Category Archives: Arsehole Politicians

Bad Medicine

this is going to hurt book

Warning: Reading this book may cause your sides to split.

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Open wide and say aah, lol! Bit of a medical theme tonight, really, on the book front. Hence the Bon Jovi song as blog title, although I could just as easily have opted for Doctor Doctor, a hit for the Thompson Twins back in the 80s. But, Bad Medicine it is! So, I’m prescribing this mad, waffly blog for you!

I doubt there’ll be any new books mentioned I’ve not already mentioned this year, though.

Not only am I still reading about the Nazi druggies in Blitzed, just over half way read now, book club a week away, but I am loving the book in the above photo This is Going to Hurt. Adam Kay is a former doctor, and these are incidents from his time in the medical profession before he became a comedian, and if you read it, you can see why he became a comedian! You may end up as a patient whose rectum has become detached from the rest of your body. In less than medical terms, you might laugh your arse off!

A look through my List Challenges list of all the books I’ve mentioned thus far this year throws up quite a few dealing with matters of life, death, health, illness and disability, some fiction, some non fiction, so instead of the one usual list at the end, there will be two for this one. One factual, one fictional, with lists of books and their medically-related themes. Some might just be vaguely on the subject, others might focus very much on the matters of life and death and all which comes in between. One or two books will be mentioned in the coming paragraphs, then there will be the two lists at the end of this blog.

APOLOGIES IN ADVANCE, BUT THERE’S PROBABLY GOING TO BE A FAIR FEW SPOILERS COMING UP HERE FOR SEVERAL BOOKS! SCROLL DOWN QUICKLY IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW!

Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig. Author of The Radleys and The Humans, amongst other books, but this is his own personal tale of battling against severe mental health issues and the suicidal thoughts he was having at one point.

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak. Set in Nazi Germany just before and during World War II, so Death, the narrator, is exceptionally busy! One of my favourite books, I gave out copies for World Book Night in 2012.

Blitzed – Norman Ohler. My current book club book. Drug addiction on a grand scale, especially drug addiction dressed up as being respectable and in the national interest during the war effort!

The Novel Cure – Ella Berthoud. This book deals with Bibliotherapy, the concept of prescribing certain novels to help patients with a range of illnesses and other issues. This is the book which said Shantaram was a cure for constipation! I don’t know if it’s true or not, lol, as I’ve yet to attempt that epic novel, although I do own a copy and it’s hanging out right here by Computer Corner!

When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi. My favourite non-fiction book from last year! Paul was a surgeon who, himself, got cancer. He was helping other patients with cancer while having to deal with the fact he also had the disease.

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara. My epic novel from last year, the one which caused a major Book Hangover, lol! 720 pages long, but well worth it. It’s a big pull emotionally, though, and issues of illness, disability, abuse and death run through it, hence it has to be mentioned on the Bad Medicine book blog!

A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard. Young adult novel, in which one of the main protagonists suffers from selective mutism, and the other main protagonist is deaf. British Sign Language plays a big part in this novel.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews. More YA fiction, this time with a couple of nerdy amateur film makers and a classmate with cancer…

The Fault In Our Stars – John Green. I know, this one’s pretty obvious to those who are well-up on their YA. Two teens meet and fall in love at a cancer support group, get to go over to Amsterdam due to a charity which grants terminally-ill youngsters a wish.

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen. At the other end of the age scale, life in an old people’s care home in Amsterdam. Elderly care, dementia and death are the issues raised here. Fiction, I think, although probably based on a real Dutch OAP in an old folk’s home…

The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner. A recent read, obviously, but with all his advice on food and on diets, I think it should be included in our medically-themed blog!

One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton. YA novel, in which the main characters are sisters suffering bereavement after their dad had died suddenly, so this novel looks at themes of grief and coping with loss, especially when faced with a lot of reminders of the person you’ve lost.

Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom. Mitch returns to one of his former favourite teachers, finds him in seriously ill-health but still able to impart valuable lessons. Again, terminal illness, deterioration and death are prominent.

If I Stay – Gayle Forman. YA novel in which a promising cellist suffers multiple serious injuries and multiple loss. I really should stop giving out spoilers, though. As there’s a sequel, though, you already know she lives, albeit a very different kind of life from the one she’d had before the family car was ploughed into.

Pear Shaped – Adam Blain. Not sure if this is available in hard copy, but I read it a while ago on my Kindle and finished it earlier this year. The true tale of Adam’s brain cancer.

The Ten (Food) Commandments – Jay Rayner. One of them is about not mistaking food for pharmaceuticals, so it touches on some similar ground to Anthony Warner’s book. Indeed, there’s praise from Jay Rayner on the cover of Warner’s book.

Mind Your Head – Juno Dawson. Non-fiction young adult guide to mental health issues and where to get support.

I think that’s enough to be getting on with. They’ll be listed soon enough, along with a few others, plus the odd one or two non-medical mentions right at the end. Anyway, talking of medical, and of mental health, I really do think the men in white coats should hurry along to the White House! As if we didn’t already know that the Mango Mussolini was several sandwiches short of a full picnic basket, he really has gone and done it this time with perhaps the barmiest and most pointless decision ever…

You remember that travel ban of his? Where people from certain countries couldn’t go to the US of A? Well, look which country the dozy Dotard has added now…

North Korea.

Yep. North Koreans cannot visit the United States of America.

Hello! Earth calling Donald! Got some news for you, sunshine, and it sure as hell ain’t fake! Get this little fact into your stupid orange head, dipshit…

NORTH KOREANS AREN’T EVEN ALLOWED OUT OF NORTH KOREA!!!

I think this therefore constitutes The Most Pointless Ban Ever! It has to! In the long history of things being banned in various countries at various times for various dubious reasons, this has got to be the most ridiculous ban ever! Fancy banning people from something they already couldn’t do anyway?! I was trying to think of a more pointless ban, but I don’t think I am able to! The nearest I could get would be to ban someone from doing something they wouldn’t want to do anyway, for instance banning die-hard Stretford Enders, like myself, from ever swapping clubs and supporting Liverpool! That would be a pointless ban ’cause die-hard United fans wouldn’t dream of supporting that lot!

But if citizens can’t even leave their own country, no other country needs to worry about admitting them, therefore Donald’s ban is even more pointless than a pointless answer on the TV quiz show Pointless!

I would have said that Dodgy Donald had lost the plot, but that would imply that the Tango-tinted Twat had a plot to lose in the bloody first place! For the good of the whole planet, PLEASE get Donald under psychiatric care PDQ!!!

Well, that’s about enough about President Fart’s mental health, so I think we should get this finished off and those lists made! Until next time, which will probably be the September Review, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Some non-fiction books on a medical/health theme…

  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler (drug addiction)
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay (life as a doctor)
  • Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig (mental health)
  • The Novel Cure – Ella Berthoud (bibliotherapy)
  • When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi (surgery, cancer)
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner (diets, food fads, health scares)
  • Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom (terminal illness, death)
  • Pear Shaped – Adam Blain (brain cancer)
  • The Ten (Food) Commandments – Jay Rayner (food is not medicine)
  • Mind Your Head – Juno Dawson (mental health, esp for teens)
  • This Is Your Brain On Music – Daniel Levitin (music and health, psychology)
  • Fragile Lives – Stephen Westaby (heart surgery)

Some fiction books with medical/health themes in them…

  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak (death)
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara (disability, mental health, drugs, abuse, death)
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard (mutism, deafness)
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews (cancer)
  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green (cancer, cancer support)
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen (old age, mobility, dementia, death)
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton (bereavement, grief)
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman (serious injury, loss, disability)
  • Me Before You – Jojo Moyes (severe disability, mental health)
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje (injury, deformity, disability)
  • Wonder – R. J. Palacio (facial disfigurement)
  • All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr (blindness)
  • Veronika Decides to Die – Paulo Coelho (mental health)

And a few which were mentioned even though they’re not on a medical theme…

  • The Radleys – Matt Haig
  • The Humans – Matt Haig
  • Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts

 

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Filed under Arsehole Politicians, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Computer Corner, E-Books & Audiobooks, Food & Drink, Football, Handbag Books, Humour, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Mental Health, Music, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized, World Book Night

Get The Balance Right

Zlatan book finished April 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

As you can see, Zlatan is at 100% Yes, another book completed in 2017! Number 18 for this year on the Goodreads Challenge, and thus OFF the list of Ongoing Concerns! Mr Ibrahimović‘s autobiography will now be handed over to my sister so she can read it. I believe in marking off my OCs as being 100% read on my board before I take them off the list and move other books up.

I was dithering about what to add next, other than knowing it really should be some non-fiction to replace the non-fiction I have just finished, but then I remembered that blog from a couple of months ago about my half-finished tour biography of the Pet Shop Boys, and that I’d said on here I was going to finish that book as part of my celebrations of having been a Pethead for 30 years this year! Therefore, Pet Shop Boys, Literally, by Chris Heath, joins the OCs! As I said at the time, the book is already 50% read, so it is literally a Half-Read Book! It joins the list somewhere in the middle. An Equal Music, by Vikram Seth, resumes top spot on 78% now that our Swedish hero is off the list.

So, we’re back to 9 books on the OC List, of which 7 are fiction and 2 are non-fiction, bringing us on to the matter at hand and the title of tonight’s blog, which is, of course, a song by Depeche Mode, as fans of 80s music will no doubt know! The issue being that I feel I need a better balance between fiction and non-fiction on my list. The factual stuff is being outnumbered, which doesn’t seem very fair as I enjoy a good factual read as much as I enjoy a good story! Always have done since I was a kid! I am thinking, therefore, that even if the next one or two books to be finished and come off the OC list are fiction, they will be replaced on there by factual tomes! I feel I should have at least 3, if not 4, non-fiction books if I’m going to have 8 or 9 books on the OC list as a whole. It needs to be more even!

Once that is up and running, and I do have a better balance, we can have like-for-like books coming off the “substitutes’ bench” so to speak. I can certainly see some Bill Bryson being added to the OC list in the near future. I had thought about Mother Tongue, but that might not go on the OC list, as I was so near to finishing that book when I last read it that it would not take much to get it finished off, thus there is very little point in adding it to the list for just a day or two! Like with the really quick reads, I see very little point in adding certain books to the OC List – an Ongoing Concern is a book that’s going to take me more than a day or two to read, or to finish off if it is already partially-read!

There WILL be some Bryson, and it will happen fairly soon, but it’s more likely to be Down Under, Neither Here Nor There, or The Road To Little Dribbling which is added to the OC List when I need another dose of non-fiction adding to it. There will be at least a bit more Stuart Maconie, too. I have Hope & Glory lined up to be read at some point once I’ve finished The People’s Songs. I’m going to have to look to see if I own a copy of Cider With Roadies, also by Maconie, and I hope I do! He also wrote a book called Adventures On the High Teas, but I don’t own a copy of that at present. No rush as yet – let’s get my existing Maconie books read first!

John Cleese‘s autobiography, So, Anyway, is lurking in an accessible part of my room, on one of my book piles, so that is another distinct possibility! Should be pretty funny knowing Cleese! It would also be the perfect excuse to make plenty of Monty Python references in this blog. Not that I need an excuse to go all Pythonesque on you, lol!

What do we have here, lurking around Computer Corner? Hmmm…. Maarten Meijer‘s biography of Louis van Gaal, one of my half-read books. I liked Louis and wish he’d been retained to see out his three years. I still don’t like Jose Mourinho. At all. Yeah, alright, he’s good in the transfer market, but the cons outweigh the pros, and he really should STOP criticising players in public! That is NOT the United way! It is also crap man-management! If you have to give a player a bollocking, you do it in private, in your office! That’s how Fergie did it, and that’s why he was so successful! 26 and a half years as our manager, 13 league titles, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, 1 European Cup-Winners’ Cup and 2 European Cups… and his reign only came to an end due to retirement.

Fergie defended his players in public, even at the expense of the media giving him a load of shit for it, but that is how he retained their loyalty and got so much out of them. He NEVER rubbished his players in the press or on telly! Also, he knew the players should get the credit and the attention far more than him, and he accepted that! Jose needs to stop being such an arrogant, egotistical little twat!

There is only one person on earth I can think of with an ego even bigger than that of Jose Mourinho, and that is a certain Tango-tinted twat who is, unfortunately, currently residing in the White House…

I would say that Jose has all the man-management skills of a dead gnat, but that would be far too harsh on the poor gnat!

Anyway, enough about that arrogant arsehole, and back to the books…

Also lurking near Computer Corner, we have The Year of Reading Dangerously, by Andy Miller. This has been one of the notorious Duplicate Books, of course, but one copy is being offloaded soon. However, that still means I will have one copy for my reading pleasure when I eventually get around to it. We also have How To Teach Quantum Physics To Your Dog, by Chad Orzel. I know bugger all about quantum physics, I only got a D for bog standard physics when I did my GCSEs at high school, lol, and that was way back in 1989, 28 years ago, but maybe reading this would help me understand more scientific stuff in an entertaining way?

I wasn’t completely useless at science, unlike PE, but I wasn’t brilliant at it either. My dad was the scientific bod in our family – my best subjects at high school were music and foreign languages, followed fairly closely by history and literature.

Still on the science books front, there’s a partially-read copy of Periodic Tales, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams, which I think is downstairs in our living room. I could always resume that one if my quest for more non-fiction and a more even balance of reading matter on my OC list calls for more science, although that would be chemistry, not physics. Chemistry really would be my dad’s area of expertise! However, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, one area of interest for me, which my dad got me into when I was young, is volcanoes, so I could always get round to reading Krakatoa: The Day The World Exploded, by Simon Winchester. A tiny little bit of it has been read, some time ago, but only about the first 11 pages, so we can start again from scratch, really.

Anyway, I think that has drawn up a decent list of non-fiction ideas for future additions to the OC List when I need factual reads to be added! It also brings to an end this blog entry, so I shall get it finished off and published. Until next time, take care, have a Happy Easter, and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson
  • Down Under – Bill Bryson
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • The Road To Little Dribbling – Bill Bryson
  • Hope & Glory – Stuart Maconie
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • Cider With Roadies – Stuart Maconie
  • Adventures On the High Teas – Stuart Maconie
  • So, Anyway – John Cleese
  • Louis van Gaal: The Biography – Maarten Meijer
  • The Year of Reading Dangerously – Andy Miller
  • How To Teach Quantum Physics To Your Dog – Chad Orzel
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Krakatoa: The Day The World Exploded – Simon Winchester

 

 

 

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Filed under Arsehole Politicians, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Computer Corner, Duplicate Books List, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Humour, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Rants, Sports, Travel, Volcanoes, YA Books

February Review

Natural Born Bookworm!

I Read Therefore I Am!

Hello, again, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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The History Book On The Shelf…

abba-very-best-of

“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!

swede-reads

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!

swedish-chef-vurt-da-furk

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

Missing Years and Laughing Gear

feb-2017-for-a-laugh

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

If I Could Tell You A Few Things…

books-bought-2nd-feb-2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Me again! Home from town, and book club, and the book on the right in the photo is the one we’ll be reading for our next meeting on 15th March – If I Could Tell You Just One Thing, by Richard Reed. Well, edited by him, as it’s a collection of pieces of advice from various famous people – politicians, actors, singers, music moguls, business leaders, etc, etc… They were all interviewed and asked for that one bit of advice that they would give anyone.

It’s a hardback, and a tad bulky, so it is actually unlikely to be a Handbag Book, and therefore rather unlikely to go to Wembley with me if my mum and I are successful in getting tickets for the League Cup Final later this month. I’d take my Kindle and a few paperbacks. I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic may well still be one of them. My sister has put in a request to read it next once I have finished reading it. We should hear on Monday whether we’ve been successful or not with regard to the cup final tickets.

Making good strides with Jamrach’s Menagerie now that I have resumed reading that one, and am now 75% of the way through it. Not much more to read, and I’ll have another one off the list. I have let Sarah know I am enjoying the Gary Kemp autobiography, I Know This Much, and she has said she’ll lend me Phil Collins‘ autobiography next, which I’m already looking forward to as I have seen it once or twice in Waterstone’s and quite fancied it. I do think he took a bit of a risk calling it Not Dead Yet, though, given how over-eager the Grim Reaper was last year in bumping off celebrities, including some serious talents of the music world such as David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael! Guess Phil decided to risk it for a biscuit on the title front, lol!

I did try to get my fellow book club members to consider a couple of books of which I’ve already got copies, but it never works, I never manage to save a bob or two! I’d tried to encourage them to go for The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, or Conspiracy, but I guess we have just read some historical fiction, so they wanted something different. I did manage to steer them away from the dystopian suggestion from Emma, though, so my mental health has been considered, which I truly appreciate!

I am not prepared to risk either current affairs or dystopian fiction. If I could tell you just one thing, it would be that I read to escape! I want books to take my mind off the shiteness of the real world, even if it’s just for an hour or so. The last thing I want is a reminder, even if it’s a fictional one, that there are a lot of arseholes out there. If it’s the sort of plot that would give those arseholes in power more bad ideas, then I would rather not read it, ta very much!

fa-cup-winners-2016-me-and-inflatable-cup

With my inflatable FA Cup after I got home from Wembley in May…

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street may well end up as a Handbag Book, though. Might even come to Wembley if I’m off to see United v Southampton on 26th February. Obviously, last year, I was going down there in May, as it was the FA Cup Final, but let’s have a look at what I was reading back then. As I recall, I finished off The Reader On The 6.27, by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent, and I also got a large chunk of A Little Life read, as I had it on my Kindle to save me taking the paperback with me – did you seriously think I’d lug a 720 page epic novel like that down to Wembley with me?! Give over!

The above photo was a former profile photo of mine on Facebook. I got the inflatable FA Cup in 2007 when we went to Villa Park for the semi-final against Watford, which we won 4-1. Sadly, we lost that year’s final to Chelsea in extra time, so I waited years for us to win the cup so I could inflate it! Obviously, we won plenty of other trophies – Premier League titles, the European Cup and the League Cup since 2007, but we hadn’t won the FA Cup since 2004 until last season under Louis van Gaal, when we beat Crystal Palace 2-1 in extra time, despite Chris “Mike” Smalling getting himself sent-off for a second yellow card by stupidly rugby-tackling a Palace player. Numpty! Ah well, it meant we did things the traditional United way, by making it hard for ourselves! We rarely do things in a straightforward manner, as most other long-standing Reds will tell you, lol!

The other book in the photo at the top of my blog is A Boy Made of Blocks, by Keith Stuart. It’s fiction, but it’s supposed to be about a boy with autism. It’s been mentioned a lot on the book groups I’m in on Facebook, and has got good reviews, so I thought I might give it a go.

Well, I’d better give some thought to getting a bit of reading done now, so I’ll finish this blog off and get it published, make a brew, and get stuck in a good book! Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • If I Could Tell You Just One Thing – Richard Reed
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • Jamrach’s Menagerie – Carol Birch
  • I Know This Much: From Soho To Spandau – Gary Kemp
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • The Watchmaker of Filigree Street – Natasha Pulley
  • Conspiracy – S. J. Parris
  • The Reader On The 6.27 – Jean-Paul Didierlaurent
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • A Boy Made of Blocks – Keith Stuart

 

 

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Filed under Arsehole Politicians, Autobiography/Biography, Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Handbag Books, Mental Health, Music

Actual Facts – None of your Alternative nonsense here!

george-michael-and-pirsig-book

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

frankie-presto-book

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

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

Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

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

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