Category Archives: Books About Books

Four Out of Five Ain’t Bad!

Missing books found Bookstagram pic

“Don’t be sad, ’cause four outta five ain’t bad!”

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Good Friday today, and a very good Friday it is, too, as yours truly has found FOUR of her missing books! Meatloaf sang that two outta three ain’t bad, which is a fair point, lol, but when you’re a bookworm, and you find all but one of your notorious Missing Books, then four outta five is pretty decent, too!

Missing books found 14 April 2017

I shifted the bags in front of one of my wardrobe units to see which books were in that part, and, sure enough, four of the five missing books were there, as shown above. We have Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher, All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr (thus also on the Duplicate Books List), A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman, and The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje. So, the only book still AWOL is The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy, and I really do not have a Scooby where the hell that one could have disappeared to! Not seen it for bloody ages! Used to be here in Computer Corner, but has not been here for quite some time now! Maybe I did offload it in a charity shop giveaway the other year? I don’t think I did, but I can’t be sure!

Found a few others in there, of which some I have made a mental note of their location, and others have been replaced in the wardrobe so that they can be in a more prominent place. Firmin, by Sam Savage, is one of the books I have got out to have available. A half-finished book, one of many, lol, it’s about a rat who lives in a bookstore. Ella Minnow Pea, another book about books, or at least about words, by Mark Dunn, is one of the others I have retrieved.

I have also found my very old, and sellotaped-together-many-times, copy of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4, by the late great Sue Townsend, which is fairly apt as Adrian, as a fictional character, has recently celebrated his Big 50! Dunno where The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole is, though, as I thought those two were together, but it’ll crop up some time… I know I have definitely not got rid of it. I wouldn’t. Those first two Adrian Mole books are pretty special to me and go back years with me to when I was about 11 or 12!

Some books, including most of the notorious Duplicate Books List, are now in bags as I am starting to get books together for the clear-out. One copy of All The Light We Cannot See will have to join them. The other books from the Missing Books list have not been duplicated, so they’re all staying now that I’ve found them. Actually, I’ll keep my original of the Doerr novel, and give my recently-bought copy to a charity shop or the church summer fair or something. I did pick up a charity shop bargain the other day, though, but with several books due to leave this room in the very near future, I figured that the 75p acquisition of I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You, by Ally Carter, wasn’t going to cause a serious problem in the grand scheme of things! It’s the first book in the Gallagher Girls series, about girls at a school for spies, and I do have it on my Kindle, but I only count books as duplicated if I have more than one physical copy of the book, and this is not the case for the Ally Carter book.

E-books don’t take up physical space, so it doesn’t matter to me if I have the same book as a paperback and on my Kindle as well. In fact, that is the case for a few books of mine, and sometimes it has been very deliberate, such as last year when I got A Little Life for my Kindle, already having the paperback. This is because I wanted to get some of it read on the way to Wembley, but there was no way in Hell that I was going to lug a 720 page epic novel down to the FA Cup Final and back with me, so I got it in e-book format so I could get some of it read on the way down to see United beat Crystal Palace 2-1 in extra-time last May!

[Football Fan Bookworm Problems: When you’re reading a huge epic novel and want to get on with it, but your team is in the FA Cup Final and you don’t want to lug a huge chunky paperback to Wembley and back with you…]

I had other paperbacks as Handbag Books, alongside my Kindle, and also got The Reader On the 6.27, by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent finished off while I was on the coach to Wembley for that final. Can’t remember offhand which other books I took to Wembley with me, so you’ll just have to find my blogs from May and June 2016, as those should give you some clues!

Read a bit more of The Tobacconist earlier, so I’m now on for page 50, which is 21% of the book according to Goodreads. I’m going to have to figure out what to do with the books I have found today. I had started three of the missing books – Thirteen Reasons Why, The English Patient, and A Man Called Ove, and I was a good way through Firmin when I was reading it some time ago. Maybe they could have priority to join the Ongoing Concerns?

Firmin certainly deserves to be finished, I think, rather like the way I finally got Jamrach’s Menagerie finished off this year, when I’d started that one some years ago but then left it half-read for a while for whatever reason… Probably a bout of the dreaded Reader’s Block, I expect.

My friend Liz in Alberta is not happy about the weather, and I don’t blame her in the slightest! If the weather in Canada could kindly remember that it’s supposed to be Easter at the moment, not bloody Christmas, that would be great! Ta very much! The weather here could do with being a bit better, but it’s just bog standard British bank holiday weather, really, and at least it’s not bloody snowing on this side of the “Big Bathtub”! If you’re over in Canada and up to your eyeballs in snow at the moment, I suggest you get yourself a big mug of coffee and have a good read! Talking of Canada and coffee, I was delighted to learn that Tim Horton’s is opening branches here in the UK very soon! The first one will open in May up in Glasgow, so I hope there’s at least one branch here in Manchester pretty soon! I want a box of Timbits! Not had them since I was over in Canada on holiday in October 2009!

Well, I’d better get this finished off before I start wittering on about Timbits and make myself hungry, lol! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  • All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
  • A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • Firmin – Sam Savage
  • Ella Minnow Pea – Mark Dunn
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole – Sue Townsend
  • I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You – Ally Carter
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • The Reader On the 6.27 – Jean-Paul Didierlaurent
  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler
  • Jamrach’s Menagerie – Carol Birch

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Filed under Books, Books About Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Duplicate Books List, Food & Drink, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Music, Ongoing Concerns, Reader's Block, Travel, YA Books

Joanne D-J and the Forty Bookworms

book-selfie-march-2017

Book selfie: Reading The Pie at Night, now finished, of course!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Over 100 blog posts, just over 200 likes, and now 40 followers! Thank you for all the likes and follows! Much appreciated! I’m glad you enjoy my vaguely book-related waffle on the internet which has been coming in the guise of these blogs since the summer of 2010!

As far as my Goodreads Challenge for 2017 goes, I am now halfway towards my target of 30 books! I read Headhunter, by Jade Jones, yesterday while I was at band practice, my 15th read of the year. So far, things are going well as we head towards the end of March. However, this blogger is taking nowt for granted, especially after the bout of Reader’s Block she suffered last summer once she’d finished Hanya Yanagihara‘s epic novel, A Little Life! That was one hell of a book! I really enjoyed it, but it certainly took a lot out of me on the reading front, and I didn’t read any more fiction for the rest of 2016 after that! Just couldn’t get into anything which wasn’t factual! Managed some non-fiction stuff about music, food, and a few autobiographies, but my appetite for fiction had gone! I was stuffed after a 720 page epic! The literary equivalent of Mr Creosote in the Monty Python film, The Meaning of Life! I couldn’t even have managed the “wafer-thin mint” of a short story or novella, lol!

I tried reading fiction after A Little Life, but, no matter what I tried to read after that, it was like… nah… this is just not going to happen. Can’t get into this at all…

So, non-fiction it was. Good job I like factual books as much as I like fiction!

As for fiction, I’ve said this before, but let’s get away from the idea of “must reads” – people have enough of that during their education, and I think that puts a significant number of people off reading. Not a lot can be done about the fact that there’ll always be required reading during education, so the best bet is to encourage a love of reading from birth! If a child is a bookworm before he or she starts school, if that child associates reading with fun and with love, the chances are that they will always love books and will be at less risk of being put off by the occasional book foisted on them at school which doesn’t float their boat!

It’s OK to read books for fun, even when you also have to read some for school, college, university, or even work! Read a bit of what you need to read, then treat yourself with something you actually WANT to read! That would be my advice for those of you who are still at a “required reading” stage of life.

Yes, I DID enjoy some of the stuff I actually had to read during my time at school, college and uni, and the likes of Jane Eyre, Great Expectations and Pride and Prejudice will probably always feature on set lists for literature coursework! However, it’s time to focus on more recent works and maybe decide on some newer classics! We’re in 2017, so by now, anything written in 1997 will be 20 years old, anything written in 1987 will be 30 years old, anything written in 1977, which is the year which saw me start school that autumn, will be 40 years old! Music from these decades is featured on such channels as Vintage TV, so we’re talking about A Bloody Long Time Ago Now!

Even a novel such as The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, is 12 years old this year, published back in 2005, and it was 2008 when I first read it and fell in love with it enough to want to give out copies for World Book Night in April 2012 on my 39th birthday!

Books knocking around for a while

Books which have been knocking around for quite some time, lol!

In order to celebrate having posted over 100 blogs, having gained over 200 likes, and having acquired 40 followers, what should we do? Perhaps we could look at some of the books I’ve had knocking around for seemingly donkey’s years, books which include Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden, and Gould’s Book of Fish, by Richard Flanagan. The fishy one, with a pot-bellied seahorse on the cover, weighs in at just under 400 pages, so maybe when one of the “chunkies” on the OC list is finished, I could start Gould’s Book of Fish. Perhaps once I’ve finished An Equal Music, as that’s nearer to being finished than The Saffron Trail.

I could read To Major Tom: The Bowie Letters, by Dave Thompson, which has been knocking around for a while since I picked it up as a charity shop bargain. It would be rather apt given that Royal Mail have issued a set of David Bowie album cover stamps this month! With books set to come off the OC list, and one already having done so, I need new ones to go on there, lol, so I am weighing up the options!

Looks like there’s a couple of charity shop bargains on that photo! People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks, and Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters have been hanging around Computer Corner for quite some time, along with A Prayer For Owen Meany, by John Irving. That’s quite a chunky one, but having said that, let’s not forget I’ve got jury service coming up in April, so as long as no-one’s wanting me to actually sit in on a case in court, I should be able to get some epic reading done in that fortnight! That’s what I’m hoping for, anyway!

Book and bookmark rediscovered March 2017

Not only did I find one of my books, but also one of my bookmarks!

The other two books on that photo of “books which have been knocking around for a while” are non-fiction, with the autobiographical Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls, by David Sedaris, as pictured above, and A History of Modern Britain, by Andrew Marr, making up the selection on the photo. It was also nice to discover one of my cross-stitched bookmarks in the Sedaris book – I’d wondered where that one had got to, clearly it was keeping my place somewhere early on as I started to read about diabetes and owls, lol!

Talking of cross-stitched bookmarks, just in case you were wondering, yes, I have started on a bookmark to celebrate United’s EFL Cup victory in February! I’ve stitched the five years we’ve won the trophy, but actually need to stitch the cup, and obviously some sort of rudimentary border around it, but the League Cup Bookmark has been started! Obviously, it’s not as long as my FA Cup Winning Years bookmark which I stitched last year, but then we’ve won the FA Cup 12 times, we’ve only won the League Cup 5 times.

Anyway, time I got either some reading or stitching done, so that’s about all for now! Until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Headhunter – Jade Jones
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  • Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  • Gould’s Book of Fish – Richard Flanagan
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Saffron Trail  -Rosanna Ley
  • To Major Tom: The Bowie Letters – Dave Thompson
  • People of the Book – Geraldine Brooks
  • Fingersmith – Sarah Waters
  • A Prayer For Owen Meany – John Irving
  • Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls – David Sedaris
  • A History of Modern Britain – Andrew Marr

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Books About Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Computer Corner, Cross-Stitch, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Literary Issues, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Reader's Block, Television, The TBR Pile, World Book Night

Decisions, Decisions!

15-books-feb-2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

I need help! Yeah, alright, you knew that already, didn’t you?! lol! What I really meant was that I need some help from fellow bookworms to assist me in deciding what to read next! I have just finished the utterly brilliant Round Ireland With A Fridge, by Tony Hawks, and therefore there is space amongst the ongoing concerns to add a new book to my literary in tray, so to speak!

Therefore, I have spread out a selection of my books and photographed them, and I thought I would consult my fellow bookworms to see what they recommend. Therefore, I would appreciate some comments on this blog entry. Helpful ones, please! Book suggestions, that sort of thing. NO spam, please! This is not a Monty Python sketch!

Apologies that the top row of the books looks a bit blurred, must have nudged my iPad when I took the photo. Sorry! Anyway, I am about to list the books, so you know what they are… I think it’s a pretty broad and random mix of books, lol! Fiction and non-fiction, bit of YA, bit of fantasy fiction…

The books are as follows…

  • A Very Special Year – Thomas Montasser
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M Pirsig
  • Skyfaring – Mark Vanhoenecker
  • Fishbowl – Bradley Somer
  • The President’s Hat – Antoine Laurain
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – David Levithan & Rachel Cohn
  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • French Revolutions – Tim Moore
  • All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
  • The Pie At Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Land of the Midnight Sun – Alexander Armstrong
  • When God Was a Rabbit – Sarah Winman
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman

If you have enjoyed any of those and would recommend them, please mention it in the comments! I’ve already enlisted the help of my book group on Facebook, but every little helps, as Tesco would say, lol, and I have 35 lovely blog readers at the last count, so I wanted to include you in this!

Many thanks in advance for helping me out in this matter! Back to my usual long, waffly blogs again soon, I assure you, but for now I’m standing by for any comments! Take care and Happy Recommending!

Joanne x x x

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Filed under Books, Books About Books, European Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Handbag Books, Non-Fiction, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Getting Wembley Booked…

efl-cup-at-wembley

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Wem-ber-lee! Wem-ber-lee! I’m the “famous” Jo the Bookworm, and I’m goin’ to Wem-ber-lee! Yep, you guessed it – had the official confirmation today that my mum and I have got tickets for the EFL Cup Final on 26th February at Wembley Stadium between Manchester United and Southampton. Red Devils vs the Saints. That’s the cup we’re playing for later this month – the three-handled piece of silverware in the above photo.

We’d been at Old Trafford this afternoon, as today is the 59th anniversary of the Munich air crash, so Mum and I went to the service outside the stadium. It was after that when I received a text from United confirming success in the ballot for the cup final. So, with the knowledge that I will be going to Wembley, now comes the job of deciding what I’m taking with me by way of reading matter! That’s matter, not Mata, although if there was a good book about the Special Juan, I’d happily read that! Anyway, never mind our Spanish midfielder, let’s have a look on the book front…

Well, Chronicle of a Death Foretold will NOT be coming to Wembley, as I finished that one last night! On the grounds that I am still reading this one, and he’s a current player, I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic stands a very good chance of coming with me on the coach. I am likely to take my Kindle, so there’s all manner of books on there in electronic form. However, even with Ibra and my Kindle, there’s still going to be room in the purple Kipling bag for another book or two depending on chunkiness of said book(s).

Hoping to make further progress with Gary Kemp‘s autobiography, I Know This Much, but that will NOT be coming to Wembley, as I’m aiming to have that finished for the previous weekend, 19th February, so I can give it back to Sarah, along with Faster Than Lightning, by Usain Bolt. Those two books will be out of my keeping before I head down to the cup final. My book club book, If I Could Tell You Just One Thing, will also miss out on a trip to Wembley as it’s a bit too bulky and heavy. These ones are not even making the subs’ bench, as it were! The autobiographies were on loan, if you look at it in a footballing way, so they’re going back to their owner, and thus heading back to Preston.

An Equal Music, by Vikram Seth, and The Saffron Trail, by Rosanna Ley, are both in with a shout, although they are a bit chunky, especially the Rosanna Ley book.

Perhaps we could take a look at some fresh books, or at least fresh in the sense of unread, therefore “rested” and fully-fit for the trip down to Wembley? Skintown, by Ciaran McMenamin would have the distinction of not being published yet – it has another couple of months to go, as it’s due to be published on 6th April! I have found a way to get around the fact that I can’t find a book cover photo online yet – I have found a photo of the author, so I am using that for the time being and it has gone on the list on List Challenges, after The Chimes, by Anna Smaill.

There’s always The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier. It was March last year, after events in Brussels, that I went looking up books about Belgium, and books set in Belgium, and Goodreads came up with the Chevalier novel on its list. I have already read and enjoyed Girl With a Pearl Earring, so I’m sure The Lady and the Unicorn should be good whenever I do get around to reading it. It could come to Wembley. Not too long, not too chunky, and some beautiful illustrations in the edition I own.

And from Belgium on to Germany, well at least German authors, as I have two books with me here which have been translated from German to English, and both of  which are a decent size and could end up as Handbag Books and even Wembley Books… A Very Special Year, by Thomas Montasser, and Fishbowl, by Bradley Somer, the former being a book about books, and the latter being narrated by the goldfish!

We could go for a translation from French – I have Soft In The Head, by Marie-Sabine Roger, lying here in a pile of books near Computer Corner, and you may remember that I read The Reader On The 6.27, by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent, in May last year, finishing it off on my way to Wembley for the FA Cup Final. However, we could go for a book by a Dutch author, but set in Italy, with The Ice-Cream Makers, by Ernest van der Kwast. Again, more reasonably-sized books which would be fine in my handbag…

me-at-ot-6th-feb-2017

I actually have absolutely shedloads of books, of course, as you no doubt know, some of which toppled over yesterday in celebration of Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s goal against Leicester City, lol, so perhaps one of those could come with me? After all, those books clearly got rather excited at United taking the lead! On the other hand, can they be trusted to behave?! Anyway, I do have just under 3 weeks to decide on the reading matter, so nothing will be finalised until closer to the time. Probably the night before the match, and it will depend on what I’m reading anyway and which of those books fit in my bag and suit my reading needs on the way to the cup final!

The photo is of me at Old Trafford earlier, and you can see the purple bag – that’s what the books would be travelling in. It’s quite a sizeable thing, so my Kindle and a few books will fit in there and thus come to Wembley with me. The main thing, today, is that we know we’re going, thus I’ve got a trip to look forward to, and for which I can start planning my reading choices, lol!

Until my next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Chronicle of a Death Foretold – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • I Know This Much – From Soho To Spandau – Gary Kemp
  • Faster Than Lightning – Usain Bolt
  • If I Could Tell You Just One Thing – Richard Reed
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Skintown – Ciaran McMenamin
  • The Chimes – Anna Smaill
  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • A Very Special Year – Thomas Montasser
  • Fishbowl – Bradley Somer
  • Soft In The Head – Marie-Sabine Roger
  • The Reader On The 6.27 – Jean-Paul Didierlaurent
  • The Ice-Cream Makers – Ernest van der Kwast

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Books About Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, European Literature, Football, Goodreads, Travel

Books and Footy – FA Cup Special!

Book spree at Waterstone's 7th April 2016

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to another helping of book blog, interspersed with considerable waffle about football, lol! But, what else can you expect, given that I was at the FA Cup Final yesterday?! Indeed, the long coach journey down to Wembley was the perfect opportunity to get some epic reading done, and so I had a pretty good day, not just because my lads won the FA Cup, but also because I felt I’d accomplished a fair amount of reading on the way down. I could easily have read on the way home, too, but I felt more like eating than reading, and I was busy celebrating our win, in which we came from a goal down, and overcame Chris “Mike” Smalling getting himself needlessly sent off for a second bookable offence, the numpty, to win 2-1 in extra time and win the FA Cup for the 12th time in our history, putting us level with Arsenal both in terms of FA Cup victories and appearances in the final – 19 appearances, 12 wins for both ourselves and the Gunners.

Funnily enough, one of the books I took down with me, although I didn’t get around to reading it, was Stuff I’ve Been Reading, by Nick Hornby, a rather well-known Gooner author! I have to say I absolutely LOVE Fever Pitch, it had me laughing my head off back in 1994 when I read it, which got me some pretty odd looks at the time as we were going round Sunderland Uni for my sister who was doing her A Levels and looking at universities at the time – I was in my final year of my degree, but did not have any lectures that day, so I was in Sunderland with my parents and sister, rather than Bolton!

Besides Fever Pitch, I have also read The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, which is a collection of columns Nick Hornby wrote for a monthly publication from 2003 to 2006, book reviews into which he tried to bring other interests of his, particularly football, and so there were mentions of Arsene Wenger, the Gunners and anything else he thought he could get away with! In a way, I guess I have much in common with Hornby, except that I support a different team, and I am not writing this blog for anything other than my own pleasure, so what I write on here is what the hell I like, and if I want to waffle on significantly about Manchester United, I bloody well will do!

Hornby strikes me as a very random reader. In the blurb on the back of Stuff I’ve Been Reading, it says that we will find every kind of book that just happens to have taken the author’s fancy! Fiction and non-fiction alike, if it appeals to Hornby, he’ll give it a go, and that’s very much how I am with books.

Anyway, I’d already finished reading How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the FA Cup, so that one wasn’t coming to Wembley with me, as it was one of my recently-finished books, along with Mind Your Head, by Juno Dawson, and The Story of Music, by Howard Goodall.

One problem which presented itself to me was that I am currently reading A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara, and, as documented, that is hardly a little book! It’s a big, chunky wodge of a book, with 720 pages. Thus I decided I would also get the book in e-book format on my Kindle, so that I could find where I was up to in my paperback, and continue from there while on the move, and then adjust my bookmark in the paperback accordingly when I got home. On the coach, on the way down to Wembley, I got a fair bit read, so I am now 35% of the way through the novel, just over a third of it read. I am finding it very readable, certainly thus far.

I then decided to focus on The Reader On The 6.27, by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent. I figured that I was on a coach, so I may as well read about a bloke on a train! A VERY readable, enjoyable book! I could definitely recommend it, it is quite quick to read, quite funny, too, and I managed to finish it off on my journey down to Wembley.

I wanted a suitable photo for this blog, and chose the top one. To be fair, I have read 3 out of 4 on the bottom row, and I am over a third of the way through A Little Life, as previously mentioned, so there’s just those three on the top row which I’ve yet to read. I hope to get around to those. I think Stuff I’ve Been Reading is going to be my current non-fiction, though, especially as I know Hornby will probably try to drag football into it at various points, just as I do on here!

What about more fiction, though, to replace The Reader On The 6.27? I don’t want anything mega-chunky, as I already have A Little Life on the go for those purposes, lol. Perhaps Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes? Or, given that it’s the 40th anniversary of one of the biggest heatwaves the UK has ever known, Summer of ’76, by Isabel Ashdown, or Instructions For a Heatwave, by Maggie O’Farrell? Perhaps I should get on with The Trouble With Goats and Sheep, by Joanna Cannon? That one’s also set in the long, hot summer of 1976! Only thing is, that one’s a hardback. Don’t really want to be lugging anything big around. Something which would be a good Handbag Book would be ideal.

My current YA read is The Girl of Ink & Stars, by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, as that’s my latest book club book, so that’s sorted out, and there’s still one or two other ongoing concerns, such as The Guest Cat, by Takashi Hiraide. I was thinking of starting on one of the series I own, perhaps one of the trilogies, but maybe I should leave those until I’ve finished A Little Life. It’s not just that I’m talking at least 2 or 3 books in any of these series, most of the ones I have in mind are trilogies, but each book in that series is fairly substantial. So, forget that… I’ve got Mend The Living, by Maylis de Kerangal, which I discovered recently at Chapter One in town. I think we’ll settle for that at the moment along with all the other ongoing books!

Before I finish, I must mention that I have got yet another book about books, lol! Another of the sort of book you just dip in and out of to find recommendations for other books to suit your mood. The book is Book Lust, by Nancy Pearl. I had ordered it from Waterstone’s and got a text on Friday to say that my order had arrived. As I was going to town that afternoon, anyway, I went to the Deansgate store to collect it. I have just discovered that there are other sequels by Nancy Pearl. I shall have to investigate…

Oh, and I have a ticket for another author event at Waterstone’s Deansgate. Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist, is coming in July!

In the meantime, that’s about it from me for now. I’m off to sort out the Handbag, lol! Thus, until next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • Stuff I’ve Been Reading – Nick Hornby
  • Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby
  • The Complete Polysyllabic Spree – Nick Hornby
  • How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the FA Cup – J. L. Carr
  • Mind Your Head – Juno Dawson
  • The Story of Music – Howard Goodall
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yangihara
  • The Reader On the 6.27 – Jean-Paul Didierlaurent
  • Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
  • Summer of ’76 – Isabel Ashdown
  • Instructions For a Heatwave – Maggie O’Farrell
  • The Trouble With Goats and Sheep – Joanna Cannon
  • The Girl of Ink & Stars – Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • The Guest Cat – Takashi Hiraide
  • Mend The Living – Maylis de Kerangal
  • Book Lust – Nancy Pearl
  • The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton

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Filed under Books, Books About Books, British Weather, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Travel, YA Books

The Bookworm’s Glossary

Natural Born Bookworm!

I Read Therefore I Am!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

This is a bit of a guide to this blog, as I sense I’ve had a few new followers of late, since I started blogging quite frequently this month. Basically, I just waffle on about books, often quite randomly, sometimes getting off topic. The books are usually a wide mix of reading matter, fiction and non-fiction alike, and it doesn’t mean I’ve read them. Some I will have read, some will have been partially-read, and others will not have been read.

Autobiographies: Books written by the authors about themselves. I particularly enjoy autobiographies by musicians and footballers, and recently read I Think Therefore I Play, by Andrea Pirlo.

Books About Books: Whether fact or fiction, I like reading books on the subject of other books, and fiction set in book shops or libraries!

Book Chest: This is in our garage, and contains a large quantity of my books, stacked three deep in places…

Book Club: A bunch of bookworms getting together on a regular basis for reading purposes. A book is decided on, and the date of the meeting. The aim is to have read the book, or as much of it as possible, and discuss it at the meeting, then choose the next book. I have been in a book club since 2008. Mine is at Waterstone’s on Deansgate, but many book groups are round at peoples’ houses.

Book Jar: A great idea in theory, but then you give some thought to using it and picking a random piece of paper from it, only to realise you don’t know where some of those books actually are, especially as you had a bit of a book reshuffle not long ago… You start wondering where the hell Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is actually lurking at the moment…

Bookshelves: Mythical things! Or, at least, almost-mythical items, of which the average bookworm does not have a sufficient quantity for all their reading matter!

Computer Corner: Where I am right now. The corner of my room where my laptop and the printer/copier/scanner reside! There are piles of books surrounding me here, and more piles under this corner! Sometimes I get under the corner with the flashlight on my mobile phone and see what’s under there! I had a shufty the other day. Amongst other reading matter down there, I found four books by Edward Rutherfurd: The Forest, Dublin, New York, and Russka. You know the other day, when I was going on about historical fiction being chunky? Those certainly prove that point! I read The Forest a few years ago now, it was a book club choice, and one which I enjoyed, but I have not yet read the other three Rutherfurd books.

I did bring a book up from under Computer Corner the other night, but it was not one of the Rutherfurd books. I surfaced holding a copy of A Case of Exploding Mangoes, by Mohammed Hanif.

Crime: This genre covers a wide range, from the likes of Agatha Christie to the Scandinavian crime writers such as Jo Nesbo and Henning Mankell. Not really my genre, although I am about halfway through The Snowman, by Jo Nesbo. There is also True Crime, but that should really come under non-fiction.

Donaldson, Julia: Author of a huge range of children’s books, including Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book, and The Smartest Giant In Town. She is my niece’s favourite author.

Erotica: Fiction of a sexual nature, for readers aged 18 or over…

Fantasy: Fiction usually set in different worlds to our own, with lots of non-human creatures involved. Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series is an example of fantasy fiction, a very humorous example I might add!

Fiction: Stories. Non-factual stuff. Within fiction, though, you have different genres, e.g. fantasy, crime, science fiction, historical fiction, etc…

Football: Something I love watching, and thus reading about. (Soccer, to my US readers.)

Goodreads: Deadly website for bookworms, as it just tempts us into even more books than were already on our TBR piles!

Handbag Books: Books slim enough to fit in a decent-sized handbag (or purse, as my readers in the US would say). Preferably with a view to fitting more than one book in said bag at the same time and still having room for your other essentials, such as your keys and wallet.

Historical Fiction: A genre which generally results in chunky books! Definitions of what actually constitutes historical fiction vary, but here is the Wikipedia entry for the genre…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_fiction

If the book’s setting is a bloody long time ago, and that is the basis of the novel, then there is a decent bet it can be classed as historical fiction. The Goodreads definition is as follows… (see link provided)

https://www.goodreads.com/genres/historical-fiction

It is said that if the setting of the book is at least 25 years before the year in which the author is writing it, that novel may constitute historical fiction. I’m not so sure on that 25 year rule, but I’d think that if a significant period of time has elapsed since the setting of that book, it is historical. For me, anything set in the 1970s or 1980s would be historical fiction, thus Black Swan Green, by David Mitchell, set in 1982 at the time of the Falklands Conflict, is just as much a work of historical fiction as Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel.

If that’s the rule, and it’s 25 years, then anything set in 1991 would now be historical fiction! So, suppose you wrote a book set in that year against the backdrop of United winning the old European Cup-Winners’ Cup in Rotterdam, and Bryan Adams being number one for 16 weeks that summer, and it would, technically speaking, qualify as historical fiction!

Horror: Fiction designed to scare the living shit out of you! I am a wuss, so I really tend to avoid this sort of stuff!

In Off My Chest!: My football blog, also hosted by Word Press. However, I have been known to mention football on this blog fairly frequently, and have occasionally mentioned books in my football blog. If I am reading the biography or autobiography of a player or manager, it’s pretty obvious that there is going to be some football and book overlap! For those who don’t already know, I am a die-hard Manchester United supporter and a season-ticket holder in the Stretford End. I go to all home games.

Junior Bookworm: My niece, Charlotte. It can also be applied to any young readers, but I am usually referring to my niece. She is currently five going on six and loves reading, enjoying both fiction and non-fiction alike.

List Challenges: Another deadly and very tempting website, as the book challenges just act as recommendations for even more books! Mind you, it’s quite useful as a record of all the damn books I mention on here, lol!

Music: One of my favourite subject matters in works of fiction and non-fiction alike.

Non-fiction: Factual stuff, including reference material. I read a lot of factual stuff as well as fiction, and have done from a young age. It would appear my niece is doing likewise!

Olympic Games, The: Another of my favourite subject matters. Usually non-fiction.

Potterheads: Fans of the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. I am a Potterhead, thanks to one of my colleagues when I worked at Manchester DBC.

Science Fiction: Usually set in some imagined future, often with a space-aged theme, but could also be an alternative reality. Science fiction is sometimes lumped together with fantasy, as there can be elements of fantasy in some SF writing.

Sheet Music: Music in its written form. If that music is compiled into a book, I figure that it should be classed as a book on here, for example Best of Bowie, which I bought recently, as that is a book of sheet music for the songs on the double album of the same name. I have also mentioned an orchestral score before now. I have a lot of sheet music, for a variety of instruments, and combinations of instruments!

TBR Pile (or TBR List): To Be Read. A never-ending list of books you’d like to get around to reading when you’ve finished your current book or books. For the average bookworm, this is a very long list, so long we usually don’t know how long it is exactly and it would actually scare us to find out!

Travel Writing: Something I enjoy, both factual and fictional. I particularly recommend Bill Bryson as a travel writer.

Volcanoes: Another of my favourite subject matters, I have had an interest in volcanoes since I was about 7 or 8 and my dad let me come downstairs late one night to watch some television programme with him which featured an erupting volcano. I think it was an Open University programme on BBC2, he watched a lot of those, but anyway, it was enough to fascinate me and make me want to find out more about volcanoes.

Waterstone’s: UK book store chain. It is nigh on impossible for me to enter a branch without purchasing at least one book. In fact, it’s hard for me to buy just one – there are usually multiple purchases each time! The main one, locally, is on Deansgate in Manchester, and it is huge, and I belong to the book club there, but there is also a branch in the Arndale Centre in town, and at the Trafford Centre.

Young Adult: Books, mostly fiction, aimed at teenage readers. However, it does not just include books aimed particularly at the teenage market, but also general fiction which publishers think might also be enjoyed by 13-18 year olds, particularly if at least one of the main characters is a child or teenager. Mind you, ANY adult can also enjoy YA, and I enjoy a fair bit of it! It has a lot to recommend it!

Zeds: Something I say I need when sleep comes upon me! That is not quite true right now, but it does bring this blog entry to an end, so, until next time, Happy Reading!

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • I Think Therefore I Play – Andrea Pirlo
  • Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand – Helen Simonson
  • The Forest – Edward Rutherfurd
  • Dublin – Edward Rutherfurd
  • New York – Edward Rutherfurd
  • Russka – Edward Rutherfurd
  • A Case of Exploding Mangoes – Mohammed Hanif
  • The Snowman – Jo Nesbo
  • Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book – Julia Donaldson
  • The Smartest Giant In Town – Julia Donaldson
  • The Discworld series – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Black Swan Green – David Mitchell
  • Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel
  • The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
  • Best of Bowie – David Bowie (sheet music)

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Filed under Adult Fiction, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Books About Books, Childrens' Books, Football, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, Music, Non-Fiction, Sports, The TBR Pile, Travel, Volcanoes, YA Books

NeverEnding Story

neverending story

Good evening, fellow bookworms!

Another blog entry for  your reading pleasure, lol! The title refers to my infamous To Be Read list, of which I will never reach the end, rather than the book, film or the record by Limahl in the 80s! For the record, The Neverending Story is the English translation of a German fantasy novel by Michael Ende, published in 1979, originally Die unendliche Geschichte, the film of which was released in 1984. Limahl’s single was the title song from the said film and released in the charts in early 1984, reaching number 4 here in the UK singles charts. Perhaps I ought to read the book. Then again, perhaps I should just read Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, another fantasy novel originally in German. I do have a copy of Inkheart handy, whereas I’d have to acquire the other book.

Anyway, the Never Ending Story is incorrect as a title as the story clearly DOES end! Which is more than can be said for my TBR list, especially as recommendations are never far away and they come from all sorts of sources. Friends, family, Facebook, List Challenges… Don’t start me on that last one! I see so many other books which sound interesting when I am going through any chosen list and clicking on the books I have at least partially-read!

I have been giving out some surplus books, the ones I mentioned the other day as being ex book club books. I have gift-aided them to a few charity shops in Monton and Eccles. I was going to take a couple to the Barton Arms in Worsley, but, sadly, to my enormous disappointment, they had a refurbishment in January and no longer have the bookshelves to do the book swap service they used to offer. You could either buy a book for 50p in aid of St Ann’s Hospice if you didn’t have one of your own with you, or you could swap your book(s) for theirs if you did. This was how I got hold of Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier a year or two ago. I think I parted company with The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, a book club book I didn’t really get started with. Booker Prize winner, though, so that says it all, really!

I might have mentioned this issue before, but what is it about prize-winning books? Sure, it’s not true of ALL of them, and I enjoyed Life of Pi by Yann Martell when I read that some years ago now. That was a Booker Prize winner, but it was readable! It is possible! However, it could be the case that some authors just set out to write a book with book prize judging panels in mind, rather than having a wide readership in mind. Yes, all right, the prize might help shift a few more extra copies at Waterstone’s, but I would be very interested to find out just how much time elapses between the initial victory and increase in sales at the book’s original RRP (recommended retail price, which would probably be something like £7.99 or more), before it fetches up on the shelf of a charity shop for 99p!

I mean, have you seen the most recent Booker Prize winner? A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. Except, it’s hardly brief, is it, Mr James?! Page count of 704 pages! If that is brief, I dread to think what a longer history of seven killings would’ve been like! Probably about the same as a certain epic novel by Leo Tolstoy…

If a book won a prize, the Booker Prize in particular, maybe the best strategy would be to wait until you see a copy in a charity shop for 99p, or a church fair for 50p, or whatever, and risk it for a biscuit then! If it turns out to be readable and you enjoy it, you got yourself a bargain, and if you couldn’t get into it, you’ve not made too much of a loss on it when you give it to another charity shop or church fair!

Books SHOULDN’T be hard-going! On the whole, books really should be enjoyable and readable by many! We need to encourage people to read, not put them off! Literary prizes are a form of book snobbishness, and I can’t stand all that! On a similar note, I am about to post a link to an interesting idea from Book Riot…

10 Best Books I’ve Never Read

In no particular order, here are a few of mine… Many are genres rather than any particular novel, but one or two might be authors or a particular book.

  1. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy. OK, it’s true that I have read almost 300 pages of it thus far, but it’s over 1000 pages long, and it is hyper-descriptive. You want to slap Tolstoy and tell him to get to the point! Does he really have to be that descriptive? I’m sure there’s a lot he could’ve left out and it would still have made sense…
  2. Booker Prize winners. As mentioned above, with the honourable exception of Life of Pi, many BP winners in recent years have been unreadable, hard to get into. They are writing for a select shortlist of people, a few select book critics who seem to want something specific in the literature they plough through, and what they’re looking for is probably what the rest of us don’t give a toss about!
  3. Anything by Ayn Rand. I don’t know what it is, but when I go on List Challenges, I see her books on so many lists. I think I am put off because I either heard or read that her books leaned towards a right-wing perspective, so I am avoiding her works on the grounds that they would probably annoy me and do my blood pressure and/or mental health no good whatsoever! I am, and always have been, very much left-wing. I cannot abide the right-wing, and the further right they lean, the more they disgust me! As I’ve said before on these blogs, I think such people are heartless, greedy, selfish, uncaring bastards and a disgrace to humanity! So, Ayn Rand can do one!
  4. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Nothing against any of her other novels, indeed I have read Surfacing (back in my uni days, a long time ago), and The Year of the Flood, and I quite enjoyed the latter, but the setting of The Handmaid’s Tale would just anger me too much, I’d want to kill every single character who represented and enforced the sexist establishment in that novel! In the best interests of my blood pressure and anger management, I am deliberately avoiding that book forever!
  5. Horror novels. For the same reason I avoid horror films. I am a wuss and I do NOT enjoy having the living shit scared out of me! I was NOT one of those teens who read Stephen King novels. My sister read a fair few at that age, but not me! I know not all of his are horror, I might be able to find a few of his readable without causing nightmares, but I would have to be advised very carefully on that front!
  6. Chick Lit. With the honourable exception of the Bridget Jones books by Helen Fielding, which I read and enjoyed, I find very little to relate to in this genre. As I said in previous blogs, I’m just not a womany woman! I am far more blokey and would much prefer to read stuff like Fight Club than read about some shoe-obsessed or diet-obsessed woman! I especially love reading about football or music. Or both!
  7. Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers. If you’ve seen the film that many times because it’s on telly every Christmas, do you really need to read the book? I’ve never read the actual book, and will admit I didn’t even know, for years, that it was originally a book. I’ve grown up knowing this story as a musical film which was always on television at holiday times, particularly Christmas, but I’m pretty sure it’s been shown at Easter as well. So, is the book actually necessary? Same goes for a few other stories, particularly folk tales and suchlike, which have become so well known in their animated form (Disney films, usually) that you know the story without ever having read the book. Pinocchio (by Carlo Collodi) also springs to mind here.
  8. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I actually own a copy of this book, which is lurking somewhere in my room, but I ask a similar question about this novel as I do with Mary Poppins – If you’ve seen the musical, and you own a copy of the cast recording, do you really need to read the novel given that you already know the plot?! Can I not just listen to “Do You Hear The People Sing?” or “Master of the House” – I’d probably be listening to the cast recording, anyway, if I did attempt to plod through the novel! Anyway, while we’re mentioning Victor Hugo, it reminds me of when I was at high school, learning French. When you get to that section in your textbook about learning to ask for directions, and there is a town plan on the page for some fictitious French town, there is ALWAYS a Rue Victor Hugo, isn’t there?! There is also always an Avenue Charles de Gaulle! It must be the rules! I did French to A-Level. I know these things! I know this much is true, as Spandau Ballet would put it!
  9. Literary Theory/Criticism books. This is one of those categories of books which I have had to read in the past, during my uni days, and which I have neither the need nor inclination to pursue further. I enjoyed my degree, don’t get me wrong, but some modules on the literature side of my degree were a tad dull and dry, and I’m pretty sure you can guess which ones those were! Yep, the “lit-crit” modules. The ones which press you to over-analyse nearly every damn thing in any given novel from a certain perspective! I am through with hyper-analysis! Since graduating in 1994, I have been free to enjoy books as they are, and, if I do want to read anything into them, that is my own decision!
  10. Self-help books. Yep, to end with, let’s look at another genre of books I HAVE previously read from, but which I now wish to decline in terms of further reading. I am not sure that they are as helpful as they like to make out. I believe they make rather too many wrongful ASSumptions. (Never assume – it makes an ass out of u and me!) I think these books over-simplify as much as the previous genre over-analyse! They seem to treat the reader as though there is a “one size fits all” solution to whatever their problem might be, and there certainly isn’t!

I don’t think this final category of books takes introverts into account, nor do they account for a huge range of disabilities their potential readership may have. This is the real world! Shit happens. A lot of shit! Thus, there are a lot of problems which CAN’T be overcome, and implying that the reader is making excuses is just going to make them feel WORSE than they were before they started reading! We are human beings, not robots! Plenty of us have LEGITIMATE limitations which we can’t overcome. We’ve tried and failed countless times! For someone, or some book, to then come along and try to suggest that the reader hasn’t tried hard enough, or that they’re making it up, is crass, thoughtless and hurtful in the extreme, and does them far more harm than good!

I am not negative. I am neutral. I respond according to how I’m treated. The problem is that I’ve had to put up with too much negative treatment, including pushiness and bossiness. They say that a definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. People have tried the pushy approach again and again, and every time it pushes me back into my shell. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to them to think up a fresh approach. An approach which showed affection and gentle encouragement might be a good idea… In fact, it might be a VERY good idea…

I have never responded well to pushiness and bossiness. That approach does not work for me. It makes me want to head off in the opposite direction as fast as my slow little body will allow! It makes me retreat into my shell. I have always been like this, certainly for donkey’s years since I started school, and I finished my compulsory education over a quarter of a century ago!  Some people have a decision to make – either change their approach towards me, or leave me the hell alone and go and find someone of a similar nature to themselves!

Apologies, but that last category set me off on a bit of a rant, something which needed saying. I doubt certain people will take any of it on board, though. They’ll just do the usual… When I post the blog on my Facebook timeline, they’ll give it a “like” without really having read this and understood what I was trying to get over! Those wanting a positive response need to treat me positively. They could start by believing me, taking my word for it.

I have something wrong with me. Always have had, always will. I tried my damnedest to overcome a lot of physical difficulties, but many of them remained impossible to overcome by the time I left high school in 1989. 12 years of significant effort every damn PE lesson went completely unrewarded. I got to 16. I was still shit, and I was still the object of ridicule. I wonder, sometimes, if people think I actually LIKE being shit at physical activities! I am NOT doing it on purpose! I genuinely CAN’T do things others take for granted, and I HATE the fact that I can’t do these things! I also HATE the fact that some people don’t seem to believe that and insinuate that I ought to go through all that hell again just for their benefit! NO! Believe me or bugger off!

Further apologies for this blog entry going into extra time, and I haven’t even listed the books mentioned in tonight’s entry yet! Feels like ages ago since I mentioned books, and I probably need to go and read something pleasant. That last point on my list was too much of a reminder for me about matters which piss me off enormously! I’d be fine if people just let me be me, but, unfortunately, some people don’t seem to want to let me be myself…

I shall try to keep it at least a little shorter next time! Thanks to anyone who has seen this through to the very end tonight! Until next time, when I hope to return to the joy of books throughout the entire entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned somewhat earlier in this blog entry before my rant…

  • The Neverending Story – Michael Ende
  • Inkheart – Cornelia Funke
  • Girl With A Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martell
  • A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James
  • War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  • The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  • Surfacing – Margaret Atwood
  • The Year of the Flood – Margaret Atwood
  • Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
  • Mary Poppins – P.L. Travers
  • Pinocchio – Carlo Collodi
  • Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

 

 

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