Category Archives: Blind Date With A Book

OCs, Match Day Books, and Recent Charity Shop Bargains…

Periodic Tales finished

Elementary, my dear Bookworms! Periodic Tales finished at last!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Book number 36 finished off for 2017, Periodic Tales finally came off the Ongoing Concerns list in the early hours! As I’ve said before, I HAVE enjoyed this book. The reason it has taken some time to read it is because it’s not one of those books you can read quickly. I’m not a scientist, my dad was the chemist in our family, not me, so to take in all the information Hugh Aldersey-Williams was providing in his book meant reading it slowly.

I’ve also got other books on the go, including The Angry Chef, which is a priority as it is the current book club read, and I’ve also been preoccupied with awaiting further developments regarding my forthcoming job. I was actually contacted yesterday, and received the medical forms and suchlike via email, so I have completed and returned those to HR. Hopefully, I WILL be getting a start date very soon!

Dental pain has been another issue. I am currently awaiting an x-ray and then an extraction, but still have to put up with this stupid tooth for the time being, and getting through painkillers. Some times it’s fine, other times it’s really giving me grief, and I just want it taken out of my mouth as soon as possible. It has also affected my reading. Not only in preventing me from focusing on a book if it is hurting, but also because it has sometimes caused disruption to my sleep, and then I am tired later and not really wanting to read.

Mata retro United shirt

The Special Juan – Mr Mata modelling a retro United shirt from 1982…

Seeing as I’ve featured a very important Mata wearing a retro United shirt, there’s another match coming up this weekend, as my lads are at home to Leicester City on Saturday evening. As with the West Ham match, I shall be taking a book with me for the car journeys to and from Old Trafford. Quite likely to be The Angry Chef again, although who knows? Having now finished Periodic Tales, I have added Manchester England, by Dave Haslam, to the OC List, one non-fiction book replacing another. I am on for page 54 of 311, so 17% of that book has already been read and it joins the list in the middle of the pile. I will be using my Manchester bees cross-stitched bookmark in that one, as I also mentioned in previous blogs earlier this year.

Going back to the Special Juan for a moment – that shirt is actually older than Mr Mata! The home shirt he is wearing dates back to 1982 when we first had sponsors on our shirts. Juan wasn’t born until April 1988! I had just turned 15 when he came into the world! As I have mentioned previously, he is one of the players in contention for having his name and number on the back of my next United shirt when I get around to buying it. I still think it’s going to be between Mata 8, Matić 31 and Mkhitaryan 22. A Spaniard, a Serb or an Armenian. Waiting until after the summer transfer window closes, and I start my job, anyway…

New OC List 23rd August 2017

The OC List as it stands now…

Neither Here Nor There, by Bill Bryson, is now top of the list, but as it’s 50% read, I’ve got a way to go with all my current OCs. Going to have to have a good look at the current OCs and sort out some kind of reading strategy. The Angry Chef is the main priority as a book club book, but I need to get on with all of them, really.

Not that that has stopped me acquiring other books, been going a bit mad in the local charity shops of late, lol! We have so many round here, and thus there are plenty of bargain books to be found, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson, for a mere 49p, and Brilliant Orange, the neurotic genius of Dutch football, by David Winner, a book I’d had my eyes on for some time, which I got in a 3 for £1 deal at the Scope shop in Eccles. The Maureen Johnson book was in a shop in Salford Precinct, and is a YA novel which had caught my eye in recent times.

Do Not Pass Go, by Tim Moore, only set me back a quid. You may recall that I read Nul Points, by the same author, earlier this year, to tie in with the Eurovision Song Contest back in May, as it was a book about the acts which had failed to win a single vote at the ESC over the years. In Do Not Pass Go, Moore is in London, visiting all the locations on the Monopoly board, which sounds like a great idea for a book! I’m hoping it will be as good a read as it sounds!

As I have mentioned, on many occasions, I have a thing for books about books, so you won’t be surprised that one of my recent charity shop bargains was Dewey, by Vicki Myron, the true tale of how an abandoned kitten became adopted by the library of a small town in the USA.

Another recent purchase – yes, there have been a LOT of those, as I said, I’ve been going a bit mad in charity shops in recent times picking up any books which seemed like a good idea at the time, lol, and thus a copy of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling ended up coming home with me in recent weeks! Not that it had a long journey home, it was from one of the charity shops on Monton Road, as I recall, so I probably popped in while I was on my way home. From the chemist’s, I expect, after picking up my painkillers for my stupid dental pain…

The Music Shop, by Rachel Joyce, and Goodbye To Berlin, by Christopher Isherwood, were picked up at the Oxfam shop in town last week, the former of those a hardback and set in a record shop in the 80s, thus it sounded like my cup of tea, and the latter is the book which formed the basis of the musical Cabaret, starring Liza Minelli. This next one isn’t technically a charity shop book, as it was from W H Smith, but they were having Blind Date With a Book in aid of three charities, and thus my acquisition of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald,  has helped Cancer Research, Mind (the UK mental health charity) and, if I recall rightly, the Literacy Trust. Once again, folks, books about books…

Anyone who wants more photos of books and bits of waffle to tide you over between blog entries should get on Instagram if you haven’t already done so. I am on there, have been for five and a bit years now, since early 2012, posting as joannedj1973 and a lot of my posts, especially in recent times, are #bookstagram posts. Feel free to check out my posts – lots of piles of books, lol!

Just looking at my unpublished lists on List Challenges… There are quite a few of these lists, especially ones which are ongoing throughout the year and can’t really be published until New Year’s Eve at the earliest, or in the first day or so of 2018. For example, the list of books I have finished in 2017, and the list which goes along with this blog… the seriously massive list of every book which gets a mention on this blog during the course of the year! It doesn’t matter if I don’t even own a copy of it, let alone if I’ve read it or not… loads of books get mentioned and if they do, they go on a huge list on List Challenges. Joanne’s Bookshelf Blogs – Books Mentioned 2017. Come 31st December, or early in January 2018, I will publish this list so anyone can then see what I’ve mentioned during the course of 2017 and how many of those books they have read!

At the moment, the list stands at 464 books! So, yeah, it’s gonna be a long one, lol! At 40 books per page when a list is published, there will be at least 12 pages worth of books and that’s just at the current state of affairs as of 23rd August! It could well be even longer by the time we get around to Christmas and it’s nearly time to publish the damn thing!

There’s all sorts of stuff on that list… General fiction, young adult, children’s books, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, and there’s all the non-fiction stuff I’ve mentioned… music, history, travel, football, other sports, autobiographies, languages, tea, coffee, and all sorts of other mad crap! It’s simply a review of all the books mentioned on here, so you’ll see four or five hundred covers representing the books I have mentioned in these blogs during 2017. If you can’t wait for this one to be published, there are some previous ones knocking around on List Challenges. Shorter lists featuring books I’ve mentioned in previous years’ blogs.

Well, I think that’s about it for now, so I shall get this published so you can read my utter waffle and wonder if the charity shops of Monton, Eccles, Salford and Manchester actually have any books left in them, lol! They do, by the way! I haven’t bought up ALL their supplies, however many charity shop bargains I appear to mention on here! Until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson
  • Brilliant Orange – David Winner
  • Do Not Pass Go – Tim Moore
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • Dewey – Vicki Myron
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kaling
  • The Music Shop – Rachel Joyce
  • Goodbye To Berlin – Christopher Isherwood
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend – Katarina Bivald

1 Comment

Filed under Blind Date With A Book, Books, Books About Books, Bookstagram, Charity Shop Bargains, Cross-Stitch, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Handbag Books, List Challenges, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, YA Books

Love Is In The Air…


Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

I love Marzi’s “Introvert Doodles” cartoons, and that one really fits the bill for bookworms on Valentine’s Day, lol! I might just curl up with the love of my life before the night is over – perhaps get a bit more of An Equal Music read, for instance!

This probably won’t be a long blog, yesterday’s was pretty massive, with my 12 books for my 12 year old self theme, so this is a fairly short bookish Valentine blog. Thing is, books ARE one of the loves of my life, along with Manchester United, chocolate and music! Oh, and food. Can’t forget food! And a good cup of tea…

* nips off downstairs to make a brew *

* returns with a mug of tea and a couple of Jammie Dodgers *

Ah, sorry, yes, where were we? The loves of my life… Books, obviously, plus MUFC, chocolate, music, food, the Olympic Games – talking of which, it’s 33 years ago today since Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean won gold at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, skating to Ravel’s Bolero. I have the orchestral score of that, actually. Picked it up from the second-hand book stall which came to my uni…

That isn’t even the first orchestral score or book of sheet music to be mentioned on this blog, either! To me, if it’s in book form, it can be mentioned and listed on here, so musical compositions are included! The first score to figure in these blogs was Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, and I was blogging about my days at school and college at the time, because I was actually following the score for that music in the library at Eccles College when I was a teenager! Well, we should give that one its proper title… Symphony No. 6 in F Major. Pastoral Symphony is merely the nickname!

Lonely Hunter 1

* blind date with a book, from last year *

Wonder if Waterstone’s had any Blind Date With a Book events again this year for Valentine’s Day? Those are a good idea for book stores. They wrap several books up, usually identically, and just put a small clue on the paper or on a tag, and you buy a mystery book and find out what it is when you get it home and unwrap it. Perhaps some clues might be easy to guess, but other books might be a complete surprise, and it’s a good way for a store to get people to buy a book they might not normally consider. For example, you might normally read romance, or perhaps historical fiction, but you open your blind date book and you’ve got science fiction…

The above one was from last year, and turned out to be The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers. Not got around to reading it yet, though.

Talking of Waterstone’s as I was, seems another lucky guy got locked in a branch of the book store chain the other day! Pretty sure I mentioned a similar incident at a branch in London a year or so ago, and this one has also happened somewhere down south, I think. Jammy bugger! Don’t know what he was moaning about – I’d love to get locked in at Waterstone’s! Overnight at the Deansgate branch, preferably! Well, if I’d remembered to bring my phone charger with me, anyway, lol! I can always kip on one of the sofas overnight!

With advance apologies for an un-asterisked expletive in the next photo, but I saw this and it made me lmao…


Well, it amused me, but then again, I am a Potterhead, lol!

I can’t seem to find it as yet on a Google image search, but I think it was a Purple Ronnie card from donkey’s years ago, we’re talking back in the early or mid 90s, I think, during my student days, when I first became a match-going Red, but it would make a good Valentine’s Day card for fellow football fans, regardless of allegiance… it went something like this…

Football is your passion, you really give it your all…

The true romance in your life is eleven men and a ball!

I am pretty sure I had a card or postcard with that on, back in my student days, lol! Probably lurking around somewhere. In a box in the garage, or somewhere like that. Anyway, as I said earlier, I’m going to get a bit of reading in, so I shall love you and leave you for now. I did say this was just a short one tonight! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • Bolero – Maurice Ravel (orchestral score)
  • Symphony No 6 in F Major (Pastoral) – Ludwig van Beethoven (orchestral score)
  • The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers

Leave a comment

Filed under Blind Date With A Book, Books, Music, My Bookworm History, Olympic Games

Turn-up For The Book(s): Manc Irony alive and well on this blog!


Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Sorry for the lack of blogs since June, but here we are again. Hope you all had a good Christmas! Got a Waterstone’s gift card as one of my pressies, which is always the best idea when you don’t know what book to get someone because they already have so many, which we all know is my situation, lol!

Wasn’t sure what to call this blog. Sometimes I am really stuck for a good idea for a title, so at present, as I type, it’s just got the working title of “Last Blog of the Year” as it certainly will be that! I sure as hell won’t be blogging tomorrow! Got a match to go to, United being at home to Middlesbrough, and then I’ll be off out for a meal to let in 2017 and hope it’s a damn sight better than most of 2016 has been! If the Grim Reaper could please stop bumping off talented people and focus on nasty pieces of work instead, that would be great! The entire right-wing of the political spectrum would be ideal. Just a hint… Especially the far-right. Wouldn’t exactly be too upset at THEIR passing…

As mentioned in the blog in June, I now have a nephew as well as a niece! Reuben David Jack was born on 8th October, a little brother for Charlotte, the Junior Bookworm! I hope Reuben will also love books as much as his sister does. For the record, my pressies for Charlotte were books – a large book of poetry for children and a box set of Roald Dahl’s books. I think there are 15 books in that box set, it’s one I had in from when my niece was little. I saw it and bought it when I was working in Chorlton, and it was always going to be a future birthday or Christmas present for my niece when she was old enough to start enjoying a bit of Roald Dahl. That time has now come, and, indeed, she’s going to be reading some of his stories at school, so Ellie let me know and I decided the time was definitely right!

As you can see, there is a mystery book again. So, let’s open it up a bit further…

Right, the tag and string are off… We shall start to unwrap shortly…

One of the main issues causing the lack of blogging was that I suffered a bout of Reader’s Block once again. Well, sort of, although I did manage to read some non-fiction, but I think A Little Life proved so epic, that I have been unable to face any fiction since I finished the 720 page novel! I had already met my original 25 book target in my Goodreads Reading Challenge, and done so with some months to spare, so I thought upping it to 40 wouldn’t be unreasonable. However, due to the aforementioned issues after A Little Life, I have only managed a total of 30 books this year, the last of which I finished earlier this evening, that being The Ten (Food) Commandments, by Jay Rayner. I recommend this book, not just because it’s about food, not just because Jay makes some bloody brilliant and necessary points, but it is also a small book which would fit in a lot of handbags! I have a nice sizeable Kipling bag and can fit a few books in there, lol, but for those pushed for space, the Jay Rayner one would be ideal. I must say, though, that if you are a hardened bookworm, what the hell are you doing with a small handbag?! Shouldn’t you buy a handbag based on being able to fit a decent amount of reading matter into it?! That’s my criteria, anyway! Why do you think I created a Handbag Books list on List Challenges?!

Ooh! The mystery book is unwrapped a bit…

I mentioned before that I got a Waterstone’s gift card for Christmas, but. talking of book-related gift cards, has anyone else had a go at that game run by National Book Tokens? There are 20 road signs, of which each is a clue to a certain book. Some of them, indeed quite a lot of them, were rather straightforward and easy to guess. For example, the pig on the tractor sign was Animal Farm, by George Orwell, but towards the end, before I finally guessed them all, there were two in particular I was struggling with and had to get help from an online forum in exchange for giving answers to those I’d got which others hadn’t. One of them was the “men at work” warning triangle, and the other was a green arrow with “Emerald Street” on it. Turns out the men at work one was Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel, and the Emerald Street one was The Green Road by Anne Enright

Well, would you Adam & Eve it?!

In a lovely dose of Mancunian irony, the “Secret Santa” book I got at Waterstone’s just before Christmas only turns out to be one of the titles which was giving me such a problem on that pesky National Book Tokens game! The last damn title I guessed! The one which gave me so many problems guessing it! My first guess for that road sign had actually been The Green Mile, the Stephen King novel, and I couldn’t believe it when I was told that was incorrect! So I tried a few other guesses before resorting to an internet forum and an exchange of answers, which gave me The Green Road. Then I go and treat myself to a mystery book at Waterstone’s and it only turns out to be that very novel!

Well, I’ll not keep you any longer, I’m sure you need to get ready for any New Year’s Eve events you’re going to, and I will need to do the same, so I shall love you and leave you for this year! I hope to bring you more utter waffle in 2017, which will probably also mention books, lol! You don’t get any “new year new me” bullshit from me! I’ll spare you that crap! You get the same old nonsense from me year in year out, whether you like it or not, lol! Oddly enough, some people actually seem to like it. Enough to subscribe to my blog and like some of my entries! Very kind of you if you’re one of those people!

Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • The Ten (Food) Commandments – Jay Rayner
  • Animal Farm – George Orwell
  • Bring Up The Bodies – Hilary Mantel
  • The Green Road – Anne Enright
  • The Green Mile  – Stephen King

P.S. The “Joanne’s Bookshelf Blog – Books Mentioned 2016” list is now published on List Challenges for your enjoyment! See how many you’ve read!

Leave a comment

Filed under Arsehole Politicians, Blind Date With A Book, Books, Childrens' Books, Food & Drink, Junior Bookworms, Reader's Block

More Waffle About Books!

Mystery book 1

What’s that in the middle? All will be revealed!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms, and welcome to another blog entry and another mystery book! It’s not quite a blind date with a book, as I actually knew which book it was, but it’s a mystery to the rest of you, so I shall be revealing it shortly. It’s our book club’s choice for our next meeting on 6th June, anyway… For the moment, it is resting between Prince, by Matt Thorne, and Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All, by Jonas Jonasson, which were my other two purchases at Waterstone’s earlier this evening.

Before we start to open the Mystery Book, let’s get you updated on a few matters. I have finished the very moving When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi, and the short but sweet Marly’s Ghost, by David Levithan, and I have got a few on the go, including Mind Your Head, by Juno Dawson, Cheer Up Love: Adventures in Depression with the Crab of Hate, by Susan Calman, The Reader On the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent, and I am continuing with How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the FA Cup, by J. L. Carr.

Mystery book 2

So… what’s in this package? Let’s open it and find out…

Let’s just get back to Marly’s Ghost a moment – this is a good read, especially for anyone who loves A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It’s basically a modern reworking of the Dickens novella, but set in the States and just before Valentine’s Day. Don’t be put off by it being classed as Young Adult. It’s a good read whatever your age! I read quite a few YA books, as regular readers of this blog will already know, and I’m 43!

I had to get the Susan Calman book when I saw it the other day. I don’t even know of this lady at all, I don’t really watch all that much telly, but from a mental health point of view, I started reading a bit when I was in Waterstone’s on Tuesday, and knew I had to buy it, I was agreeing with so much of it already! Many people see depression as being a black dog, Winston Churchill saw it that way, but Susan Calman sees it as being a crab of hate! She’s a 1974 baby, so she’s also of a similar age to me, just a bit younger.

Mystery book 3

The ribbon is off… Time to unwrap…

The Reader on The 6.27 is a novel which originally came out in the author’s native France two years ago. It tells of a guy who works at a recycling plant on a rather aggressive book pulping machine, which he hates using, and not just because it actually caused one of his workmates to end up disabled in a nasty accident… he hates the fact that he’s responsible for pulping books. He loves books, and tries to save pages, random pages from random books, and he reads these to passengers every morning on the train to work! Guylain, the main character, reminds me a lot of Hanta in Too Loud a Solitude, by Bohumil Hrabal, which I read quite some time ago now. Probably around 2008. I have to thank David Hunt for introducing me to a fair chunk of Central European literature, including Czech novelists and Polish poets… He also recommended Under The Frog, by Tibor Fischer, to me, one of the funniest books I’ve ever read! Fischer is a British author, but of Hungarian parentage, and the novel is set in Hungary in the Cold War days. Don’t let that put you off – it’s hilarious!

Mystery book 4

The end flaps are open…

I have also started reading A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara. Despite the title, it’s a chunky book to say the least! 720 pages! There is actually an event at Waterstone’s Deansgate on 17th June, the “A Little Life Therapy Group” at 6:30pm that evening, so let’s see how much of it I have managed to read by then, and then I can determine if I should go along.

Mystery book 5

Ooh! A sneak peek!

I have a right pile of hardbacks, or mostly hardbacks, which has mounted up on top of my bass amp! OK, the primary purpose of that black cuboid is to provide amplification for my bass guitar, but it has taken on the secondary role of being another surface on which I can rest a pile of books! There is one paperback on there, World Without End, by Ken Follett, but the others are all hardbacks. A few autobiographies and a couple of novels.

Mystery book 6

And there we have it!

Ta dah! The mystery book is revealed! The Girl of Ink & Stars, by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. It is our latest book club book for our next meeting. Such a lovely cover, isn’t it?! The publishers are Chicken House, I have a few other YA books from that house, including Cornelia Funke’s trilogy, which I really need around to get reading… Inkheart, Inkspell, and Inkdeath. Perhaps I should finish this blog and get on with some reading?! Actually, that’s a pretty good idea, so, until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • Prince – Matt Thorne
  • Hitman Anders and the Meaning of it All – Jonas Jonasson
  • When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
  • Marly’s Ghost – David Levithan
  • Mind Your Head – Juno Dawson
  • Cheer Up Love: Adventures in Depression With the Crab of Hate – Susan Calman
  • The Reader On the 6.27 – Jean-Paul Didierlaurent
  • How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the FA Cup – J. L. Carr
  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  • Too Loud a Solitude – Bohumil Hrabal
  • Under the Frog – Tibor Fischer
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • World Without End – Ken Follett
  • The Girl of Ink & Stars – Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Leave a comment

Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Blind Date With A Book, Books, European Literature, Humour, Mental Health, YA Books

The Valentine’s Day Book Mystery

five bookmarks

Good evening, fellow bookworms!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Both for those of you who have partners, and for those of us who shall settle for a hot date with some reading matter! I am actually celebrating the finding of my purple bookmark, as I have had a bit of a sort-out this evening, and found it in one of my books in a plastic container. The book had hardly been read, so I took the bookmark out to use in another book. One which I might get round to reading. The only bookmark not on that photo is the blue one I made some time ago. That one is with Lauren Tess Anderson in Erith, Kent, as I sent it to her with a copy of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak when we did a book swap not long ago on Facebook. She sent me Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn.

Anyway, as it’s Valentine’s Day, it’s time to unwrap the second of the Mysterious Books as part of Blind Date With A Book, so are you ready, ladies and gentlemen? Here we go… This is the mystery book and its clue. “This is the novel I have given as a gift the most. It is sad and uplifting and about all the ways in which humans try to communicate and love.”

Lonely Hunter 1

Untie the string…

Lonely Hunter 2

Turn it over and unwrap…

Lonely Hunter 3


Lonely Hunter 4

Nearly! Can you tell what it is?

Lonely Hunter 5

All is revealed! The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers! 🙂

So, that’s the Valentine’s Day Book Mystery solved! Both the mysterious books have been unwrapped now. Have any of you ever taken part in a “blind date with a book” experience? If so, which book(s) did you end up with? I would be very interested to know, as it’s the first time I’ve actually taken part in one of these, and I shall have to see how I get on with these books, whether I enjoy them or not, both Bonjour Tristesse, and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

As I mentioned before, regarding the bookmarks, the blue one went to a lady on Facebook during a book swap, and the green one is in my large music-edition hymn book, but the purple one is now in Bonjour Tristesse, the brown one is in An Equal Music by Vikram Seth, the yellow one, my most recently-stitched bookmark, is currently in The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, and the red one, as you can imagine if you know me, is in a football-related book, Louis van Gaal: the Biography, by Maarten Meijer. Perhaps I should make another bookmark? I don’t just make those designs, though! Anything goes as far as bookmarks are concerned, I have used football and concert tickets, bus and tram passes and postcards as bookmarks on a frequent basis, as well as actual proper bookmarks, some of which I have stitched, and I have also got a few I have done from lino printing, and I simply have to cut those out and use them!

Starman bookmark

My recent Starman bookmark. I didn’t do the star right, it’s not quite central and it needed to be slightly to the left of where it is, but it’s not too bad. I just wanted something which I could make fairly quickly as a tribute. The Ziggy Stardust head was actually a pattern for either Hama or Perla beads which I found on Pinterest, but it was easy to convert that to cross-stitch and choose suitable colours of floss. I have stitched, on and off, since around this time in 1997, so 19 years now since I first decided to give it a go. I had been using the bookmark in An Abundance of Katherines, but I have put another stitched bookmark in that one, as I think it’s only right that the Bowie-themed bookmark should be put to use in a book about the man himself! It might actually look quite good if I did another one on blue aida, it would certainly make Ziggy stand out a bit more! The music underneath the biography is Best of Bowie, the book of sheet music for the songs on the double CD compilation of his greatest hits. It’s not the first sheet music to get a mention on this blog, though, as I once mentioned an orchestral score on here! It’s in a book, thus it counts, lol!

At the start of this blog entry, I mentioned that I was having a sort-out. I was actually looking to see which books I had in some plastic containers, and I rediscovered some books. I really should get Jamrach’s Menagerie finished off, I was over halfway through it when I put it in that container, and I have also realised I am about halfway through The Snowman by Jo Nesbo! I hadn’t thought I was that far into that book, so I have surprised myself. Crime fiction is not usually my thing. I know a lot of people who love it. I don’t really have a favourite genre, though. I love a wide mix of books, and I love fiction and non-fiction alike. No idea where The Sisters Brothers has got to, though, as I thought that would be in my book crates. It wasn’t in the two I’d looked in. Must be elsewhere in my room. I shall get that one read if I ever find it, lol! It has a really brilliant, clever cover, that one! I know you shouldn’t judge a book by a cover, but that one really does have a great cover!

* puts flashlight on her mobile phone and looks under Computer Corner… *

Right, what’s under here? Owt or nowt? Silly question really, as there’s shedloads of books under here, but is there anything worth mentioning in this blog?

* resurfaces from under Computer Corner with a book and returns to her laptop *

Oh, bugger! You know I mentioned in the blog, the other day, that I had five duplicate books? Make that six! My visit to the books under Computer Corner has revealed that I have two copies of The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. Oops! So, that will have to join the list with Anita and Me and the others… I have just made the decision over which edition stays and which is on offer. If you’re interested, leave a comment on my blog or PM me on Facebook.The other books of which I have duplicates were mentioned on my blog on 12th February, so probably best to let me know via that one. Whichever edition I keep, it will make a good “handbag book”, which is a concept I mentioned in yesterday’s blog! Another one which would make a good handbag book is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F Scott Fitzgerald. It’s pretty short, in fact there are three short stories in the edition I have, and it is still a slim volume of a book!

Found quite a few books of interest down there, below the technology in this corner, one or two I’d read some time ago and enjoyed, such as The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I read that a good few years ago now, it was a book club book for the group I belong to at Waterstone’s Deansgate. It was probably around 2009 I read that book. I joined the book club in October 2008 and the book we were reading when I first joined was Sara Gruen’s Water For Elephants.

Obviously, I won’t do this right now as it’s 21:36h as I type this, but there is the garage to check out… There is a wooden chest full of my books in there. Probably time to take a look at what I stashed away some time ago. I also have books in my wardrobe units, so those need an exploratory mission, particularly to find out if certain books are where I thought they were, unlike War And Peace, which is actually in one of the plastic containers, as I found out earlier this evening! I did start reading it some time ago, about 8 years ago, I think, and got about 200 or so pages in, but that’s not much of an inroad when the damn book is over 1,000 pages long, is it?! Not sure whether to start from the beginning if I ever attempt it again, or just try to go from where I left off in 2008 or whenever it was! Perhaps I should put some suitable music on, a bit of Tchaikovsky, perhaps, and see how far I get? Anyway, enough of that for now! It’s in the plastic container, and it can wait for some other time.

Talking of waiting for another time, it’s time I brought an end to this vaguely book-related waffle for now and got this published so you can read it and find out what my second mysterious book was! Take care, and, until next time, Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • Ella Minnow Pea – Mark Dunn
  • The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers (Mysterious Book 2)
  • Bonjour Tristesse – Francoise Sagan (Mysterious Book 1)
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  • Louis van Gaal: The Biography – Maarten Meijer
  • An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
  • Best of Bowie (sheet music) – David Bowie
  • David Bowie: Starman – Paul Trynka (featured in photo)
  • Jamrach’s Menagerie – Carol Birch
  • The Snowman – Jo Nesbo
  • The Sisters Brothers – Patrick DeWitt
  • The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks
  • Anita and Me – Meera Syal
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer
  • Water For Elephants – Sara Gruen
  • War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy


Leave a comment

Filed under Blind Date With A Book, Books, Computer Corner, Cross-Stitch, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Half-Finished Books, Music

Just The Two of Us…

Books 4

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms! Welcome to another book blog, and as I have done at least once before, I am about to highlight a few books of which I currently possess two copies! One copy of each of these is featured in the above photo. I am not necessarily in a rush to offload, but I am putting it out there that if anyone is interested in any of these books, then they can let me know and we can make arrangements… Last time I did this, I recall sending some to a lady called Zoe Spooner on Facebook. The rest I gave to a charity shop, if I recall rightly. I’d acquired about 5 or 6 duplicates on that occasion, too!

If you think any of these might float your boat, please let me know…

  • Anita And Me – Meera Syal
  • Manual of the Warrior of Light – Paulo Coelho
  • A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • The Year of Reading Dangerously – Andy Miller

So, general fiction, philosophy/self-help (I guess you could call the Coelho book self-help), a classic novel and two non-fiction reads. I can certainly recommend Attention All Shipping, a book which I discovered when I was on holiday in Mexico in 2013.

Shall we unwrap one of the Mysterious Books?

Bonjour 1

Those of you who read yesterday’s blog entry will know about the two books, both wrapped in brown paper and string, which I bought from Waterstone’s Deansgate on Thursday. They are part of the “Blind Date With A Book” thing for Valentine’s Day. So, here is one of them…The Waterstone’s tag reads; “A chilling look at the havoc a bored teenage girl can create. Stylish, sultry and amoral.”

So, let’s unwrap it, shall we?

Bonjour 2

The string is off…

Bonjour 3


Bonjour 4

Ah, so we know the author now! Let’s just turn it around…

Bonjour 5

And there we have it! Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan! Actually, there are two stories in this book, Bonjour Tristesse and A Certain Smile.

I had thought it might be this one, as I could make out a little of the author’s name through the paper, and Bonjour Tristesse is the only title I knew of by this lady! The other book, Mysterious Book 2, was giving less away, I could see something through the brown paper, but only the beginning and end of a potential name. I think it’s a Penguin edition, similar to this, it’s a bit chunkier. Not a huge book, but not as slim as this one, so I went on Penguin’s website to look up authors. given the letters I can make out. I now have an inkling as to the author, again a female, I think, and having looked up her works, there are a couple of possibilities as to which of them is lurking beneath the paper! I intend to unwrap that one tomorrow, so we shall find out which book it is soon enough!

I am currently at my laptop, in the corner of my room, pretty much surrounded by books! I call this area Computer Corner, but to be perfectly frank, that’s just because my laptop and the printer are around here, but books tend to fill most of my room, and there are plenty of them under Computer Corner, one of which must have slipped off a pile to grab my attention recently. It worked, as I then decided to read The Fire Gospel by Michel Faber, although the fact that it’s a fairly slim book helped its cause. I know I love the bookworm parody of “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot, where it claims “I like big books and I cannot lie”, but I’m trying to get through a fair few slim reads at the moment, the big, chunky ones will come later! Perhaps The Book of Strange New Things, which is also by Michel Faber. Needless to say, I enjoyed The Fire Gospel enough to read something else by the same author at some time or another!

I also have piles of books at the side of my laptop, round the back of the printer, and in a revolving dual-sided bookcase. Having a quick shufty at some of the books on that, I find, amongst others, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, and Round Ireland With A Fridge by Tony Hawks, a couple of books I’ve had for some years, and perhaps I ought to get around to reading them! I expect the Tony Hawks one will amuse me, the very idea of traipsing around Ireland with a fridge is the sort of daft shit I love – let’s not forget that I loved Attention All Shipping because Charlie Connelly embarked on a journey around the sea areas mentioned in the legendary Shipping Forecast on BBC Radio Four!

The other thing about reading slim books and novellas, is that I can fit a few of them in my handbag, as I mentioned yesterday! When I have finished one of my handbag books, I will be looking to replace it with another slim volume! Both the Hawks and Nabokov books would fit the bill, but I have a decent selection on hand which would also fit nicely, as would Andrea Pirlo’s autobiography, I Think Therefore I Play, if I had not already read it recently! Another interesting and enjoyable football autobiography! My preference might be for players or managers associated with Manchester United, but it is not restricted to Red Devils past or present. If I am interested enough in a player or manager, I will read about him, or from him.

Anyway, that’s about all for now, except to mention one thing from my visit to Waterstone’s on Thursday. I have booked myself to see a reading at the Deansgate branch on Tuesday 1st March. Joanna Cannon will be there to talk about and read from her novel, The Trouble With Goats And Sheep. The ticket was only £4 and I get a glass of wine at the event! Yay! I expect she will also sign copies of the book on the night. I have been to book readings, but not for a while. The last one I went to, I was quite lucky that it was our book club meeting anyway, and Hannah Kent came to meet our group, talk about and read from Burial Rites, and sign copies for us. One of those rare books that we all loved in our book club!

So, on that note, I shall love you and leave you to read in peace, lol! If anyone wants any of my duplicated books, as mentioned at the start of this blog, please get in touch! I intend to open Mysterious Book 2 tomorrow, so stand by for the Valentine’s Day blog entry, but until then, Happy Reading!

Joanne. xxx

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Anita And Me – Meera Syal
  • Manual of the Warrior of Light – Paulo Coelho
  • A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • The Year of Reading Dangerously – Andy Miller
  • Bonjour Tristesse – Francoise Sagan
  • The Fire Gospel – Michel Faber
  • The Book of Strange New Things – Michel Faber
  • Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  • Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • I Think Therefore I Play – Andrea Pirlo
  • The Trouble With Goats and Sheep – Joanna Cannon
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent


Leave a comment

Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Blind Date With A Book, Books, Computer Corner, Duplicate Books List, European Literature, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football

Blind Date With A Book (Or Two!)

Books 2

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Long time no blog, I know, but I am back again! As this is my first blog of 2016, even though we’re now well into February, let me wish you all a Happy New Year. We have just had Chinese New Year, of course, so I also wish all fellow Bookworms a Happy and Prosperous Year of the Monkey! Kung Hei Fat Choi! 🙂

Anyway, enough monkey business, lol, let’s get down to the nitty gritty and start mentioning our best friends… books! Anyone else on List Challenges?! If so, aren’t they addictive? I’d done a few on and off via Facebook, both in the book category and the travel category, and I think it must have been some time towards the end of 2015 when I found myself signing up to List Challenges and doing them on a nightly basis, practically! I’ve created a fair few lists of my own now, some travel ones and some book ones, and that brings me neatly onto this blog, as I have recently published a list of all the books I have ever mentioned on these very blogs! I decided that I would list every book I’d mentioned from when I started in August 2010 right up to last summer, June 2015, when I previously blogged on reading matter.

Bearing in mind that I firmly believe in listing any series as individual books, i.e. all 7 Harry Potter books, 7 Chronicles of Narnia, 3 Lord of the Rings, etc, the full list of books mentioned from 2010 to 2015 ran to 207 different books! Of those books, I have personally read 95 of them in full, and half-read another 30 of them, meaning I have read at least a bit of 125 different books, 60% of my list. My percentage of fully-read books is 46%. Mentioning them on this blog means I shall have to start off my next blog book challenge with all those books again, but I don’t care! I will list things as I go in future, then any previously unmentioned books can be added to the list, and I will publish the list either every year or every 2 years, depending on how many times I have blogged and how long the list is getting. We’re well under way as it is – with those three series of books, that’s 17 books in total already!

Anyway, I was in Waterstone’s yesterday. No surprises there, I hear you say, as I’m frequently in Waterstone’s, hence my TBR pile grows ever longer! Went a bit mad on the book-buying front, including a few which have intrigued me when I saw them on List Challenges book lists, such as Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, the latter of which was mentioned in a list of David Bowie’s favourite reads, as well as featuring on quite a few other lists, so it seems quite popular. The late great Starman loved a good read, and in all the tributes to him since he passed away last month, mention was made of the fact that he would take around 400 or so books on tour with him! Bookshops have not been slow to get their tributes on the shelves with books about Bowie highlighted in the Music section, and I recently bought Paul Trynka’s Starman, which claims to be the definitive biography.

Back to yesterday’s purchases, though, and the photo at the top of this blog… Amongst the books I bought in my mad spree were these two wrapped in brown paper and string. With Valentine’s Day coming up this Sunday, the idea is to have a Blind Date With A Book, so I have taken a chance on a couple of them. Therefore, I don’t know what these two books are yet. They will be listed once I have unwrapped them. For now, they remain mysterious books! This is what it says on the tags…

“A chilling look at the havoc a teenage girl can create. Stylish, sultry and amoral.”

“This is the novel I have given as a gift the most. It is sad and uplifting and about all the ways in which humans try to communicate and love.”

I can see a little through the brown paper of the book with the first clue, so I feel I know what that one is, I think it might be Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan, but I can’t make out the second one, so that really is a blind date with a book!

“He never went out without a book under his arm, and he often came back with two.”

– Victor Hugo.

Sounds like my kind of man, the fella being described there by Victor Hugo! Very wise not to go anywhere without at least one book. You might need it if you get stuck in a traffic jam. I have often found this to be an issue when on a bus home, particularly of late as there are some road closures in parts of Eccles having a knock-on effect around the area. I also find that as soon as the bus is nearing Monton, traffic seems to grind to a halt, or at least the very slow crawl of a particularly arthritic tortoise! Therefore it’s a good job I have a few books in my handbag! I have found that if they are slim books, I can get two or three in there as well as my wallet and other essentials. Currently in my handbag, you will find The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (oops, I’ve already broken the first rule, lol), and An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, which is causing me much amusement! I had already read The Fault In Our Stars by the same author, and decided on this one as my next read of his, a wise choice really, as I’d finished My Heart And Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga. I enjoyed that one very much, but needed a lighter subject matter after reading it, so Colin’s tale of being dumped by 19 girls all named Katherine was the ideal solution!

It means that even if I don’t take my big bag with me, and only have my handbag, I have at least some choice of reading matter should I need it! I guess I could also take my Kindle with me, providing me with hundreds of books on the go! I tend to take that when I’m on my travels a bit further afield than going in to Manchester or Salford, though! Holidays overseas, where I need a suitcase and there are weight limits to consider when packing for one’s jollies!

That is the link for the book list challenge relating to my previous five years of blogging on here! I hope it works when I publish this. If you are new to my blogs, welcome to Joanne’s Bookshelf, glad you have found this site and feel free to read through my old blogs to give yourself an idea of what I’m like and what I read! It’s pretty varied, I’d say. All sorts of books take my fancy, although you won’t find much chick-lit on here, and not really that many books in the way of crime writing or thrillers, either, unless I’ve had to read them for the book club I belong to. I read fiction and non-fiction, I like books which make me laugh, also books about music or football usually go down well with me. I don’t really care for having the living shit scared out of me, so you won’t find much horror on here, and I’m a very blokey kind of woman, hence the lack of “chick lit” with the possible exception of Bridget Jones’s Diary, lol! I read a fair bit of YA, and quite enjoy it. I find it to have quite a lot of substance to it in many cases.

I always end each blog entry with a list of books I’ve mentioned during the course of that entry. From now on, any book not previously mentioned will also be added to the list on List Challenges, and the full list will be published when I determine that there have been plenty of books mentioned and we need to put it out there and see who’s read these books I’ve been waffling on about! I have finished my waffle for now, so, until next time, Happy Reading! Feel free to leave any (constructive) comments and book recommendations. If you are a spammer, though, you can do one!

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • The Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy – J.R.R. Tolkein
  • The Chronicles of Narnia series – C.S. Lewis
  • Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli
  • Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz
  • David Bowie:Starman: The Definitive Biography – Paul Trynka
  • Bonjour Tristesse – Francoise Sagan (Mysterious Book 1, I think)
  • Mysterious Book 2 (not opened it yet)*
  • The Guest Cat – Takashi Hiraide
  • Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
  • An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
  • My Heart And Other Black Holes – Jasmine Warga
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

* Mysterious Book 2 will be listed on List Challenges once I know what the hell it is, lol!

Leave a comment

Filed under Blind Date With A Book, Books, Fantasy Fiction, Handbag Books, List Challenges, Mental Health, Music, The TBR Pile, YA Books