Monthly Archives: February 2017

The History Book On The Shelf…


“The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself…” – Waterloo.

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Or, should that be… God eftermiddag, andra bokmalar!

Had to look that one up, mind! I’ve studied French, German and Spanish in my time, plus I know a fair bit of Italian (a lot of musical terms are in Italian), bits and bobs of other languages, and a bit of British Sign Language, but I’m not all that familiar with Swedish!

Anyway, it seems that the Cheeto-faced, ferret-wearing shitgibbon thinks there was some sort of incident in Sweden the other day, and pretty much the whole of Sweden has tweeted to say this is nonsense, and that absolutely nowt has happened! I think the real reason that Washington Wiggy thinks something has happened in Sweden is because his tiny little brain, or what passes for one, cannot handle the fact that Swedes believe in treating EVERYONE decently, not just rich white (or should that be orange) blokes!

Anyway, as they have been on the receiving end of some of President Fart’s bullshit, it’s time to show our support for our Swedish chums by getting some Abba on and reading books by Swedes! Well, I’m halfway through I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, so that certainly counts! I also have The Very Best of Abba, as shown above. As it’s a book of sheet music, it counts on this blog!


A few of my Swede reads, and sheet music for Abba.

I wish I knew where the hell A Man Called Ove has got to! I know I have that bloody book, somewhere, but I can’t seem to find it right now! Anyway, if we’re going to read the Swedes, Fredrik Backman is just one author we can call upon.

If it’s crime you’re after, which is not really what I’m usually after, but if this is your cup of tea, there’s the Millennium Trilogy by the late Stieg Larsson, comprising of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest. There’s also Camilla Lackberg if it’s crime fiction you’re after, although I can’t name any of her books offhand. Crime’s not my genre, so I know of the author, but not of her books. Doesn’t stop any of you from doing your research and checking some out, though! Apparently, her first novel was The Ice Princess, first published in 2003 in Swedish, translated into English in 2008. So, there’s one of her books for you!

As I tend more towards humour, and I can’t put my hands on A Man Called Ove right now, I do have a few others in which I could consider on the Swede Reads front, including a couple by Jonas Jonasson, who does seem to go in for quite long titles, particularly with his debut novel, The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. I also have Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All, by the same author. I don’t have The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden, but that’s another of his.

In a similar vein to Jonasson’s debut novel about pensioners behaving badly, lol, I also have The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules, by Catharina Ingleman-Sundberg. Apparently, there’s a sequel, The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again!


I know! We’re just as baffled as you are, mate…

So, that’s quite a bit of Swedish fiction for you to be getting on with while we wait for the Mango Mussolini’s next gaffe when he spouts some more “alternative facts” (or “utter bollocks”, as a bunch of big fat fibs is usually known round here) about some other country where people have the nerve to treat their fellow human beings in a decent manner! I mean, fancy that! People treating each other decently, no matter what, and not just if they’re some rich white fella… no wonder the Tango-tinted tosser can’t get his badly-bewigged head around that concept!

Then again, with a bit of luck, he might be impeached soon enough. Or sectioned under the mental health act, or whatever the equivalent is on the other side of the Atlantic… Let’s face it, he is certainly not in touch with reality! Not entirely sure that Mr Fart and the real world have ever been formally introduced!

Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that he is stopped before he either insults, or at least baffles, some other unfortunate nation! In the meantime, we stand with our Swedish friends, and we’re digging the Dancing Queen, lol!

I’m off to watch highlights of Zlatan, our Swedish hero, scoring our winner against Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup 5th round yesterday! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Trevlig läsning! (Happy reading in Swedish)

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • The Very Best of Abba – Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaeus (sheet music)
  • A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
  • The Girl Who Played With Fire – Stieg Larsson
  • The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest – Stieg Larsson
  • The Ice Princess – Camilla Lackberg
  • The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson
  • Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All – Jonas Jonasson
  • The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden – Jonas Jonasson
  • The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules – Catharina Ingleman-Sundberg
  • The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again! – Catharina Ingleman-Sundberg

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Filed under Arsehole Politicians, Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, European Literature, Football, Foreign Languages, Music

Up For The Cup!


Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

I found the above photo on Bored Panda and messaged it to my friend Liz. The picture is actually the word for coffee in Arabic and this guy takes Arabic words and turns them into images of their meanings. As my friend is very much a coffee-drinker, I knew she’d like that one! I was also telling her about a book I read some years ago now, The Devil’s Cup, by Stewart Lee Allen, which is about the discovery and history of coffee. I was still working at Manchester DBC when I read that book, so it’s a long time ago now – that office closed in 2009, so it’s 8 years ago at the very least!


Sadly, we have to say goodbye, and Rest in Peace, to Dick Bruna. The author and illustrator of the Miffy books passed away on Thursday in Utrecht, aged 89. In the Netherlands, she’s known at Nijntje, a contraction of konijntje, meaning “little rabbit” in Dutch. My sister and I read a lot of Miffy books when we were little, probably including Miffy The Artist, as shown above, often borrowing them from the children’s section at Eccles Library. Miffy is hugely popular worldwide, I remember seeing a lot of Miffy books and other items when I went to Tokyo in 2005 and they have plenty of cartoon characters of their own, such as Hello Kitty, but they do tend to like anything “kawai” (cute), so it figures that they’d take to Miffy in Japan!

Hendrik Magdalenus (Dick) Bruna – 23rd August 1927 – 16th February 2017.

Before we get back to books, mention of cups, as in the title, brings me on to matters of a footballing nature, and there has been quite a result this afternoon in the 5th round of the FA Cup, as non-league Lincoln City scored a late winner to beat Premier League Burnley at Turf Moor and become the first non-league team in 103 years to reach the 6th round of the FA Cup – quarter final stage! Burnley are a decent side, especially at home. They’re 12th in the Premier League at the moment, so mid-table security and not in danger of relegation, and, as I said, are pretty decent at home, so it makes Lincoln’s achievement this lunchtime all the more impressive! Congratulations to the Imps! My lads play tomorrow, we’re away to Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

I am over half-way now, into the second half, as it were, with I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, having read a bit more last night to celebrate the fact that he scored a hat-trick for us on Thursday night when we beat Saint Etienne 3-0 at Old Trafford in our Europa League tie. It’s the first knock-out round, and that was the first leg, so we have a very nice lead to take to the 2nd leg in France next week, with no away goals conceded. If we can get a goal over there, we can really put the tie to bed. St Etienne must be sick to death of Zlatan, lol! He’s now scored 17 goals against them – he was at Paris St-Germain, of course, before he joined United in the summer, and already had a pretty good record against St Etienne. I imagine there was a collective groan in their part of France when the draw was made and they were drawn against us – they thought they’d escaped Zlatan when he left the French league to come to England, but they were wrong, lol!

This season’s Europa League final will be held in Sweden, so it’s hardly surprising that Zlatan is on a mission to help us win this trophy! Also, it’s the one piece of European silverware United have not won yet. We’ve won the European Cup three times, and we won the old European Cup-Winners’ Cup back in 1991, but if we were to win the Europa League, the UEFA Cup as it used to be known for years, we would complete the set!

The two books I am returning to Sarah tomorrow are on the coffee table downstairs. As previously documented in several of my blogs, she lent me Faster Than Lightning, by Usain Bolt, and I Know This Much, by Gary Kemp. She has said she will lend me Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins, so I am looking forward to that one!

Zlatan is very likely to be in the Handbag for the trip down to Wembley next Sunday, and at the moment, it is possible Tony Hawks might still be in the Handbag, as I approach the halfway point in Round Ireland With a Fridge, which is VERY funny! If I haven’t finished it off before 26th February, it’ll join Mr Ibrahimovic in the purple Kipling bag and will be read on the way to Manchester United v Southampton in the League Cup Final.

I shall also try to ensure that my Kindle is fully-charged ready for the journey down, and that my phone booster is also charged. I have loads of ebooks on the Kindle, including Premier League Years 1992/93, by Andrew Hyslop, about the inaugural season, but there’s plenty of non-football stuff on there. Got one on there called Dorothy Must Die, by Danielle Paige, which I got for free some time ago now! Apparently, it’s a twist on the whole Wizard of Oz thing, where the Wicked Witch is actually the good one, or something like that!

Some books on my Kindle are only samples, but others are the full books, including The Tea Planter’s Wife, by Dinah Jefferies. I do actually own a paperback copy of that, as well, but if it is on my e-reader, it is convenient for travel! I’ve got a right load of mad stuff on my Kindle! Yeah, I know, I have had it since the end of 2011 – if you want to read about that particular saga, check out my blog archives! I won my Kindle, so it was free, but it was a while before I actually received it and a lot of chasing up needed doing.

I have 297 items on my Kindle! There’s all sorts of mad crap on there! Mad crap in the literary sense, anyway, lol! As I said before, there’s samples of stuff, but there’s also plenty of entire books. Some of which are electronic versions of books I also own in paperback or hardback, but some are purely on my Kindle. There’s a right load of Dickens on there, probably because you can get a load of classics for free for e-reading devices! Also because of that anniversary five years ago, when I planned to read another of Dickens’ novels, but didn’t get around to it! Should I wish to, I’ve got a fair few to choose from if I want to read any electronically!

Blimey! I’ve got Finn Family Moomintroll on here! I have had that in paperback, along with a few other Moomin books, since I was a kid! There was an animated series on Children’s ITV back in the 80s, which I loved, so that’s what got me into the Moomins!

(When I say Children’s ITV, I don’t mean a separate channel like they have these days – I mean programmes broadcast during that time between coming home from school in the afternoon up until the early evening news at 5:45, so for around 2 hours or so, when there were kids’ programmes on telly, on both BBC1 and ITV, providing us with after-school entertainment!)

Well, I really need to stop waffling on and get this published, so that’s about all for now! Until the next time I decide to inflict my waffle upon the internet, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Devil’s Cup – Stewart Lee Allen
  • Miffy The Artist – Dick Bruna
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • Faster Than Lightning – Usain Bolt
  • I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau – Gary Kemp
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • Premier League Years 1992/93 – Andrew Hyslop
  • Dorothy Must Die – Danielle Paige
  • The Tea Planter’s Wife – Dinah Jefferies
  • Finn Family Moomintroll – Tove Jansson

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Free Books, Handbag Books, Music, My Bookworm History, Television, Travel, YA Books

Love Is In The Air…


Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

I love Marzi’s “Introvert Doodles” cartoons, and that one really fits the bill for bookworms on Valentine’s Day, lol! I might just curl up with the love of my life before the night is over – perhaps get a bit more of An Equal Music read, for instance!

This probably won’t be a long blog, yesterday’s was pretty massive, with my 12 books for my 12 year old self theme, so this is a fairly short bookish Valentine blog. Thing is, books ARE one of the loves of my life, along with Manchester United, chocolate and music! Oh, and food. Can’t forget food! And a good cup of tea…

* nips off downstairs to make a brew *

* returns with a mug of tea and a couple of Jammie Dodgers *

Ah, sorry, yes, where were we? The loves of my life… Books, obviously, plus MUFC, chocolate, music, food, the Olympic Games – talking of which, it’s 33 years ago today since Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean won gold at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, skating to Ravel’s Bolero. I have the orchestral score of that, actually. Picked it up from the second-hand book stall which came to my uni…

That isn’t even the first orchestral score or book of sheet music to be mentioned on this blog, either! To me, if it’s in book form, it can be mentioned and listed on here, so musical compositions are included! The first score to figure in these blogs was Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, and I was blogging about my days at school and college at the time, because I was actually following the score for that music in the library at Eccles College when I was a teenager! Well, we should give that one its proper title… Symphony No. 6 in F Major. Pastoral Symphony is merely the nickname!

Lonely Hunter 1

* blind date with a book, from last year *

Wonder if Waterstone’s had any Blind Date With a Book events again this year for Valentine’s Day? Those are a good idea for book stores. They wrap several books up, usually identically, and just put a small clue on the paper or on a tag, and you buy a mystery book and find out what it is when you get it home and unwrap it. Perhaps some clues might be easy to guess, but other books might be a complete surprise, and it’s a good way for a store to get people to buy a book they might not normally consider. For example, you might normally read romance, or perhaps historical fiction, but you open your blind date book and you’ve got science fiction…

The above one was from last year, and turned out to be The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers. Not got around to reading it yet, though.

Talking of Waterstone’s as I was, seems another lucky guy got locked in a branch of the book store chain the other day! Pretty sure I mentioned a similar incident at a branch in London a year or so ago, and this one has also happened somewhere down south, I think. Jammy bugger! Don’t know what he was moaning about – I’d love to get locked in at Waterstone’s! Overnight at the Deansgate branch, preferably! Well, if I’d remembered to bring my phone charger with me, anyway, lol! I can always kip on one of the sofas overnight!

With advance apologies for an un-asterisked expletive in the next photo, but I saw this and it made me lmao…


Well, it amused me, but then again, I am a Potterhead, lol!

I can’t seem to find it as yet on a Google image search, but I think it was a Purple Ronnie card from donkey’s years ago, we’re talking back in the early or mid 90s, I think, during my student days, when I first became a match-going Red, but it would make a good Valentine’s Day card for fellow football fans, regardless of allegiance… it went something like this…

Football is your passion, you really give it your all…

The true romance in your life is eleven men and a ball!

I am pretty sure I had a card or postcard with that on, back in my student days, lol! Probably lurking around somewhere. In a box in the garage, or somewhere like that. Anyway, as I said earlier, I’m going to get a bit of reading in, so I shall love you and leave you for now. I did say this was just a short one tonight! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • Bolero – Maurice Ravel (orchestral score)
  • Symphony No 6 in F Major (Pastoral) – Ludwig van Beethoven (orchestral score)
  • The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers

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Filed under Blind Date With A Book, Books, Music, My Bookworm History, Olympic Games

Back In Time For A Good Book!


Nine men and Norman, we won with nine men and Norman...

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Fancy a bit of time travel? I hope so, as I have an idea for a blog, inspired by something I saw on Facebook this morning, on one of the book groups I belong to. The idea is thus: If you could take 12 books and go back in time to meet your 12 year old self, which books would you give to him or her?

So, for me to go back to the 12 year old version of Joanne Dixon-Jackson, we need to set the co-ordinates on our literary time machine to go back 32 years…

Year: 1985, Date: From 23rd April onwards…

So, the summer of 1985 will do nicely. The 1985 version of Joanne is 12 years old and lives in a semi-detached house in Monton, with her parents and younger sister, Ellie, who’s 9. She’s coming to the end of her first year at high school (Year 7 as it is known these days), and only has to walk round the corner to go to school as the lower building is right nearby!


UK number one singles in 1985

“Frankie” by Sister Sledge is number one, which Ellie has bought on 7″ single. Live Aid has just taken place at Wembley Stadium and in Philadelphia. M****e T******r is Prime Minister here in the UK, Ronald Reagan is President of the USA. 12 year old Joanne is still a year away from her first perm, lol, has Dangermouse wallpaper in her bedroom, has had a telly in her room since her 11th birthday in 1984 and loves staying up late, watching it. She is especially fond of Spitting Image on ITV on Sunday nights.

Everton are league champions (these are still the days of League Division One, before the Premier League, which doesn’t start until 1992), and Manchester United are FA Cup Winners, beating Everton in the final, 1-0 in extra time thanks to Norman Whiteside. This was achieved despite the fact United were reduced to ten men in normal time when Kevin Moran became the first player to be sent off in an FA Cup Final. Barry McGuigan is world champion at his weight in boxing and will be the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 1985, and Dennis Taylor is World Snooker Champion, having beaten Steve Davis in an absolutely legendary final!

The 12 year old Joanne is very much a bookworm, and has been since before she even started school, so at the age of 12 she is pretty much reading teenager’s books and her favourites back then would be the first two Adrian Mole books by Sue Townsend, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4, and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole. So, when we go back to 1985, we might find Joanne watching Live Aid, or reading about Adrian being profoundly in love with Pandora, lol!

So, which 12 books does the current version of Joanne, aged 43 going on 44, take to her 12 year old self in her time machine as she heads back to 1985?

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling. I could, of course, take all the Harry Potter books, but that would take up seven of my twelve books, and I don’t even know if 12 year old Joanne is much into witches and wizards. Going back to my high school days, I remember our class reading Elidor, by Alan Garner, and at that time, I wasn’t really into it, so I think I am going to have to persuade my 12 year old self by emphasising the character of Hermione Granger and highlighting what a bookworm she is! That would probably convince my younger version to give it a go!

The Colour of Magic – Sir Terry Pratchett. OK, another book with wizards in it, but I’m going to stress how funny this series is to my 12 year old self. I’m going to tell the 1985 version of Joanne that she’ll like this series because she liked The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. (She will also like Red Dwarf on telly, although I don’t think that starts until 1988, so there’s another 3 years to go before she discovers the delights of that particular comedy!) Yes, there are definitely elements of humour in the Harry Potter series, but the Discworld series is full of comedy, and she’d love it!

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak. Right, 12 year old Joanne, you’re going to love this one! Definitely suitable for a 12 year old, and it’s a book featuring books. It’s set in Germany, just before and during the Second World War, and it is brilliant. It is quite sad, but there are some funny bits with reference to Jesse Owens, so that should appeal to your love of the Olympics! In years to come you will get to go to Berlin and visit the stadium where Jesse won his four golds and inspired Rudy in The Book Thief to do what he does…

Under The Frog – Tibor Fischer. You will love this and laugh your head off! It’s set in Hungary during the Cold War era. OK, for you, it’s still the Cold War era, of course, as it’s 1985, and the Berlin Wall is still very much up. But that’s going to come down in another 4 years! No, I shit you not, Joanne! The whole Iron Curtain thing has only got a few more years to run! The Berlin Wall will come down in 1989, East Germany and West Germany will become just Germany again in 1990, and will be “Western” like us, despite what Dad thought when you asked him years ago, and the USSR will cease to exist at the end of 1991! For real! I’m from your future, remember?! I know what happens, at least up to February 2017, which is where I’ve come from in time!

In years to come, you’ll be able to get to know lots of other people via computer. It will be called the internet, and there’ll be a site on it called Facebook. You’ll make lots of friends, and some of your friends will recommend books to you. One of your friends will recommend Under The Frog, plus a fair bit of other literature from, or at least set in, what you now know as Iron Curtain countries. A guy called David Hunt will recommend that one to you. It’s a way off now, I know. You’ll be in your 30s and working in an office in town by then!

Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson. This is from an American guy who’d been living here in the UK for years and, before he takes himself and his family back to the States, he goes off on a tour round this country, marvelling at what makes us tick. It’s VERY funny! As you’re in 1985, it’s not even going to be published for another ten years! Accurate at the time, but a year after the book is first published, the Arndale Centre will have to be rebuilt and will finally lose those awful yellow tiles! (Pity it will be because of a bomb going off in town in June 1996, but the silver lining will be the regeneration of Manchester afterwards and the redesign of the Arndale in particular.)

Odd Man Out – Brian McClair. A football autobiography, and one of the best, and funniest, ever written! You won’t know Choccy yet, but you will come to know and appreciate him when you start going to Old Trafford in 1991! Yep, I know… in another 6 years’ time, you’ll become a match-going Red and will end up as a Stretford Ender, singing your heart out for the lads at home games, and also cup finals…

My Story – Eric Cantona. Another football autobiography, this one purely because it’s Eric Cantona. Watch out for this guy! You won’t know him now, of course, any more than you’d know Brian McClair. Right now, you only really know Bryan Robson and Norman Whiteside, lol, but this French bloke is going to play for United from 1992 to 1997, and he will become your all-time favourite player, and you will still love him to bits years after he’s retired!

The Good Soldier Svejk – Jaroslav Hasek. Another of those Iron Curtain Country reads, although this was set long before then, during the First World War in fact, but it is VERY funny, goes off at a tangent at times, and has some great illustrations! Another book which was recommended to me on Facebook by David Hunt, and you will love it! It isn’t actually finished, really – Hasek died without bringing it to an obvious conclusion. He was a bit of a pisshead, actually. Yeah, rather like certain people I could mention! This one’s set in Czechoslovakia as you’d know it. That country splits up in 1993, quite peacefully, into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but there’s another 8 years to go yet before you see that happen on the news!

Penguins Stopped Play – Harry Thompson. Yeah, I know, you’re going to wonder why the hell I’m bringing you a book about cricket! Going to be years before you finally get your head around one of our national sports! But it’s not really about the cricket, it’s about the travelling and the mishaps which befall the team, that’s what makes this book so hilarious! Travel is funny. Very funny. You will see some seriously daft shit on your travels, such as a wall with eyes on it, which looks like it has a face!

Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby. And back to football again. No, he’s not a Red, he’s a Gooner – an Arsenal fan, and it’s about him growing up supporting Arsenal and waiting for them to win the league again after a pretty long wait. They’d won in 1971, but then he had to wait until 1989 before his team were champions again. Your older self first read this book in 1994, on a day when she wasn’t at uni herself, so she was going round Sunderland Uni with Mum, Dad and Ellie, as it would be Ellie’s turn to go to open days.

I picked this one because I was at university at the time, in my final year, so you now know that you get to fulfil your childhood ambition of wearing a cap and gown – you will graduate in the summer of 1994. Also, you will have seen United win the league by the time you read this book, and United will end an even longer wait for a league title  than Arsenal do in this book, when they win in 1993, a 26 year wait will be over when the Reds are crowned inaugural Premier League Champions in May 1993. 8 more years to go for you, yet…

The Story of Music – Howard Goodall. Yeah, I know, you do have that copy of Introducing Music, by Otto Karolyi, which Dad gave you, and that will certainly help you work out the pitch ranges for various instruments when you have to compose music for your exams in later years at high school. By the way, it won’t be O Levels, it’ll be these things called GCSEs, which will replace O Levels and CSEs a couple of years before you sit your exams and end your compulsory education. Oh, and Winton High School will be merged with Ellesmere in 1987, and become Wentworth High School, so there’s a change of school name and uniform in two years’ time! However, in years to come, the school’s name will revert back to Ellesmere Park High School, but not for a bloody long time, lol!

You’re going to get an A, anyway – along with foreign languages, music is one of your best subjects, but I’m bringing you a copy of this from the future as I know it will be of interest and of use to you, both as a musician and a music fan. You currently play the recorder and are attempting the oboe. Those double reeds are a pain in the arse, though, aren’t they?! Never mind, though, as you’ll be better off with single reeds, as you’ll find out in a year or so when you try the clarinet instead and have rather more luck with that one! It’s hard to curl your lips around two reeds, one reed is much more manageable!

Prepare to play quite a few different instruments during the course of your life! Music will play a big role in your spare time over the years. You’ll do a bit of singing, too, but mostly playing musical instruments.

And finally, book number 12…

Attention All Shipping -Charlie Connelly. I’ve brought you quite a few books to make you laugh, and this is one of them! You know when you’ve stayed up late at night to discover how television channels and radio stations close down for the night? I know it’s not your usual choice of station, as you’re definitely a Radio 1 girl, and will be for some time to come yet, but you know how Radio 4 has that Shipping Forecast late at night just before the national anthem and close down? Well, this guy goes on a tour of all the places mentioned in the Shipping Forecast and it is VERY funny! Especially a bit near the end about Faroese puffins!

Not only is this book very funny and informative, but it is a souvenir of what will be your 40th birthday holiday in Mexico! I know you’ve lived in Switzerland, and that you went to the USA for the first time last year, but you’re going to do a lot more travelling when you’re older! By the end of the 80s, Ellie’s trampolining will cause us to go to France and Switzerland for competitions, but from 1991 onwards, once you turn 18, you are really going to go to a lot more places on a far regular basis, and you will love it!

Oh, and in about 25 years from now, 2010, the fact that computers will let you make contact with other people around the world electronically will prompt you to start writing regularly on the internet about books, and some people will start to read and even enjoy what you write about those books! I know! Mad, isn’t it?! Madder than a box of frogs!

So, these are my 12 books I am bringing you from the future, Joanne! Happy Reading!

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling
  2. The Colour of Magic – Sir Terry Pratchett
  3. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  4. Under The Frog – Tibor Fischer
  5. Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
  6. Odd Man Out – Brian McClair
  7. My Story – Eric Cantona
  8. The Good Soldier Svejk – Jaroslav Hasek
  9. Penguins Stopped Play – Harry Thompson
  10. Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby
  11. The Story of Music – Howard Goodall
  12. Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly

Other books mentioned during this blog…

  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole – Sue Townsend
  • Elidor – Alan Garner
  • The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  • Introducing Music – Otto Karolyi


* Joanne gets back in the time machine and heads back to February 2017… *

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Filed under Childrens' Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Humour, Music, My Bookworm History, School, College & Uni Reading, Sports, Television, Travel, YA Books

Missing Years and Laughing Gear


Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

I hope I’m not overdoing it on the blog front. Trust me, though, regular readers will know that sometimes I blog every day, and then other times I don’t blog for bloody months! In fact, there was a time I didn’t blog for the best part of THREE YEARS!

If you look at the archives, you’ll notice I was blogging in 2012, mentioning the fact I was about to be a Book Giver for World Book Night that year, and then the next time you hear from me on Joanne’s Bookshelf, we’re in 2015 and I’m wanting to slap Elizabeth (Not Very) Smart for having written one of the most whiney-arsed books I’d ever had the misfortune to read! A pity party in writing if ever there was one! The book in question wasn’t even very long, but it was still too long to be moaning on and on as she did about the fact the bloke she loved was spoken for and that everyone else (understandably) disapproved of the fact that she was trying to get in his pants anyway.

Maybe we should have a look at the missing years, trying to see if I can remember anything worth blogging about in that time. Pretty sure I was blogging on the football front, I certainly was during 2012-13 as my lads won their 20th league title that season. Maybe that was part of the reason why I didn’t blog about books… I was too distracted by United as Robin van Persie’s goals led us to the Premier League title and a winning margin of 11 points over City by the end of that season! If I was reading anything at that time, it was probably Robin van Persie: The Biography, by Andy Lloyd-Williams, which I downloaded on my Kindle some time during 2012-13, to get some background on the Dutch striker we’d signed from Arsenal that summer. The book only goes up to his time with the Gunners, but it was a great read and I think it only set me back 99p! Bargain! 🙂

It was also during 2013 that a lady named Hannah Kent came to our book club meeting, as she had just become a newly-published author. Her debut novel, Burial Rites, was out in hardback, and as she was in the area and promoting the book around bookshops, she and a lady from the publishing house, joined us for our book group meeting that summer. Hannah’s an Aussie, from Queensland if I’m not mistaken, but she’d spent a year in Iceland on an exchange programme, and that had inspired her novel, a work of historical fiction based on the true story of the last woman to be executed in Iceland. We bought copies of her book, and she signed them for us, so we decided we’d have that as our book club choice for that month. This is a rarity for our book club, but we all loved it!

It might not have been a book we’d even considered, but she’d come to our meeting, and she was lovely. Also, I have been to Iceland, as I mentioned the other day, and although I only went to Reykjavik, the capital city, I know much of the rest of the country is still very rural and I could picture it as I read the novel. If I was doing some “around the world in books” project, Burial Rites would definitely be on the list as a book set in Iceland.

Another book which I read and loved during the non-blogging days was Where’d You Go, Bernadette? This book was published in August 2012, and I had blogged that month, but did not mention this novel. I probably had book club after I’d blogged! Perhaps we met up in the September and chose Maria Semple‘s novel, in which case it was after what would turn out to be my final blog entry of 2012, which was mostly wittering on about the Olympics, lol! In fact, I only mentioned two books in that blog, and neither of them were by Maria Semple! But I loved Where’d You Go, Bernadette? Very funny book!

This leads me on to the photo at the top of this blog, and a couple of items of reading matter which I am adding to my current concerns. I have decided that, in the current climate, I need stuff which is going to make me laugh, or at least attempts to achieve this!

For some reason, it seems sales of dystopian fiction are on the rise since the Mangled Apricot Hellbeast became President of the USA, but I won’t be purchasing anything of that nature! Read some Orwell donkey’s years ago, and enjoyed it enough at the time, but there’s no way I’m re-reading it now! I don’t see the attraction. I don’t want to read about fictional arsehole politicians treating their country’s people like shit when there’s far too much of that happening in real life! I need to ESCAPE from that shite! I need something that’s going to help me forget about it and save me from a bout of depression!

So, added to the current ongoing concerns on the book front, are Mort, by Sir Terry Pratchett, and Round Ireland With a Fridge, by Tony Hawks. One fiction, one non-fiction, but both promising to be extremely funny, which is exactly what I need! It was about time I read another Discworld book, so I’m now on for my fourth of those, and I’ve had the Hawks book for ages, and it really was time I actually read it, lol! I bought it absolutely donkey’s years ago, or so it seems, and bought it because the very idea of it seemed ridiculous, therefore just my kind of book!

Let’s not forget that one of my favourite reads, and one which I found free of charge on holiday in Mexico, was Attention All Shipping, by Charlie Connelly, in which Mr Connelly journeys around all the places mentioned on the Shipping Forecast on BBC Radio 4! Incidentally, that’d be another reason why I wouldn’t have blogged in 2013 – was busy celebrating my Big 40! I turned forty the day after Robin van Persie’s hat-trick against Aston Villa had meant Manchester United were league champions for the 20th time in their history, so those two days of celebration rather merged into one, lol! And then there was my holiday, six months later, when Mum and I headed off to the total and utter luxury of the El Dorado Seaside Suites on the Riviera Maya in Mexico, and it was while we were on this holiday that I found that book on one of the bookshelves dotted around our resort, and loved it so much that I brought it home with me as I hadn’t quite finished it when our fortnight of luxury and cocktails came to an end and we had to fly home to Manchester.

Mum and I also read I Am The Secret Footballer while we were in Mexico. Still can’t work out who the guy is! Thus, it’s not that I didn’t read any books between 2012 and 2015, I certainly did, but maybe not loads compared to other years, and other events in my life must have distracted me from blogging about my reading! Sometimes I have spells of blogging about football, which I do on one of my other blogs, In Off My Chest! Certainly during 2012-13 there was a lot to blog about for good reasons. The less said about the following season, though, the better!

I can’t even remember a lot of things I read in either 2014 or 2015! I clearly only partially-read stuff and never got into anything until the end of that year, really! There must have been a few books for book club which didn’t float my boat and I ended up giving them away some time last year when I was having a bit of a clear out and giving books to charity shops to make room for other books, lol!

I had blogged in August of 2012, then not until May and June 2015, and then there was another gap until February 2016! Been quite prolific in the past year, as far as book blogs are concerned, but I am trying to piece together what the hell happened in the missing times! We can account for 2013, really. I was 40 and United won the league, so I was too busy celebrating to blog about books! So, some of the other times I wasn’t blogging must have been bouts of Reader’s Block, or simply times when the book club books weren’t really my cup of tea.

During my non-blogging time, I did manage to find some reading matter to enjoy, including The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green, and The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin, and, thanks to a book swapping opportunity offered up at that time by a pub in Worsley, I managed to offload one of the book club reads I’d not got into, and exchanged it for the brilliant Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier. Ironically, the book I exchanged, which was The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, is a book I once again own, as I picked up a copy at a charity shop last year thinking perhaps I should give it another go some time and that the reason I’d not got into it was because I was having Reader’s Block, so it might not have been the book’s fault! Maybe I’ll try again and I’ll love it, or maybe I will realise why I didn’t get far with it first time round. Who knows?!

Anyway, I’d better get my progress with the Tony Hawks book charted on Goodreads, so that’s about all for now! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Robin van Persie: The Biography – Andy Lloyd-Williams
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • I Am The Secret Footballer – The Secret Footballer
  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
  • The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton

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Filed under Arsehole Politicians, Books, Fantasy Fiction, Handbag Books, Humour, Mental Health, Travel

101 Book Mentions


101 dogs for 101 blogs!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Last night, when I clicked to publish my blog, I received a notification shortly afterwards from WordPress, that I had published 100 blogs on Joanne’s Bookshelf! Wow! I knew I’d published a lot of book blogs, but some time ago, they seemed to stop letting me know blog by blog, so I lost count, although I knew I’d written a lot of these things! Anyway, last night, I reached my century, so this is my 101st blog, hence a photo from the film version of The Hundred and One Dalmatians! Well, it had to be done, lol!

Over the previous hundred book blogs, there have been many more than 101 books mentioned, lol! In fact, when I came to list them on List Challenges, my list came to 500 books! Would have been more if I’d listed every single Discworld book, I know, but I did list a few individually, and there’s one entry to represent the series. It’s just that the late great Sir Terry Pratchett wrote so many that it’d take ages to list! With some of the other fantasy series, there are not quite so many books. The Lord of the Rings is a trilogy, both Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia comprise of seven books each, and A Song of Ice and Fire has five books at present, and there are two more to come, I believe, as George R. R. Martin has not yet finished writing the series.


In one hundred blogs, we’ve covered one hell of a lot of issues! Some literary, some otherwise. Travel, music, sports, sports books, food, duplicate books, Young Adult novels and why they’re not just for teens, how much I hate book snobs, the content of books being more important than the authors’ appearances, tributes to poets, musicians and authors who’d passed away, especially last year when the Grim Reaper was overdoing it on the bumping-off front! I still think Phil Collins was taking a massive risk calling his autobiography Not Dead Yet, lol, given the number of celebrities lost in 2016! Looking forward to reading that book, though, when Sarah lends it to me.

We’ve even had cross-stitched bookmarks, Handbag Books, the chunkiness of historical fiction novels, the concept of the Book Hangover and bouts of Reader’s Block, the occasional rant, and of course a few mentions of the Junior Bookworm, my niece Charlotte. She now has a baby brother, of course, my nephew, Reuben, who was born in October, and she is clearly passing on her love of reading to the new arrival!


Charlotte reading to Reuben.

Looks like my nephew is enjoying having Eva and the New Owl read to him! It’s a book from the Owl Diaries series, by Rebecca Elliott, aimed at newly-independent readers such as my niece. I’m sure she still likes having books read to her, but she’s now very good at reading them on her own, and, as we can see, reading them to her baby brother!

You might be interested to know that my piles of books were still intact this evening when I returned home from Old Trafford after watching Manchester United beat Watford 2-0 in the Premier League, so neither the Juan Mata goal, nor the Anthony Martial goal, caused my books to topple over as they did last weekend when Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored our opener away to Leicester City! Must have just been a one-off! Let’s hope so! I want my side scoring lots of goals, but I don’t want my books falling over! As I reach 100 blogs, United reach 2,000 Premier League points, which they achieved this afternoon with the three points gained in our 2-0 win. Indeed, our next league victory will be our 600th in the Premier League, another milestone we’ll be the first club to achieve! However, this can’t happen until March, as we now have Europa League and FA Cup ties to contest, plus the League Cup Final against Southampton, before we have another Premier League fixture, which will be a home game against Bournemouth.

With Premier League Years 1992/93 downloaded onto my Kindle, I have at least one suitably United-related read amongst my ebooks for my trip to Wembley on 26th February. That particular date is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s birthday, too, so more reason to hope we win the cup – it would be appropriate to do so on a Legend’s birthday. Ole will be 44, he’s a couple of months older than me. He’s one of the main reasons why Norway is on my to-do list as far as travel is concerned, although I want to see more of Scandinavia anyway!

I have been to Denmark, a very long time ago now, way back in 1991 when I was 18, but we didn’t go to Copenhagen, so I have yet to visit the capital city. I have been to and performed at Legoland though! The original Legoland in Billund. The reason I was in Denmark in 1991 was because I was playing in the City of Salford Youth Concert Band, and every two years the band went abroad and gave a few concerts as well as having a bit of a holiday.Denmark was my first tour with the band, I also went to the Netherlands, France and Spain as part of the CSYCB. I was actually helping the band out by playing baritone sax at the time we went to Denmark, although my main instrument back then was the clarinet, “main instrument” meaning that I had my own, a pressie for my 16th birthday in 1989 just before I sat my GCSEs and left high school. The baritone sax was the music centre’s instrument, as was the bass clarinet I played a few years later in the band. These days, I’m in the Flixton Community Brass Band, in which I play tenor horn.

Anyway, I was on about Scandinavia, wasn’t I?! While Denmark was a long time ago, when I had just become an adult, I have had a more recent Scandinavian visit, when Mum and I went to Reykjavik, Iceland, in 2010. I totally recommend Iceland, especially as it’s an island full of bookworms! Icelandic people are major book lovers, they even have the “Christmas Book Flood” where they all buy each other new books, which they give each other on Christmas Eve, unwrap them, and then spend that night happily reading their new books! What a brilliant way to spend Christmas! I went there before I started writing these book blogs, which commenced later that year, but you won’t be surprised to learn I came home from Reykjavik with a few books, including The Sagas of Icelanders – that one kinda had to be purchased, really! I think it’s in the Book Chest in the garage. It’s a big, chunky book, anyway, as you might expect! Obviously, they were written by various Icelandic people, but the book I own has been put together by Jane Smiley. It’s not ALL the sagas, that would require an even chunkier book, I’m sure, but it’s a substantial introduction to Icelandic history, culture and folklore, and I hope to get around to reading it some time!

Well, we’ve started off with 101 dalmations to mark our 101st book blog, and we have ended up with mention of the bookworms of Iceland! You never know what’s going to turn up in this blog… mainly because I don’t know, either, lol! I just type this stuff as I go along, and sometimes one thing leads to another! Anyway, that’s about it for now, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Hundred and One Dalmatians – Dodie Smith
  • The Discworld Series – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling
  • The Chronicles of Narnia – C. S. Lewis
  • A Song of Ice and Fire (series) – George R. R. Martin
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • The Owl Diaries: Eva and the New Owl – Rebecca Elliott
  • Premier League Years 1992/93 – Andrew Hyslop
  • The Sagas of Icelanders – Various (prefaced by Jane Smiley)

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Filed under Authors, Books, Cross-Stitch, Duplicate Books List, E-Books & Audiobooks, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, Junior Bookworms, Literary Issues, Music, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Rants, Reader's Block, School, College & Uni Reading, Sports, Television, Travel

Where I’m Reading From…


Good evening, fellow Bookworms, and here is the news…

I finished reading I Know This Much, Gary Kemp‘s autobiography, this evening, so I will be able to return both that book and Faster Than Lightning, by Usain Bolt, to my friend Sarah when she comes here next Sunday for the Pet Shop Boys gig at the Arena in town. Absolutely loved both books, so ta very much, Sarah, and I’m looking forward to reading Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins!

(As I mentioned in a recent blog, I have seen that one a few times on display at Waterstone’s and really fancied it, so I was very excited when she said she’d lend me that one next!)

Finishing Kemp’s book means I now have 8 books on my Goodreads Challenge for 2017. 22 to go to my initial total of 30. Doing alright so far, but then again I could say the same about last year’s challenge until I read A Little Life, lol! It all went a bit Pete Tong after that! Certainly as far as fiction was concerned, anyway, even if I did get a few items of non-fiction read after I’d finished Hanya Yanagihara‘s epic novel!

I’ve started dipping in to If I Could Tell You Just One Thing, compiled by Richard Reed, and it is the sort of book to dip in and out of, as it’s just full of bits of advice from countless people, some of whom I’ve certainly heard about, although there are a few I don’t have a clue about! OK, I’m hardly far into it, but I do like Stephen Fry’s advice about ignoring all life-coach advice as it’s all snake oil without exception! I’ve often felt that way myself. Self-help books might help a lot of other people, but I find them to be a crock of ableist shite! I am certain that the writers of those books ASSume that all their readers are 100% perfectly fit and able-bodied, because they do NOT take any sort of disability into account, either visible or invisible!

I think someone with a hidden condition would have to write something, then perhaps many of us could relate to the experience, especially if the writer expresses how frustrating and tiresome the whole experience is! If he or she wrote about how pissed-off they were with the over-high expectations others have of you because you look “normal”, and the accusations they hurl at you – accusations of making things up, not trying hard enough, not wanting to do whatever it is they were suggesting – and the way they make you feel as though it might be a good idea to get a copy of your medical records and highlight the parts which mention your disability and the effects it has on you and giving out copies to the disbelieving arseholes to shut them up! You shouldn’t have to feel like you need to present proof, but what else can you do when arseholes won’t believe you? Sick to death of not being believed! Especially about this matter.

I am not remotely sorry for this rant. I am beyond pissed-off with this sort of crap! Not my bloody fault my stupid body considers a lot of physical activities to be “unreasonable requests” is it?! Do you think I chose to be like this? To have a gland that doesn’t bloody work? I would LOVE to be able to do the same stuff as many other people, but no matter how hard I tried, and I DID bloody try throughout my childhood, MY STUPID BODY DID NOT WANT TO KNOW! Got that?! So the likes of Helen Adams, and all the other thoughtless, insensitive, tactless arseholes I’ve had to put up with in my life, can take their accusations and they can shove them up their f***in’ arses. Sideways!

Perhaps they should keep their gobs shut and their thoughts to themselves from now on? Before I end this rant, just a quick thought for these idiots to ponder on… the thyroid gland can stop working at any time in a person’s life, so there’s always the possibility that others could end up with at least a taste of some of the crap I’ve had to put up with in my life just because one tiny gland in my neck has never seen fit to work since I was a baby…

* ends rant and returns to books *

List Challenges have done it again, damn them! I was looking at someone’s list and checking books off, and I came across one called Don’t Know Much About History, which is a non-fiction book about the history of the USA by Kenneth C Davis, and I started singing “Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke!

Don’t know much about history, don’t know much biology…

Don’t know much about a science book, don’t know much about the French I took…

But I do know that I love you, and I know that if you love me too

What a wonderful world this would be!

Stop it, List Challenges, you keep giving me book titles which remind me of songs! You’ll regret this, lol! I’ve already had “True” by Spandau Ballet on my brain for the past few weeks. Anyway, I do know a fair bit about history, as half my degree was in the subject, the other half was in literature as I’ve probably mentioned in previous blogs, and I know some of the French I took, as I did study it to A Level! OK, I went right off French at A Level, having loved it when I was doing my GCSEs, but I did appreciate French once again in November 1992 when United signed a certain bushy-eyebrowed French centre-forward from Leeds for a bargain £1.2m! Ooh aah…

I wasn’t that fussed about the biology, or any science, really, though! Well, I liked certain aspects of it, like making lightbulbs light up in physics, but I was only ever average at science subjects and didn’t really want to have to take any for my exams, didn’t see the point as I wasn’t going to use physics, chemistry or biology after I’d left school. Dad was the scientist in our family, and worked for a chemical firm until his retirement in 2010.

You may recall, a blog entry or two ago, the mention of a book promoted on Facebook by the Premier League Years page – well, the other day, they were promoting it again as the Kindle version was on offer for free! Yep! Premier League Years 1992/93: The Story of the Inaugural Premier League Season, by Andrew Hyslop, was available for absolutely nowt! So, you won’t be surprised to learn that I have downloaded it on my Kindle, and that it is in serious consideration for being read on my way to Wembley when I go to the League Cup Final later this month!

The ongoing concerns are still I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, An Equal Music, and The Saffron Trail, but now I’ve finished Kemp’s book, my thoughts turn to either starting a new book or returning to another partially-read one. There are always several books on the go, which dates back to my student days when this was necessary for my literature modules. Pretty sure that, before I went to uni, I read one book at a time, but that has not happened since the early 90s, lol! Probably 1991, before I started university that autumn! If I read anything else at the same time as books, it would probably only have been magazines back then, most likely Smash Hits during my teens, or copies of Literally, the regular publication of the Pet Shop Boys’ fan club, which was sent out 3 times a year, I think.

After a bit of thought on the title front, I’ve settled for Where I’m Reading From for the title of today’s blog, but it is also a book by Tim Parks, which is hanging around somewhere in this room, and I could always start that one. I do like books about books, as you may have noticed, lol! He also wrote the excellent A Season With Verona, which I read some years ago now and loved. Then again, it was about football, and also a travel book about Italy at the same time, so that’s probably why I loved it so much!

Well, I shall go and have a look at the Tim Parks book, and perhaps a few other options, and I shall finish this for now. Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this book blog…

  • I Know This Much – Gary Kemp
  • Faster Than Lightning – Usain Bolt
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • If I Could Tell You Just One Thing – Richard Reed
  • Don’t Know Much About History – Kenneth C. Davis
  • Premier League Years 1992/93 – Andrew Hyslop
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Where I’m Reading From – Tim Parks
  • A Season With Verona – Tim Parks

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Foreign Languages, Goodreads, List Challenges, Music, Rants