Monthly Archives: February 2017

February Review

Natural Born Bookworm!

I Read Therefore I Am!

Hello, again, fellow Bookworms!

Two months of 2017 done and dusted already! Can you believe it?! February has been a very busy, eventful month with plenty of blogs, so it was little wonder I notched up my 100th book blog during the course of this month, and celebrated by listing all the books I’d mentioned in one huge list on List Challenges! It came to 500 books!

The Goodreads Challenge is well on track, and I have now completed 10 books so far this year, adding another five to the five I’d read by the end of January. Jamrach’s Menagerie, by Carol Birch, finally came off the Half-Read Books list, although there are still plenty more of those which need finishing off. My next finish was pretty short – Chronicle of a Death Foretold, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, meaning he can now be added to the list of authors of whose works I’ve read more than one!

I Know This Much, the autobiography of Gary Kemp, Spandau Ballet’s guitarist, was next over the finishing line, as I read that in time to return it to my friend Sarah before we went to see the Pet Shop Boys in concert on 19th February. It had been one of two books she lent me, but I’d read the other one last year.

In the spirit of finally getting around to reading books which I’ve had for absolutely ages, and in a spirit of rebellion against this notion that dystopian novels are the way to go right now, I decided what I needed most from my reading matter was humour! There is far too much gloomy shit going on in real life – the last bloody thing I need is the likes of Orwell, thank you very much! So, I went with Tony Hawks and I was so glad I did – Round Ireland With a Fridge is absolutely brilliant! VERY funny and exactly what I needed!

There have been a few rants. As you can tell from the above paragraph, one of them was about my need to put my mental health first and speak out against a lot of bullshit which does the rounds these days, such as “self-help” and “advice” from so-called life coaches. The other main rant was my periodic insistence that the most important thing about books is their content, NOT what the author looks like! The only thing you need to differentiate between is fiction and non-fiction, NOT between male and female authors!

Oh, and I also had a bit of an incident when my books got all excited and toppled over! Two piles of books fell down when Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored United’s opening goal away to Leicester City! Pleased to report, though, that this seems to have been a one-off occurrence, and that my books have since managed to remain calm despite further United goals and our EFL Cup victory against Southampton at Wembley on Sunday! No books fell over while I was down at the cup final, I’m pleased to report! It brings us on to our final finished book for February, that being Premier League Years 1992/93 by Andrew Hyslop, which I started reading on my Kindle on the way home from Wembley, and I finished reading it yesterday evening!

Just been enjoying some yummy pancakes! Yay for Pancake Day – that one day of the year when you can say someone is a complete tosser and mean it as a compliment, lol! My mum makes awesome pancakes, I think my blog readers ought to know this information, just as much as they ought to know that I have now added a sixth book to my read list for this month, and thus an 11th book overall, as I have read The Book With No Pictures, by B. J. Novak. I’d seen it mentioned on Facebook the other day, and I shared it to my book group on FB. My sister saw my post and it turns out that my niece, Charlotte, has that book, and they’d brought it round for me to read when I got back from my placement this evening! Very funny!

So, those are the finished books this month, now onto the ongoing concerns and new additions to the ongoing concerns! The two chunky ones are The Saffron Trail, by Rosanna Ley, and An Equal Music, by Vikram Seth, and I’m just over halfway in both books now. Then comes I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and I am also just over halfway through our Swedish striker’s autobiography.

The recent additions are The Pie At Night, by Stuart Maconie, and Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella, from which the main protagonist’s mum has gone on the Literary Slap List for being a Daily Fail reader! I’d finished Round Ireland With a Fridge before I went to Wembley, so I needed to add a fresh book to the list of ongoing concerns, and put it to the vote here and on Facebook, with the Maconie book enjoying a narrow victory, rather like the one United enjoyed over Southampton at Wembley, really, lol!

Finding Audrey was found at W H Smith’s when I was at Wythenshawe Hospital last week, visiting my dad. He had a heart attack on 16th February, and had a double bypass op on 23rd, from which he is now recovering well. He is still in hospital at present. It’s a Young Adult novel, but I don’t mind a bit of YA, as regular blog readers will know!

Talking of which, my readership has increased significantly during the course of this month and, at the last count, I had 37 people who follow my book blog, so many thanks to all of you who have chosen to risk it for a biscuit, lol! It is much appreciated!

I simply started blogging in 2010 just for fun, for my own amusement, but it seems others enjoy at least some of my waffle! I’m not Nick Hornby, I’m not blogging for a publication, so I take a leaf out of Frank Sinatra’s book and do it my way! I rant, I let off steam, especially if I think some people are putting many others off reading, I waffle on and on, I go off at tangents, and I often bring football and music into it, but there’s at least a book or two in there somewhere! Often quite a lot of books are mentioned, but there’s usually at least two, even during that time in 2011 when there was rioting and looting on the news and I quoted the manager of a branch of Waterstone’s down in London who said they were staying open and added “If they steal any books, they might actually learn something”!

Well, this is the last day of February, and it’s been a bit mad! Had snow this morning when I was getting ready to head to Eccles, and I have found out, this evening, that Mount Etna is erupting again – I’ve had an interest in volcanoes since I was about 7 or 8, and visited Mount Etna in 2001 when Mum and I were on holiday. We were in Malta on our jollies, but we had a day trip to Sicily and stood on Etna’s slopes. A fortnight later, she burst into lava-spewing life, producing one of the biggest eruptions she’d had in quite some time!

You can blame my dad for my interest in volcanoes, lol! It’s his fault, well to be fair, I think the Open University should take its fair share of responsibility, as it was one of their programmes Dad was watching late one night when I was a kid, and he let me come down to watch because he thought it’d interest me. I’ve read a few books about volcanoes, and have an absolutely MASSIVE book about them – mostly photographic but it does have some writing. This book is so damn big that it is under our coffee table in the living room as it’s the only bloody place it would fit! It’s simply called Volcanoes, and is by Philippe Bourseiller and Jacques Durieux.

Anyway, enough about volcanoes, it’s time I got this blog finished off and published! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Jamrach’s Menagerie – Carol Birch
  • Chronicle of a Death Foretold – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • I Know This Much: From Soho To Spandau – Gary Kemp
  • Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • Premier League Years 1992/93 – Andrew Hyslop
  • The Book With No Pictures – B. J. Novak
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • The Pie At Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • Volcanoes – Philippe Bourseiller and Jacques Durieux

Leave a comment

Filed under Arsehole Politicians, Autobiography/Biography, Books, British Weather, Childrens' Books, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Humour, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Literary Slap List, Month in Review, Music, Rants, Television, Travel, Volcanoes, YA Books

Jaffa Cakes And A Good Book

zlatan-and-pogba-efl-cup-2017* Manchester United – EFL Cup Winners 2017 *

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he is our Swedish hero… Oops, sorry! Still celebrating after yesterday’s trip to Wembley and our 3-2 victory over a very decent Southampton side. To be fair to the Saints, our lads were fannying about so much at the back, that you could hardly blame them for feeling encouraged to have a go, which they did, and they got it back to 2-2 after we’d gone into a 2-0 lead. Fortunately, just when it looked like extra time might be on the cards, we got our late winner and managed to hang on to the lead for the remaining few minutes plus stoppage time!

The other thing I am celebrating is how quickly we managed to get home despite supporting the winning side! Obviously, for those whose side has lost, they leave Wembley first and get back on their coaches and head home, but after we’d watched the lads lift the cup and do a bit of celebrating, we headed back to find our coach. Took a bit of locating, but we found it, and got back on board. Actually, we were fairly quick to set off, and it seemed we managed to get away from the industrial estate which surrounds Wembley Stadium in what must be world-record time, lol! Mum and I also managed to get out of the car-park quickly when we got back to Old Trafford, so we were home before half past midnight! As I said, a world record for getting home from Wembley after seeing United win!

But, anyway, you want to know about the reading matter, don’t you?! I did some reading going down to Wembley, and coming back to Old Trafford. Stuart Maconie‘s The Pie At Night was my book of choice for the journey down, accompanied by a Jaffa Cake or two. Or three… There’s nowt like a good book and some Jaffa Cakes when you’re on the way to a cup final! I was really enjoying Maconie’s book, and looking forward to continuing on the way home after the match…

However, I don’t know what the driver was up to, but during the journey, we couldn’t put the overhead reading lights on, so the coach was pretty dark! Not just tricky eating your food on a dark coach, but pretty much impossible to read a paperback or hardback! Therefore, I couldn’t even read I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic in celebration of our Swedish striker’s goals in the final!

This is where my Kindle came into its own. It is in a cover with a built-in light, so I was able to choose an e-book for the journey back to Old Trafford, and Andrew Hyslop‘s Premier League Years 1992/93 fit the bill nicely, as it was about footy! I must say it could really have done with some proof-reading, I noted quite a few typos and other errors, but it was a great trip down memory lane, back to that first Premier League season!

I had briefly toyed with the idea of reading either Dorothy Must Die, by Danielle Paige, or Ally Carter‘s I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You, the first of the Gallagher Girls books – I had started that one some time ago on my Kindle. However, the prospect of reliving our first ever Premier League title and reading about how we signed Eric Cantona for a bargain £1.2m in November 1992 was impossible to resist, so the footy won, as you suspected it always would!

I was at the start of December 1992 in the Hyslop e-book when we neared Old Trafford and I put my Kindle away, so I am 42% of the way through that book. I am 11% in to The Pie At Night, in case you were wondering. I feel as though I may as well get the Hyslop read – for me a quick read as I reminisce about the 1992-93 season and all the familiar names. The players, the managers, the transfer news… I have managed 9 books so far in 2017 on my Goodreads Challenge, and it would be great to have read ten within the first two months of this year! It would also be my second e-book on the list, having finished off Pear Shaped, by Adam Blain, right at the start of this calendar year to get the 2017 challenge up and running!

As I said, I’d turned my Kindle off, and put it away as we were nearly back at Old Trafford, but I had reached December 1992 in the book, and that would mean a look back at the first Manchester Derby I ever went to. 6th December 1992 at Old Trafford. Absolutely pissing down with rain, and I was in the Stretford End, which was being rebuilt at the time, so it didn’t have a roof at that stage of the season. Therefore, we were provided with pacamacs as we went through the turnstiles… As many people have said, we looked like we were wearing giant condoms, lol! Paul Ince and Mark Hughes scored for us in our 2-1 victory, with Niall Quinn getting a goal back for City, but we hung on for the 3 points. Eric Cantona came on for his United debut as a second half sub, replacing Bryan Robson. It would be the only derby he would play any part in without scoring at least one goal. Our neighbours would soon come to fear our Frenchman for a few seasons until they got relegated in 1996! (Bit of a drastic way to ensure he could no longer score against your team, though, lol!)

the-museum-of-you

Anyway, enough about that, and back to books, with a mystery book. Well, a bit of a mystery. No, it’s not a blind date with a book or anything, it’s not in brown paper, but it does have shrink-wrap around it. I bought it a while ago, probably some time last year, from Chapter One book shop and cafe on Lever Street in town. The book is The Museum of You, by Carys Bray. However, the blurb on the back of the book, as I have since realised, is about her previous novel, A Song For Issy Bradley, so I have no actual idea what this book is about! The only clue, therefore, is on the front…

This summer, Clover Quinn wants to find the missing pieces of her story.

So, that’s basically all we have to go off with this one! Unless we want to “cheat” and look it up on Goodreads or something… It’s a hardback, anyway, probably one for the Bass Amp Book Tower! I’ve opened it – removed the shrink wrap (that stuff is seriously annoying, isn’t it?!) and the book now rests on the Amp Tower for the time being as I head off to reminisce a bit more about 90s football and celebrate my club’s current team winning the League Cup, lol!

Until the next time I blog, which will probably be the February review, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Pie At Night – Stuart Maconie
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • The Premier League Years 1992/93 – Andrew Hyslop
  • Dorothy Must Die – Danielle Paige
  • I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You – Ally Carter
  • Pear Shaped – Adam Blain
  • The Museum of You – Carys Bray
  • A Song For Issy Bradley – Carys Bray

Leave a comment

Filed under Bass Amp Book Tower, Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Free Books, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Humour, Manc Stuff!, Non-Fiction, Travel

Final Reckoning…

5-book-shortlist-feb-2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Been to see my dad earlier, physios are getting him walking already, they took him for a walk around the ward while we were there. I’ve lent him Round Ireland With a Fridge, although I have advised him that maybe he should leave it for a while – it is very funny, but he is very sore after his bypass, especially his ribs, so it might hurt too much if he’s laughing his head off at Tony Hawks hitch -hiking his way around Ireland, domestic appliance in tow! Plus, he has the absolutely massive Max Hastings book to be getting on with, which my sister’s partner has lent him – The Secret War. As I said the other day, seems history books are seriously chunky whether fact or fiction!

Anyway, on to the matter in hand, and that is the list of books I gave you yesterday, a selection of 15 books, pretty broad spread of reading matter across those books, and enlisted your help here on my blog, and on Facebook, so I would like to thank the following people who have made comments, either on here, on the Waterstone’s group, or on my timeline… Liz Craig, Sharon Ledger, Samantha Lidster, Darren Perks, Cornelia Jolitz, Lynda Cosgrove, Ellie Dixon-Jackson, Karen E MacKenzie, Liz Murphy, and Steve Hoar.

Between all those helpers, five different books from my list of 15 were named at least once, which means I was able to whittle things down to a shortlist of five books, those being…

  • The Pie At Night – Stuart Maconie
  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Land of the Midnight Sun – Alexander Armstrong
  • Fishbowl – Bradley Somer

I think that’s given me a pretty decent and mixed shortlist, and one where I’d work my way through all five books, but I have to start with one of them, there has to be a winner which comes in my handbag and travels to Wembley with me tomorrow.

The only vote on this blog was for The Lady and the Unicorn.

On my Facebook timeline, the two friends who expressed a preference opted for The Pie At Night.

So, on to my group, I’d Spend All Day In Waterstone’s If I Could Get Away With It… who said what on there? There was one mention for Fishbowl, courtesy of my sister, and two mentions each for Mort, The Pie At Night, The Lady and the Unicorn, and Land of the Midnight Sun. Overall, across social media, that means that Fishbowl received one vote, Mort and Land of the Midnight Sun received two votes each, The Lady and the Unicorn received three, but the overall winner, with four different nominees, was The Pie At Night, by Stuart Maconie. There you go – the pies have it, lol!

Oops! There was also a mention, on the Waterstone’s group, for Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn, but as that only received a single vote, I will get around to it later, as I will with Fishbowl.

So, Stuart Maconie’s exploration of what the north does for fun will become a Handbag Book, and will travel down to Wembley with me tomorrow for the League Cup Final. Tracy Chevalier’s novel will become an ongoing concern the next time I finish any of my current books, and then the others I’ve mentioned on here tonight will come in to the equation sooner or later, lol!

I’m off to do a bit of reading and a bit of sorting ahead of tomorrow, so, until next time I get in touch with another blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this book blog other than the shortlisted ones…

  • Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • The Secret War – Max Hastings
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – David Levithan & Rachel Cohn

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, European Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, Non-Fiction, The TBR Pile, Travel

Decisions, Decisions!

15-books-feb-2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

I need help! Yeah, alright, you knew that already, didn’t you?! lol! What I really meant was that I need some help from fellow bookworms to assist me in deciding what to read next! I have just finished the utterly brilliant Round Ireland With A Fridge, by Tony Hawks, and therefore there is space amongst the ongoing concerns to add a new book to my literary in tray, so to speak!

Therefore, I have spread out a selection of my books and photographed them, and I thought I would consult my fellow bookworms to see what they recommend. Therefore, I would appreciate some comments on this blog entry. Helpful ones, please! Book suggestions, that sort of thing. NO spam, please! This is not a Monty Python sketch!

Apologies that the top row of the books looks a bit blurred, must have nudged my iPad when I took the photo. Sorry! Anyway, I am about to list the books, so you know what they are… I think it’s a pretty broad and random mix of books, lol! Fiction and non-fiction, bit of YA, bit of fantasy fiction…

The books are as follows…

  • A Very Special Year – Thomas Montasser
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M Pirsig
  • Skyfaring – Mark Vanhoenecker
  • Fishbowl – Bradley Somer
  • The President’s Hat – Antoine Laurain
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – David Levithan & Rachel Cohn
  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • French Revolutions – Tim Moore
  • All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
  • The Pie At Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Land of the Midnight Sun – Alexander Armstrong
  • When God Was a Rabbit – Sarah Winman
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman

If you have enjoyed any of those and would recommend them, please mention it in the comments! I’ve already enlisted the help of my book group on Facebook, but every little helps, as Tesco would say, lol, and I have 35 lovely blog readers at the last count, so I wanted to include you in this!

Many thanks in advance for helping me out in this matter! Back to my usual long, waffly blogs again soon, I assure you, but for now I’m standing by for any comments! Take care and Happy Recommending!

Joanne x x x

2 Comments

Filed under Books, Books About Books, European Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Handbag Books, Non-Fiction, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Pet Shop Boys, Unfinished.

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

You know I regularly waffle on about music, when I’m not waffling on about football, lol, and obviously it’s fresh in my mind as I went to see them in concert on Sunday, so we start this blog with another look at my long-standing appreciation of the music of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe! I already mentioned, in my last blog, that I’d been a Pethead for 30 years – this year is my pearl PSB anniversary, and look what I have found… my copy of Pet Shop Boys, Literally, by Chris Heath! And… what a surprise… it’s a partially-read book! Yes, another for the list of half-read books!

Although the book says first published in 1990, which would have made me 17, Goodreads claims this hardback Viking edition was published on 1st June 1991, making me 18 and in the middle of sitting my bastard A-Levels just before leaving Eccles College! Don’t get me started on those hellish exams – just let’s not go there, eh?!

A rather tatty Waterstone’s bookmark lies between pages 172 and 173, so I was on for chapter 10, which starts on page 171, and this edition has 340 pages, so I’m pretty much halfway through it, but when the hell did I start? I need to put a start date on Goodreads, really, and backdate it. Perhaps I should backdate it to the day it came out. I obviously bought it at the time, die-hard Pethead that I am, and read half of it as the 18 year old I was back then in my first throes of adult life, lol! One thing’s for certain… it’s only fitting that, for my 30th Pethead Anniversary, I should get it finished as a celebration!

Seems I can’t backdate my start date on Goodreads. Bugger! However, I am 51% of the way through it, so just over halfway. If I am going to get some half-read books finished off this year, I might as well make that one of them!

Chris Heath is a music journalist, and he travelled with the Pet Shop Boys on their first tour, back in 1989, and this book is an account of that first-ever PSB tour. I didn’t get to see them on that one, but I did get to see them on the Performance Tour in May 1991, at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, Chris Lowe’s home town. Funnily enough, I will be seeing them again in Blackpool this June, as I mentioned in my previous blog – my friend has treated me to my ticket as my birthday pressie. Sarah’s from Preston, so Blackpool is pretty near for both of us, even nearer for her. Most of the rock or pop concerts I’ve ever been to have either been in Manchester or Preston, apart from that first Pet Shop Boys gig in 1991, in Blackpool, and the first time I saw Sir Elton John in concert, which was at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton.

I think, somewhere in either my wardrobe unit or a cupboard, I have another PSB-related book, Pet Shop Boys Versus America, also by Chris Heath, and covering the Performance tour of 1991, which, as documented above, was the first time I saw Neil and Chris when I went to Blackpool that bank holiday Monday at the end of May that year… I think that one’s unread, so if it is where I think it is, and I can get my hands on it, I shall read that one this year as well for my Pethead Anniversary!

This is actually only a mini-blog, really, a short one just about my Pet Shop Books, lol, so I will probably be back to the usual long waffly blogs soon enough, and the PSB books will simply be mentioned alongside other reading matter, as per usual! I’m off to see if I can find that second PSB book I’ve just mentioned, so until I return with another blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • Pet Shop Boys Versus America – Chris Heath

Leave a comment

Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Music, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction

Take a Chill Pill, Doris!

storm-doris-weather-map

I’d put your Big Coat on if I were you…

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

You’ll be pleased to learn that I am still here! Well, you should be pleased to learn that, lol, given that I had to put my Big Coat on and venture out to Eccles earlier today, braving all that Storm Doris could throw at me! Thankfully, she didn’t actually throw anything at me personally, but it was pretty damn windy and I saw at least one small tree which had been blown down. That Doris is bloody wild, and she needs to take a chill pill and sit down with a cuppa and a good book!

Actually, I’m the one sitting down with a mug of tea and a good book or two! Well, I’ve got my brew, and I’m at my computer, and I’m about to blog about books once I finish ranting about our “lovely” British weather! I know it’s February, but there really is NO need for it to be that bad! I imagine the Shipping Forecast is a bit wild today – I bet Charlie Connelly would be glad he’s not writing Attention All Shipping now and having to brave any waters around the UK, particularly here in the north-west! I predict the Irish Sea will be as rough as a badger’s arse – it is pretty damn rough at the best of times, I’ve had some infamous ferry crossings in my younger days, which I am in no hurry to repeat!

Something I WILL be repeating later this year is going to see the Pet Shop Boys! Not only did Sarah and I enjoy a fantastic gig at the Manchester Arena on Sunday night, but her birthday pressie to me (for my forthcoming 44th birthday in April) is a ticket to see Neil & Chris again on 21st June in Blackpool! She is still reading Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins, but will pass it on to me later this year once she has read it. Going back to Messrs Tennant and Lowe, I kinda gradually became a Pethead during the course of 1987, so by the end of this year, I will have been a PSB fan for 30 years! No, I can’t believe it, either! I can’t believe 1987 is so long ago!

Around the mid 80s, when I was 12 or 13, I really couldn’t give a toss who sung any particular record. I didn’t have a favourite band or singer, I just liked a lot of stuff in the charts and didn’t care who it was by. In the autumn of 1986, I absolutely adored “Suburbia”, but kept forgetting to tape it off the charts when I listened to the Top 40 on a Sunday evening, and I’d probably had to spend my pocket money on a birthday pressie for my dad, whose birthday is in September, so I guess I was skint, as per usual, lol, and thus couldn’t afford to pop to Play Inn, the record shop in Eccles, and buy the song on 7″ single.

The following summer, when “It’s A Sin” was number 1, my sister bought that record, and it was then that I discovered that it was that same duo who’d been responsible for “Suburbia” the previous year, so that’s probably when I started to become a fan, and so started the process which led to me being a Pethead, which I have now been for three decades!

Anyroad, back to the reading matter…

books-in-progress-feb-2017

Most of those are ongoing concerns, with the exception of The President’s Hat, by Antoine Laurain, which was a former book club choice from a few years ago, which actually came with its own detachable bookmark! It is a partially-read book which had been in one of my containers for a while, but I thought I would dig it out again and perhaps continue with it, maybe once I’d finished with Mr Hawks and his travels around the Emerald Isle with a domestic appliance in tow… I have fewer than 100 pages to go now in Round Ireland With a Fridge, so it may well be read before I head to Wembley on Sunday for the League Cup Final between Manchester United and Southampton. I’m on page 150 of 248, so, yes, not all that much more to read. Pretty decent bet that this will be the next book I finish this year, my 9th on the Goodreads Challenge for 2017!

As detailed the other day, I’m on page 44 of Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella, but I only acquired that one on Tuesday when I was visiting my dad in hospital. He’s had his double bypass operation today, by the way, and will be in intensive care for a few days, probably brought out of controlled coma over the weekend. Page 44 out of 280 is 16% of the book, though, so it’s a decent start!

I’m on page 177, the start of chapter 14, in I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 53% of the way through, so in footballing terms, we’d be talking early minutes of the second half, lol! Zlatan is coming to Wembley with me, as you’d imagine. I’m also hoping the man himself is going to score at Wembley during the course of the match!

Now we come on to our chunkier books in my list of ongoing concerns… An Equal Music, and The Saffron Trail. I am on page 222 of An Equal Music, part-way through part 4 of the Vikram Seth novel, 46% of that read, so probably time I got that to at least the halfway point! I’m on page 295 of The Saffron Trail, start of chapter 29, which is apparently 55% of the way through Rosanna Ley’s novel.

I keep thinking perhaps I should start The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, or perhaps The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton, but both are big hardbacks, so neither of them would ever be a Handbag Book! No way would either of them come to Wembley with me, for instance! The Night Circus was a charity shop bargain, as I think I said before, a mere quid from the British Heart Foundation shop in Salford, and The Miniaturist was a freebie from book club a few years ago, and is now signed by Jessie Burton, as I met her last year at Waterstone’s on Deansgate when she came to talk about The Muse, thus I bought that and had it signed, too, but her debut novel had been a freebie in my case!

I’m off to weigh up my options for what to read next, particularly once I’ve finished with Mr Hawks and his progress around Ireland with his fridge, lol, so until the next time I blog, take care, don’t get blown away by Doris, and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • The President’s Hat – Antoine Laurain
  • Round Ireland With A Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  • The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
  • The Muse – Jessie Burton

1 Comment

Filed under Books, British Weather, Charity Shop Bargains, European Literature, Football, Foreign Languages, Free Books, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Music, Travel, Weather

The Literary Slap List

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

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Message for Goodreads:

No, I haven’t “just started” Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella. I’m on for page 44 now, as I type! I actually started reading the damn book while I was still stood in W H Smith’s at Wythenshawe Hospital, after I’d been visiting my dad! Hence I am using my Metrolink tram ticket as a bookmark! Off-peak adult return between Cornbrook and Roundthorn. (I have a bus and tram pass, but only certain tram lines are covered, for others I need a ticket.)

My dad had a heart attack last week, but could feel it coming on, so thankfully he was able to get himself home and call for an ambulance, and he was taken to hospital. Wythenshawe is a heart specialist hospital, if you get my drift. Dad lives in Macclesfield, but having had this heart trouble, it’s brought him back in the Manchester area for now. He’s due to have a double bypass on Thursday.

Anyway, enough about my dad’s dodgy ticker for now, and back to the books. Actually, he had a pretty huge history book when I went to visit him – my sister’s partner had lent it to him. History, whether it’s fact or fiction, seems to result in some pretty huge books! I’ve mentioned chunky works of historical fiction on many occasions, as regular readers will know, lol!

Finding Audrey, which I found myself reading at W H Smith’s at the hospital, is a YA novel, set here in the UK, although I’m not currently sure if it’s set in any specific part of these shores. Audrey is the middle child of Chris and Anne Turner in this particular story, with both an elder and a younger brother by the sound of it. She has two brothers, anyway. Whilst I will try not to spoil things, Audrey has mental health issues, and personally, I can see why she and her brothers are like they are when you consider that their mum reads the Daily Fail! Enough said, methinks! Perhaps Ms Kinsella wrote this book to poke fun at the sorry excuse for a “news” paper?! I might only be 44 pages in, but I sense that the author is having a significant dig at Daily Fail readers!

This means that Anne Turner has the dubious distinction of being added to my notorious Literary Slap List! This is my list of characters from various books who could all do with a damn good slapping because they are all seriously annoying in one way or another! As we add our latest candidate to the list, I shall now run through the list of characters who are already on there, and we shall start with Jane Austen‘s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice

I had to study Pride and Prejudice when I was at high school, it was one of my set books for GCSE English Literature. Whilst it did grow on me eventually, and gives us some good characters, I’m afraid to say there are actually FIVE characters in this novel who feature on my Slap List, and Mr Darcy is NOT one of them! Mr Darcy is just a bit misunderstood. I think he’s probably an introvert, and doesn’t really enjoy all those balls he is compelled to attend. He’d rather just be in the company of one or two other people instead of the whole damn town!

However, Mrs Bennet and her two youngest daughters, Kitty and Lydia, are most definitely on the Slap List! Kitty and Lydia are just a pair of airhead bimbos, and their mother is an overgrown airhead bimbo who encourages her two youngest in this tarty behaviour! She’s more than old enough to know better! Mr Collins joins them on the list – can we say “obsequious little toad”? Yes, I thought we could! Elizabeth was right to turn him down! The fifth member of the Pride and Prejudice cast list to be added, but by no means least, is Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Two-faced, hypocritical old bag with serious double standards! Wants every other young lady to have a list of accomplishments as long as her arm, but makes every excuse under the sun as to why her own flesh and blood hasn’t got any strings to her bow!

After that, there were no more additions for years, although there were times when I was doing A Level French at Eccles College when I would have liked to have slapped Jean-Paul Sartre because trying to get my teenage head around the concept of existentialism was NOT an easy thing to do! I’d also like a word with whoever it was who came up with the Past Historic tense in the French language! Seriously! How many versions of the past tense does any bloody language need?! Do you really need a version of the past tense which you only actually use in works of literature?! No, I don’t bloody think so! So, grrrr at French for inflicting this upon us! Grrr at whoever invented A Levels as well, come to think of it!

We have to go to The Catcher In The Rye, by J. D. Salinger, next, as our next entrant on the Slap List is none other than Holden Caulfield. This caused much debate on my book group on Facebook, I’d Spend All Day In Waterstone’s If I Could Get Away With It, when we discussed this way back in around 2008, but plenty of people were in agreement that he was a very whiny, moaning teenager who really ought to stop sulking and realise how lucky he actually was! Just to amuse you, though, I recall reading that book, due to the kerfuffle it had caused on our Facebook group, and I kept misreading Pencey Prep as Poncey Prep! I guess Holden might have seen it as poncey, lol!

Dolores Umbridge absolutely HAS to be on this list! Ghastly woman! We first meet her in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and she is just such a vile two-faced character that I actually prefer Lord Voldemort! At least you know where you stand with Voldemort! He doesn’t disguise it. He’s a nasty piece of work, but he makes no pretence at being nice, which is fair enough, whereas Umbridge comes over all simpering and pretending to be nice, when she’s actually a right nasty bitch! The other thing about two-faced people is that you don’t know which face to slap first!

This next one is actually non-fiction as it is autobiographical, but I really want to slap the author, Elizabeth Smart, for what basically amounts to a pity party in writing! Two years ago, as one of our book club choices in 2015, I had the misfortune of encountering By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept. This may have been a short book, but it really wasn’t short enough! She loved this poet guy, and actually paid for him and his wife to move over to the States. Thing is she did it in the hope that he’d leave his missus for her. She just wanted to get in his pants and basically sulked because he was spoken for and carried on like some whingeing teenage girl. As I think I said at the time, save yourself the time and money… just listen to “Love’s Unkind” by Donna Summer, and you’ll get the general idea!

And now, that brings us back to Anne Turner, Audrey’s mum in Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella. The fact that this character is a Daily Fail reader, and a pretty typical, annoying one, is absolute proof that she needs to be on my Slap List! Probably needs to be at the top of it, actually, even above the irritants I’ve just been mentioning!

The novel may well be coming to Wembley with me, though, along with I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Round Ireland With a Fridge, as chances are I may still be reading both of those come Sunday. I’ll certainly still be reading Zlatan‘s autobiography. and probably the Tony Hawks book as well. Not finalised the list yet, will have to see what still needs reading come Saturday, but as the EFL Cup Final approaches, things become clearer on the book front.

I’m clearer on my need to get some kip right now, as we’re in the wee small hours as I type this, so until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • The Catcher In the Rye – J. D. Salinger
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J. K. Rowling
  • By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept – Elizabeth Smart
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Literary Slap List, Mental Health, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, School, College & Uni Reading, YA Books