The Bookworm On The Bus


The bookworm on the bus goes read, read, read… all day long!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

If there isn’t a verse of “The Wheels on the Bus” dedicated to bookworms on the bus, then there bloody well should be! That gentleman was reading on the 33 bus when I was on my way home from Eccles earlier this evening. The book he was reading was We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler, of which I also own a copy. Mine being a 99p charity shop bargain, actually, as it’s still got the price label on it, lol!

I imagine our bus bookworm had a rather longer commute than I did. As I am currently based at the West One retail park, near Eccles, I am not far from where I live, which is a good thing, but it doesn’t really present much of a reading opportunity for me unless the traffic is particularly shite and then I might get the chance to get one of my Handbag Books out and have a good read as the bus crawls its way along at the speed of an arthritic ant with some particularly heavy shopping, to paraphrase from Blackadder!

The book being read, the novel by Karen Joy Fowler, was from a few years ago now, when a lot of book covers seemed to be yellow and black! Not sure what the current trend is, but a yellow and black bandwagon was clearly being jumped upon by publishing houses some time around 2013 and 2014! I can understand why The Bees, by Laline Paull, had a yellow and black cover, that made perfect sense given the theme of the novel, but why did nearly every damn book which came out around that same time go for the same bloody bee-like colour scheme?!

We are now on 1st March, so Happy St David’s Day to any Welsh bookworms reading this blog, and I expect many kids up and down the UK are preparing for World Book Day at school tomorrow! My niece, Charlotte, is going as Verruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl. Charlotte is very much like me – a bookworm and a chocoholic, so it’s not too surprising she chose a character from that particular book.

The actual World Book Day, for most of the world, is 23rd April, St George’s Day here in England and in a few other countries and regions too – Catalonia in Spain springs to mind, and it is also my birthday. It is still World Book Night for anyone participating in that event, as I did back in 2012, when I gave out copies of The Book Thief at the Trafford Centre. However, the thing about 23rd April, from an academic year perspective, is that it often falls during the Easter holidays every few years, so in order to use World Book Day to promote literacy and a love of books in UK schools, they had to choose a time which would be term time every year, thus early March got the nod.

As I’ve said previously, I’m in several book groups on Facebook, and I have one of my own, which I started in April 2008, so we’re coming up to the ninth anniversary of the creation of I’d Spend All Day In Waterstone’s If I Could Get Away With It! on 14th April! I usually just refer to it as the Waterstone’s group for short! At the time I started that group, I was still a civil servant, and still working in town, not far from the massive Deansgate branch of Waterstone’s, which would explain why my flexi-time at work was often up shit creek without a paddle, lol! I didn’t really want to return to the office after lunch – I just wanted to stay in Waterstone’s all day and read books!

Two weeks to go to my next book club meeting, in which we will be discussing If I Could Tell You Just One Thing, by Richard Reed. As mentioned in a previous blog, it’s one of those which can be dipped into, as it’s various famous people giving bits of advice. Emma, who currently runs the book club, emailed the other day. She was apologising, rather unnecessarily, for having been ill when we last met up, and reminding us to bring suggestions for our next book. I have told her that I’m prepared to try most books with the obvious exceptions of horror, dystopia, and current affairs!

I’m not really all that crazy for thrillers, either, to be honest. Loads of other readers go mad for the latest thrillers – books such as Behind Closed Doors, by B. A. Paris, or The Girl On The Train, by Paula Hawkins, get raved about online, and people talk of long waiting lists to borrow those books from libraries, but I’d be the one calmly looking at other books and not caring that everyone else is in a queue! I will take a passing interest and make a mental note of its popularity, but I will leave it for other readers if it’s not my cup of tea. I don’t get put off by the popularity. Other books are popular too, and I might buy them if they appeal to me. After all, the Harry Potter series is hugely popular, and I love those books!

Ten years ago, while I was on holiday in Las Vegas, the final book of the main series came out, so Mum and I went to an event at the branch of Borders in a mall just off the Strip, and that’s where I got my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. So, popularity of book does NOT put me off! It just depends on the book! I’m a very random reader, though, and I guess I’m programmed differently to many other bookworms. I don’t really have a favourite author or genre. I just look at random books and see if the blurb makes me want to read them or not! And I know they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but there are some seriously good covers out there, and they DO attract readers! One of the best covers in recent times was the cover of Look Who’s Back, by Timur Vermes, and that was a brilliant book, too! Very funny.

So, I read a lot of different books to many people, but I still don’t hold with Haruki Murakami‘s line from Norwegian Wood

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”

Not necessarily, Murakami san! Sometimes you HAVE to read the same books as others, such as when you’re at school and your whole class is reading the same book. However, that does NOT mean you’re all going to feel the same way about that book! Some will love it, some will hate it, and others will just think it was OK but nowt special! I’ve had plenty of set books at school, college and university in my younger days, so I’ve been in plenty of classrooms with other people who were reading the same books as myself. I am fairly certain we all got different things out of those books!

I don’t recall disliking any, but there were a few which I have forgotten all about, lol, so they were clearly not resonating with me all that much to begin with. I may have skim-read those in a hurry for certain weeks of certain modules. I think my main complaint about any of the books would have been that some of them were dull, and those were usually the textbooks from literary criticism modules! Since I graduated, which was back in 1994, I have needed literary criticism about as much as I’ve needed A = pi r squared since I sat GCSE Maths in 1989! In other words, not at all, lol!

I don’t doubt that it is OCCASIONALLY useful to look deeper into a novel and work out if the author was telling us anything between the lines, but there is such a thing as overdoing it, and literature courses at degree level definitely overdo it! I think people read far too much into books, they look for all sorts of possible symbolism, but what if the author genuinely hadn’t given a shit about any of that nonsense?!

Maybe the curtains being blue had bugger all to do with depression, maybe the lady’s dress being green had bugger all to do with environmental issues, but you can bet your life that if some people are at a lecture at uni right now, reading some novel where there’s a lady in a green dress in a room with blue curtains, they’ll be over-analysing the author’s descriptions and reading stupid shit like that into the story!

Anyway, no need to read anything into the fact that I need a brew, other than the fact that I’m thirsty! So, I shall bring this to a close and go and make myself a cuppa! Until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler
  • The Bees – Laline Paull
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
  • The Book Thief  – Markus Zusak
  • If I Could Tell You Just One Thing – Richard Reed
  • Behind Closed Doors – B. A. Paris
  • The Girl On the Train – Paula Hawkins
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling
  • Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes
  • Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami

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Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Handbag Books, Literary Issues, World Book Day, World Book Night

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