Monthly Archives: January 2018

January Review – A Solid Start

January 2018 summary

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome back to the most random blog on the internet, lol! Alright, there’s one more day of January left after today, but I wouldn’t be getting any more books finished than I already have done this month, plus I’ll probably be keeping an eye on the score as my lads are away to Spurs tomorrow evening and it’s Transfer Deadline Day so I’ll be amused by all the last-minute nonsense from other clubs, relaxing in the knowledge that we have Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal and I don’t expect owt else to happen for us until the summer now. If it does, it’ll be an extra bonus, but I’m not expecting my lads to be busy tomorrow in terms of buying new players – as long as the existing players are busy putting the ball in Tottenham’s net and keeping it out of ours, that will do me nicely!

Anyway, books… The year started with me coming down with more Lurgy having thought I’d got shut of it between Christmas and New Year, but I am now finally over it. I finished Hot Milk, by Deborah Levy, in time for the book club meeting, although there was only myself and Stephanie at Waterstone’s due to the amount of bugs going round!

Thus I got my first book of the year read, but it was about a fortnight before I’d be getting more read. However, they’ve come thick and fast in the past week! It started with finishing off the excellent autobiography, Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins, who turns 67 today, by the way, so Happy Birthday, Phil! Following swiftly on the heels of the legendary Genesis drummer and frontman, I polished off The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells, less than 48 hours later!

I then had an overnight read, a re-read of a childhood book, when I polished off Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood, by Alf Prøysen, which I found lying around in our living room behind our sofa, with a few other books which were a mix of mine and my mum’s from our younger days! I will now be lending Mrs Pepperpot to my sister in case she wants to read it, and perhaps Charlotte might also fancy reading it!

Then, in the wee small hours, I finished off my current book club book, The Red House Mystery, by A. A. Milne, which I quite enjoyed. I’ve read it with just over a week to spare, so I’m quite chuffed. Plus, that means that I’ve finished off 5 books already in the first month of 2018. We can’t take anything for granted, there can be quiet spells on the reading front sometimes, so I still don’t know how many books I’ll end up on by the end of December, but I can say it’s a pretty solid start. This is my 6th blog of the new year, too, hence I wrote 6 on the wipeboard knowing that I intended to blog and to use that photo for this blog! 5 books finished, 6 blogs published by the time you’re reading this, lol, and 1 player signed for Manchester United in the January transfer window!

Sadly, the Grim Reaper seems a bit too busy again this year, and has already claimed a few notable people this year, including science-fiction author, Ursula K. Le Guin, Cranberries lead singer, Dolores O’Riordan at only 46 (hardly much older than me – far too young), former footballer, Cyrille Regis, and the former referee, Paul Alcock, who passed away today at the relatively early age of 64 – probably best known for being pushed over by Paolo Di Canio when he had been sent off for Sheffield Wednesday at home to Arsenal in the 1998-99 season!

Hogwarts House Socks

Accio Socks! I’m a Ravenclaw, in case you were wondering.

The Hogwarts house socks were from my mum! I just thought I’d mention them as they are book-related and I acquired them this month, so it seemed apt to put a photo in the January Review! I’ve had the Harry Potter FunkoPop for a while now, though. I also have a Charlie Bucket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – they usually stand in front of my wipeboard.

Well, I originally thought I had two deadlines – my book club deadline, which is 7th February, and I also thought I had 15th February for giving Not Dead Yet back to my friend Sarah. However, as Paul Young’s wife sadly passed away last week, he postponed his February concerts, which will be rescheduled, so I will be hanging on to Phil’s autobiography for a while longer before I hand it back to Sarah. We may arrange to meet up for non-concert reasons, though. There’s always a chance we could meet and go shopping or something, so I will give her the book back at the earliest opportunity. It gives Sarah more chance, if she hasn’t already done so, to read Bruce Dickinson‘s autobiography, What Does This Button Do? She has said she will lend me that one, which I am looking forward to. The Iron Maiden frontman’s book sounds like another fascinating read. He is actually a qualified pilot as well as being a heavy metal legend!

So, 5 books read so far: 1 each for general fiction, autobiography, science-fiction, children’s fiction and crime fiction.

So, now onto the current Ongoing Concerns… All of them are at the early stages of being started, really. None of them near completion, so that’s why I knew I had my January total. Even if I resumed a half-read book and finished that off this year, I didn’t think I had any that were near enough to the end for me to have a quick read and add them to the finished list! I COULD resume Neither Here Nor There, by Bill Bryson, which I was exactly halfway through last year before things all went a bit Pete Tong on the OC front! That would give me a book at 50% to add to Russian Winters, by Andrei Kanchelskis, at 13% and Hawksmoor, by Peter Ackroyd, at 10%. I have made a start on The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells, so that’s 5% read.

I gave some thought to Sirens, by Joseph Knox, which I mentioned in the previous blog entry – a work of crime fiction set in Manchester, which thus piques my interest enough to read a crime novel, which is not my usual genre. However, part of me thinks that I should just stick to Russian Winters, Hawksmoor, and The War of the Worlds and concentrate on those for the next week or so, while I have the chance. On 7th February, I’ll be at Waterstone’s for the next book club meeting, and will end up with a new book and a new target date, lol, so making progress on three existing fronts seems like the best idea no matter how much I might want to add or re-add books! If I can make significant progress with the reading matter from Messrs Kanchelskis, Ackroyd and Wells, at least one of those should be halfway or better by the time I add my next book club book to the mix!

Was considering if I should do some sort of reading challenge, I was looking at a few last night on the internet, but perhaps the best idea would be to work my way through one of my piles of books, for example the rainbow tower of books! That would give me a good 18-20 books, which would be doable, just working them in alongside book club reads and other books I fancy reading! I could also resume the Shardlake series, by C. J. Sansom, which I started last year when I read Dissolution. I am on for Dark Fire, the second book in the series, and there are 4 more after that – Sovereign, Revelation, Heartstone, and Lamentation. I may be a very random reader, as you no doubt know by now, but I am quite partial to a bit of historical fiction! I like history anyway – I would do – half of my degree was in history! (The other half was in literature, as you also probably know!)

Mentioning the Shardlake series has taken the Books Mentioned list, on List Challenges, up to 73 now, lol!

The other thing I need to do is to resume my cross stitch – especially as I tend to stitch bookmarks, and there is a partially-stitched one which I started last year and which is meant to go well with a classic orange and white Penguin book!

I think that’s about it for now, and books are not going to read themselves, lol, so I shall get this finished and published, and we shall see what February brings… Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood – Alf Prøysen
  • The Red House Mystery – A. A. Milne
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
  • What Does This Button Do? – Bruce Dickinson
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Russian Winters – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • Sirens – Joseph Knox
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • Sovereign – C. J. Sansom
  • Revelation – C. J. Sansom
  • Heartstone – C. J. Sansom
  • Lamentation – C. J. Sansom
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Bookworm’s Progress and All Manner of Reading Matters…

Not Dead Yet finished Jan 2018

Phil Collins and also H G Wells finished this week!

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Been a good week on the book front, although some sad news has meant it will be longer before my friend and I meet up and I return her book to her. As you can see from the photo above, the brilliant Not Dead Yet was finished earlier this week, and I then polished off The Time Machine the following day! As I planned, I am lining up The War of the Worlds to go on the Ongoing Concerns list, one H G Wells science fiction novel replacing another. Well, novellas, actually, as neither book is particularly long. Even The War of the Worlds is under 200 pages long!

While we’re on science fiction, we have to mention the sad news from earlier this week, as Ursula K. Le Guin passed away on Monday, aged 88. I have not yet read any of her books, but I might look into them, The Left Hand of Darkness being one of the best-known of her novels. Rest in Peace, Ursula. 😦

Priority lies with The Red House Mystery, though, as that is my book club book and I need to get on with that before 7th February. My 15th February deadline which I set for Not Dead Yet is irrelevant as I have finished the book in good time, but I won’t be giving Sarah the book back on that date. She and I were due to see Paul Young at the Preston Guild Hall. However, Paul’s wife sadly passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer, so Paul has understandably postponed his February concerts, which will be rescheduled for later this  year. I will have to see if I can cancel the half-day leave I booked, as I won’t need it on that date now, and I might need it whenever the new date for the concert might be if it’s also a midweek gig.

Blogging today, I do realise I am too late for an Australia Day special, might have to do one of those next year if I remember in time. Would have to do it on 25th January here, though, so that it would be 26th January Down Under. That way I could mention any books set in Australia, and also some by Aussie authors, such as Hannah Kent, who has already given us two awesome novels, Burial Rites and The Good People. If I am not mistaken, Markus Zusak is also an Aussie, so I could mention The Book Thief, which is on my list of favourite books, and which I gave out for World Book Night in 2012 on my 39th birthday! Someone remind me to do an Aussie-themed book blog in 2019! I did an Irish special last year for St Patrick’s Day, so if you want to read that blog, check out the March 2017 archives!

The thing about these internationally-themed blogs is that I only need a few examples from any country to make up a blog. Where would I even start with my own?! So many English authors to choose from, and probably all the usual suspects anyway, such as the Brontës, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens! Besides which, our patron saint, St George, has his day on 23rd April… which also happens to be Chief Bookworm’s birthday! I tend to spend the day having a lie-in, unwrapping pressies and going out to eat… Whether I could fit a blog in on my birthday is another matter, or even whether I’d want to…

While we should never rule anything out completely, I would say that it would be highly unlikely that you would have a blog from me on my 45th birthday later this year…

Right, anyway, I need some hydration, so I shall just get myself a drink, and I shall return shortly…

* Chief Bookworm pops downstairs for a drink *

Right, I’m back! Sorry about that! Hot Vimto in my Cantona mug on a coaster on top of the printer as I sit here at Computer Corner, tapping away on my laptop!

I might have been too late for Australia Day, but it is Holocaust Memorial Day today, so we can at least mention a few works of fiction set around that terrible time, including The Auschwitz Violin, by Maria Angels Anglada, which I read a couple of years ago – pretty sure it’s on my Goodreads Challenge of 2016. The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas, by John Boyne, is an obvious mention as well, and The Book Thief also touches on those sent to concentration camps, although not actually based around a camp. One other book, one which I read some years ago now, is a collection of short stories based on the author’s experience, and it was recommended to me, on Facebook, by David Hunt probably about 9 or 10 years ago now. The book is by Tadeusz Borowski, and it’s called This Way For the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen. It’s what he doesn’t say, what is implied, which gets to you. One which should be read, but maybe not in public as you might find it too upsetting.

There’s actually one I mean to get, The Librarian of Auschwitz, by Antonio Iturbe, and I shall have a look for it next time I am in a book shop, which won’t be long off knowing me! There’s also The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris, another recent book, only just published earlier this month. That one’s based on the true story of a concentration camp tattooist, and as we’re on for books based on true stories of World War II, we need to mention Schindler’s Ark, by Thomas Keneally, which inspired the award-winning film Schindler’s List.

I was going to mention some more of the books I’ve acquired in recent times, and I have some charity shop bargains to mention, but first, we go back to my childhood, and I found a book the other night which had my name in it, and it was one I have had since I was in the first year juniors at primary school, what is now year 3, and that’s the year my niece is in at school. The book is Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood, by Alf Prøysen, a Norwegian author who passed away in 1970, before I was even born, but his stories of this little old lady who shrunk to the size of a pepper pot at inconvenient times were read to us by our teacher, Mrs Lloyd, when we were in that first year junior class at Monton Green Primary School, which would have been the academic year of 1980-81. So the book turned up on the Puffin Club book catalogue and it was bought for me as I had enjoyed some of the stories in class.

Mrs Pepperpot book

So, this is my book from when I was Charlotte’s age, and I am going to re-read it, and then perhaps my niece might like to borrow it! After all, I enjoyed it when I was 7 going on 8, so it’s probably the right age range for Junior Bookworm! Mrs Lloyd was great, one of the best teachers I ever had. Years later, she even bought me some chocolate to celebrate when Mum and I met up with her in a supermarket shortly after I’d graduated from uni in 1994!

Right, as I promised, the charity shop books which I didn’t mention the other night because I already had a pretty long list of books to mention by the end of that blog, lol! One of the charity shops on Swinton Precinct had a four books for a quid offer, essentially making these items of reading matter 25p each… I chose Playing With Fire, by Gordon Ramsay, which I think is the follow up autobiography to Humble Pie, which I already owned.

East of the Sun, by Julia Gregson, was one of the four books. I also have another of hers on the notorious TBR list, Jasmine Nights, which I either got from a charity shop or a church fair. Either way, it was a cheap acquisition.

Broken Music, by Sting, was another of the four books. It’s his autobiography. Useless fact time here, folks… Sting went to the same school as Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys! Sting would have been two years above Neil. They both attended St Cuthbert’s RC Grammar School in Newcastle Upon Tyne. So there you go! I know this because I’ve been a Pethead for years, but I’m also partial to the music of The Police and some of Sting’s solo stuff, particularly Fields of Gold and Englishman In New York – that latter one, of course, providing the melody for our terrace song about Henrikh Mkhitaryan who has gone to Arsenal in the swap deal which saw Alexis Sanchez come to United!

He had a good debut last night, actually, setting up two of our goals as the lads won 4-0 away to Yeovil Town in the 4th round of the FA Cup. The goals came courtesy of Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku, giving us a convincing win and a place in the draw for the 5th round, which will be made on Monday.

Anyway, back to the four books, which brings us to the fourth, that being Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It sounds like a humorous one – after all, the late great Sir Terry was the author of the Discworld series. The edition I picked up at the charity shop was actually a World Book Night edition from 2012, which was the same year I was giving out special copies of The Book Thief for free at the Trafford Centre! Go back to my blog archives from early in 2012 and you’ll read about my preparations for that!

Oh, and I picked up Ulysses, by James Joyce, at one of the other charity shops in Swinton the other day. That’s a right chunky monkey, though. Might have to find some sort of guide to the novel before attempting it. I have read some Joyce, previously, but only Dubliners, which is a book of short stories set in the Irish capital.

This pretty much brings my book news up to date. Just a thought… We’re not even at the end of January and the list of books mentioned so far in 2018 is already at 66! Of course, as things go on, books get repeat mentions, and they’re already on the list, but plenty of previously unmentioned books get added and last year’s list was over 500 books long when I came to publish it at the end of December! If you’re on List Challenges, and you like big lists and you cannot lie, lol, check out Joanne’s Bookshelf – Books Mentioned in 2017 and see how many you’ve read from all the books I mentioned on here last year!

So, that’s it for now, I’m off for a reading session! Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Red House Mystery – A. A. Milne
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • The Auschwitz Violin – Maria Angels Anglada
  • The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne
  • This Way For the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen – Tadeusz Borowski
  • The Librarian of Auschwitz – Antonio Iturbe
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris
  • Schindler’s Ark – Thomas Keneally
  • Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood – Alf Prøysen
  • Playing With Fire – Gordon Ramsay
  • Humble Pie – Gordon Ramsay
  • East of the Sun – Julia Gregson
  • Jasmine Nights – Julia Gregson
  • Broken Music – Sting
  • Good Omens – Sir Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  • Ulysses – James Joyce
  • Dubliners – James Joyce

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A Russian Birthday Boy and a New Number 7…

Andrei Kanchelskis book Jan 2018

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

You’ll be pleased to learn that the Lurgy is on its way out! At long bloody last, eh?! The voice isn’t quite back to normal yet, and there are still occasional coughs, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it has been. So, I am at Computer Corner without coughing my head off, lol, and wishing our former winger, Andrei Kanchelskis, a very happy 49th birthday! This is why I have decided I am going to make a start on Russian Winters, his autobiography, and add it to the Ongoing Concerns, as I’m pretty much starting that back up again.

I just hope to keep it manageable this year. It kind of went to pot last year, didn’t it?! Books just weren’t being read, and it defeated the object of them being ongoing concerns if some of them weren’t exactly enjoying any ongoing progress! Anyway, Comrade Kanchelskis, birthday boy today, is being added to the current list. Pretty sure I still have his original autobiography, Kanchelskis, translated by George Scanlan, his interpreter at Manchester United, which was published in the early to mid 90s when Andrei was still at Old Trafford. In fact, not only am I certain I have this book, I am pretty sure I got it signed by Mr Kanchelskis, either at a book signing or at The Cliff. I think there was a book signing for it, so it was probably at one of the book shops in town.

I did do a book blog special on footballers’ autobiographies some  years ago, actually. I think it was when I’d just met Paul Scholes, who was signing copies of his book, My Story, at Selfridges in the Trafford Centre. Scholesy was quite used to getting booked on the pitch, lol, but on this occasion, his name was going in a lot of books without a yellow card being shown! But, when I did my blog, I issued a few red cards to some publishers for a few glaring errors which should not have got past the proof-readers! I think it was Heading For Victory, by Steve Bruce, which had a few mistakes in it and I felt the proof-reader was guilty of persistent fouling! Even Brucey himself, who went in where angels feared to tread during his playing days, would not have been as clumsy as some of the editing had been in his book!

This is turning into something of a Footballers’ Books Blog, isn’t it?! I’ve read plenty of them, so it’s a genre of book I am well-qualified to comment on, lmao! Last year I added I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović to the list. I could probably do a List Challenges list on Football Autobiographies I’ve read! Actually, that sounds like a really good idea! Throw in a few biographies too, where they’ve been written by others about players or managers, and I could have quite a list. I have TWO editions of Eric Cantona‘s autobiography! I have the English version, My Story, and the original French edition, Un Rêve Modeste et Fou. Both signed by King Eric, I might add! Well, he IS my all-time favourite player!

Also, I have studied French to A Level, so don’t be too surprised at me having books in other languages. I have some books in German, and some in Spanish, too. I’ve studied both those languages to GCSE level. I have a copy of Charlie y la Fábrica de Chocolate, by Roald Dahl, and Die Bücherdiebin, by Markus Zusak, amongst my books in other languages, and I expect you can work out what the English versions of those books are!

Back to footballers for a moment, as the “Great United and Arsenal Player Swap of 2018” finally happened yesterday evening after work permits were renewed! What was originally just going to be a case of shelling out a lot of money for another club’s player turned into a swap deal as they were after one of ours whom, while I was very sad to see him go, I can understand his departure as the manager had messed him around somewhat and not had faith in him despite him being one of Jose’s own signings!  I can see why a manager might not always want some of the players he’s inherited from previous managers, but when you buy a player in the transfer window and then muck him around, that’s a bit odd, quite frankly! You signed him, you must have thought he was right for the club!

So, farewell, and good luck, Henrikh Mkhitaryan! I will miss you, and I thank you for your all too brief time at Old Trafford, and for helping us win the EFL Cup and Europa League double last season, particularly for scoring one of our two goals in the Europa League final as we beat Ajax 2-0 in Stockholm in May last year. I will miss singing about our midfield Armenian to the tune of “Englishman in New York” by Sting! Just don’t score against us, please, Mkhi!

On the other hand, Welcome to Old Trafford, Alexis Sanchez! ¡Bienvenidos! The Chilean striker has joined United in a straight swap with Arsenal, and will wear the legendary number 7 shirt, as previously worn by the likes of George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo! Quite a bit to live up to, so I hope he manages to do that!

Ongoing Concerns 23rd January 2018

And back to books! I haven’t started Russian Winters yet, although I have read the foreword by Ryan Giggs, so I look forward to starting on the main book from Andrei himself. Progress has been made, however, on the other books on my Ongoing Concerns list… Not Dead Yet tops the pile, Phil Collins‘ autobiography is at the 76% read stage now, so just under a quarter of it left to read before I give it back to Sarah when we go to see Paul Young at the Preston Guild Hall next month. I might have to get my own copy of Not Dead Yet so I can lend it to people, as I’ve been recommending it of late, including to my dad when we went out for a Japanese meal at Sapporo Teppanyaki in town last week. Wouldn’t be right to lend the book I have now, as that’s Sarah’s and she’s lent it to me, but I am really loving it and want to share that enjoyment of a really good book!

The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells, is next on the list, been reading more of that earlier today, and that’s now up to 68% so we’re over two thirds of the way through that one with a good chance of getting that finished soon along with the Phil Collins book. I think, when I have finished The Time Machine, I’m going to replace it with another by the same author and give The War of the Worlds a go!

My book club book, The Red House Mystery, by A. A. Milne, is next up, and that’s 27% read now, so I’m over a quarter of the way into it, and it’s pleasant and readable enough! As I may have said before, I’m not really one for crime fiction, and I’ll be coming back to that matter shortly, but get me the right book in that genre and I might be persuaded! Book club is 7th February, so I’ve got about a fortnight to get it finished. It may have to become a priority along with Phil Collins.

Hawksmoor, by Peter Ackroyd, is at 10% so I’ve made a start and got my head around the writing style which looks a bit “olde English” in parts. It’s meant to be that way, as some of it is set in 1711 or thereabouts. Other bits are set in 1985, I think it goes back and forth in time. It was mentioned by Duncan Jones when he launched the David Bowie Book Club, and it sounded interesting. I might not read all the books for the DBBC, and I might not get them read in time, but if some sound interesting, I will read them. There are a few unread ones on the list which I already own, such as The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz, so it would make sense to attempt those at least! And there are one or two I have already read, such as 1984, by George Orwell, so those are already ticked off the list! I read that one when I was 17, way back in 1990!

So that then brings us to Andrei Kanchelskis and his Russian Winters which I might make a start on in a short while. By the end of this evening, anyway.

Anyway, some recent acquisitions now, even if that means tonight’s list at the end of the blog is going to be pretty long, lol! Friday saw me at the Trafford Centre, ostensibly to sort out a problem on my phone, which was indeed my first reason for being there after work, and I got that sorted with an O2 Guru before I headed off to my natural habitats… book shops! WH Smiths and Waterstone’s were visited and books were acquired! The Raw Shark Texts, by Steven Hall was on sale for just £3 at WH Smiths. A slight tear in the cover, but what the hell? Let’s go for it! The Impossible Treble, by Steve Bartram, Paul Davies and Ben Hibbs, was a necessity for a Stretford Ender like myself. That had to be purchased! We also have The Long and Short of It, by Jodi Taylor, The Note, by Zoë Folbigg, a tale of a woman falling in love with a book-reading bloke she sees on the train on her daily commute, and also Sirens, by Joseph Knox, which was actually written in the staff room of Waterstone’s Deansgate, where the author was working at the time, and is set in Manchester city centre! As I have said earlier, crime fiction isn’t really my thing, but with the Manc setting, it just might persuade me to give it a go.

I acquired some more books today, 4 for a quid at a charity shop in Swinton, but I think I’d better leave mentioning those until the next blog, as I’ve already listed a fair few books this evening, haven’t I?! I shall get this finished off and published while it is still Andrei’s birthday! Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Russian Winters – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • Kanchelskis – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • My Story – Paul Scholes
  • Heading For Victory – Steve Bruce
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • My Story – Eric Cantona
  • Un Rêve Modeste et Fou – Eric Cantona
  • Charlie y la Fábrica de Chocolate – Roald Dahl
  • Die Bücherdiebin – Markus Zusak
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • The Red House Mystery – A. A. Milne
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz
  • 1984 – George Orwell
  • The Raw Shark Texts – Steven Hall
  • The Impossible Treble – Steve Bartram, Paul Davies & Ben Hibbs
  • The Long and Short of It – Jodi Taylor
  • The Note – Zoë Folbigg
  • Sirens – Joseph Knox

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Lurgy, Martians and Expanding Books…

Book board Jan 2018

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Good evening! Just over a week since I last blogged, and the lurgy is still there… my voice has gone now. Not completely, but it’s obvious that my voice isn’t right at the moment. Probably going to have to miss the match tomorrow evening after work. We’ll see how it goes, but I might have to settle for staying home and watching on the box instead of being in the Stretford End. I’m certainly not in a fit state to sing, unfortunately. Probably because I’ve been coughing my head off so much these past few days.

Anyway, due to the fact that there’s a lot of this damn lurgy going around, there was only myself and Stephanie at book club on Wednesday. Nick, Diane and Michelle couldn’t make it due to being ill. Thus it was a pretty short meeting, Stephanie hated Hot Milk and said there were “plot holes big enough to drain pasta through” – I had finished the book at lunchtime at work on that Wednesday, so just in time for book club, and it means I am now up and running with my Goodreads Challenge for 2018 – I have finished at least one book. I feel better now, lol! Well, I mean better in the sense of happy and satisfied, having finished a book, not medically better – still waiting for this cough to bugger off for me to be better in that sense! And for my voice to return to normal, obviously!

After our brief discussion, Stephanie and I wandered around Waterstone’s to find a suitable book for our next meeting, and we ended up in the crime fiction section on the first floor and with a book called The Red House Mystery, by A. A. Milne. Yep, you read that right… A. A. Milne. As in the author of the Winnie the Pooh books! However, I can confirm that there is no mention of Tigger or Eeyore in this book! I am currently around 14% into the new book club book. Crime fiction is not my usual reading material, but it’s not bad so far.

I am really loving Not Dead Yet, Phil Collins‘ autobiography! A thoroughly good read! That one is at 42% now, so making considerable progress with that, and I would like to get it to at least the halfway stage before the end of tonight. As I mentioned previously, my aim is to get it read before 15th February as that is when I’m going to see Paul Young in concert with my friend Sarah, and ’tis she who has lent me this book! Thus, I am aiming to get it back to her. She has mentioned lending me Bruce Dickinson‘s autobiography, What Does This Button Do? – also looking forward to that as I really fancy reading it!

I am also making decent progress with The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells. This piece of science fiction, a short novella at only 125 pages, had been near Computer Corner for a while along with The War of the Worlds, by the same author, which is still here near my laptop. However, I decided, the other day, to pop The Time Machine into my handbag, and started reading it one lunchtime at work – I am now 24% of the way through it, so just under a quarter of it read already. It makes an ideal Handbag Book! O h damn! I knew that would happen… I am now thinking of the tune “Eve of the War” from the Jeff Wayne version of War of the Worlds! “The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one they said…” * imitates the music as best as she can with a croaky voice, lol * Yeah, sorry about that! I know it’s probably an earworm for you now!

The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one… but still, they come!

Oops! Sorry! Right, where was I?! My dad’s got that music in his car, actually. Er, sorry, we were supposed to be moving on from The War of the Worlds, weren’t we?! Right, enough about Martians and that malarkey, although I will probably end up reading it soon enough, where were we up to with this blog? I’ve covered my completed read so far this year and my three current reads, so what’s next?

Mort is no longer in the handbag, although that does not mean I have forgotten about it. I will get around to the fourth book of the Discworld series by Sir Terry Pratchett eventually. One book which I have put in the handbag with intent to read soon is Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah. It crops up on a lot of lists on List Challenges, and I read the blurb and it sounds pretty interesting, and funny in parts. It is his own account of growing up in South Africa with a black mum and a white dad when Apartheid was still very much the way of things there.

I have a few box sets on the landing, and one of them is a Picador box set of 10 books, of which, to date, I have only read one. That book being Holidays in Hell, by P. J. O’Rourke, which I quite enjoyed some years ago now. Having said that, though, it wasn’t quite as good as The Dark Tourist, by Dom Joly, which I absolutely loved, and which was along pretty similar lines. I did start on another of the books in that box set, that being The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje, which I had started, and then it was one of several books which went missing, as you may recall from my blogs last year! The books were eventually found, although I have yet to resume or start any of them. I probably should return The English Patient to the box, although there’s that thing once you’ve read a book or two… books seem to expand even if only ever so slightly, and you can’t fit them back in…. When you read a book, you seem to make it that bit bigger!

One book remained missing for a while longer, that being The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy, but I did eventually find that in our garage! It is still in there, but at least I know where it is! It had previously been around here, near Computer Corner, which is why I was baffled as to why I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t remember having shifted it elsewhere!

Some people make lists of what they’re going to read, and tick them off. I can’t make those lists. I never know what I’m going to read! Firstly, with my book club, I don’t know until I am there and we are discussing the next book and choosing it between us, and that’s going to account for around 11 or 12 books a year, and even amongst my own books, where I just decide for myself, I am very random and don’t know what I’m going to be in the mood for!

Anyway, I’m off to get on with the Phil Collins book, so until next time, when I hope I will be well again, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this book blog…

  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
  • The Red House Mystery – A. A. Milne
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • What Does This Button Do? – Bruce Dickinson
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Born a Crime – Trevor Noah
  • Holidays in Hell – P. J. O’Rourke
  • The Dark Tourist – Dom Joly
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Computer Corner, Football, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Humour, Music, Non-Fiction

Brock’s Posterior Strikes Again!

Natural Born Bookworm!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Not sure how long this is going to take, or how long it will be, but as you can see from the title, I’m under the weather yet again. Badger’s Arse Syndrome strikes again! This time, catarrh and a general achy feeling all over. Came down with a sore throat overnight, too, which put paid to returning to band this morning – would have been back blowing my horn again, but I wasn’t in any fit state to do that, unfortunately. I was fine yesterday, though. Other than the leftover cough from the previous cold, I had been fine at work, and then at the match, as I watched our lads score two late goals to beat Derby County 2-0 at Old Trafford and book our place in the 4th round draw for the FA Cup.

The way their goal was leading a charmed life, though, it was going to take something special to get the ball in the net. The post and crossbar came to Derby’s rescue a few times, along with their goalie being forced into some pretty nifty saves, particularly from free kicks taken by Juan Mata and Paul Pogba. However, once the returning Marouane Fellaini had come on as a sub with about 10 minutes to go, that seemed to be the breakthrough United needed, and Jesse Lingard scored an absolutely belting goal on 84 minutes! He’s scored some right crackers this season! Then, just as they were announcing how much stoppage time would be added on, Romelu Lukaku played a great 1-2 with Anthony Martial and then Rom finished it off to make it 2-0 and pretty much confirm our place in the draw.

So, I was fine last night at the match, and in good voice, but started getting a bit of a sore throat later, when I was back home. On the Strepsils. Good job I have a decent stash of them. Anyway, throat still felt rough this morning, and body felt achy, and my body still feels achy now. Throat feels better, but this catarrh and achy feeling have led to another sense of Badger’s Arse-ness. Getting pretty fed up of this!

I’ve got Book Club on Wednesday, and I am now, roughly, about a third of the way through Hot Milk. Would have liked to have made more progress, but this is what feeling under the weather does to you… you need a lie-down and some zeds, and that reduces potential reading time. I know we’re only on 6th January, but I’ve not finished a book yet. Nothing to show for this year’s Goodreads Challenge. 😦

My original plan for today would have been to go to band, and then to get my bus and tram pass later (I did go into Eccles for that this afternoon, so that bit is sorted) and then perhaps some shopping and a visit to Waterstone’s, either in town or the Trafford Centre, but that was ruled out by me feeling like shite (and, yes, that is a technical term, as you probably know by now, lol!)

We had a bit of author news at the end of 2017, which I forgot to mention, two items of news, one sad, one happy. The first being that thriller writer, Sue Grafton, passed away in late December. She had been writing a series of thrillers for every letter of the alphabet, but as they won’t be having anyone else writing in her name, the alphabet, in this case, will end at Y is for Yesterday. Rest in Peace, Sue.

The other news is that it’s Arise, Sir Michael Morpurgo! The author of War Horse was knighted in the New Year’s Honours List.

Also, at the end of 2017, Duncan Jones decided he was going to launch the David Bowie Book Club in honour of his father, who he described as a “beast of a reader” – indeed, I read something not long after Bowie passed away, which said that he used to take a library of around 300-400 books on tour with him whenever he went on tour! Clearly an epic bookworm, and thus much missed for that as well as for his music, which formed part of the soundtrack to which I grew up in the 70s and 80s. Duncan said the first book would be Hawksmoor, by Peter Ackroyd. I got as far as looking it up on Google the other day, and it does sound quite interesting to me. As I do like a bit of historical fiction, I might check it out. I was going to do so this weekend if I hadn’t woken up feeling like crap today! Damn you, Badger’s Arse!!!

So, what else shall we look at? Perhaps some of those Books That I’ve Had Knocking Around For Bloody Ages And Still Not Read Yet?! Gould’s Book of Fish springs to mind here, lol! I bought this book, by Richard Flanagan, absolutely AGES ago now. I might even have had it at Hawthorn Avenue, I dunno, but I do know that I have had it a bloody long time and still not read it yet! I’ve not had The Versions of Us, by Laura Barnett, for anywhere near as long as that, lol, but that one has also been hanging around for quite some time. It’s right here by Computer Corner. We can’t mention Books That I’ve Had Knocking Around For Bloody Ages without mentioning Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden – that’s been hanging around for some years, as has Salmon Fishing In the Yemen, by Paul Torday! The English Passengers, by Matthew Kneale, has also been lingering around for many a year, and I’ve still not got around to reading that one yet!

If I DID have Gould’s Book of Fish when I lived at Hawthorn, I will have had it before October 2006! That’s a bloody long time! I know I did have a clear out and give pretty much half my collection to a charity book stall at work at the time when we were moving house, but that still means quite a lot of books did come with me in the move. I’m pretty sure I must have thought I was going to read it though. I gave away stuff I’d already read or felt I was unlikely to read or to finish. A lot of the books I skimmed at uni went to charity. I had graduated back in 1994, and by 2006, I still hadn’t felt inclined to read them all the way through, lol, so they went to a good cause.

I know The Beach, by Alex Garland, would have been given away, as I had read that one. I enjoyed it very much, but I had read it. I am not really much of a re-reader. It’s not that I dislike the idea, there are plenty of books I have loved to bits, and would happily read again and again, but I tend to want to get on with books I haven’t read yet and discover even more favourites amongst those! I’ve probably not done much re-reading since I was a kid, certainly a teenager, but if any books of mine have been read to bits, it would be the first two Adrian Mole books by the late great Sue Townsend! Both The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole have been sellotaped together countless times!

So, I think that’s about it for now, and you’ve got a fair idea that there are some books I’ve had for absolutely donkey’s years without reading yet. It’s all about the potential for reading, though! Don’t be ashamed of your unread books. The fact that you have them means that you could always get around to reading them some time… they are there, ready and waiting for when you’re in need of them! And, on that thought, I shall finish this off and get it published, and hope that my body is less achy soon! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
  • Y is for Yesterday – Sue Grafton
  • War Horse – Sir Michael Morpurgo
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • Gould’s Book of Fish – Richard Flanagan
  • The Versions of Us – Laura Barnett
  • Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  • Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – Paul Torday
  • The English Passengers – Matthew Kneale
  • The Beach – Alex Garland
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole – Sue Townsend

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Filed under Authors, Books, Computer Corner, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Literary Issues, Music, My Bookworm History, School, College & Uni Reading, The TBR Pile

New Year’s Blog 2018

New Year's Day Book Board 2018

Hello again, Bookworms and Book Dragons,

Happy New Year from Joanne’s Bookshelf! You’ll be pleased to learn that there’ll be none of that new year new me crap from Chief Bookworm! I’ll still be the same sarcastic, cynical, foodie, footy-loving, 80s nut and bookworm that you’ve always known! Not giving up any booze or going vegan or any of that malarkey!

I think, if you are doing one of those things, it would actually be best NOT to tell anyone. Firstly, so that no-one thinks you’re a bore about it, and secondly, I find that if you tell people your plans, they all seem hell-bent on ruining them for you! So, do what you want to do anyway, give up what you’re giving up, but don’t tell people unless you can trust them not to be an arsehole to you! They can’t rain on your parade if you don’t tell them the route!

Anyway, the Goodreads Challenge is in place for 2018, and the List Challenges lists were set up in the wee small hours! 2017’s lists have been published and 2018’s have been created. Obviously, the Joanne’s Bookshelf Blog one is the main one connected with my waffle on here – any books I mention on here during the course of 2018 go on that list and then the list is published at the end of the year. Also, my new Handbag Books list has been created, as has Books Jo Read in 2018, although obviously that’s a blank at the moment until I finish off some reading matter.

I have put a few books in the handbag, though! The current book club book, Hot Milk, by Deborah Levy, is in there, and I have also added The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells, and Mort, by the late great Sir Terry Pratchett, the 4th Discworld novel, to the purple Kipling bag. Those are fairly small and slim. I suppose I could fit Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins into the handbag, but it’s a hardback, and quite chunky, so that’s staying here. I still intend to get through it in time to give it back to Sarah when she and I go to see Paul Young next month.

Half time at Goodison Park: Everton 0 Manchester United 0. Zzzzzzzzz!

Yawn! Jose has to go. Sick to death of this “bus parking” crap! I think the players are, too! We need a manager who lets the players go forward and attack – that’s the United way! I was hopeful at the start of this season, when we had some nice 4-0 wins, that things were going to be better than last year’s tedious shite (don’t start me on all those 1-1 draws), but in recent times, we have gone back to being shite again, and that’s a technical term! As I can’t really expect Sir Alex to come out of retirement, I feel we need someone else who is Red to his boots to come in and sort things out. Just that change of manager, someone with hunger and desire for the club to be back to winning the league again, would be enough to filter through to the players. They would respond positively to this and give opponents a damn good stuffing, as they are capable of! Yes, defend if you absolutely have to, but otherwise we should be attacking as often as possible!

Anyway, back to the books, and obviously the priorities are the Deborah Levy and Phil Collins books, but what else should I read in 2018? As I’ve mentioned, I’ve put a couple of books in the handbag, fresh ones I’ve not previously started, but I will aim to get some others resumed and finished off this year which I started previously. I started, so I’ll finish, as Magnus Magnusson used to say on Mastermind, lol!

Second half under way at Goodison Park. Come on you Reds! Come on, stick the ball in the net, you know you want to!

Sorry, yes, books…  Thinking of some of the books which remained unfinished last year, I could go back to Neither Here Nor There, by Bill Bryson, and A Quiet Kind of Thunder, by Sara Barnard. I had also said that I would resume Manchester England, by Dave Haslam, but that didn’t happen in 2017.

Sings: All we are saying…. is give us a goal!

I could read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. That one sounds quite funny, and not too long. I am back in work tomorrow. I’m going to have to fit reading in around being back in the office full-time. I have set a Goodreads Challenge target of 30 books, which is what I set for 2017.

Yesssss! Get in! Everton 0 Manchester United 1 – Anthony Martial 57 minutes! 😀

Tony Martial came from France, English press said he had no chance! Fifty million down the drain… Tony Martial scores again!

Er, sorry, where was I?! Yeah, the Goodreads Challenge and the fact that I’m back in work tomorrow. My cold is mostly over, although still some catarrh, so I might have to go to Boots after work for catarrh pastilles, and an annoying cough yet again. I can be OK for a while, but then have an epic coughing fit and wonder when it’s going to stop!

I’ve just had a look at the bass amp book tower. Quite a lot of the books on my bass amp are hardbacks in need of either reading, or resuming! I’ve already got a hardback as an Ongoing Concern at the moment, though, that being Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins. However, I could do with getting more of that pile read. Possibly Anger Is An Energy, by John Lydon, as I started that some time ago and got some way into it before being distracted by another book or suffering a reading slump. Another hardback autobiography, albeit not on the bass amp, is Chapter and Verse, by Bernard Sumner, of Joy Division, New Order and Electronic fame. As with the John Lydon book, I started it some time ago, and it needs to be resumed, lol!

If United could get a second goal, that would be very nice. Hint, hint, Reds!

Talking of football, there’s one book on the bass amp which I HAVE read, it was on my 2016 list, that being The Rules of the Game, by Pierluigi Collina, the former referee. I actually also have Who’s the B*****d in the Black? by Jeff Winter, a paperback, lurking near Computer Corner.

GOAL!!! Everton 0 Manchester United 2! Jesse Lingard 81 minutes. 😀

So, there I am, waffling on about referees’ autobiographies and Jesse Lingard doubles our lead! Excellent! Just noticed on the covers of those ref books… Collina is only giving someone a booking, showing a yellow card, but Jeff Winter is brandishing a red card, giving someone the order of the early bath! Parking the bus should be given the red card! Oh, and Pogba needs to play further forward ALL THE TIME from now on!

Full-time: Everton 0 Manchester United 2 🙂

Probably about time I also blew the final whistle on this blog entry and got it published, so until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kaling
  • Anger is an Energy – John Lydon
  • Chapter and Verse – Bernard Sumner
  • The Rules of the Game – Pierluigi Collina
  • Who’s the B*****d in the Black? – Jeff Winter

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Computer Corner, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Humour, List Challenges, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile