Monthly Archives: June 2016

Back of the Net!

Two David Beckhams and FA Cup Bookmark

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

There’s no Euro 2016 matches now until Saturday, and to say that I am sick to death of hearing about the bloody referendum would be an understatement, so here begins the avoidance strategy by writing a book blog, lol! I have a postal ballot, thus I voted a few weeks ago, and it feels even longer ago than that, and I’m even bored about hearing from those who feel the same way I do, so don’t even start me on the far-right eejits… let’s forget about the whole thing and vote to read some books instead! Or, at least read my utter waffle on the subject of books, lol!

Footy has provided the solution to my recovery from A Little Life – the book in the above photo, There’s Only Two David Beckhams, by John O’Farrell, is just what I needed after that epic! Footy-themed, satirical and VERY funny, it even gets a dig in at a certain rival team’s player on the second page…

The bookmark next to the book is my latest item of finished cross-stitch, my FA Cup Winning Years bookmark, with all 12 years United have won the longest-running football tournament in this country – the FA Cup was up and running for some time before the league championship started up! The first-ever Double Winners were Preston North End in 1888-89, as they were the inaugural Football League Champions and won the FA Cup that same season. Mine of useless information, aren’t I?!

Anyway, United have won it 12 times, which is a joint record with Arsenal. Funnily enough, both ourselves and the Gooners have done the Double 3 times each, the third of our Doubles being two parts of our Treble in 1998-99, along with our legendary stoppage-time victory over Bayern Munich in the European Cup Final at the Nou Camp, which is given considerable mention by Pierluigi Collina in his autobiography, The Rules of the Game.

Indeed, it’s thanks to United that he got to ref that match, as Italian teams bossed European footy in the 90s and most of the previous finals in that decade had at least one Italian club in them, so he couldn’t officiate. It was also looking pretty unlikely for him in 1999 at the semi-final stage when Juventus had the away goal advantage over us from the first leg at Old Trafford, and, 11 minutes into the second leg, they were 2-0 up! However, Keano inspired our fightback, and we came from behind to win 3-2 on the night, 4-3 on aggregate, and book our place in Barcelona, thus enabling an Italian referee to take charge of the final…

Back to the bookmark, the first of those victories in my lifetime was in 1977, when I was 4. I’ve not done too badly with the FA Cup, have I? My team have won it 12 times, and 9 of them have been in my lifetime! Plus, I’ve been to 5 of those victories – 1994, 1996, 1999 at the old Wembley, 2004 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, and then last month at the new Wembley, where we won 2-1 in extra time against Crystal Palace. Have to say, Palace played very well and made us do it the hard way. (That is normal for United, though – we don’t make things easy for ourselves, never have done, lol!) The Eagles will join us in the Europa League for being our runners-up at Wembley, as we were already qualified for that tournament due to our 5th place finish in the league, so they did get some reward for making it to a cup final only to lose to us for the 2nd time in their history.

Some years ago now, back in 1997, I designed and stitched my club’s honours list, although it would need much updating if I did it these days, it would have to be much bigger! That’s where the FA Cup on the bookmark comes from, I worked out a cross-stitched FA Cup when I was doing that honours list. I also worked out a Premier League trophy, League Cup, European Cup and the old European Cup-Winners’ Cup. We have yet to win the UEFA Cup, now known as the Europa League, so if we won that, I’d have to try to work that one out in cross-stitch.

1966 Sir Bobby Charlton book

Anyway, back to books and footy… As today is my mum’s birthday and she has opened her pressies, I can now put this book on here, as this is one of the things I bought her. I also bought her a large spiral-bound A-Z of Manchester, as she’d requested, but I saw this during one of my countless visits to Waterstone’s, and thus I thought I would buy this for her as a surprise – 1966 My World Cup Story, by Sir Bobby Charlton. A signed copy, too!

Obviously, most books I mention on here are my own, but I might occasionally mention one or two others which I have bought as pressies for family or friends. You won’t get to hear about those on here until after their respective birthdays, or after Christmas if it’s that time of year, but they may still get a mention. Kids’ books might be getting a mention or two in late July or early August, after our Charlotte turns 6, and we may well return to the subject of baby books later in the year, as my sister is expecting and the baby is due in October. It’s a boy this time, so I will have a niece and a nephew. Back to The Very Hungry Caterpillar again, ladies and gentlemen!

I haven’t forgotten the S book, but I will come back to that matter some other time. This has been a football special, so to speak! Sometimes my blogs have themes, even if most of my blogs are exceedingly random and wander off at tangents without warning! Then again, some books actually wander off at tangents – I’ve read one or two books like that in my time, The Good Soldier Svejk, by Jaroslav Hasek, being a particularly good example! Actually, it is said that Hasek’s unfinished novel was the inspiration behind Joseph Heller’s Catch 22, and there are certainly comparisons to be made between the two novels regarding the sense of humour of those serving during major conflicts, whether that’s Svejk in World War I, or Yossarian in World War II.

Just checking one of my List Challenges lists. It’s the one I’m going to publish early next year for people to see how many books they’ve read from all the books I’ve mentioned in this blog over the course of 2016! Over all the blog entries I’ve posted so far this year, a whopping 313 different books have already been mentioned so far! Thing is, I am getting to the stage where I write a book blog but I’ve already mentioned those books before in a previous blog, so don’t worry unduly about the list doubling in size by Christmas! Famous last words, I know, but I doubt we’ll be on 626 come the new year! I might have got up to about 400 different books, possibly, but who knows?! Then again, those long lists are the sort I really like on List Challenges! I think the minimum number of entries to make any list is 10, but those really short lists are hardly worth bothering with. I love the really long ones with over 100 books, some of them over 1000 books! I love checking off books I’ve read or at least half-read, and also love getting recommendations from other readers that way! This list of mine is going to be a long one, probably something for every bookworm on the list of all books I’ve mentioned on here since we let in 2016!

Anyway, I’m going to get this finished and published, and I shall return again soon with another blog. Until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • There’s Only Two David Beckhams – John O’Farrell
  • The Rules of the Game – Pierluigi Collina
  • 1966: My World Cup Story – Sir Bobby Charlton
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
  • S – J. J. Abrams & Doug Dorst
  • The Good Soldier Svejk – Jaroslav Hasek
  • Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Cross-Stitch, Football, List Challenges

Book Hangover

Penguin orange book spines

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

I am still “recovering” from the epic that is A Little Life, having read it in time for the meeting last Thursday – I had thought it was Friday, but it wasn’t. At least I found out in time and finished the book, which now leaves me with the old bookworm question of what the hell do I read next?! I think it’s fair to say that this is a big problem when you have finished a particular series of books, but it can also be true for those of us who have just finished one big, long, chunky book!

I don’t think my next one is going to be my book club book, I think we’re back to the bad old days of me not being into whatever we’re reading, which, in this instance, is Deep Water, by Patricia Highsmith. I think there’s a few issues here…

  1. I have just finished reading a rather large, and quite emotionally-taxing at times, work of fiction from which I am still having a Book Hangover!
  2. At our book club meeting, I was one of those who wanted to read King of the World, a biography of Muhammad Ali.
  3. Much as many other readers love them, I guess I am just not into crime novels or thrillers. I don’t know why, but they’re not my go-to genre. As I said, for many, it is their favourite kind of book, but I’ve always been different.
  4. Several other books in my room are giving me the eye!

I did finish one book off last night, getting yet another finished book onto my Goodreads Challenge, but then again, that was non-fiction. It was The Rules of the Game, by Pierluigi Collina, the former referee, and a very interesting and informative read for a footy fan like myself!

I tried to read the Highsmith an hour or so ago, just thought “chill out and try to read some, see if it floats your boat, Joanne. It might manage to hold your interest.”

But it didn’t, and other books here in my room were saying “Yoo hoo! Over here! Read me instead!” The book club next meets on 4th July, but whether I’m even going to have read much of Deep Water by then is highly debatable. It faces far too much competition from the vast hoards of reading matter here in my room. Plus, as I said, I’m having a Book Hangover from A Little Life, so perhaps my best bets are non-fiction books or perhaps some YA. I don’t think Patricia Highsmith is going to do it for me as I recover from Hanya Yanagihara’s epic novel!

Not even a tedious 0-0 draw in the European Championships can entice me into the wrong book! I will read while watching footy on the telly if I’m waiting for the boring tossers to score a goal or two, lol, but England v Slovakia last night just saw me getting some of Collina’s autobiography read. If I’m watching footy, I might as well read about footy! It’s up to the players to distract me from my book. I guess I should have watched Wales vs Russia instead, a game which Wales won 3-0 to top our group and send the Russians packing back home to Moscow.

I’ve just found an interesting book on the landing, on our bookshelves near the bathroom. There’s Only Two David Beckhams, by John O’Farrell, could be my Footy Book now that I’ve finished the Collina. Or I could carry on with Fergie’s book, Leading, which I could do with getting on with. I could also do with getting on with Martin Meijer’s biography of Louis van Gaal. Still annoyed at United for not having a parade after we won the FA Cup last month, and for getting rid of LvG so quickly. They should have let Louis enjoy that weekend after having won us the cup, before parting company with him and appointing that egotistical knobhead, Jose Mourinho!

Talking of footy, Northern Ireland v Germany just kicked off as I type this!

Oh well, I’ll give the Highsmith book around 50 pages if I can. If it still doesn’t float my boat, it probably won’t.

Anyway, onto other book-related matters, and something I’ve touched on previously… the publishing world and its stupid, unnecessary and rather outdated fixations! By this, I mean the idea that, because I’m a female reader, I will want books written by women and in which the main characters are women. I would love to meet these idiots and reassure them that, in the nicest possible way, I really couldn’t give a shit! Look I’ve just read A Little Life, for crying out loud! Written by a woman, as if that even matters, which it doesn’t to me, but the four main characters are all blokes, as are most of the other significant characters in that book, and I loved it! I really am not arsed in the slightest, so there is no need to worry about pointless crap like that!

I’ve been reading books since I first learned to read, which I had managed before I started school. I have NEVER given a shit about the gender of the author, or of the characters. In fact, it probably hasn’t even occurred to me to even take much notice. If a book appeals to me, it’s because its plot or its subject matter appeals to me. The gender of the author is an irrelevance, as is the gender of the main protagonist in the story if I’m reading fiction!

This is 2016, so, as I’ve said before, isn’t it time publishers stopped pushing stuff on us just because the author matches our gender, colour or sexual orientation? It’s not news that there are plenty of female, coloured and/or LGBT authors out there in this day and age, you know?! Maybe it is news in some parts of the world, but certainly not here in the UK. And just because a reader is from one of those groups, does not mean that he or she will be restricting themselves to books by authors who are the same as them. Yes, they may read and enjoy a lot by those kinds of authors, but it’s not nice to be pigeonholed!

(Particularly if you feel you are completely unrepresented in fiction because you’re a knowledgeable female football fan. In fact, unrepresented full stop. Don’t even start me on adverts – advertising agency staff must have attended their most “recent” match back in the bloody 1950s, as they only ever seem to see us lasses as football widows or clueless bimbos! Only the Carlsberg “flatmates” advert has ever portrayed a female as a footy fan! I certainly can’t think of any other adverts which have acknowledged our existence!)

If there are any areas not really covered as yet, perhaps authors with various disabilities or health conditions might be a feature, and major characters in novels having a variety of difficulties of this nature might be the way to go, particularly the highlighting of the frustrations suffered by people with “invisible” disabilities. In terms of main characters with disabilities, A Little Life gives us Jude, arguably the central character, a man with a huge amount of difficulties, physical and mental, on account of the horrendous abuse he had suffered. I promise you no further spoilers on that matter! Just read it!

It is a difficult area, though, not only because, as humans, there are so many things that can go wrong with us, or that we can have wrong with us from the moment we’re born in some instances, so how can you represent such a wide range of conditions in fiction, even without considering the other problematic issue of realistic representation of people with such conditions. Some will applaud a given novel for its portrayal of a character, while others will be up in arms about that very same character and will say “We’re not all like that!” – Then again, even without bringing health issues or disabilities into it, there are too many assumptions being made in fiction, particularly by those who are responsible for publishing and marketing it!

Anyway, rant over, and back to books again. I could always make a start on S, by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst, a book I discovered recently at Chapter One in town. Well, when I say a “book”, it is more of a literary project! Book doesn’t really do it justice! I will return to this matter in a forthcoming blog, but I think the idea is this… you have this book, which is supposedly a library book from a college or university library in the States, and it’s been “written in” by a couple of students who are communicating back and forth because they are studying the rather mysterious author of that book. There are loads of things inside this book, newspaper cuttings, letters, postcards, etc… So, I think there will need to be some strategy for “reading” this thing! Probably involving post-it notes and files on computer to keep track of stuff!

As I said, there will be more about this S malarkey at some point in the near future, but for now, I think I’ve probably waffled on more than long enough. It’s half time, Germany are winning 1-0, but Northern Ireland have had their chances, and I’m off to publish this so that I can watch the second half! Until I type again, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Deep Water – Patricia Highsmith
  • King of the World – David Remnick
  • The Rules of the Game – Pierluigi Collina
  • There’s Only Two David Beckhams – John O’Farrell
  • Leading – Sir Alex Ferguson
  • Louis van Gaal – Martin Meijer
  • S – J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Football, Literary Issues, My Bookworm History, Rants, Reader's Block

Crap Cyclists and Outdoor Noodles

Me at Wagamama 6th June 2016

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

That was me, yesterday evening, at Wagamama after my book club meeting. Weather here is gorgeous at the moment, having what is known as a Proper Summer, most unlike the UK, lol, and definitely most unlike Typical Mancunian Weather! Therefore, I had the rare opportunity to dine outdoors! Not something I usually get to do unless I’m on my jollies abroad! But there I was, eating outdoors in Manchester, and we are talking some time around 8pm here… Yes, I was in town, it was gone 8 o’clock and it was still light and still warm… You may need to sit down with a stiff drink upon reading this!

I need to get on with A Little Life, as the “support group” meeting is on 17th June, so 10 days to go. I am just over half-way through it now, so some epic reading in big chunks should see me get through! I’m currently on page 370 of 720, so another 350 pages to go… I was going to say that I’d like to add Caleb from A Little Life to my Literary Slap List, but a slap would not be anywhere near enough for that arsehole for what he does to Jude, so he heads up the Literary Punch Their F***in’ Lights Out List instead! Wishing this Caleb character was in the ring and facing the late great Muhammad Ali at his very best… THAT level of having his lights punched out…

2016 needs its lights punching out, far too many people taken from us, Ali being the latest legend we have lost this year. Sadly, it was narrowly outvoted last night, but I really fancied reading King of the World, by David Remnick, which is about Muhammad Ali, not just the boxing, but how he transcended his sport. Mind you, I can happily read sports books, and not just football ones! The chosen book for our next meeting, which will be on 4th July, is Deep Water, by Patricia Highsmith. I have bought it, along with Fishbowl, by Bradley Somer, which is supposed to be funny, and narrated by the goldfish!

Having finished The Girl of Ink & Stars on Sunday, in time for yesterday’s book club meeting, I have decided that my new current dose of YA is Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. Shakespeare, by Bill Bryson, is also now a Handbag Book, and is a current non-fiction fix.

I guess you figured out the bit about outdoor noodles, but the other aspect of my blog title was witnessed by Steph and I as we met up and chatted. Ken Loach had been in town, so Steph had gone to that event instead of book club last night, but we met up as I was heading along Deansgate from Waterstone’s to the Spinningfields area for my post book club food. We crossed over and stood chatting for quite a while. I don’t know if any of you are familiar with Manchester, but there is a pedestrian crossing between that arcade bit on one side of the road and the John Rylands Library on the other, and we were stood outside the library, appropriately enough, chatting, mostly about books, authors, reading, and other issues of this nature when our literary natter was punctuated by the witnessing of numerous incidences of Bad Cycling, much of which involved going through red lights and not looking what they were bloody doing!

The 2 kinds of Bad Cycling…

  1. The type done by sports cyclists where they cheat by taking performance-enhancing drugs, the sort of Bad Cycling which has brought shame on the Tour de France, for instance. The “Lance Armstrong” type of Bad Cycling, as it were…
  2. The type done by utter eejits on bikes on roads up and down the country with no regard for their own safety, let alone that of other road users or pedestrians. This is the type Stephanie and I witnessed rather too much of yesterday evening!

The worst example of this was one complete and utter dickhead who had one hand on his handlebars and the other on his mobile phone, and guess which was receiving most of his attention? Clue: It wasn’t a part of a bicycle! Yep, this utter knob was so busy checking his phone that he went through a red light, just before turning left at the junction where Deansgate meets Bridge Street and John Dalton Street, thus left onto Bridge St, and how this complete imbecile did not get knocked down by a taxi, I shall never know! And it would not have been the taxi driver’s fault, for once! We all know taxi drivers do not have the best of reputations for driving, but the cyclist would only have had himself to blame if he’d ended up in one of Manchester’s hospitals that evening!

Deansgate map

Right, here’s a map… After Book Club, I walked down from Waterstone’s along that side of Deansgate, crossing both South King Street and John Dalton Street until I got to the pedestrian crossing which is near where you can see Elixir Tonics & Treats. That’s in the arcade bit with a betting shop and one of those fried chicken places which is a cheapo version of KFC… you get the picture… I met up with Steph here and we crossed the road, and were stood outside the John Rylands Library, hence the little square on the map. The circle on the corner of Deansgate and Bridge Street indicates where the utter numpty on a bike ran the red light and went left while still on his mobile and not looking what he was bloody doing! Eventually, we’d seen too many crap cyclists that Steph felt the need to get home before she risked accosting one of these utter dipshits, and I headed to Wagamama, so off the map as far as this diagram is concerned, but not too far away.

Personally, I think the worst drivers are bus drivers. At least you have a seatbelt if you’re in a taxi, but you have NO protection when you’re on a bus and the driver thinks he’s in the Monaco Grand Prix! I’ve been on buses where passengers have been flung around and hurt, and I am actually surprised it’s only happened occasionally given what a bunch of boy racers bus drivers are and how they never seem to wait for everyone to sit down before they move off… Just don’t get me started on that… No wonder I prefer trams, lol!

Anyway, I think that’s about it for now! Enough noodling around and wandering off topic! I shall be back again fairly soon, I imagine, with more mentions for various books and other assorted waffle! Until next time, take care, watch out for cyclists who are not looking where they’re going, and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • King of the World – David Remnick
  • Deep Water – Patricia Highsmith
  • Fishbowl – Bradley Somer
  • The Girl of Ink & Stars – Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • Shakespeare – Bill Bryson

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Filed under Books, Food & Drink, Literary Slap List, Manc Stuff!, Rants, Sports

Gnarly Middle-Aged Badassery!

Mystery book 6

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Back again with another blog, the title of which has been inspired by a status line from one of my Facebook friends, Andy Ledger, so you have him to thank for this! Am I middle-aged at 43? If I’m not middle-aged just yet, I’m certainly heading in that direction! My friend’s comment came because Farcebook kept suggesting posts to him, advertising t-shirts. These items of clothing advised people not to underestimate the power of an old man with a guitar, a bass, or all manner of other items which, to my friend Andy suggested “gnarly middle-aged badassery”, so you get the title of this blog!

OK, I’m not a bloke, and maybe 43 isn’t quite middle-aged, although I thought it would count. After all, if life expectancy for the average Joe or Joanne in the UK is around their 80s or even 90s, then one’s 40s have to be regarded as middle-aged! My maternal grandparents made it into their 90s, my Nana on my dad’s side, who would have been 90 today, made it to her late 80s, so at 43, I guess I am middle-aged, and it’s time for some gnarly badassery! Well, I do have a bass, on which I can play along with the basslines of a fair selection of tunes! But the main issue of this blog is books, and I like to think that being a bookworm makes me a literary badass, so here we go with today’s waffle…

Two books finished in the past couple of days! The Guest Cat and The Girl of Ink & Stars have been read, the latter in time for tomorrow evening’s book club meeting. Was starting to wonder if I’d left things a bit late with that one, I was halfway through it before I picked it up today, but I knew I only had today, effectively, to finish it off, as I have a very busy day ahead tomorrow prior to my book club meeting, little or no chance of finishing off my book on the actual day. However, when I picked it up and resumed reading, it just took me right to the end, sailing through the YA novel to its conclusion, exactly as you’d want a book to enable you to do!

Actually, having finished The Girl of Ink & Stars, it means I’ve finished back to back book club books for the first time since… ooh, possibly ever! Two on the trot that I’ve actually enjoyed and finished, given that last month’s chosen book was American Housewife, by Helen Ellis, which gave me a good laugh! Who knows? Maybe tomorrow night, we’ll pick another good ‘un to make it three on the trot? I can dream, can’t I?!

I really need to get on with A Little Life, though, as the Waterstone’s event is on 17th June, and I plan on attending. I am currently 45% of the way through. More large reading sessions for that one are needed, that will have to be my priority book, but it doesn’t mean I won’t start others, or that I haven’t already started others. Indeed, one of my charity shop finds from the other day has seen me make progress with The Diary of a Submissive, by Sophie Morgan. This is no Fifty Shades, this is non-fiction from a lady who goes in for that lifestyle for real. So, despite my love of YA books, and the fact I’ve read a fair few of those in recent times, I have wide-ranging tastes on the book front, and I do occasionally read books intended solely for those of us aged 18 or over! I’ve been of age for a quarter of a century now, plus I hinted at badassery in the title of this blog and I didn’t want to disappoint my readers, lol!

It’s like going to the cinema, except that books are usually much better than their films, but I make the cinema comparison because you have all the film certificates, and when you’re a little kid, you can only go and see U rated films which are suitable for all (universal). As you get older, you can start seeing 12 rated films, then 15 rated films… Then you turn 18 and become an adult, and you can see any damn film you like! However, just because you might now get to see erotic films or horror films, that doesn’t mean that you won’t still want to go and see the latest Disney Pixar one as well!

Similar thing with books… As you grow up, you read books suitable for your age and reading ability, so you get older and get to read more and more books… As most books don’t actually have age restrictions, except erotica, you could actually read horror novels before you get to 18 should you wish to have the living shit scared out of you! Not my cup of tea, but a lot of teens go through a Stephen King phase, as my sister did at that age. Anyway, once you get to 18, you can read any damn book you want, including all the steamy stuff, the Black Lace paperbacks, and all that malarkey, but it doesn’t stop you reading The Fault In Our Stars as well!

As I said before, horror is definitely not my bag! If I want to read any Stephen King, I might tackle one of his non-horror books. Quite a few people on book groups on Facebook recommend 11.22.63, about the Kennedy assassination. It’s supposed to be a time-travel novel. I do have The Green Mile somewhere in this room, so I could read that one.

My other charity shop finds from the other day include The Death and Life of Charlie St.Cloud, by Ben Sherwood, and I’m Not Scared, by Niccolo Ammaniti. Thing is, about that latter one, it’s also the title of an 80s synth hit for Eighth Wonder in 1988, written for Patsy Kensit’s band by the Pet Shop Boys, who recorded their own version of it on Introspective, of course, so please excuse me if that song is on my brain when I see the book! I’ve been a biased Pethead for years!

I should do that as a List Challenges book list – book titles which are also song titles! There’s a book by Wally Lamb, a big chunky novel, called I Know This Much Is True, and any time I see the book in a book store or on a list on List Challenges, I automatically think of the chorus of True by Spandau Ballet! Actually, I have a book here in Computer Corner, by Kate Furnivall, called Under a Blood Red Sky, and that novel shares its name with a U2 album!

Anyway, before I waffle on any further about books which share their titles with songs or entire albums, I think it’s about time I brought this gnarly middle-aged badassery to a close for now! Until the vaguely book-related nonsense from me appears on your computers again, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • The Guest Cat – Takashi Hiraide
  • The Girl of Ink & Stars – Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • American Housewife – Helen Ellis
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • The Diary of a Submissive – Sophie Morgan
  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
  • 11.22.63 – Stephen King
  • The Green Mile – Stephen King
  • The Death and Life of Charlie St.Cloud – Ben Sherwood
  • I’m Not Scared – Niccolo Ammaniti
  • I Know This Much Is True – Wally Lamb
  • Under a Blood Red Sky – Kate Furnivall

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Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Facebook & Other Social Media, List Challenges, Music, My Bookworm History, YA Books

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Is Not In The Book Chest!

I Am Zlatan

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

You’ve heard of Howard’s End Is On The Landing, by Susan Hill, which, appropriately enough is on the landing here at home, but tonight’s book blog is named in honour of this evening’s search for a football autobiography and the realisation that it was not where I thought I’d put it! Don’t even ask me how many books I own! Hundreds of them, at the very least! They are everywhere! I have more books than I have storage space, and enough to last me several lifetimes! Even if I were a cat and had nine lives, I’d probably have more books than I could read in all nine of those!

Anyway, with constant talk of the Swedish international footballer being linked with a free transfer to the club I love, I thought I would have I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic a bit closer to hand, and I headed out to our garage to look in the book chest. I found plenty of books of interest in there, but no Zlatan! Oh Zlatan, where art thou?! I brought in a couple of short novels by Andrey Kurkov – Death And The Penguin, and Penguin Lost, in exchange for One Day, by David Nicholls, which I have read some years ago, and I found a few interesting items of non-fiction, including Stasiland by Anna Funder, Nothing To Envy by Barbara Demick, and The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad, but no sign of Mr Ibrahimovic!

Actually, when I was reading Nick Hornby’s book, which I finished the other night, he mentioned both Stasiland and Nothing To Envy, which reminded me that I had those books. I knew I certainly had Stasiland, and thought I also had the one about North Korea, and indeed I have! As I said, I’ve finished Stuff I’ve Been Reading, and I made further inroads with The Guest Cat this afternoon. I’m not too far from the end of that one now. It’s a nice book, as I’ve said, quite sweet, but it doesn’t really pull me back in the way some other books do. Perhaps because it’s Japanese and too polite to make demands of me! It never seems to say to me, “Oi! Joanne! When are you gonna get on with me again?!”

Some books do that to me, and others don’t. A Little Life beckons me over every few days at least for another lengthy session. The Guest Cat just waits around patiently for me to get it out of my handbag and have another read, whenever that might be! On the other hand, The Guest Cat possibly knows it has the advantage of being a slim book which has been in my handbag for months, it knows how portable it is, therefore it knows I can easily read it on the go somewhere. A Little Life is a big chunky wodge of a book and, even though I also have it on my Kindle, I’d have to find where I was up to between the two editions I own (paperback and ebook) and update each. So that is a different matter entirely, which means when I am home and reading A Little Life, I read it in bigger chunks at a time to compensate for not really reading it on the move, apart from when I was going to Wembley for the FA Cup Final.

Before we return to the whereabouts of Mr Ibrahimovic, or at least the whereabouts of the Swedish footballer’s book within our house, I’d just like to let off steam about the fact that some people are still more bothered about authors than what they’re actually writing! By that, I mean, some people are still rather too bothered about whether a book is written by a man or a woman, whether they’re black, white, or whatever, whether they’re gay or straight, what nationality they are, what faith… Seriously, who bloody cares as long as they write well and you enjoy what they have to say in their books?! It’s 2016, for crying out loud, not the bloody Victorian times! Why should it still be a big deal about the gender of an author? I honestly couldn’t give two shiny shites!

I give a shit about the plot if it’s fiction, or the subject matter if it’s non-fiction, and whether a book is readable or hard-going. Are they writing about something which floats my boat, such as music, books or football? (Or volcanoes – I have had an interest in those since I was about 8.) Can I get through the book fairly quickly, or is the writing style such that I feel like I’m wading through treacle? Have they researched their subject well, or are there glaring inaccuracies? Has it been proof-read or are there any spelling errors or grammatical errors which the publishing house should have corrected before going to print? Is it an interesting read, or a bit chalk-dry and a cure for insomnia? THESE are the concerns I have when it comes to books!

Does the book make me laugh? Humour is a big plus as far as I’m concerned, and I’ve found it just as much in non-fiction as I’ve found it in fiction! Some of the funniest books I’ve ever read have been factual! Fever Pitch, by Nick Hornby, springs to mind! I laughed my head off reading that! Not literally, obviously, as I still have a head, lol, but you know what I mean! I totally recommend Fever Pitch, and you don’t even have to be a Gooner to like it. I’m not a Gooner, and I loved it! If you’re a match-going football fan, you’ll find things to relate to! I think it may even have been a World Book Night book a few years ago! Just looked up previous World Book Night books, and it wasn’t. Perhaps I was getting mixed up with The Damned United, by David Peace, which WAS a WBN book in 2012, the same year I gave out copies of The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, as a Book Giver on my 39th birthday! Oh well, Fever Pitch SHOULD be a World Book Night book!

I’ve not read The Damned United, although I own a copy somewhere, and I have seen the film, starring Martin Sheen as Brian Clough. It’s about Cloughie’s very short time as manager of Leeds United way back in the early to mid 1970s, he was in charge for 44 days if I’m not mistaken, and Leeds did utterly shite while he was in charge, so for those of us who detest LUFC, it is actually very funny! Cloughie’s time in charge of Leeds makes even Moyesy’s time at Old Trafford look good! And that’s saying something, ’cause most of 2013-14 was bloody awful!

So, I was going to return to the whereabouts of Zlatan, or at least the whereabouts of his autobiography, wasn’t I? When I was in the garage, looking in the book chest and not finding what I was looking for, as per the U2 song, lol, I was thinking it must be in my room somewhere. And it was. Thankfully, the first place I checked was in part of my wardrobe unit, and it was on the shelf in there, so I have got it out, ready to have to hand should Mr Ibrahimovic fancy a couple of seasons at Old Trafford before he hangs up his boots or does the MLS thing like a load of old footballers seem to do these days when they get a bit too long in the tooth for the Premier League and the other major European leagues of any importance! (Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, etc…)

Of course, this actually depends on Zlatan’s choice, which he has not yet made. I’d quite like to see him at United, even if he is getting on a wee bit, but we’ll have to see. In the meantime, I am getting on with The Rules of the Game, by Pierluigi Collina, the former referee, the guy who reffed our European Cup Final vs Bayern Munich when we won the Treble in 1999. I was going to mention something, but, no, I won’t give away any spoilers, but let’s just say there’s quite an interesting revelation from him about his preparation for that night in the Nou Camp… Now, you’re all going to have to order copies and read it for yourselves, aren’t you?!

Time I got off my computer and got some reading done! Until I blog again, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • Howard’s End Is On the Landing – Susan Hill
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • Death And the Penguin – Andrey Kurkov
  • Penguin Lost – Andrey Kurkov
  • One Day – David Nicholls
  • Stasiland – Anna Funder
  • Nothing To Envy – Barbara Demick
  • The Bookseller of Kabul – Asne Seierstad
  • Stuff I’ve Been Reading – Nick Hornby
  • The Guest Cat – Takashi Hiraide
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby
  • The Damned United – David Peace
  • The Rules of the Game – Pierluigi Collina


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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Football, Literary Issues, Rants, Sports, The TBR Pile, World Book Night