Category Archives: Authors

Not As Badger’s Arse As I Thought I’d Be!

black book covers

Hello there, fellow Bookworms!

Good evening, and, for my followers in the USA, Happy Thanksgiving! I guess you’re probably busy right now, you’ve got family round, or you’ve gone round to theirs, and you’re stuffed to the eyeballs with food, but I hope you’re having a good day and that you’ll eventually get some time to have a nice read! I guess you’re hoping for some book sales on Black Friday?!

Right then, back to events here in my part of the UK!

So, as you might recall from Tuesday’s blog, I’d had my x-ray appointment at Hope Hospital (Salford Royal) on Monday morning, and they then booked me in for my surgery on Wednesday, thus yesterday afternoon… so I have been off work yesterday and today. When you have the sedation I opt for, it can last in your body for up to 24 hours after it’s been given, so I have to have the next day off as well as the day of my surgery. I’ve had this done a few times over the years, as you can probably tell, so I’m very familiar with the procedures.

Well, I had the surgery yesterday afternoon, and they actually took me in at 2:30, so half an hour early (I think a previous op had been cancelled, so as Mum and I arrived in plenty of time, they took me in ahead of my original 3pm appointment), and took the teeth out, two of them together, upper left 7 and 8 for any of you who wish to know, and then after some time in recovery and being advised on aftercare, we went home, although not before stopping at WH Smith’s in the hospital and purchasing a book, lol,  and I had a snooze for a bit once I got home. I did feel a little sore when the anaesthetic wore off, but considering I had had two neighbouring teeth out, I didn’t feel as “badger’s arse” as I thought I would. A little sore, yes, but not exactly in serious discomfort.

I have also been using some of the time to have a good read, and I have made good progress with The Good People, by Hannah Kent, our current book club choice. I am now 30% of the way through the novel. I am enjoying it, but perhaps a glossary of Gaelic words and names would help matters, particularly a pronunciation guide! I do have family over in Ireland, but I don’t exactly want to mither them to death with pronunciation queries! Hopefully there’s something online that I can look up… If anyone who has already read the novel could come up with some sort of guide to all the Gaelic names and words in it, that would be much appreciated! Still hasn’t spoilt my enjoyment of the book, thus far, though, even if I look at certain words and think “How the hell do you say that?”

Anyway, as I was saying in the previous blog, I know many of you like blogs where I mention lots of books as it gives you ideas. I’ll have to be doing some book shopping soon, but for others as I have Christmas shopping to get the hell on with! But as for my books, before we get into that “review of the year” mode which tends to happen at this time, let’s see if there’s some books I’ve bought but not mentioned on here already… Caraval, by Stephanie Garber, was the book I purchased yesterday at the hospital, but I have already mentioned that one. Pretty sure, though that there’s a few which haven’t been listed yet in 2017…

Of the books in the photo at the top of this blog, I have already mentioned Dumplin’, by Julie Murphy, and The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, but I knew I had definitely mentioned that latter one on a few occasions as it was a charity shop bargain. It only cost me a quid from the British Heart Foundation shop on Salford Precinct, and that’s the hardback edition! Caraval has already been mentioned, of course, which just leaves A Man of Shadows, by Jeff Noon. I really do like that cover! I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and I’ve been a bookworm more than long enough to know that, so I did read the blurb on the back, and thought it was worth it – “let’s risk it for a biscuit” I thought!

At the same time as I purchased A Man of Shadows, I also purchased Welcome To Night Vale, by Joseph Fink. The blurb and the cover both attracted me. Looking around my room for anything which might not have been mentioned, but to be fair, a hell of a lot of books have been mentioned this year! 518 different books, and we haven’t even got to the end of this blog entry yet, let alone the end of the calendar year!

Apparently, there are nearly 130 million (129,864,880) books in the entire world, according to a post I saw on Facebook earlier! One of several interesting facts in a post on a group called “I’m Not Obsessed, I Just Love To Read”, posted by Firdyawkal Nigussie. This list also says that the first book described as a “best-seller” was Fools of Nature by US writer, Alice Brown, way back in 1889! Wow! As someone on FB said, it would be especially amazing, as many female authors at the time either had to publish anonymously or under a male pen name in order to get their books in print. Indeed, Mary Ann Evans took the pen name George Eliot, and it is under this very blokey-sounding name that her novels are still published, including The Mill On the Floss, which I read, or at least skim-read, at university! Even the Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, originally took male pen names, being first published as Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, although they eventually DID get published under their actual names.

Other interesting facts from that list, and my thoughts on these matters…

It would take 60,000 years to read all the books in the world. It would probably take that long to read all the books in my room, let alone the whole world, lol!

The M6 toll road was built on two-and-a-half million copies of pulped Mills & Boon novels. Do you remember that Oxfam bookshop in Wales which was inundated with copies of the Fifty Shades trilogy? So many that they built a fort out of them in their back room?! Maybe they could offer them up to make a motorway if any new roads need building near Swansea?!

The page most readers lose interest at is Page 18. Wow! That early in a book? Well, if you get past page 18, from now on, you know you’re over at least one reading hurdle! I usually say give it rather more pages than that unless it’s a pretty short book! For a full-on novel, some say anything from 70 to 100 pages. Personally, when I’ve been doing my Ongoing Concerns lists during this year, I work out what 10% of the book is and see how that first 10% goes… So, if I’ve got a book that’s 380 pages long, let’s see how I feel about it when I get to page 38.

Thankfully, for you, this blog is not that long, lol, and we have got a few more “fresh” books mentioned which hadn’t already been on the list, and we’ve had some facts about books thanks to Firdyawkal’s post on Facebook, so I hope it’s been an entertaining blog tonight! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Caraval – Stephanie Garber
  • Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
  • The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  • A Man of Shadows – Jeff Noon
  • Welcome To Night Vale – Joseph Fink
  • Fools of Nature – Alice Brown
  • The Mill On the Floss – George Eliot
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Filed under Authors, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Foreign Languages, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Ongoing Concerns, School, College & Uni Reading, The TBR Pile

My Idea of Fun

Lee Sharpe - My Idea of Fun

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to yet another blog, and it is fair to say that blogging can be included in my idea of fun, along with countless other things. In particular, reading books (obviously), buying books, finding bargain books in charity shops (I picked up the Lee Sharpe autobiography, My Idea of Fun, in a charity shop in Swinton after work yesterday evening), having a lie-in, stuffing my face with food, playing music, listening to music and, as is well-documented on here, watching Manchester United. Sharpey is one of our old boys from the late eighties into the mid nineties, his career interrupted in mid flow by viral meningitis in the early 90s, but he did make a comeback once he’d recovered from the excessive tiredness the illness had left him with for some time. Should be an interesting read.

Anyway, progress is being made with The Good People, I am on for page 74, the start of chapter 4, so this is a considerable improvement on the fiction front given my recent fiction slump which I’ve mentioned in recent blogs. Perhaps that’s it… Perhaps it’s the fact that this book is by an author whose previous novel I really enjoyed a few years ago, because this is the same lady, Hannah Kent, who wrote the brilliant Burial Rites.

The other progress made lately isn’t actually of the book variety, but of the dental variety… As regular bloggers might know, I had been awaiting an x-ray at the hospital ahead of a dental extraction. Well, I had that x-ray yesterday morning before heading in to work for the rest of the day, two neighbouring teeth will be coming out, and when I went to reception to book the actual surgery, they offered me Wednesday, i.e. tomorrow! Thus I will be back at the hospital tomorrow afternoon to have my two dodgy teeth taken out! Woo hoo! It does mean I’ll probably feel like shite afterwards (shite being a technical term, of course, lol) but at least it means that needing Wednesday and Thursday off work results in two days where I won’t have to worry about waiting for a damn bus!

Traffic was a bloody ‘mare coming home from work tonight. According to my sister, there was a car on fire on the East Lancs Road, meaning the traffic around Swinton, where I work, was utterly Donald Ducked! It took a long time before a bus turned up, and with no number 2 seemingly forthcoming, I had to resort to the 484. This bus goes between Swinton and Monton, but takes the, ahem, “scenic route” and goes all round the houses to get next door, as the saying goes! So I was eventually on a bus home, but then that got stuck in traffic for quite a while during its Grand Tour of Swinton! So, I read a bit of The Good People while I was on the bus and managed a fair few pages before nearing home.

It’s November, it’s cold, it’s dark, it was raining (probably still is), and the journey home from work was a bit of an arseache! Oh well, at least I had some books with me, and at least I don’t have to get a bus for the next two days! My mouth might not be at its most comfortable after tomorrow afternoon’s surgery, lol, but the complete lack of necessity to hang around at bus stops waiting for one of those damn vehicles to be arsed turning up will be a consolation! Two days without that palaver – yeah, I can go for that!

I just hope I will still be able to play my horn, though. Got the switching on of the Urmston Christmas Lights on Friday, an annual fixture in the gig calendar of the Flixton Community Brass Band, so I shall see, some time on Thursday, how I feel about playing a brass instrument after my dental extractions the day before. See how my face feels. Perhaps try buzzing on my mouthpiece on Thursday, see how that goes. If it’s OK, I’ll be up to playing my tenor horn.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/nov/21/doctors-diary-this-is-going-to-hurt-wins-public-vote-for-book-of-the-year?CMP=twt_gu

Congratulations to Adam Kay! The absolutely brilliant This is Going to Hurt has won the Books Are My Bag readers’ choice award! It has also won the non-fiction category as well as the overall award. As I have said before, I cannot recommend this book enough! I would exercise caution as to where you read it, though! Probably not best to read it in public, unless you’re really daring or you simply don’t give a shit about getting funny looks from others when you laugh your arse off!

It definitely wins MY award for book of the year!

Sorry that I’ve not really got any fresh mentions other than My Idea of Fun, by Lee Sharpe. I know some of you really like my blogs which are full of different books, as it gives you ideas to add to your TBR piles. Oh well, I guess this one is giving your TBR list a bit of a break by covering mostly old ground. Also, we’re coming up to that time of year where everything gets reviewed, lol! A time for looking back over 2017, the books we read, those we half-read, those we added to our TBR lists but have still not got around to yet… and some which were added to that list donkey’s years ago, and we have to admit we STILL haven’t got around to reading them, lol!

Has a book ever given you that sense that it’s saying “You KNOW you want to read me”?! It happens in book shops, sure, but then it happens with books on your TBR list… There’ll be one which is saying “Pick me next!” and I am getting those vibes from Republic or Death! Travels in Search of National Anthems, by Alex Marshall. It is in quite a prominent place in my room, on top of a pile of books, and it is non-fiction, and it involves travel, history and music, so obviously that held great appeal to me and caused me to buy it in the first place, which was some time ago now, earlier this year I think, and it keeps catching my eye of late!

In the meantime, I shall get this finished and published and return to The Good People. Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • My Kind of Fun – Lee Sharpe
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Republic or Death! Travels in Search of National Anthems – Alex Marshall

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, British Weather, Charity Shop Bargains, Food & Drink, Football, Music, Non-Fiction, The TBR Pile

What’s So Hard About Animal Farm?!

The Good People

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Back again with another blog, and it was nice to have four of us at book club on Thursday. Nick and Diane had returned, and one of my council colleagues, Michelle, came along, so there were four of us and it made for a much better book club meeting than I’d had for some time! It felt as though we were able to have some proper discussion and bounce ideas and book suggestions off each other, which is what book club is about, and that’s bloody hard to do if only two of you turn up and the other person is just happy to go along with your choices. So, much better, as I said. We decided on The Good People, by Hannah Kent, as our next book, and our meeting will be on Wednesday 6th December.

As I’ve said previously, Hannah’s first book, Burial Rites, was a book club book of ours about 4 years ago. When the novel was first published, Hannah and her publisher came to Waterstone’s to promote the book, and as we were due to have book club that night, Emma from Waterstone’s had said to us “Would you be happy for this to be a book club event?” so we said yes, and Hannah talked to us about her book and how it came about. She’s from Adelaide, Australia, but had gone on an exchange programme to Iceland and, in learning about the country and its history, became intrigued with the story of the last woman to be executed in Iceland, hence the story behind Burial Rites.

She’s gone from Iceland to Ireland with this one, but yet again it is a work of historical fiction based on Irish folklore. I have started it, so let’s see what it’s like! It’s a handbag book, anyway, although it’s not the only reading matter which has been making a home in my purple Kipling bag. Currently sharing the handbag space with The Good People are What Light, by Jay Asher,  which is a Christmas novella, and The Outsiders, by S E Hinton. I was kinda hoping that short books, and possibly some short stories, might get me feeling fictional again.

This year is 50 years since The Outsiders was first published. Not one I’ve read before, but it is a book which has been read by many in the last half century, especially teenagers. It has often been a set book for literature classes at school, on the syllabus for the old O Levels and CSEs and then GCSEs when those came along in my high school days. My year were the second lot ever to sit GCSEs, way back in the summer of 1989. Perhaps one of the other English sets, 2 to 4 read this book? Not sure. All I know is what we read in set 1 with Mrs Walsh. (There were eight sets, but only the top four studied literature as well as language.)

Our play was Macbeth, it was always going to be something by the Bard as our teacher was a total Shakespeare nut, lol! Our novel was Pride and Prejudice, so we were introduced to Mr Darcy long before Colin Firth played him in that adaptation! Animal Farm, by George Orwell, was our novella which we looked at both as a straightforward story and as a political allegory, and our poetry, rather appropriately for Remembrance Day weekend, was from the First World War, as we studied a fair few poems from both Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. Not sure which book Mrs Walsh used for our poetry, but I always recommend The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry should you be looking to read what I read at school!

Right then… back from my high school reading to the present day, and yesterday I was at St Paul’s Church in Monton for our Christmas fair. While we did have one or two little kids’ books, Mum and I don’t have a book stall, but there is one, and I managed to get five books for a mere £1.50 so I think we should class church fair book bargains in the same category as charity shop bargains for the purposes of this blog.

Church fair book purchases 2017

As you can see, this haul includes two large books about Abba! Abba The Book, by Jean-Marie Potiez, and Mamma Mia! How Can I Resist You? This is the inside story of the making of the musical and film based on Abba’s songs. Bit irritating that I can’t see the exact edition of Abba The Book for my List Challenges list. I have put one on for now, but I shall keep trying for the white cover edition. Grrr! It annoys me, that! It’s all very well if I haven’t got a copy of a certain book, but if I have, I want the right edition on List Challenges. Except for The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, as I prefer the US cover anyway, as I’ve said before!

My other books are Prophecy, by S. J. Parris, The Tenko Club, by Elizabeth Noble, and The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. I have a feeling I do already own a copy of the latter, but as I’m not even sure where it is or whether I could get my hands on it easily, I chanced getting a copy yesterday at the church fair.  I remember seeing the film version when I was at uni, and then again some years later, on telly late one night, and it’s brilliant. It’s mostly in black and white, but the portrait is in Technicolor!

Actually, going back to List Challenges for a moment… I was on there in the past week or so, and there was a list of “difficult to read” books, but I have to say that some of them weren’t what I’d call difficult at all! The Picture of Dorian Gray was one of them, but I fail to see what’s so difficult about this book! SPOILER ALERT! Well-to-do good-looking young bloke has his portrait painted, as people did in those days when they were well-off, and he’s gone to see and admire the finished product. While he’s admiring his portrait, he makes a wish that he could stay young forever and that the portrait would grow old instead. This wish comes true and Dorian remains young and handsome. However, this goes to his head, and he becomes a right arsehole, and he does some pretty nasty shit to some people. As his behaviour deteriorates, his portrait grows not only older but uglier too, so he hides it away.

Anyhow, that’s enough Dorian spoilers! A couple of the other books on the “difficult to read” list were Jane Eyre and Animal Farm! Seriously?! Those are seen as hard to read?! As I have already said in this blog, I read Animal Farm for my GCSEs when I was at high school, so it’s not that bloody hard! If we’re discussing Orwell’s writing, I could see how people might find 1984, with its newspeak, difficult to read, maybe, but what’s so hard about Animal Farm?! I was about 15 or so when I read that! And I was even younger when I read Jane Eyre! I was in the third year at high school, 13 going on 14! If Jane Eyre was a difficult book, I doubt very much I’d have read it at that stage of my education!

Well, I think that’s about it for now. I had a bit of a book tsunami earlier, but then again, the previous one was in early February, so it’s not too bad considering the huge piles of books I have, lol! Quite a lot of book mentions in here for you tonight – I know some of you like it when I have a big long list at the end as it gives you reading ideas! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • What Light – Jay Asher
  • The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton
  • Macbeth – William Shakespeare
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • Animal Farm – George Orwell
  • The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry – Various
  • Abba, The Book – Jean-Marie Potiez
  • Mamma Mia! How Can I Resist You? – Benny Anderson, Bjorn Ulvaeus & Judy Craymer
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • Prophecy – S. J. Parris
  • The Tenko Club – Elizabeth Noble
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
  • 1984 – George Orwell

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Filed under Authors, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Music, My Bookworm History, Poetry, School, College & Uni Reading, Uncategorized

October Review – Better Late Than Never!

Adam Kay signing his book, This is Going to Hurt

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

I am back! First up, my apologies for not having blogged since mid-October, but you may recall that not only was I not feeling fictional, I was also not feeling very well, either! I wanted my cold to piss off and leave me alone, which it eventually has, more or less, but not without causing me to need time off work. I was in on the Monday after that blog, but even then I had a coughing fit, and stayed off the phone for the rest of that day, just doing the admin stuff – paperwork and computery stuff, and then I was too ill to be in work for the rest of that week! Absolutely streaming with a bloody cold! I did attempt to go in on the Friday, but it didn’t last long and I went home again.

I’d booked the following Monday off, and I was well enough to go out for the day, to Cheshire Oaks, and I came home loaded with a huge stash of chocolate, lol! I did buy a book, I acquired The Hate U Give from The Works for £2, although I still maintain that I prefer the cover of the US edition! Still got a bit of a cough, but I am generally a lot better than I was on the health front.

Still not feeling fictional, though! It’s book club this coming Thursday, and I have hardly read any of Do Not Say We Have Nothing. It’s not as though I dislike it, I don’t, what I have read has been fine, but I’m still not feeling it on the fictional front. I have been in the mood for factual stuff of late. I finished On Writing, by Stephen King, the other night – loved that book! I have thus finished 42 books this year, with just a bit of 2017 left to go.

The other thing is, that, while I was off sick, it was as though our internet came out in sympathy with my cold and decided to slow down! I mean right down. Really sluggish. Things taking ages to load, video clips buffering every few seconds… that sort of annoying slowness. Having given it a week or two to perk up, we contacted our providers with the results of a speed test my sister’s partner had performed for us, and they did some tests on Sunday, and then sent someone round earlier today. He did more tests and sorted things out, so we’re back up and running again! Nice and fast, as it should be. No longer fannying around, which is a technical term, by the way, but you knew that already, lol!

Anyway, you want to know about books, don’t you? You don’t want to hear my moans about how slow our broadband had been for the second half of October, do you?! You do realise, though, that this blog regularly contains large helpings of utter waffle!

The other book which was read last month, and utterly loved, was This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay, and I went to the book event at Waterstone’s on 27th October. He read to us from his book and then signed copies, so I had brought my copy with me for him to sign. Epic Win!

In the past few months, the only work of fiction I have finished is If I Stay, one of my YA books. I did also read one of my niece’s books, but that was fairly short, and even that was a few months ago, August, just before I started my job at the council! Since then, it’s been mostly non-fiction, having read about the periodic table of the elements, why internet food fads and diets are dangerous, how the Nazis were totally off their tits on drugs, the hilarious incidents in the life of a junior doctor, and the memoirs and writing advice of a hugely-successful author!

How do I get to feel fictional again? Why have I gone off fiction? I don’t understand what happened to cause it. I understand it in previous years. I remember a general book slump which started in 2012 and meant that I read very little from then until 2015, only managing the occasional book until around this time two years ago. 2012 was a pretty rubbish year for me, certainly the first half of it was, due to my grandad passing away and my redundancy after 13 years as a civil servant. It did pick up a bit in the summer though, as the London Olympics and Paralympics were on, and my club signed a certain Dutch centre-forward  that August at the start of the 2012-13 season, one whose goals would fire us to our 20th league title in 2013 when we would be declared champions the night before my 40th birthday! Oh, Robin van Persie! 🙂

I only managed the occasional book between those times. I loved Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent, Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple, but a lot of books, even with promising blurb, didn’t grab me until the end of 2015 when a fiction book and a non-fiction book both helped get me in the mood for reading again. The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, and Why the Dutch Are Different, by Ben Coates, are to be thanked for helping me out of that slump!

Last year, I had a fiction slump, but only because I had just finished A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara, and that is one seriously epic book! So, I completely understand why I was only able to manage non-fiction for the rest of 2016 after THAT chunky monkey! However, I’ve not read anything quite so epic in 2017! Nothing to rival the 720 pages of A Little Life, that’s for sure, so why the hell am I having a fiction slump now?!

This is one reason why I’ve not even started Turtles All the Way Down, the latest book by John Green, which was published in October. I don’t want my experience to be clouded by doubts over my ability to enjoy fiction! Despite the slump, I am still acquiring fictional titles, and I even purchased a few last week when I headed off to Waterstone’s at the Trafford Centre, picking up Sabriel, by Garth Nix, What Light, by Jay Asher, a Christmas-themed YA novella by the looks of it, and the Booker Prize winner for 2017, Lincoln In the Bardo, by George Saunders. I have to admit I had no idea what the hell a bardo was. Not in the sense of that book’s title, anyway! To me, the only Bardo I knew of was the one-hit-wonder duo, Bardo, who represented the UK at the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest with a song called “One Step Further”!

That was also a bit of a risk – regular readers of my blog might recall some of my rants about prize-winning novels and how difficult they are to read! I think the only Booker Prize winner I have finished and enjoyed so far in my life was Life of Pi, by Yann Martel! But Lincoln In the Bardo sounded interesting – something to do with spirits fighting over the soul of Abraham Lincoln’s son.

I think that about brings me up to date, anyway, except for some news on the children’s book front. It seems David Walliams has a new book out, Bad Dad, so no doubt my friend Sarah’s son, James, will be wanting that one! My niece, Charlotte, the Junior Bookworm, has recently been reading and enjoying The Twits, by Roald Dahl. A classic! And on that note, I think we’ve covered everything, and I have returned to my regular waffly and very nerdy self – come on, it doesn’t get much nerdier than mentioning Bardo in the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest, does it?! So, until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple
  • The Art of Racing In the Rain – Garth Stein
  • Why the Dutch Are Different – Ben Coates
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Turtles All the Way Down – John Green
  • Sabriel – Garth Nix
  • What Light – Jay Asher
  • Lincoln In the Bardo – George Saunders
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  • Bad Dad – David Walliams
  • The Twits – Roald Dahl

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Your Book Club Needs YOU!

Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Book and a G&T – and I needed that after book club!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

My nephew, Reuben, is one year old today (8th October)! Hence we’ve been busy with birthday celebrations this weekend, but it’s now time for me to come over to Computer Corner and tap away at my laptop for a bit to bring you yet another dose of waffly blog which might just mention a book or two, lol! Actually, it WILL mention books, and some rather worrying developments. Basically, the Waterstone’s Deansgate book club is in a critical condition!

When I say that “we” met up on Thursday evening, I mean just me and Anne again! It is bloody ridiculous! I ended up going to speak to Alice, the current store manager, to ask for more publicity for the book club! We need it! You can’t have a book club with only 2 members, you need around half a dozen or so to make it a good club. That way you get some decent debate and discussion, a better mix of opinions, and more ideas for recommendations when it comes to deciding the next book!

So, like the Lord Kitchener posters in World War I, I am putting out this appeal if you’re a bookworm in the Greater Manchester area…

YOUR BOOK CLUB NEEDS YOU!

If you are able to make it to Waterstone’s Deansgate on Thursday 9th November 2017 at 6pm, get yourself a copy of Do Not Say We Have Nothing, by Madeleine Thien, published by Granta, RRP £8.99 (although it’s a former shortlisted book for the Booker Prize, so you may find a much cheaper copy in a charity shop if money’s too tight to mention like Simply Red once sang), get reading as much as you can of it, and get your bookworm backside to the coffee shop on the top floor of Waterstone’s on 9th November and join in the fun! Please! Pretty please with a cherry on top! WE NEED BOOKWORMS URGENTLY!!!

I’m not saying the book club is dead, it’s not yet an ex-book club, but let’s just say it’s in intensive care and desperate for a fresh injection of book lovers to bring it back to good health and keep it going into 2018. I have emailed those who have been in the past, let them know the club is still going, what we are reading next and for when, so I hope some of them will be persuaded to return, but I am also trying to get some new bookworms, including some of my council colleagues! We have an in-house social media thing called “Yammer” so I have mentioned the book club on there to try and get some new members.

Alice did say she’d try to get some publicity on Facebook and Instagram, but I might also try to raise awareness. Certainly with a bookstagram post on Instagram… get some new bookworms that way…

Anyway, I had finished Blitzed in time for book club, and the other day, I finished This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay and I was sad to finish it because I bloody loved it! I won’t spoil it for you, but I will advise that there are some parts you really shouldn’t read in public unless you want some funny looks when you’re laughing your arse off! Adam is coming to Waterstone’s Deansgate on 27th October to talk about his book, so I got myself a ticket for that event, and I shall bring my copy with me for him to sign. This also gives you lucky blog followers another book event to read about later this month, lol! Don’t say I never give you ‘owt!

Current reads October 2017

Well, we’ve dealt with the book club book, and you know about my e-book – that one’s for match days and our next home games are not until the end of this month, so there won’t be further progress on Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows until the Spurs match, and then the Champions League home game vs Benfica on Halloween.

On the grounds that I am exactly halfway through it, the Bill Bryson tour of Europe that is Neither Here Nor There makes my photo arrangement. While I’d scrapped the Ongoing Concerns list, essentially, it seemed unfair to Bryson to forget about that one given the significant progress made with it. Also, On Writing by Stephen King will be continued. Manchester England makes the list on the grounds that I am 17% of the way through it and I DID say I was going to resume it this year due to what happened here in May at the Arena. I will be using my “And the bees still buzz” bookmark in that one, as I said in previous blogs this summer.

So, that leaves Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, which I have had for some time now and I must have bought in the first place due to the promising blurb on the back of it which mentioned that there are a lot of 80s references in it, so I thought I should give it a go. The author himself is only a year older than I am, a 1972 baby as opposed to 1973, and thus the creator of the OASIS virtual reality world which is the basis of this novel is also a 1972 baby. It definitely feels like a book for my era based on the start I have made on it. I’m more a pop music nerd than computer game geek, but I do remember some video games and stuff like that from when I was a kid – when Atari systems first came out, with games like Asteroids and Space Invaders!

By the way, when it comes to the end of this year, and I’m publishing the List Challenges list of all the books I have mentioned on these blogs during the course of 2017, it will be a pretty long list, lol! Do Not Say We Have Nothing was the 500th different book I have mentioned! If you’re like me, you prefer the longer lists on List Challenges and feel a bit short-changed if a list only has a few books on it! There will be at least 13 pages for Joanne’s Bookshelf Blogs – Books Mentioned 2017, so something to look forward to in a few months’ time!

Jane Austen tenner 2017

Just before I call it a night, I thought you might want to see one of the new £10 notes which came into circulation here last month. I know many of my followers are not on the same side of the Atlantic as myself, so you probably won’t be in possession of our new tenners with Jane Austen on them, thus I thought you might want to see one! The quote on the banknote reads “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” – I couldn’t have put it better myself, Jane!

With that in mind, I’ll get this published, and you can enjoy this helping of literary waffle! Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien
  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows – Balli Singh Jaswal
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • Manchester England – Dave Haslam
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

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Necessary Adjustments

can't buy happiness can buy books

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to another helping of utter waffle! You can’t say you’re not used to it by now, lol! We’re almost at the end of September, I’m on for week 4 of my new job, and I am enjoying it very much, even if it does take a lot out of me at times. There have been times when I have come home and needed naps! I think it’s the amount of information I’m taking on board at times. Office jobs might not be physically demanding, but they can be taxing on the ol’ grey matter! Eventually, although there’ll still be things to learn, it will probably plateau out on that front and my brain cells might not feel quite so overloaded by the time I log out and shut down my computer!

For now, though, while I’m still very new, there will be necessary adjustments, and that affects the book-reading and the blogging. This blog might not be all that long, and it might be started one day and continued another. It probably won’t be the only blog where this happens, either.

I’m up to 45% of Blitzed, by Norman Ohler. Need to get on with it, book club is next Thursday, 5th October. As with certain other non-fiction books, I am enjoying it, but I feel the information can’t be rushed. I was going to say that the Nazis were a right bunch of Ben Johnsons, and make the comparison with the cheating sprinter from the 1988 Olympics, but Ben Johnson actually won on drugs before he was found out. I need another example of people cheating and still not managing to win, so I can compare the Third Reich’s pill-poppers with other cheating losers!

They took drugs, and the RAF still sorted them out! Ha! Serves them right!

As I was saying earlier, when I was telling my mum about this book, the Pervitin, which the Germans were practically wolfing down like sweets, is essentially the exact same substance we know these days as crystal meth! Sure, it kept them awake for ages at a time, but one of the other side effects of such substances is to give the user extreme confidence to the point where it becomes arrogance, and that, therefore, probably brought about their downfall. Early successes in France at the start of WWII just added to this cockiness. Some officers were expressing concerns, but those who did were often outnumbered, and just laughed-off by others who could only see the perks of Pervitin.

Anyway, enough about High Hitler and his narcotic-addled officers, there are other books to be mentioned. We are nearing the end of the month, meaning the September Review will probably be occurring this coming weekend. Probably Sunday, as United are at home to Crystal Palace on the Saturday afternoon. In all likeliness, with a full house expected, we will be back to the traffic problems in Trafford Park, and I will get some reading done on my Kindle on the way home from the match. Time to continue with Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows on my way home from Old Trafford. I had read 11% of that one last time I checked.

One of the recent acquisitions, which was bought at Waterstone’s after my last book club meeting, has been started, and I must say how much I am enjoying On Writing, by Stephen King! 23% of that has been read of that so far, so almost a quarter of the book already! It’s actually pretty funny in parts, particularly when he recalls some amusing incidents from his childhood! King might be most famous for writing horror novels, but he also has the capacity to be amusing! He’s also pretty nifty at trolling the Tango-Tinted Tosser on Twitter! Well he was until Fart sulked, stamped his little foot, and blocked the author! Donald’s maturity level wouldn’t even earn him a Happy Meal.

King wasn’t the only one turning 70 recently, though. In fact, my dad beat him to it by a few days, as his birthday was the previous weekend, turning 70 on 17th September. United won 4-0 against Everton to mark the occasion, and I gave him the biography of John Le Carré, by Adam Sisman. You may recall I’d found it and bought it a few months ago. Dad’s always enjoyed spy thrillers, particularly by John Le Carré and also by Len Deighton. Back to the Everton match for a moment… Antonio Valencia’s opening goal after 4 minutes… pure class! A volley Paul Scholes would’ve been proud to score!

I just had to post that. Goals that good deserve repeat viewings!

Anyway, I have read two full books this month. The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, and If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, so despite the new job and the naps, some reading has been done, lol! I might start Where She Went soon, while the first book is still fairly fresh in my mind. But I think I must be on a non-fiction fix at the moment, what with the Norman Ohler book about the Nazi druggies, and Stephen King’s book about writing books!

I think that’s about it for now. Apologies that this is quite a short one, but I think I’ve mentioned all the books I’ve focused on lately! Bit of non-book news to round off the blog… The Manchester Food & Drink Festival starts this coming Thursday! Yay! Might have to pay one or two visits to town after work… Still waiting for the dental appointments for the x-ray and extraction, though. I hope the letter comes soon, at least for the damn x-ray! So that’s my news for now. Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • John Le Carré: The Biography – Adam Sisman
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • Where She Went – Gayle Forman

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Books About Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Food & Drink, Football, Manc Stuff!, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

Gone for a Burton!

Life without books

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Back again for another blog! I know they’re not as frequent as previously, but having been back in work since the start of this month, that is to be expected. I will have been working for 3 weeks by the time I shut down my computer and log off from my phone tomorrow at 4:30pm UK time! I do try to get some reading in at lunchtime, although that is not always possible, so it has to be out of hours, mostly. However, I am a third of the way through Blitzed, by Norman Ohler, which is our book club book, and I have two weeks to go until our next book club, so I hope to get more of it read in the remaining fortnight.

Didn’t get my Kindle read last night, though. My reading plans had gone for a Burton, just like Burton Albion themselves, although our visitors had improved since their one and only previous visit to Old Trafford, which was in the FA Cup way back in 2006! Back then, a 0-0 draw in that cup earned them a replay up here, which was a huge windfall for them – they were able to pay for their new stadium at the time thanks to forcing that replay. We stuffed them 5-0 in the replay in 2006, and they were a non-league side then, in what used to be known as the Conference. They are actually a Championship side now, just a division below United, and we still stuffed them last night, but 4-1 was an improvement for the Brewers, lol!

The reason I didn’t get any post-match reading done on my Kindle is that Mum and I were out of the United car park fairly quickly. I should have expected it really, given that it’s the League Cup, and people opt out of it. The attendance was around 50,000, which is down on our usual 75,000 full houses, so with fewer people there, it doesn’t take as long for us to get home. I expect I will need my Kindle again at the end of this month, though, when we play Crystal Palace at home in the Premier League. One of the ebooks I have started lately is Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, by Balli Kaur Jaswal – it sounded amusing enough. I have read 11% of it so far, so it could class as an OC, although ebooks are being kept as a separate matter, they’re a football thing, lol!

While we’re still sort-of on footy, I’d just like to slap whichever killjoy arseholes are getting their knickers in a knot about the song some of our fans have come up with for our latest star centre forward, Romelu Lukaku. Since WHEN has it ever been offensive to imply that someone has a LARGE willy?! Give your heads a wobble! Fair enough, suggesting that someone is NOT well-endowed in the trouser department might be quite insulting, but a large cock is something your average bloke is quite proud of, from my understanding of the male of the species! Indeed, blokes themselves often exaggerate the size of their own, ahem, upstanding members, so singing that a footballer has a 24 inch willy is simply a bit of a laugh! NO-ONE has a two-foot cock, for crying out loud! Plus, you also have to remember that the average terrace song is invented by drunken blokes down the pub, usually on their way to an away match!

For the record, the ONLY song I know of in our fans’ repertoire which actually mentions someone’s colour is the song we had for Wayne Rooney, where we called him the White Pele! We do NOT discriminate! We have fans all around the bloody world, FFS! All colours, all faiths, all nationalities, so being a Red is NOT for narrow-minded, bigoted knobheads! I think that as long as Romelu himself doesn’t mind, and I’ve not heard any word to say he does, then there is no problem. If he did have a problem, and said so, we would stop, but I imagine there is more chance of snowballs being found in Hell…

Right, OK, back to the books. Trying to overhaul the OC list is not that easy. I did finish If I Stay for that book group on Facebook, but am not sure what to do next. They have chosen The Fault In Our Stars for this month, and I have already read that a year or two ago now. Forthcoming books are Emma, by Jane Austen, and Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, and so I might try to get a head start on one or both of those. Like a lot of classics, there are free editions of Emma available for e-readers, as a lot of classic books were written so long ago that they are out of copyright. So, I downloaded that one on my Kindle for free, and I already own a copy of Ready Player One. I like the sound of that one, there’s supposed to be a lot of 80s references in it.

Besides the e-book about Punjabi widows, the other book for match-day e-book consideration is Gold, by Chris Cleave. I’ve had that on my Kindle for a while, actually, and recently picked up the paperback in a charity shop. This is the author of The Other Hand (known as Little Bee in some countries), which I read and enjoyed some years ago now.

I may just have to knock the OCs on the head for now, and see how much I can get through. We may or may not resume this format at some point, but with work, and with book clubs, actual and virtual, the Ongoing Concerns are not really ongoing at present, lol! Apologies to all the books on the list but right now I’m probably going to have to cut things right down, maybe to just 2 or 3 books at a time. Some of the OCs weren’t getting read anyway, so my list wasn’t truly effective. I need an ebook for home matches, whichever book I’m reading for the Waterstone’s Deansgate book club, as long as I’m enjoying that book enough, plus maybe 2 or 3 others. And that might have to be it. Perhaps one of those books could be one which is part of a series, whether that’s resuming the Shardlake series by getting on with Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom, or reading one of several YA series I own…

The books on the list before I had an overhaul could have priority for when I want to start or resume a book, I guess, but I’m going to have to cut things right down and not take on too many books. I can read a few at a time, have been able to since my uni days, but I can’t really have a massive list of ongoing books, or most of them won’t actually be ongoing!

Well, perhaps I should get down to a spot of literary action. Those books aren’t going to read themselves, are they?! Well, not unless they’re wizarding books which have had a self-reading charm cast upon them, but I’m a muggle, not a Hogwarts student, so I haven’t got any of those kind of books, sadly! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

P.S. Happy Birthday to Stephen King! Perhaps I should start one of his books? Maybe On Writing would be the place to start? I do have a couple of his (non-horror) novels on my TBR list, too.

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
  • Emma – Jane Austen
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • Gold – Chris Cleave
  • The Other Hand (aka Little Bee) – Chris Cleave
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • On Writing – Stephen King

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