Category Archives: Authors

This Book Will Change Your… Er, No It Won’t!

Row of Penguin Books

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman is now back in my handbag, ready for tomorrow’s book club meeting. Hopefully we will choose something else I will enjoy. So, no horror and no dystopia, please. No current affairs, either! I read to escape from that crap!

As well as a few other issues, I want to open up to fellow bookworms and ask if there is anyone else out there who has the same issue as me… This issue is with books which other people claim “will change your life”. I just don’t think any of them have!

I love books. I have loved books all my life. My parents read to me when I was a baby and I soon learned to read for myself. I was reading before I started school, and was thus already a bookworm by the time I started in the reception class at Monton Green Primary School in the September of 1977, 40 years ago this coming autumn! But, as an adult, I have come across several books in my general awareness of all things literary which certain people will claim are life-changers.

I have read a few of these, but I don’t feel my life has been changed!

Don’t get me wrong! I’m not saying I’ve not enjoyed them. There have been a few I have enjoyed, such as The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, and Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert, but these books have had no significant effect on my life other than to be able to say “yes, I’ve read that one” and to be able to tick it off on book lists when I go on List Challenges, lol! That’s hardly what you call life-changing, though, is it? I am that little bit more well-read than I was prior to having read that particular book, but that’s all I can honestly declare!

I’ve not changed my diet, not taken up any unusual pastimes, not changed career, and I’ve not upped sticks and buggered off around the world and off the beaten track! Isn’t that what those books are supposed to cause people to do?! Give all your possessions away and live up a tree in some remote village?! Go and climb a mountain or something?! Hell, I’ve never even climbed one of those rock walls, let alone a bloody mountain, and with my dismal track record on physical activity, it’d be a cold day in Hell before that is likely to change! In fact, Hell would have frozen over and hosted the Winter Olympics if you ever see me at the summit of a mountain, lol!

(My niece has climbed one of those rock walls, though, at some place in town!)

Have any books changed my views? Er, no. Or, if so, only slightly. The Dirtiest Race in History, by Richard Moore, did shift the focus of my disgust more towards the athletics coaches and doctors rather than the athletes themselves, but I still maintain that those athletes, the likes of Ben Johnson, were grown men, thus they could and should have stood up to their coaches and insisted on remaining clean! Not as though they were kids, like the East German swimmers, whose coaches were tricking them into cheating, taking advantage of their age, inexperience, and the fact that no-one from that particular country would want to miss out on a privilege that very few others from the DDR got to enjoy!

I’m not including so-called “self-help” books in this, though. I’ve already been over that issue before now, if I recall rightly. I have already said I find such things pretty patronising and unrealistic. They certainly don’t help me, and bear no resemblance to real life. I swear the people who write those things are living in cloud-cuckoo land where everything’s perfect and no-one has anything wrong with them which can’t be overcome! Whereas real life is full of shit, far from perfect, and the fact is that not every obstacle can be overcome!

If something sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is!

That whole law of attraction rubbish has got to be one of the biggest cons in recent years, and stuff like The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, should be sent for recycling so it can actually be turned into something more practical or realistic to read! It’s just designed to prey on gullible people, con them into getting their hopes up, and then that just sets them up for disappointment! It’s no better than our so-called “news” papers whose sports “journalists” write a load of shite on the back pages to get fans’ hopes up about top players joining their clubs in the transfer windows!

Fortunately, things have calmed down on that front, maybe even the journalists have now realised that a certain Portuguese striker I could mention is perfectly happy at the club he’s always supported since he was a boy, and that he will NOT be returning to one of his previous clubs, but there were several seasons when I used to despair because those “journalists” were conning a load of less-intelligent “fans” to believe that a certain Mr C. Ronaldo would be returning to Old Trafford, the biggest pile of bovine excrement being the tall story in which Nike and Chevrolet were supposedly getting together to bring him back! What an absolute load of drivel!

One transfer which DOES look set to happen is the arrival of Swedish centre-back, Victor Lindelof, from Benfica, as United confirmed the other night that a fee had been agreed for the player. Of course, he needs to come over and have a medical, which I think is going to happen tomorrow after he’s been on international duty these past few days, and then agree terms and conditions. Then we should see an official unveiling of a new player.

Anyway, back to books and the matter of none of them having changed my life despite the claims of others. By others, I mean both the reviews on the covers of books, plus word of mouth mentions from people I know, or even recommendations on social media… “Oh, you should read [insert book title] – it’ll change your life!” – yeah, right! Maybe I’m just too cynical to fall for that.  Perhaps too well-educated to go along with certain daft ideas, especially if they sound particularly impractical or unrealistic!

Also, maybe part of it is my rebellion against the idea of “must reads” anyway! As far as I’m concerned I don’t HAVE to read anything! There are no specific books I NEED to read! Not since I graduated from university, anyway, and that was way back in 1994! I’ve done the school, college and uni thing, I’ve been there, done that, read the books, and worn the cap and gown at my graduation in Bolton in October 1994!

So, I’ve not had a set reading list for 23 years now! I’ve written the essays, sat the exams, underlined stuff, made shitloads of notes in my arch lever file, analysed certain passages of certain books to death… I did that when I had to, but I’ve not needed to do that for over two decades now! I read what I want, when I want, because I want! It’s all about reading for fun, for enjoyment, with books as a form of entertainment! Even with the non-fiction, where I am still learning and discovering stuff, this is out of choice, I am reading these books because I want to know more about certain subjects which I find interesting!

If any book or books DID change my life, they would have been ones I read as a little girl, the books which made me fall in love with reading and want to spend my life being a bookworm! Thus, I’m more likely to have had my life altered by The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle, than by anything I’ve read as a grown bookworm! That book was fun, enjoyable to read, and that’s the lesson that book imparted on me… Books are fun! Reading is a great way to spend your time, and you’ll be able to entertain yourself for hours on end!

I will still appreciate book recommendations, as long as they’re for the sort of books I want to read. No horror ones, please, and I’m not much of a crime or thriller reader, either, but general book recommendations are welcome. Just don’t make any grandiose claims about life-changing properties of whatever you’re recommending to me! I may well take you up on some of your recommendations, I might enjoy some of these books, as I have done in the past, but don’t bother with the “life-changing” stuff – that side of it probably won’t happen for me!

I think that’s about it for now. I just had to get that out. There may also be a forthcoming blog about other things which just don’t happen to me even though they seem to happen to other bookworms, but for now, I think we’ve covered the issue of life-changing books which haven’t changed my life, lol, so until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman – Denis Thériault
  • The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  • Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Dirtiest Race in History – Richard Moore
  • The Secret – Rhonda Byrne
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Literary Issues, Non-Fiction, Olympic Games, Rants, Travel

Mermaid Mystery

Books bought 29th April 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

“I’m on the toilet at the 9:30 Club, and I’m wondering how mermaids pee.”

Isn’t that a brilliant opening line?! People get drawn to books because of their covers (we know we shouldn’t judge books by their covers, but we still do, lol), and often because of the blurb, but a good opening line can do it for you as well! It’s what attracted me to The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli, when I was in Waterstone’s yesterday! She is also the author of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which is on my notorious TBR list. Indeed, it’s in the rainbow tower of books!

The other book in the photo, Anna and the Swallow Man, by Gavriel Savit, is set in Poland in 1939, so a WWII setting, with a child separated from her parents, certainly from her father, early on, so not unlike The Book Thief in that respect. Anyway, as you can see here, from this photo, Savit’s novel came with a freebie…

Book and bookmarks 29th April 2017

Actually, my copy had TWO free matching bookmarks in it, and I also picked up the free postcard while I was in Waterstone’s, although that’s for a completely different book, Checkmate, by Malorie Blackman. Must admit I’ve yet to read any of her books, but I’ve certainly heard of them, Noughts & Crosses for definite. The postcard will no doubt end up being used as a bookmark anyway, lol! Offering free matching bookmarks is a pretty common promotional method, usually for the book shop to put one in each copy or put a pile on the table alongside the book they are promoting, although occasionally a book might actually have a detachable bookmark, such as the time I bought The President’s Hat, by Antoine Laurain, a book club book a few years ago. (That was a novel about the former French president, François Mitterrand, by the way, NOT about Washington Wiggy!)

I got another couple of books read while I was in Waterstone’s, so I am up to 24/30 on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I admit these were kids’ books, as seen above, but I read widely anyway, from children’s books to epic novels, and I’ve recently got a few long term ones off my notorious Ongoing Concerns list, so why not read a couple of quickies in Waterstone’s?! They were Tidy, by Emily Gravett, and The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt, which is the follow-up to the brilliant The Day the Crayons Quit, which I have also read, probably last year! I’ve mentioned it on my blog this year, though.

Charlotte is now moving on, though, more towards books which take more than a day to read, books with chapters. As mentioned recently, they’re reading The Wind in the Willows, or certainly parts of it, at her school. I don’t think I’ve ever read it, but I certainly remember the animated TV adaptation in the 80s, as I’m pretty sure Mr Toad was voiced by the legendary Sir David Jason. Then again, in a year or so, it’ll be Reuben’s turn for some of those books from which Charlotte is moving on. Reuben’s on the board books, he’s 6 months old at present. He has his mum, dad and big sister reading to him, so hopefully my little nephew will also love books as much as my niece does.

Obviously, in the next day or two, I’m going to have to do the April Review on here, so I’m not really focusing on the OCs right now as that’ll be a big part of the monthly summary of bookworm activity, but I’ve been making some progress with Pet Shop Boys, Literally in recent days, Chris Heath‘s account of the duo’s first tour in 1989. At the last count, I was on for page 212, and had thus read 62% of the book. I mentioned in a previous blog, earlier this year, that 2017 marks 30 years since I became a Pethead during the course of 1987, so it’s part of the anniversary celebrations of 3 decades of yours truly appreciating the musical talents and output of Neil Francis Tennant and Christopher Sean Lowe!

The OC list is still currently standing at 8 books, as I have still not decided on the books to replace The Saffron Trail and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. I did think, though, about honouring a couple of authors, one who’d passed away recently, and one who would have celebrated his 69th birthday on 28th April, but who passed away in 2015. We have recently lost Robert M. Pirsig on 24th April, the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, while the late great Sir Terry Pratchett would have turned 69 on Friday, so I was giving some thought to Mort, the fourth book of the Discworld series.

I’ve still got Diary of an Oxygen Thief, an anonymous novella, on my TBR pile, but I shall have to check again how long it is, or rather, how short, as it could be a one-day read which would not need to join the OC list any more than those children’s books I read at Waterstone’s! The Ongoing Concerns are books which are going to take me at least a while to read, they’re not going to be one-day or even overnight reads.

I might just read that one I bought earlier, though, the Becky Albertalli book… It would be my YA replacement for Nick & Norah and, after all, I’d also like to know how mermaids pee! Until the next time I blog, which won’t be very long in coming, lol, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli
  • Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
  • Anna and the Swallow Man – Gavriel Savit
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • Checkmate – Malorie Blackman
  • Noughts & Crosses – Malorie Blackman
  • The President’s Hat – Antoine Laurain
  • Tidy – Emily Gravett
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home – Drew Daywalt
  • The Day the Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt
  • The Wind In the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M. Pirsig
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, Junior Bookworms, Music, Ongoing Concerns, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

All Rise!

People's Songs finished 21 April 2017

Off the OC List – Another Stuart Maconie book finished!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Once again, I was not needed in court, but I will be on Monday! Woo hoo! I phoned up after 6pm on Friday evening (it’s now the early minutes of Saturday morning here in the UK as I type), and all of us who started our jury service this last week are required to attend on Monday at 10:30am. Fine by me, and I shall pack a chunky book or two! Today’s court-themed blog title is thanks to the 2001 hit by Blue. Apologies to my sister for the previous one (Love In The First Degree) after she got that particular Bananarama song stuck in her head, lol!

This is the song in question for tonight’s title, for those unfamiliar with it…

Possibly The Saffron Trail or City of Bones as one of the books. Both of those are chunky, and I could aim to get a fair bit of either of those read. They’re at opposite ends of the OC scale… I’m over half-way through The Saffron Trail, by Rosanna Ley, but it’s kinda stalled at 55% for a while and needs “reviving” really. On the other hand, I only recently started City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, but it seems quite a way behind on only 12%. One book I really should get on with, though, is The Tobacconist, by Robert Seethaler, as that’s my book club book at the moment.

The People’s Songs is now off the OC list and onto the Goodreads Challenge, though! My second Stuart Maconie book of this year, the third of his which I have read in total, was finished on Friday evening, taking my Goodreads Challenge to 20/30 – two thirds of my current target met before my birthday! Woo hoo! I think Maconie is one of my favourite non-fiction writers, along with Bill Bryson. He writes about stuff I like reading about, in other words music and travel, and he’s a fellow northerner – from Wigan, so not a million miles away from my neck of the woods! Been to Wigan a few times, as I’ve probably mentioned in previous blogs, lol!

Anyway, with another book off the OC list, time to add one to it, but which book to add? I have got a book in my handbag right now and I’m deliberating on I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You, by Ally Carter, but that would just add to all the YA on the OC list already. I could add that as well as another non-YA book, I suppose, and take the OC list up to a top ten… I love YA, as you know, but I’ve been a bit concerned that my OC list is imbalanced. Should I care, though?! I mean, should I truly care, or should I stop giving a shit and chill about the balance of books on my OC list?

Theoretically, as I’ve finished The People’s Songs, another non-fiction needs to go on there. Currently, I have Pet Shop Boys, Literally, by Chris Heath, and Nul Points, by Tim Moore, as my non-fiction helpings. The Saffron Trail and The Tobacconist are general fiction, but then I have FOUR young adult books!

But should I take a book or two OFF the list? I mean, if I’ve not read one of them for a while, is it really an ongoing concern? Do I just drop it from the OC list and just regard it as one of my half-read books and pick it up again some other time in the hope my interest in it will be revived? Finding Audrey, for example. This book has been untouched on my OC list, remaining at 29% for as long as I’ve had an OC list, really, and keeps getting overtaken by other books, so should I just put it on the back burner for now and drop it from the OC list, or should I pick it back up and try to get back into it? I WAS enjoying it, but then other books just came along and took my attention away from it.

The “Prodigal Books” which were missing, but recently found again, probably should join the OC list soon, as a celebration of them being relocated! As you will recall, four out of the five missing books happened to be in part of my wardrobe. I still don’t have a Scooby what happened to The God of Small Things, though! I guess it’s just AWOL. Maybe it’ll turn up when I’m looking for something else, which is the way of things around here!

Talking of looking for something else, we return to the conundrum of the OC List (as opposed to the Conundrum which is the last round on the long-running Channel 4 quiz show, Countdown, where the contestants have to guess the 9-letter anagram) – perhaps we could have some more non-fiction and I’ve got a couple of chunky books here of the history variety – I’m thinking about when I’m back at Manchester Crown Court next week for my second week of jury service… hence the chunkies! I’ve got A History of Modern Britain, by Andrew Marr, and 1000 Years of Annoying the French, by Stephen Clarke, and that one has been on the bookshelf outside my room, on the landing, for seemingly donkey’s years – at least since my mum actually bought and assembled that particular set of bookshelves! You may well know Stephen Clarke best for the “Merde” series of novels, which started with A Year In the Merde.

Of those two, I’m leaning towards the thousand years of annoying the French, but perhaps it’s time for a bit of Bill Bryson. Stuart Maconie might have just come off the OC list, but there are several books here by one of my other favourites of the non-fiction world and they need reading! On the landing, along with the Stephen Clarke book about annoying our continental neighbours, lol, are a couple of Bryson hardbacks – A Short History of Nearly Everything, and At Home, so I could always opt for one of those, or go with one of the paperbacks lurking around in here. So spoilt for choice and that’s just one author! If I come to a decision, I shall let you know!

In the meantime, it’s time I got this saved and published, so until the next blog brings you further details of my jury service book marathon, lol, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You – Ally Carter
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • A History of Modern Britain – Andrew Marr
  • 1000 Years of Annoying the French – Stephen Clarke
  • A Year In the Merde – Stephen Clarke
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson
  • At Home – Bill Bryson

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Books, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Humour, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

The Seven OCs of Rhye

Library Cushion

Cardinal! Fetch the Soft Cushions!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Isn’t that cushion wonderful? Just right for us bookworms, eh?! As I’ve mentioned in my blogs, I’m on a placement at the moment, and I was pricing cushions and other items of soft furnishing, so I noticed the “library cushion” and thought it would be perfect for this blog! Being in that department, I also started to think of the legendary Spanish Inquisition sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, lol! Doesn’t take much to get me thinking about Monty Python stuff, but being surrounded by soft cushions in need of pricing, it was just asking for it, quite frankly! Yes, I know. You weren’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition, were you?!

NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!

Our chief weapon is fear! Fear and surprise. That’s two. Wait a minute, I’ll start again…

Oops! Let’s get back to books, shall we? You won’t be too surprised to learn that I’ve started on The People’s Songs, by Stuart Maconie, which I bought at Cheshire Oaks. Essentially, it’s the story of late 20th century Britain in 50 songs, and I’m already 23% of the way through it! Almost a quarter of it read already, as we head into the early 70s with its prog rock and metal…

People's Songs book

This means we now have 7 books on the Ongoing Concerns list, hence the title of tonight’s blog, a play on The Seven Seas of Rhye, by Queen! I could also have had Sailing on the Seven Seas, by OMD, from the early 90s, or even just Seven Seas, a hit in the mid 80s for Echo and the Bunnymen, but I thought we’d go with Freddie and co.

Anyway, the OCs are back up to 7, and we have more non-fiction back on the menu, as most of the others currently on the OC list are fiction, mainly YA, other than I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović, our Swedish striker’s autobiography. As I said in my last blog, I was reading some more of that after Zlatan had scored for us against Everton on Tuesday night.

(Those of a “Tractor Boy” persuasion should look away now…)

Talking of footy, our former striker, Andrew Cole, has undergone a kidney transplant, so I hope you can excuse my further football waffle as I wish him all the best for a full and speedy recovery. Although other players have since equalled the feat, he became the first player to score 5 goals in a Premier League match when he helped United annihilate Ipswich Town 9-0 on 4th March 1995 at Old Trafford. Poor Ipswich were lucky to get nil! Roy Keane opened the scoring that day, Mark Hughes contributed two goals, and our other goal which was not from Cole came from Paul Ince.

(Right, OK, it’s safe for any Ipswich Town fans to return, lol!)

Of course, we should also mention the partnership he formed with Dwight Yorke when the Trinidad & Tobago international joined us from Aston Villa in 1998, a partnership which would fire us all the way to the historic Treble in May 1999, aided and abetted by fellow strikers, Teddy Sheringham and the complete and utter LEGEND that is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer! Particularly significant moments for Cole en route to the Treble came in the semi-final second leg away to Juventus when he ensured United would be going to Barcelona for the final with our winning goal in Turin in our 3-2 victory, and he helped us clinch the first part of the Treble, with our winner against Spurs at Old Trafford on the final day of the 1998-99 Premier League campaign. He lobbed the ball over Ian Walker in the Spurs goal to give us what would be the winning goal. 2-1. Absolutely vital, as Arsenal also won that day, so it was our win which gave us the title by a point.

Alright, enough footy now. Back to the reading matter, lol!

I was looking for other Stuart Maconie books which I’ve not read, and I found Hope and Glory, which is partially-read, but I might just restart that one when I get around to it. I’m not sure whether I own a copy of Cider With Roadies or not, but I hope I do, and I hope it’s somewhere I can get my hands on it easily! May have to check my wardrobe, under Computer Corner, and in the Book Chest in the garage… At least I know which of his I have read – both of them mention pies in their title, lol!

As far as Bill Bryson is concerned, I have absolutely, DEFINITELY read Notes From a Small Island! That is for certain! I also know I have read at least one of his books where he’s back in his native USA, but I am trying to remember which one! I think it’s the one he starts with the classic line…

I came from Des Moines. Somebody had to.

This is from The Lost Continent, so therefore I have read that one. I have also read at least half of Mother Tongue, Bryson’s book on the joys and peculiarities of the English language. I have several other books of his lurking around, including Down Under, Neither Here Nor There, Made In America, and The Road To Little Dribbling, which is his return tour of the UK. And then there are two of his books on the notorious Duplicate Books List, but I’ve already mentioned those recently, lol! I shall have to do a Bill Bryson special one day…

There may yet be additions to the OC list – after all, I had eight books on there recently, and it’s currently at seven, but at least I’ve got some more non-fiction on there alongside all the YA and the chunky novels! Now I’ve got that box set by Cassandra Clare, I may well wish to start the first of those books pretty soon, see what City of Bones is like… I decided to risk it for a biscuit at The Works with that set, so I may as well see what I’ve let myself in for, lol!

For now, though, that’s about all for this blog, so until the next time I type something vaguely book-related out on this trusty laptop, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • Hope and Glory – Stuart Maconie
  • Cider With Roadies – Stuart Maconie
  • Notes From a Small Island – Bill Bryson
  • The Lost Continent – Bill Bryson
  • Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson
  • Down Under – Bill Bryson
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Made In America – Bill Bryson
  • The Road To Little Dribbling – Bill Bryson
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Computer Corner, Football, Half-Finished Books, Humour, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Sports, Television, Travel, YA Books

Risk It For a Biscuit!

Zlatan book April 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Zlatan’s up to 65% – in the Goodreads sense, that is! As he scored our equaliser at home to Everton the other night, I decided to bring him off the bench and start making his autobiography, I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović, a more active Ongoing Concern once again! An Equal Music is still in the lead on the OC list, currently on 78%, but after quite a month of reading in March, I’ve focused on cross-stitch at the start of April, putting those finishing touches to my League Cup Winning Years bookmark, plus starting and making progress with a design featuring a girl with a book under her arm.

So, the cup bookmark has had a tassel of sorts added to it, and threads added to the handles for “ribbons” on the trophy, and it has been put into use in I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović, which is appropriate as Zlatan did score two of our three goals in our 3-2 EFL Cup Final victory against Southampton in February. Our other goal at Wembley was scored by Jesse Lingard. Actually, it was funny… for our first goal, we got a free kick after Herrera was fouled, and my mum said “That’s too far out”. So, the ref blows the whistle, Zlatan takes the free kick… 1-0, pick that out, Saints! That may have been too far out for most players, but not for Zlatan! Definitely not too far out for him!

Anyway, enough waffling about footy, for now, although I’m sure I’ll return to that subject! You can see from the photos my finished cup bookmarks, the FA Cup one from last year, and the League Cup one from this, plus the ongoing concern on the stitching front. I have included the pattern so you have an idea what the design should look like when I’ve finished it. Despite her having a book under her arm, I don’t really see that one as a bookmark. I see myself putting it in a nice frame. I could always stitch another of that same design to use as a bookmark, though.

I think I mentioned the other day the thought of having another sort-out for the charity shops. Perhaps a few I have read but am unlikely to read again, plus a batch of stuff which is either unread or only slightly-read and which hasn’t really grabbed me. I need to make room for other books, so some may need to go. Particularly as I acquired a few earlier at The Works when I was at Cheshire Oaks. It’s not so much the box set of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, as that can probably go on a bookshelf on the landing with other box sets, but I bought a few other individual items of reading matter as well. Those are all non-fiction.

Books and chocolate April 2017

The Mortal Instruments, some non-fiction and some chocolate

I decided to risk it for a biscuit with the box set, it was quite a bargain when I worked out the price per book. City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, and City of Heavenly Fire. They’re numbered, too, as you can see from the photo, so I know the order in which to read them! Very helpful! Saves me looking that sort of shit up on Google, lol! You wouldn’t believe how often I’ve had to look up the reading order of various series when I’ve blogged about them on here! Thing is, I think the only series I’ve actually read, certainly the only series I’ve ever read in full, is the Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling, so I could rattle off the correct order for those seven books off the top of my head – Philosopher’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows. I’ve also read a couple of the short ones she brought out for Comic Relief some years ago – that’s when Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and Quidditch Through the Ages originally came out!

They were “quick reads” in aid of Comic Relief, originally! I love them, especially Harry and Ron’s comments in Fantastic Beasts. For instance, when it comes to the classification of how dangerous various magical creatures are, the top 5 star rating includes all dragons, plus several other rather nasty beasties which even the most experienced wizards would find hard to handle. A comment has been added, probably by Ron Weasley, to say “or anything Hagrid likes”!

(For my readers on the other side of the Atlantic, I know it’s the Sorcerer’s Stone over in the USA, and what we call a biscuit is what you call a cookie, in case you were wondering about the “risk it for a biscuit” thing – just a little expression some of us have over here when taking some sort of minor risk or chance with something, lol!)

Other than the Cassandra Clare box set and the chocolate, the other books are non-fiction. Three about music, one about sport, the sporting one being Greg Rutherford‘s autobiography, Unexpected. Greg, as you may recall, is a long-jumper, and won gold for Great Britain on “Super Saturday” at the 2012 London Olympics. I had no idea he even had an autobiography out, but he does and I now own a copy!

He won bronze last year in Rio, but I have heard he’s been doing some winter sports, chiefly skeleton, with a view to competing for Great Britain at the Winter Olympics! If he does, and manages to win a medal of any colour, I think he’d be the first sportsperson from our country to win medals in both summer and winter Games. That would be brilliant, so I think he should go for it! I don’t think many people from other countries have had medals at both versions of the Olympics, possibly the odd one or two, but I expect it’s still a pretty rare achievement and Greg would join a pretty short roll of honour if he could end up on the podium at the Winter Olympics!

The other hardback is The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones, by Rich Cohen, which is about being on tour with the band. Ziggyology, by Simon Goddard, and The People’s Songs, by Stuart Maconie, are the paperbacks. The Maconie book is “The story of modern Britain in 50 songs” – sounds good to me, and you know I have already enjoyed two of Maconie‘s books, those being Pies and Prejudice, which I read some years ago, and its follow-up of sorts, The Pie at Night, which was my Handbag Book for Wembley, and a recent Ongoing Concern, of course, until I finished it last month!

I’d seen the Ziggyology book quite prominently last year, especially early in 2016 just after Bowie had died, but at the time, I’d plumped for Starman, by Paul Trynka. I could add Ziggyology to my rainbow book pile – it’d be quite high up on that, given the orange spine, lol! It’d look good right between The City and the City, by China Miéville, and Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood! Anyway, I could read one after the other, as I’ve not read Starman yet, so I could read both Bowie books back to back if I so wished!

Well, as I’ve got a few books to sort out, I think I’d better get away from Computer Corner and find places for my reading matter until such a time as I call upon any of these books to become Ongoing Concerns! Until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
  • City of Ashes – Cassandra Clare
  • City of Glass – Cassandra Clare
  • City of Fallen Angels – Cassandra Clare
  • City of Lost Souls – Cassandra Clare
  • City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them – J. K. Rowling
  • Quidditch Through the Ages – J. K. Rowling
  • Unexpected – Greg Rutherford
  • The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones – Rich Cohen
  • Ziggyology – Simon Goddard
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • Pies and Prejudice – Stuart Maconie
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Starman: David Bowie – Paul Trynka
  • The City and the City – China Miéville
  • Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Cross-Stitch, Football, Humour, Music, Non-Fiction, Olympic Games, Ongoing Concerns, Sports, YA Books

Brillo pad! It’s Adrian Mole’s Big 50!

Adrian Mole

Gian Sammarco as Adrian Mole in the TV adaptation.

Sunday, 2nd April, 2017.

Hello again, fellow Bookworms! Couldn’t possibly blog today without noting the fact that one of my favourite characters from the world of literature, Adrian Albert Mole, is hitting his Big 50 today! Brillo pad, as Adrian himself was noted for saying in his diaries, penned by the late great Sue Townsend! Such a shame she didn’t live to see her most famous creation celebrate this milestone birthday.

For me, Adrian is a character very close to my heart, and only 6 years older than I am – he’s 50, I’m only a few weeks away from turning 44. We shared an enormous dislike of and ineptitude for PE and pretty much had a crap time at school all round, although I did have music to get me through my lousy time in compulsory education, particularly at high school! The first two Adrian Mole books were the YA books of my 80s childhood and adolescence! I was around 11 or 12 when I first read them, in my first year at high school, some time around 1984 or 1985, and back then, they were very contemporary – they were set in the early 80s, so only a few years previously, spanning a time period which included such events as the Royal Wedding, the Falklands Conflict, and the start of Channel 4!

Much as I’ve also enjoyed the later ones, it’s those first two books, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4, and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole, which are probably my all-time most-read books! They’ve had to be sellotaped back together several times! They were my coming of age books as I went through some of the same shit as Adrian, particularly the spots and the general awfulness of high school.

(Probably why I still like nerdy lads in today’s YA novels, such as Greg Gaines in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Colin Singleton in An Abundance of Katherines. It’s that sense of being in the same boat as them, I can relate to their difficulties in fitting in. I’d be able to relate to nerdy girls, having been one, too, but it seems most nerds in fiction are lads, so I have to make do with my male equivalent!)

Over the years, as I’ve read and re-read these books, and the subsequent volumes of Adrian’s diaries, I’ve got more and more out of them. There were things in those books that maybe I didn’t “get” when I first got those books, although I loved them from the start. I made the same mistake as Adrian on one score, actually. I also thought Evelyn Waugh was a woman! Evelyn was a woman’s name, as far as I was aware – had no idea until much later that it could also be a bloke’s name! One of the other literary amusements which I understood later was when Adrian borrows Pride and Prejudice from the library, but finds it very old fashioned and comments that he thinks Jane Austen “should write something more modern”!

Having read that novel for GCSE English Literature in my high school days, I can say that Pride and Prejudice was actually quite modern for its day, dealing with such contentious issues as circulating libraries, which were a big deal back then! However, Miss Austen is unable to write anything we would see as modern, Adrian, because she popped her clogs in July 1817, two hundred years ago this summer!

(Unless, of course, Adrian might fancy reading that mash-up edition, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, lol!)

I have not read ALL the same books as Adrian, but I know we have at least another one in common, without even getting my paperback or e-book editions out. Adrian definitely reads Animal Farm, by George Orwell, at one point, a book which I also read at high school for GCSE English Literature.

Wonder if the TV series based on the first two Adrian Mole books is on YouTube? The title song, Profoundly In Love With Pandora, was recorded and performed by the late great Ian Dury. Gian Sammarco played Adrian, his mum, Pauline Mole, was played by Julie Walters in the first series, and Lulu in the second. Beryl Reid played May Mole, Adrian’s grandma.

I’ve been known to keep diaries, on and off, over the years, particularly on holidays, and these blogs are diaries in a way, although not secret ones, obviously, lol! These are an account of my lifelong love of books and my adventures in the world of reading matter… books I’ve heard of, books I’ve read, books I skimmed when I was at uni because I needed to note the important bits for essays and exams but didn’t really have time to read the entire novel… I guess this blog, if we’re doing it in the style of Adrian Mole, would be entitled something like this…

The Not-Remotely-Secret Bookworm Diary of Joanne Dixon-Jackson, Aged 44 In 3 Weeks’ Time!

But that’s a bit long-winded, so Joanne’s Bookshelf it is, lol!

Since August 2010, I’ve blogged about books I’ve loved, books which have had me laughing my arse off in public and getting some odd looks (Fever Pitch, by Nick Hornby springs to mind here!), books which grew on me, books I’ve thought were alright, the occasional book I’ve not enjoyed and have left unfinished because it wasn’t floating my boat… Life’s too damn short to be reading stuff which doesn’t grab you when there are hundreds of thousands of other books out there which might be your cup of tea!

I shall get this published so you can spend Adrian’s birthday reading it and, hopefully, enjoying it! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole – Sue Townsend
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jess Andrews
  • An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith
  • Animal Farm – George Orwell
  • Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Books, Humour, Music, My Bookworm History, School, College & Uni Reading, Television, YA Books

Book of the Irish

Happy Reading Gaelic

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

If there are any Irish bookworms amongst my followers, Happy St Patrick’s Day! We’ll get some Irish books, or at least Irish-themed books in this blog, as that’s our obvious theme for this one! Talking of which, as you know from My Family and Other Bookworms, two of my aunties were over from Ireland last weekend, Andrea and Jennifer, and I had mentioned that my Auntie Jenny had left her Kindle on the plane on the flight over from Dublin to Manchester. Actually, her Kindle and her iPad. Thankfully, though, they were found by cabin crew and looked after at Manchester Airport, so when my auntie phoned up, they were able to put an owner to the items and were sending them out to her in the post, so I hope she’s now received them and has got all her electronic books back!

As we are going to be mentioning Irish books, or at least books set in Ireland, I think we should start off with one I read and loved very recently, that being Round Ireland With a Fridge, by Tony Hawks. I can definitely recommend this one, as can my dad! It’s the result of a drunken bet, and it’s VERY funny! For anyone who doesn’t know, Hawks was a minor pop star back in the late 80s, as part of a one hit wonder act called Morris Minor and the Majors. You may recall, if you were around in 1988, a song called Stutter Rap (No Sleep Til Bedtime), which was a parody of No Sleep Til Brooklyn by the Beastie Boys. Well, Hawks was partly responsible for that! Hmm…. that’s “responsible” in the loosest possible sense of the word, of course, lol!

I also mentioned, in a recent blog, one of my Paulo Coelho books, one of the as yet unread ones – Brida. Now, I KNOW Coelho is definitely NOT Irish – he’s Brazilian if I am not mistaken, but Brida is set in Ireland, so it’s getting a mention in this blog! That’s hanging around here, in Computer Corner. Talking of which, if we actually go under the laptop and thus into the sort of Computer Cave, as it were, we will find Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt. That is definitely set in Ireland and by an Irish-American, as it’s the first instalment of his memoirs. He followed that up with ‘Tis, and also wrote Teacher Man, a book about his experiences as a teacher in several New York schools.

Onto books lurking in my wardrobe… Not that I can get to this without shifting some stuff in front of the doors, but I know the Barrytown Trilogy, by Roddy Doyle, is somewhere in my wardrobe unit, or at least I am pretty certain it is! I have the trilogy edition, but as separate novels, the books are The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van, all of which feature the Rabbitte family in Dublin, and I’ve put them on the List Challenges list as a trilogy and as the three separate novels, so come the end of this year when I publish the list, you’ll be able to tick them off as you see fit if you have read the all-in-one version or individual novels. Or even both!

Well, we can’t have a blog about Irish books without mention of James Joyce, can we?! That would be an epic fail! I have to admit that the only book of his that I have read is Dubliners, which is a collection of short stories of Dublin life in the early 20th century. I have yet to attempt Ulysses – if anyone has read that one, what’s it like? I have heard it has a reputation as a “challenging” read!

It’s not the most comprehensive blog regarding Irish books, I know, but if it gives readers a starting place and a few ideas, that’s the main thing. I do need to move on to an update regarding the Ongoing Concerns now, as I made progress with a few of them yesterday! I have started Moonstone, by Sjón, and am almost a third of the way through it already, reaching 32% according to Goodreads! It has been added to the OCs, so there are currently 8 on that list right now, and I have updates for three more of them…

The Pie at Night, by Stuart Maconie, now tops the OC charts, as it is up to the 70% read mark, and is a truly good read. He just strikes me as the sort of bloke I’d like to have a good chat with about music, and books, and footy! I was reading the chapter about footy yesterday, actually, which mentions matches at all sorts of levels, including Manchester United’s Champions League home game against Olympiakos in March 2014, three years ago, when we overturned a 0-2 first leg deficit, winning 3-0 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate, thanks to Robin van Persie’s hat-trick! Rochdale and FC United also get significant mentions in this chapter. Mention of ‘Dale reminds me of one of my former colleagues, Mark Owen (no, not the one from Take That, lol, a less-famous one) who once called his fantasy footy team Up The Dale Down The Ale!

Before we go on to the other two books with which I made progress yesterday, I must also mention that United made progress yesterday in the Europa League, as we won 1-0 on the night with a 70th minute goal by Juan Mata at the Stretford End, to win 2-1 on aggregate, and we found out this lunchtime that we have been drawn against Anderlecht of Belgum in the quarter-finals, with the first leg away, second leg at Old Trafford. Anderlecht were United’s first-ever opponents in Europe, back in the autumn of 1956 in the European Cup. We stuffed them comprehensively, as we won one of the legs 10-0, which is still our record victory to date, I believe. I doubt a 10-0 thrashing is on the cards this time, but I just hope we win and make progress – we need to be more clinical and finish teams off. We also really need to stop fannying about at the back! (That’s a technical term, by the way, lol!)

OC List March 16th 2017

My Ongoing Concerns wipe board…

So, back to the books now we’ve got the footy out of the way, and I decided we needed to make some further inroads with the YA novels on the Ongoing Concerns list, and got Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist up to 40%, and Finding Audrey up to 29%. They are still quite a bit behind some of the other books on the OC list, but if we can get some of the others OFF that list, we can focus more on some of the YA stuff. The likelihood is that Moonstone will be finished fairly quickly, which gets that out of the way, and Tuesdays With Morrie will be read again this coming Tuesday and thus that will be even nearer completion. I also think getting The Pie at Night finished off fairly soon is a distinct possibility.

Yes, those are magnets from a few of my holidays at the bottom of the wipe board! From Berlin, Chichen Itza and Marrakech, respectively. The books are listed in order of closest to completion. If I added another couple of books, I could have a top ten, like the charts, lol, but eight is more than enough, really, and I need to get it down a bit! As I have said, though, in previous blogs, I had to have several books on the go at one time in my student days, so it goes back to the early 90s and I never got out of the habit even after graduating in 1994. Half of my degree was in literature, so I had to half-read a lot of books!

Anyway, I think that’s about all for now, so I hope you’ve enjoyed our little look at books of an Irish persuasion and an update on the Ongoing Concerns! Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • Brida – Paulo Coelho
  • Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
  • ‘Tis – Frank McCourt
  • Teacher Man – Frank McCourt
  • The Barrytown Trilogy – Roddy Doyle
  • The Commitments – Roddy Doyle
  • The Snapper – Roddy Doyle
  • The Van – Roddy Doyle
  • Dubliners – James Joyce
  • Ulysses – James Joyce
  • Moonstone – Sjón
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Computer Corner, Football, Handbag Books, Humour, Music, Ongoing Concerns, Travel, YA Books