house to present me with my signed copy of her book in person! It’s not every day that happens, is it?!

As I mentioned before, the book is a self-help book, so that’s where you should be able to find it should you wish to acquire a copy yourself. The ISBN for the book is 978-1-461113362 but if you are having trouble acquiring a copy, get in touch with Helen at manchestercoachingacademy@gmail.com as you should be able to get a copy from the MCA website. Helen is due to be interviewed on BBC Radio Manchester shortly, so if you’re in mine and Helen’s neck of the woods, keep an eye and an ear out for media appearances and possible book signings!

I’ve not forgotten about my World Book Night blogs, and I will return to the WBN theme and my Top 10 shortlist soon, with more blogging about why I like the books I like, but at the moment, there are more immediate literary mentions to be made, so I’m sure you won’t mind taking a slight diversion from WBN, for mention of a couple of other books. It has been a very book-related week for me, culminating, tonight, in receiving a signed copy of Gorgeous from my friend now she’s a published author (see above), but there are a couple of other books to be mentioned in this blog. Firstly “One Day” by David Nicholls, which I read recently and finished earlier this week. Really enjoyed it and will be quite interested to see what the film is like, as the film version goes on release at cinemas next month. Books are always better than films, though!

Getting your hands on a book is always good. Even better if it’s cheap. Even better still if it’s FREE! Imagine my delight yesterday when I was having lunch at the Barbakan Deli in Chorlton and found a free book! “How To Leave Twitter” by Grace Dent was lying there on a counter, with a sticker inside explaining that this was a free copy and that I could also email a code and be in with a shout of winning a Kindle pre-loaded with the Guardian’s selection of summer reads. The book is hilarious, so many thanks to @gracedent although I have no intention of leaving Twitter whatsoever – what else would I do to occupy my hour-long bus rides to work and back if I didn’t tweet?! Well, ok, that is a bit of a rhetorical question as sometimes I read books, and I almost always listen to music, but I do find a damn good tweeting session certainly helps pass the time while I travel on the 22 bus from Monton to Chorlton or back again.

I’m @joannedj if you want to follow my tweets. I tweet about all sorts of stuff, including books. I get a bit heated and may tweet some pretty arsey tweets when there’s football on, particularly if I’m at Old Trafford at the time and urging my team to get a grip, and I am known to tweet some pretty snarky stuff about opponents and referees so if you support a club other than Manchester United, you may wish to temporarily unfollow during matches, and follow again later when the coast is clear and I’ve calmed down a bit! I completely understand! I also get a bit snarky towards politicians. I don’t particularly like ANY of them and think they’re all selfish bastards who are in it for themselves and don’t give two shiny shites about the rest of us, but I particularly dislike the right wing of the political spectrum and think their ideologies are just utterly vile and heartless. I especially hate the extreme right, but judging by their “Sport Are Troops” banners and the likes, the average BNP or EDL piece of pondscum has immense difficulty getting to grips with the English language and even at 140 characters or less, my tweets would be way too difficult for those thick fascist plebs to comprehend!

Better finish shortly. Will be busy this weekend as it’s my baby niece’s first birthday tomorrow so I guess I may have to do the Auntie Bookworm thing and read some suitable books to Charlotte! Can’t believe it’s a year since I became an auntie – hasn’t time flown?! Til next time, take care and Happy Reading! 😀

Books mentioned in this blog…

  • Gorgeous… Inside And Out – Helen Adams
  • One Day – David Nicholls
  • How To Leave Twitter – Grace Dent

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World Book Night 2012 – Part 1…

Good evening, Bookworms! Back again with another blog, and this time mostly looking ahead to next year’s World Book Night. Following on from the success of this year’s event, WBN will be taking place again in 2012, only this time on 23rd April – International Day of the Book and also, as many people know, my birthday! I have registered for WBN 2012 and hope to be involved in giving out books in April next year, particularly if any of my huge favourites make the Top 25 which will be distributed to Book Givers! Personally, I’m hoping The Book Thief is amongst the Top 25 this time. This list below might not necessarily be my final top 10, but I have had a think and listed 10 books I particularly love. So, in no particular order, my shortlist is as follows….

  • Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
  • Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • Under The Frog – Tibor Fischer
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  • The Radleys – Matt Haig
  • Macbeth – William Shakespeare
  • The Return – Victoria Hislop
  • The Good Soldier Svejk – Jaroslav Hasek
  • Veronika Decides To Die – Paulo Coelho

Over a few blogs, I intend to go into a bit more detail about these books. I will start by saying that several of them are on the list because they’ve made me laugh. In fact, that is an understatement. Some of these books have had me falling about laughing, including on buses and, in the case of Fever Pitch, while wombling around Sunderland University on an open day for my sister back in 94! (I was already at uni in Bolton, and in fact due to graduate later that year – it was my sister’s turn to go looking round places of higher education!). It was Under The Frog that caused some odd looks in my direction on buses while I was reading it, as did the Czech classic, The Good Soldier Svejk.  Those two books were amongst several works of Central European (mostly Czech) literature recommended to me by my Facebook friend, David Hunt, so if he’s ever reading this blog at any time in the future, I’m sure he’ll be pleased to learn that my top ten included a couple of his reading recommendations!

One review of Notes From A Small Island said the book “should not be read in public for fear of emitting loud snorts” – but I say what the hell, just read it, and read it in public. If anyone gives you a funny look because  you’re falling about laughing, they’re just jealous that you’re enjoying a bloody good book and they’re not! Under The Frog caused me to emit loud snorts, too! Usually on buses, travelling to and from work!

While we’re still on the books which made me laugh, I can’t possibly forget the sci-fi humour classic, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by the late great Douglas Adams. I don’t want frightening visions of the future, especially as there’s often far too much crap going on in the world in the present day, so if I’m going to read any science fiction, as far as I’m concerned it ought to be funny! Marvin the Paranoid Android is the best character. Wonder if he’s still got a pain in all the diodes down his left hand side? I suspect he probably has!

Finally, on the particularly humourous entries in my top ten, we have The Radleys by Matt Haig. A fairly recent book, in fact published just this year, it centres around a family of abstaining vampires living in middle-class suburban England who had been doing fairly well at blending in, albeit to the detriment of their health, until their daughter gets harrassed by a lad after a party who won’t take no for an answer… until she bites him… and then all hell breaks loose and their parents have A LOT of explaining to do! Apparently, this book is on the Channel 4 TV Book Club 2011 Summer Reads list! I hope I’ve not already missed the show where this book is up for discussion!

Anyway, this is all for now. I have not mentioned all the books listed, but that leaves you with more to come! In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to make them known!

Happy Reading! 🙂

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