Monthly Archives: January 2017

Half A Book, Half A Book, Half A Book Onwards…


Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Back again! This will either be the last blog of January 2017, or the first of February! Anyway, The Ashes of London was finished earlier this evening, in time for my book club meeting on Thursday! Yay! 4 books out of 30 on my Goodreads Challenge for this year. It’s a relatively low amount due to recent years and a few bad bouts of Reader’s Block. If I can get to that amount part-way through the year, I shall set a new total.

So, what to do next? Obviously, I always have books on the go, several of them, but I thought it might be a good idea to get a few half-read books finished off. Any I finish this year, even if I started them long ago, will count towards the Book Challenge, so let’s have a shufty at some of my half-read books, a few of which are in the photo…

Let’s start with Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. This is actually my dad’s. I bagsied it years ago! Ah well, I could always either give him his copy back and get one of my own, or perhaps get him a brand new copy of it. He’s 70 this autumn, so that might be an idea for a pressie. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, by Louis de Bernieres, is my own copy, but, as with Catch 22, it’s quite a long time since I started it. In fact, I think I started it way back in the 1990s! Oops! I really should give some serious thought to getting those two finished off at long bloody last, shouldn’t I?!

Jamrach’s Menagerie, by Carol Birch, has been in my collection for about 5 or 6 years now, and I am around two thirds of the way through it. No idea why my reading of this book became disrupted, although Reader’s Block might account for that situation, as it might for A Street Cat Named Bob, by James Bowen. I believe that one has been made into a film now. I’ve had Ghostwritten, by David Mitchell, for a good few years, too, although, to be fair, I did only start reading it last year, along with the audiobook. The CDs are on my laptop, so I could always resume that novel.

Another couple I picked up last year, and started last year, are There’s Only Two David Beckhams, by John O’Farrell, and The Diary of a Submissive, by Sophie Morgan, but as I have looked around, and started this blog, I have found a few others around Computer Corner which are half-read books! Oh dear! Eva Luna, by Isabel Allende, was started quite a long time ago, I think. As were The English, by Jeremy Paxman, The Beach Hut, by Veronica Henry, and Guernica, by Dave Boling!

So, I really DO need to get some finished off… And these are not books I’ve only just started, these are books I’m at least half-way through! So, I was reading them and enjoying them at some point, but, for some reason or another, that came to a halt when I was in the middle of each of these books!

Therefore, as well as all the other books, the book club choices, and any other partially-read tomes, I’m going to have to get some of these books finished!

I know there are even more than those I’ve listed here. Indeed, The Snowman, by Jo Nesbo, is half-read. I also think there are one or two on the notorious Duplicate Books List, which I have started but not yet finished. The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick de Witt is definitely one of those.

Do I have a plan? Nope! But what I can do is get some of these read and finished off alongside other books. If I have them close at hand and where I can see them, I’m likely to be reminded of their existence, which gives them more chance of being read! I can get Why We Love Music finished, though. I’m pretty close to finishing that one anyway! Talking of music, I’ve also started I Know This Much, by¬†Gary Kemp. As I said the other day, there is a need to get that one read, as I’m meeting up with my friend soon, and she lent me that book. If I can get that one read, I can return it to her, along with Usain Bolt‘s autobiography, Faster Than Lightning, which I read last year.

I know this blog is not one of my long ones, but we’ve got down to the basics tonight – I’ve got a right shitload of half-read books, and there’s probably a few more lurking in the Book Chest in our garage! So, I’d better get on with some reading, hadn’t I? Expect to see a few previously-mentioned books enjoying a revival in future blog entries! For now though, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Ashes of London – Andrew Taylor
  • Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernieres
  • Jamrach’s Menagerie – Carol Birch
  • A Street Cat Named Bob – James Bowen
  • Ghostwritten – David Mitchell
  • There’s Only Two David Beckhams – John O’Farrell
  • The Diary of a Submissive – Sophie Morgan
  • Eva Luna – Isabel Allende
  • The English – Jeremy Paxman
  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • Guernica – Dave Boling
  • The Snowman – Jo Nesbo
  • The Sisters Brothers – Patrick de Witt
  • Why We Love Music – John Powell
  • I Know This Much – Gary Kemp
  • Faster Than Lightning – Usain Bolt

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Filed under Books, Half-Finished Books, The TBR Pile

Let There Be Light!


(Please note that I started this on Monday 30th January, but didn’t finish it until the early hours of 31st…)

Good evening, fellow Bookworms, and for the first time this year, I can shed some light on the subject, lol! Not sure if I did mention it in previous blogs, but I’d been having a spot of bother with my bedroom lights at various points last year, which about sums up how f***ed up 2016 was, doesn’t it?!

Anyway, they buggered up again between Christmas and New Year, as per sod’s law, and we tried to contact the electrician we know. Unfortunately, the poor bloke has been quite badly ill since before Christmas, and has only recently been well enough to resume work. I was on the way home from my weekly volunteering stint in Salford when I received the good news from Mum, that he had been and I now have working lights again. Yippee! ūüôā

My lads are back to winning ways, too, I’m pleased to report! Yes, we booked our place in the League Cup Final on Thursday, but that had been despite losing away to Hull City on the night – we went through 3-2 on aggregate. Not what you call convincing, but my lads are going to Wembley. The first half yesterday, in the other domestic cup tournament, wasn’t too convincing, either, as Wigan Athletic came to Old Trafford for the 4th round of the FA Cup. Yes, we do have decent strength in depth, but I do wish that pillock of a manager would not make so many changes – I’m pretty sure that’s why it took almost the entire first half for the players to get to know each other! Why can’t we have a more settled side, Jose? A settled back four would be good! Perhaps there’d be less fannying around at the back if we stuck with mostly the same personnel on the pitch from match to match? Just a thought…

Anyway, a brilliant header from Marouane Fellaini gave us the lead just before half time, and then Chris Smalling, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Bastian Schweinsteiger got in on the act in the second half, helping us to a 4-0 win against Wigan, a familiar scoreline against them – we gave them some right thrashings at times when they were in the Premier League for 8 seasons! And we wallopped them 4-0 in the 2006 League Cup Final, too!

Before we get on to books, just a little more footy… my lads are away to Blackburn Rovers in the 5th round of the FA Cup. Ties to be played over the period of 17th to 20th February.

Right then, time I got my bookwormy arse in gear and started discussing reading matter! The Ashes of London, is, as you know, priority reading matter right now, my book club meeting is on Thursday. I am enjoying the book, and although it’s a chunky one, I’m getting through it, not much more to read until it’s finished. Also getting to the end of Why We Love Music. The thing is, with non-fiction, once you’ve got to the end of the main bit, you can say you’ve read it. There might be some index or glossary at the back of the book, perhaps some footnotes, references, discography if the book is about a singer or a band, like the George Michael biography I recently finished…. So, I shall soon finish the John Powell book.

The books in the photo were charity shop acquisitions from earlier today. We have The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, by Claire North, The Sunrise, by Victoria Hislop, now that I’m reasonably satisfied that I don’t already own a copy of this book, lol! The other book is The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, by Natasha Pulley.

Now watch a previously-acquired copy of The Sunrise surface somewhere near here, lol! If it doesn’t turn up somewhere in a pile of books in this room, I’ll find it in the Book Chest in the garage… it’ll be sod’s law that I will find that I DID buy a copy of it prior to today, and that it will have to be added to the notorious Duplicate Books List! I’ve got enough books on that already, although I don’t think I’ve got one by Victoria Hislop on that list.

I WILL go through that list again at some point. Not now, however! I don’t really want to be typing out a load of titles at the end on top of any that I mention during the course of my usual waffle, so it needs a blog entry of its own.

Right, time for an update in the early hours of Tuesday 31st January… I am now 82% of the way through The Ashes of London, with fewer than 100 pages left to read, so I hope to have it read for Thursday evening when it’s my book club meeting. And then I realise I had a mug of tea… thankfully, still just about warm enough to be drinkable! Can’t be doing with a cold cuppa! Urgh!

Bookworm Problem – being so engrossed in a book that you forget about your brew!

Anyway, that chunky novel should soon be read, thus not only will I be able to go to book club on Thursday and say that I read it and I enjoyed it, but it would get another book onto my Goodreads Challenge, and my longest so far this year. 482 pages, so quite sizeable. The Saffron Trail is longer, though. That has 521 pages. What is it with historical fiction? I’ve said this before in my blog, I know, but such novels tend to be chunky doorstoppers! The Ashes of London is, rather obviously, set in 1666, during and just after the Great Fire of London, and The Saffron Trail jumps around in time, between recent times and back to both the Second World War and the 1970s, just after the Vietnam War, or at least as it was coming to an end. Some time around 1973 or 1974, back when I was a baby, anyway…

I am not quite as far into The Saffron Trail, as the other book has had to have priority, but as the two main female characters meet up in Morocco for food and photography purposes respectively, one of them is trying to trace her past, which includes a family member from the US who had sent a postcard from Morocco to his mother some time around 1974 with a fancy door on it. I can confirm that there are a lot of fancy doors in Morocco, lol! Indeed, the artwork and decor over there is well worth a visit so that you, too, can admire it!

Having got a significant chunk of my book club reading matter read, I think I shall get this finished and published, so that brings us to the end of tonight’s blog. Join us next time for more utter waffle with occasional mentions of books, lol, and don’t forget to switch off your sets! Er, sorry, that’s what they used to say in the old days when television channels used to close down for the night! Anyway, take care and, until I blog again, Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Ashes of London – Andrew Taylor
  • Why We Love Music – John Powell
  • George Michael: The Biography – Rob Jovanovic
  • The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August – Claire North
  • The Sunrise – Victoria Hislop
  • The Watchmaker of Filigree Street – Natasha Pulley
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley

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Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Football, Historical Fiction, Travel

Find Time To Read!

Row of Penguin BooksGood afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

This blog entry has been prompted by one of my best friends on Facebook, Liz Craig, in Bashaw, Alberta, Canada. Her local library is having a Family Literacy Day, and people are being encouraged to read for 15 minutes and report on it. So, my friend is possibly having a read as well as something to eat right now, thus I might as well blog!

Looks like George Michael: The Biography, by Rob Jovanovic, might be the next book to be finished and listed on my Goodreads Challenge for 2017. I am also over halfway with The Ashes of London, by Andrew Taylor, although I could do with getting that finished for Thursday, as it’s my book club meeting in the coming week! I am also nearing the end of Why We Love Music, by John Powell, so there are several books in the pipeline which I might finish in the coming days, which is very good news for the book challenge, although it will give me the age-old bookworm dilemma of what the hell to read next!

I think one of them will have to be I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau, by Gary Kemp. My friend Sarah lent it to me ages ago, along with Faster Than Lightning, by Usain Bolt, which I read last year. I will be seeing Sarah on 19th February as we’re going to see the Pet Shop Boys in concert at the Manchester Arena, so getting the Gary Kemp book read would be a pretty good idea, lol! Funnily enough, there is actually a novel called I Know This Much Is True. It’s a big chunky book by Wally Lamb. Any time I see it in a bookshop, it makes me think of the chorus of “True” by Spandau Ballet!

You should know by now that¬†I’m an 80s music nut! I was 10 when “True” was number one in 1983, so I remember it pretty damn well. It was number one just after my birthday, I think, although the number one on the day I reached double figures was “Let’s Dance” by the late great David Bowie.

Despite losing 2-1 last night, my lads booked their place in the League Cup Final at Wembley next month. The semi-finals are over two legs, so our 2-0 home win plus the away goal last night saw us through 3-2 despite the rubbish performance and defeat last night. Fair dos to Hull City, though. They were at home, and clearly up for it, even if the penalty they were given was the most dubious ever awarded – two of their players bumped into each other! Nothing our guys did wrong, but the idiotic ref gave the spot kick! As the song goes, Fergie’s right, the refs are shite!

I’d suggest they read the rule book more carefully, but they might need it in large print or Braille judging by their apparent visual difficulties when they’re on the pitch and refereeing a match…

So, applying for tickets starts on Monday. If Mum and I are successful, I will be taking a book or two down to Wembley with me in my handbag, and probably my Kindle as well, as I did for the FA Cup Final in May last year. That worked pretty well, really, especially on the way down, when I got a lot of reading done. Too busy celebrating and eating on the return journey back to Old Trafford, though.

Obviously, slim books are the preferred choices for Handbag Books, as I’ve mentioned in previous blog entries, but it also depends on what my book club book is, which I won’t know until after 2nd February when we meet up, discuss The Ashes of London, and then choose our next book. It depends on whether I’m enjoying the book, and the thickness, or otherwise, of the said reading matter. The cup final is on 26th February, so if we choose something not too chunky, and which I am enjoying, I may well be taking it on the coach down to Wembley, but we shall see.

Two David Beckhams and FA Cup Bookmark

I guess I could finish off There’s Only Two David Beckhams, by John O’Farrell. It’s a reasonably slim book, footy-related, and would make a good Handbag Book! I put the photo on here, though, to show the cross-stitched bookmark I made last year after our FA Cup victory over Crystal Palace. It was the 12th time United had won the FA Cup. If we win the League Cup next month, it will be the 5th time we’ve won that particular trophy. Our 4 victories, so far, came in 1992, 2006, 2009 and 2010, the first time we’d ever won a cup tournament back to back, although we’d won back to back league titles and even three league titles in a row before then. The FA Cup winning years bookmark is currently being used in The Saffron Trail, by Rosanna Ley, one of my current ongoing concerns on the reading front – the one which reminds me of my holiday in Morocco!

The Pie At Night, by Stuart Maconie, is another distinct possibility. It’s a sort-of belated follow-up to the brilliant Pies And Prejudice, which I read some years ago now. In that book, Maconie had been living and working down south, but overhearing some remark about having a Harvey Nichols in Leeds set him off on a journey back home and a tour around the north of England, various towns and cities, to rediscover his true Northern-ness. He’s from Wigan, hence the pie references in the titles! Pies are a very important matter to many of us northerners, but especially in Wigan! I’ve been to Wigan a few times, so I can confirm this! Anyway, The Pie At Night is about what the north does by way of fun and entertainment. It’s not too chunky, so it’d make a decent Handbag Book.

There are, of course, the books on the infamous Duplicate Books List, but I am NOT going into detail about those¬†in this blog, as those buggers need a blog entry of their own to list all eighteen of them – I think it’s 18 books on the list. It’s certainly at least 17… They are mostly fiction, although there’s some non-fiction on the list, and one which I would class as “mind, body and spirit” and all I will say is that these are books of which I own two copies! Sometimes, it has happened by accident because they have different covers and I had genuinely forgotten I already had that book. At least one or two of them happened because I thought I had lost or given away the original, only to find I still had it, and there are one or two on the list which I knew I had, somewhere, but I didn’t have a Scooby where it was, so I got another copy in case I fancied reading it so that I knew where at least one copy was lurking!

My main aim now is to try to prevent any more books ending up on that notorious list, which is why I didn’t treat myself to The Sunrise,¬†by Victoria Hislop, when I saw it for a quid in the sales at Waterstone’s. I think, sadly, that I did myself out of a bargain there as I don’t think I already own a copy of that one. And it was the hardback, too!

Anyway, I’m off to take my own advice from the title of this blog, lol, and get a bit of reading done, so that’s about it for now! Until the next time I’m back on here waffling on, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • George Michael: The Biography – Rob Jovanovic
  • The Ashes of London – Andrew Taylor
  • Why We Love Music – John Powell
  • I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau – Gary Kemp
  • Faster Than Lightning – Usain Bolt
  • I Know This Much Is True – Wally Lamb
  • There’s Only Two David Beckhams – John O’Farrell
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • The Pie At Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Pies And Prejudice – Stuart Maconie
  • The Sunrise – Victoria Hislop

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Football, Half-Finished Books, Music, The TBR Pile

Actual Facts – None of your Alternative nonsense here!


Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to another blog entry, and as usual, there’ll probably be plenty of waffle, but you know that already if you are a regular reader of this nonsense, lol! What you do know is that you will get actual facts from me! You’ll get a shedload of opinion too, that goes without saying, but you will get facts. No bullshit, or “alternative facts” as Mr Fart calls them! The less said about that arsehole, the better, other than to say that this blog is the anti-Fart! We’re old-fashioned here, we still do truth, we still do facts, we don’t do bollocks or bullshit – if I did, I’d be an MP, not a blogger!

Right, let’s not waste any more time or typing¬†on knobheads. Let’s get on to the subject at hand… BOOKS! I finished off In Bloom, by Matthew Crow, the other night, so I now have two finished books on my Goodreads Challenge for 2017. Just another 28 to go, then, lol! Over half-way with The Ashes of London, by Andrew Taylor, and also with the above biography of George Michael, by Rob Jovanovic, so that particular book should be read fairly soon, I would think. Particularly as it’s fairly slim and a good Handbag Book! I was in Waterstone’s the other day, as I’d been in town, and I saw it and bought it. I also bought Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert M. Pirsig.

Not sure entirely what caused that, bit of a whim, I think, but anyway, it’s one of those much talked-about books. Some have listed it on their “life changing books” lists. As I’ve probably said in previous blog entries, I am not sure any book has been life-changing for me, and I’ve been a bookworm since before I started school. That’s a bloody long time! I started in the reception class at primary school in September 1977, so it will be 40 years ago this autumn! And, how do you define life-changing anyway? Perhaps, in my case, it was whichever book turned me into a bookworm even at pre-school age. I have a long memory, but can’t remember exactly which book did it for me. I do know, however, that I was very partial to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle, when I was a little girl, so it may well have been that classic! It was certainly a fun book to read, with all the holes in the food to give the appearance of having been munched through by the caterpillar in question, so it helped me to associate books with fun.

I may hesitate to describe any book as life changing, but there have been some which have helped me out of a slump when I’ve had reader’s block, and some which have reminded me of certain holidays (vacations, if you’re one of my US readers). I’d had a bad bout of Reader’s Block which had caused me to read very little from 2012 to 2015, only the very occasional book giving me enjoyment, such as Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, by Maria Semple, and my 40th birthday holiday in Mexico resulted in my discovery of the brilliant Attention All Shipping, by Charlie Connelly, a journey around the Shipping Forecast which I heartily recommend if you want a good laugh, especially the bit about Faroese puffins, but towards the end of 2015, a couple of books, one non-fiction, and one fiction, helped me back on the book wagon. Those books were Why The Dutch Are Different, by Ben Coates, and The Art of Racing In The Rain, by Garth Stein.

As I said in a recent blog, The Saffron Trail, by Rosanna Ley, is taking me back to Marrakech as I read, making me think of the souks and Jemaa El-Fna Square, and more tagines than you can shake a stick at, lol, but I did buy that book over here before I jetted off to Morocco, and am reading most of it at home, even if I did read some of it at the Riu Tikida Gardens in Marrakech. With Attention All Shipping, it was a different matter, the book had bugger all to do with Mexico, but I actually found it on one of the bookshelves at the El Dorado Seaside Suites and read most of it on a beach bed. It’s just that I hadn’t finished it by the time we jetted off home, so I took it home with me! It reminds me of Mexico because I found the book over there on my jollies, whereas one of my current reads reminds me of a holiday because it’s at least partially set in that particular destination.

The book about the Dutch, and the novel, narrated by the dog, Enzo, helped me out of a reading slump, and I think The Ashes of London is helping me out of a fiction slump which was caused by reading A Little Life last year! Yeah, I’ve read books since I finished Hanya Yanagihara’s epic novel, but the few I read for the remainder of 2016 were non-fiction! Similarly, I’ve been reading a fair bit of non-fiction so far this year, other than The Ashes of London and In Bloom! Currently on the go, I have Why We Love Music, by John Powell, I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, rather obviously, lol, and George Michael: The Biography, by Rob Jovanovic.

This should come as no surprise whatsoever – you know I love non-fiction as much as I love fiction, always have enjoyed factual books as much as stories since I was little, and we’re talking about books concerning two of my other favourite subject matters other than books themselves… music and football! Regular blog readers will know that other favourite subject matters include language, travel, food, various aspects and periods of history, and for some mad reason, volcanoes!

The volcanoes are my dad’s fault, lol! If you go back to really old blogs, particularly where I mention All In The Best Possible Taste, by Tom Bromley, a book I read a few years ago now, I go back to my own square-eyed childhood, which was the same era as Tom’s – I worked out he was only a few months older than me – and I blogged about the programmes that were on telly in our house. Programmes I watched, and programmes that Mum and Dad watched. In at least one blog entry around that time, I certainly mentioned that my dad watched a lot of Open University programmes, usually at weekends or late at night on BBC2. I must have been around 7 or 8, I think, in the juniors at primary school, and a right night owl, as I’ve always been. Dad let me come down to watch a programme with him because he thought it would interest me. It was an erupting volcano, and it was fascinating! Like watching a natural firework display! So, the fact that I’ve had a thing for volcanoes since I was about eight is my dad’s fault! Still pretty glad we don’t have any in the UK, though!


I mentioned, earlier, The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, a book which had helped me out of a bout of Reader’s Block towards the end of 2015. That book is narrated by the dog, and I must have a thing for unusual narration in fiction, as one of my favourite books is The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, and that is narrated by Death. Thanks to the Bookshop Cafe group on Facebook, I have discovered another interesting novel, with unusual narration, that being The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, by Mitch Albom. Music is the narrator of this novel, so there’s a theme of music, and unusual narration. Definitely sounded like my cup of tea! (Even if that’s a coffee in the photo, along with the doughnuts, lol!)

Anyway, talking of liquid refreshment, I need a brew, and that’s a fact, so I am off to put the kettle on, and further book talk will be saved for the next blog, when I hope I might even have got at least one of my current reads finished off, possibly the George Michael biography, and I will probably be waffling on just as much about music or football as about books, but you must be used to that by now, surely?!

Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • In Bloom – Matthew Crow
  • The Ashes of London – Andrew Taylor
  • George Michael: The Biography – Rob Jovanovic
  • Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M. Pirsig
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple
  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • Why The Dutch Are Different – Ben Coates
  • The Art of Racing In The Rain – Garth Stein
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Why We Love Music – John Powell
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • All In The Best Possible Taste – Tom Bromley
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto – Mitch Albom

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Filed under Arsehole Politicians, Autobiography/Biography, Books, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Television, Travel, Volcanoes

Read Amid The Winter’s Snow

An Abby Wright illustration of a women reading a book outside in the snow

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Me again! Back for yet another blog of the book variety, although with a few other things thrown in as well, as I’m sure you expect given that I do tend to waffle on. And we have had some attempt at snow today. We have had that very British form of wintery weather called “trying to snow”. For the benefit of any readers I may have in Canada, the northern states of the USA or parts of northern Europe, including Scandinavia, I must explain Trying To Snow, as it’s not a concept you would understand. Your countries get snow. Proper snow. As in snow up to your eyeballs preventing people from getting to work or school. That sort of snow.

I, however, live in the United Kingdom. When we get what passes for snow, it is VERY feeble compared to the sort of snow you’re accustomed to. It is usually, at best, a light sprinking. More often than not, what we get is sleet, which is rain and snow at the same time, so any snow never sticks. However, as we are not prepared for snow here in the UK, even that light dusting of snow causes people to overreact!

The other thing is, that this Trying To Snow thing seems to have happened a bit earlier than usual. Normally, when Britain gets snow, it happens at the end of January, around the time of the 4th round of the FA Cup. Thus, it is a fortnight too early for Trying To Snow! No wonder it’s such a pathetic attempt round here! Not that I want any snow, and certainly not on that final weekend of this month, as my lads are at home to Wigan in the FA Cup, and also it’s Chinese New Year that weekend, so I was hoping to go to the match on the Saturday and into town on the Sunday to celebrate the Year of the Rooster!

Anyway, at this time of year, the cold weather, and any snow you might get, is a perfect excuse to snuggle up with a good book. See?! Bear with me, we do get on to books eventually, lol! My niece is enjoying her Roald Dahl books, by the way. She is now getting into some longer books than she’d previously read, though, so she’s at the stage where you may need a bookmark because you might not read it all in one go. Then again, Charlotte does seem to take after me, so the chances are that she is very capable of reading a book in one sitting if she is really enjoying it!

So, what to read when the north wind doth blow and we shall have snow? Do you go for wintery books to match the weather, or do you go for something with a warmer setting? You could decide to read The Snowman, by Jo Nesbo, but then again The Saffron Trail, by Rosanna Ley would be a better choice, transporting you to the souks and medinas of Marrakech, Morocco, and some distinctly warmer temperatures than we’re having here right now. Actually, I might get back to that and get on with it. It would have the advantage of reminding me of when I was in Marrakech in November!

Tagines. Saw a load of those in Marrakech, and had plenty of meals cooked in them! I had previously thought tagine meant “stew” or “casserole” but the tagine is the cone-lidded vessel the meals are cooked in, on a charcoal-fuelled device along similar lines to a barbecue. Yes, most of the meals do resemble stews, but they are known as tagines after the cooking pots they’re made in, and often served up in. As well as the food and the winter sun, the fact that you don’t have to alter your watch if you’re coming from the UK is also a big plus! Morocco is on the same time as us, being directly south of the United Kingdom. The one slight issue to be aware of is that you can’t take their money in or out of their country. But it’s not exactly a major problem.

See? You don’t just get book reviews and recommendations from me, you get travel advice and recommendations, too! Get your arse to Morocco! Go and visit Jemaa El-Fna Square in Marrakech! You’ll feel so good checking it off on List Challenges when you’re going through the travel lists and it’s one of the places you’ve been. It is one of those famous squares, it’s on a lot of to-do lists. Anyroad, back to books…

I was saying that you might want some books set in warmer climes to help you take your mind off the damn snow, wasn’t I?! That’s how I ended up wittering on about Morocco, lol! Others might say, however, that reading about warmer settings would just be rubbing it in that you’re not somewhere hot and sunny, you’re stuck indoors in some chilly part of this planet, shivering your wotsits off! If it’s cold outside, you might as well read books set in cold climates.One of the books on my never-ending TBR pile is Land of the Midnight Sun, by Alexander Armstrong, a non-fiction account of his Arctic adventures. Yep, that’s the guy who presents the quiz show Pointless on BBC1! Well, one of the guys who presents Pointless. Not Richard Osman, he’s the one at the computer, who gives out all the stats and facts… I mean the guy who actually presents the show and asks the pairs of contestants for their answers.

Ooh, I need to catch up with Pointless, not seen today’s yet. Yesterday’s was great, and the two ladies who got to the final won the jackpot by correctly guessing that Henrik Larsson was one of the players who’d scored at least one goal during the 2000 European Championships. He had, and no-one from the 100 people surveyed had said his name, so he was a pointless answer. One of the girls admitted she knew nothing about footy, but her boyfriend was a massive Celtic fan and he’d advised her that if a football question came up, she should try Henrik Larsson as an answer, so she did so, in the final, and won the money!

I like Henrik, we had him on loan for a couple of months, this time of year ten years ago. Although he didn’t really play enough Premier League games to qualify for a medal, I’m pretty sure Sir Alex Ferguson had a discretionary medal sent to him when we won the league that May. He was at Helsingborgs, in his native Sweden, but at this time of year, you can’t play footy due to all the snow – yeah, we’re back to the white flaky stuff again – so their season runs from around March or April until about November of the same year. As he waited for his new season to start, Fergie got him to come to us on loan for a couple of months!

It IS snowing now. Actual proper snow. Not trying to snow, as was the case earlier today! I mean seriously large white flakes of celestial dandruff! As this is the case, perhaps I’d better call it a day with this blog and make myself another mug of tea!

What do you like to read when it’s cold outside? Books about hot places, or about cold places? Do feel free to comment and let me know!

Until the next time I blog, whenever that is, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Snowman – Jo Nesbo
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Land of the Midnight Sun: My Arctic Adventures – Alexander Armstrong

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Filed under Books, British Weather, Football, Television, Travel

Well, That Escalated Quickly!


Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Someone remind me not to do that again for a long time… last night’s blog, I mean… Schoolboy error! Listing all the books I’ve read by certain authors. It ended up with me typing out a right long list at the end of it, and that’s considering I just lumped the 7 main Harry Potter books together as the series, and I also forgot one author of whose output I had read more than one item! Can’t believe I forgot¬†Sir Terry Pratchett! If I had remembered the three Discworld novels I have read to date, The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, and Equal Rites, my list would have been even longer than it already was! Time I read another of his, actually. Perhaps I should read Mort, although I might wait as I do have The Ashes of London and I Am Zlatan Ibtahimovic to get on with right now…

It all started out because of my current reading matter for the Waterstone’s Deansgate book club, and that’s because we’d already read one of Andrew Taylor’s previous books. That led to me thinking about authors of whose works I’d read more than one! Not something to be contemplated again for quite some time! Not unless I want to be typing out a mammoth book list at the end. Which I don’t, really. I don’t mind a bit of a list, but that one was particularly long and would have been even longer if I’d remembered the Pratchett books, and if I had listed each of the seven main Harry Potter books individually. I have, of course, listed them individually on List Challenges as I’ve started this year’s “Books Mentioned on Joanne’s Bookshelf Blog” list. This will grow and grow as I mention books on here that I’ve not already mentioned this year in previous blogs and then at the end of 2017, or the start of 2018, the list will be published and you can all see if you’ve read any of the books I’ve mentioned throughout the year.

I won’t have read them all, lol! I will have read quite a few of them, of course, but there will be the partially-read books, and then the books which get mentioned but which I have not read. I’ve been doing this blog for a good few years now. Think I started in 2010. Those of you who’ve followed it for a while know that it goes off at a tangent at times. It is full of utter waffle, and I throw a lot of other matters into the mix as well as books! I go off on rants occasionally, sometimes I witter on about music or football. Or both. Then again, those are two of my other interests, and I DO read quite a lot of books about music, and a lot about football, so I am perfectly justified in bringing up these subjects in this blog, even if I do also have a football blog, In Off My Chest, also hosted by WordPress. That one’s been going since around 2011, so you have a good few years of footy waffle from me on that blog should you be at a very loose end and be bored enough to want to read any of that!

Ooh! Talking of footy and books, something’s just come up on my news feed on Facebook from the Premier League Years page… a promotion for a book on Amazon about its first season! That should be a good ‘un for me! Premier League Years 1992/93: The Story of the Inaugural Premier League Season, by Andrew Hyslop. Mind you, I already know that story pretty well. I can still remember so much of that season, even though it is now 24 years ago! Talking of which, today is the 24th anniversary of United going top of the Premier League for the very first time, after a 4-1 victory at home to Spurs. If you’re not careful, I’ll start waffling on about Eric Cantona and THAT pass to Denis Irwin for our 2nd goal in that match…

So, I have photos on List Challenges for all the books I mention, but sometimes it can be a bit of a challenge to get hold of a picture of a cover, and that’s with books which have been published. What am I supposed to do with a book of which I have a free uncorrected proof copy because the book is not actually due for publication until April? When I was at my book club meeting on Thursday, I remembered one of the huge perks of that book club… sometimes there are free books! Often ones which have not come out yet. Uncorrected proofs. A year or two ago, I ended up with a free proof copy of The Chimes by Anna Smaill before it was due for publication, and I now have a book called Skintown, by Ciaran McMenamin. Thing is, I can’t get a damn picture for it to put on List Challenges! I think I am going to have to wait until 6th April, or thereabouts, when the book IS published, and then I will be able to get an image on the internet and put it on List Challenges, then drag that particular book back to its rightful place on the list, which would be just after The Chimes.

I think I got my free hardback of The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton, at a book club meeting, possibly even the same one at which I got The Chimes, but not necessarily. Had one or two freebies – The Night Guest, by Fiona McFarlane was another I bagsied at book club! However, I’ve not had this problem before, as I’d not joined List Challenges back then, so the fact that The Chimes fell into my hands before publication wasn’t a logistical problem on the internet. Skintown, as I said, will have to join the list as soon as it is able to and the image will be backdated on the list to where we have agreed just now. Pretty sure there’s a couple of others knocking around in my room which I picked up as freebies at book club!

I should try to get some other books read, though. Ones which have been hanging around for a long time! Perhaps the books on the Duplicate Books List. If you’re new to this blog, you might want to read some of last year’s blog entries about the number of books of which I own two copies! I’m not going into that right now, that’s for another time as there are about 17 or 18 of those buggers, so that would be a blog entry on its own, rather like last night’s.But it is also why I may have missed out on a bargain the other week because I feared I already had the book – the post-Christmas sales were on in the shops, including Waterstone’s, and I saw a hardback copy of The Sunrise, by Victoria Hislop, for ¬£1. Seriously. I shit you not! A hardback for a quid! Unfortunately, I got cold feet and feared that I already had a copy of this book! I have a few of her books, although the only one I have actually read, to date, is The Return. That one is set in Spain, although many of her books are set in Greece, Cyprus and the Greek Islands. Oh, and, yes, she is the wife of Ian Hislop of “Have I Got News For You” fame! Just in case you were wondering!

Well, I think the books are calling me back, so I shall finish for now, and call it a night. Until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
  • The Colour of Magic – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • The Light Fantastic – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Equal Rites – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • The Ashes of London – Andrew Taylor
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • Premier League Years 1992/93: The Story of the Inaugural Premier League Season – Andrew Hyslop
  • The Chimes – Anna Smaill
  • Skintown – Ciaran McMenamin
  • The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
  • The Night Guest – Fiona McFarlane
  • The Sunrise – Victoria Hislop
  • The Return – Victoria Hislop

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Filed under Books, Football, Free Books, Handbag Books, List Challenges, Music

Hello Again!

Natural Born Bookworm!

I Read Therefore I Am!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms! I am back! On what would have been David Bowie’s 70th birthday, which is fairly apt, as Bowie was an avid reader. Current working title of this blog entry is “Hello Again” – not just because I’m blogging once more, but also because my current book club selection is a novel by an author whose literary output we have experienced previously. Sensibly, as there were plenty of copies in stock at Waterstone’s, we opted to go for The Ashes of London, by Andrew Taylor, a bit of a chunky novel, and one set in 1666 during the Great Fire of London. As far as I am aware, it will be our second book club read by Taylor, as we read The Anatomy of Ghosts a year or two ago. I remember quite enjoying that one, actually.

Obviously, it’s not the first time I will have read more than one book by the same author, there are are a few authors already on the theoretical roll of honour entitled Authors Of Whose Books Joanne Has Read More Than One! J.K. Rowling would obviously top that particular list, as I’ve read all 7 of the main books in the Harry Potter series, and also read the two she brought out some years ago now for Comic Relief, those being Quidditch Through The Ages, and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. So, Rowling tops the leaderboard with 9 books, 7 of them particularly substantial!

I think we’d have to go back to my childhood now, as Roald Dahl would be high up on the list. Read a few of his as a kid. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for certain. I’m a chocoholic as well as a bookworm! I’ve also read James And The Giant Peach, The Twits, George’s Marvellous Medicine and The Magic Finger. So at least 5 for Roald Dahl.

Who would be next? Hmmmm… Possibly Jane Austen. I had to read Pride And Prejudice at high school for GCSE English Literature, so that was the first of her novels. Northanger Abbey came next, at university, although I don’t really recall much about that one. As mentioned in previous blogs, the trouble with literature degrees is that you often have to skim through many of the books on your lists and don’t really get to read them properly! Persuasion was a book club choice, a few years ago, so I have dealt with three Austen novels, of which I have definitely read two, and partially read the other.

I’ve read a few of Paulo Coelho’s books, too. Rather obviously, The Alchemist, possibly his best-known novel, plus Veronika Decides To Die, The Devil And Miss Prym, and also the Manual of the Warrior of Light. So, Coelho would be above Austen on the list, just about, with 4 books of his definitely read by yours truly! There may be a couple of partially read ones of his, too, but perhaps I should finish those off before adding. There’s certainly scope for Coelho to move up the list.

Bill Bryson is a bit of a tricky one in so much as he has written quite a few about his native USA that I wasn’t entirely sure which book or books of his I have read and which I have just got in but not got around to reading yet. I have definitely read Notes From A Small Island, which I absolutely loved, one of the funniest books I’ve ever read, and I know I have read the one which starts “I came from Des Moines. Somebody had to.” and, having looked that up on Google, those are the opening words of The Lost Continent. Thus I have read at least two of Bryson’s travel books.

So, now I think we have definitely come to the “I’ve read a couple of their books” category. George Orwell also makes an appearance here, as I read Animal Farm at high school for GCSE English Literature, and then, out of choice, read 1984 a year or so later, when I was around 17 and at college. Charles Dickens is equal with Orwell, although both books have been read out of choice in his case. I have read A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations, in case you were wondering. There’s certainly scope for more Dickens, perhaps I should read at least another of his some time this year? After all, one of his is on my notorious Duplicate Books List, and I have a few on my Kindle should I wish to read them in e-book format.

I suppose I could also add David Mitchell to the list. I have definitely read Black Swan Green, and I was reading Ghostwritten, and following it along with an audiobook at one stage last year. The CDs from the audiobook are on my laptop, so there’s no reason why I can’t take that one up again and finish it off. I was around halfway through Ghostwritten, as I recall. Not sure what happened. Other things got in the way, I guess. I have a few others of his in as well, so there’s scope for more Mitchell should I feel like it…

Just remembered… John Green needs to be on the list, I’ve definitely read a couple of his. Rather obviously, The Fault In Our Stars is one of them, but I must also say, here, how much I loved An Abundance of Katherines. Might not be to everyone’s tastes, but if you like nerdy characters, you’d enjoy Colin Singleton, lol!

A few¬†from my university days, now… Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood and Jeanette Winterson. From Carter, we have The Magic Toyshop, and her short stories anthology, The Bloody Chamber. I read Surfacing by Margaret Atwood at uni, although it must have been a skim-read as I don’t really remember much about it. However, in more recent times, for my book club, I read The Year of the Flood, which I do remember, lol! Sexing The Cherry, by Winterson, was on one of my reading lists, and the other book of hers¬†which I have read was Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, which I read due to it being turned into a TV drama in the early 90s, starring the late Charlotte Coleman (also of Marmalade Atkins and Four Weddings and a Funeral fame.)

Was about to wrap things up when I remembered that I have read a couple of Matt Haig’s books, one fiction, one non-fiction. I had read The Radleys a while back, a very funny novel about a family of vampires, and then towards the end of 2015, I read Reasons To Stay Alive. One of the main ones, as far as I can see, is so you can read more books! You can’t read any books if you’ve popped your clogs, so all the more reason to get plenty of reading done during your lifetime! So, I shall now leave you to get on with your reading, and I’ll get this published and get on with mine! Until the next time I feel compelled to blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • The Ashes of London – Andrew Taylor
  • The Anatomy of Ghosts – Andrew Taylor
  • The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
  • Quidditch Through The Ages – J. K. Rowling
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them – J. K. Rowling
  • Charlie And The Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
  • James And The Giant Peach – Roald Dahl
  • The Twits ¬†– Roald Dahl
  • George’s Marvellous Medicine – Roald Dahl
  • The Magic Finger – Roald Dahl
  • Pride And Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
  • Persuasion – Jane Austen
  • The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  • Veronika Decides To Die – Paulo Coelho
  • The Devil And Miss Prym – Paulo Coelho
  • Manual of the Warrior of Light – Paulo Coelho
  • Notes From a Small Island – Bill Bryson
  • The Lost Continent – Bill Bryson
  • Animal Farm – George Orwell
  • 1984 – George Orwell
  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  • Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  • Black Swan Green – David Mitchell
  • Ghostwritten – David Mitchell
  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
  • An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
  • The Magic Toyshop – Angela Carter
  • The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories – Angela Carter
  • Surfacing – Margaret Atwood
  • The Year of the Flood – Margaret Atwood
  • Sexing The Cherry – Jeanette Winterson
  • Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson
  • The Radleys – Matt Haig
  • Reasons To Stay Alive – Matt Haig

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Filed under Books, Historical Fiction, My Bookworm History, Travel