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Not Dead Yet!

Your Eighties finished 7th September 2018

Another book finished! This was a great read for me!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Back again with another blog, and to paraphrase a bit of Mark Twain, reports of the death of the Waterstone’s Book Club have been greatly exaggerated! Well, possibly! Thanks to some of my council colleagues, it looks like things are back on, as I was receiving emails earlier this week from a lady who I met by chance at the gym yesterday evening after my post-work workout, and she and at least one other person expressed an interest in joining the book club because they might want to read something more recent than the library service can provide for the work book club.

To cut a long story short, as Spandau Ballet sang back in the early 80s, lol, I had communications both from work and from a lady called Charlotte at Waterstone’s Deansgate, and I am set to meet Vivienne and others at the usual place at 6pm on 16th October to discuss Snap, by Belinda Bauer!

Thus, the book club, which looked to be popping its clogs last month after I ended up as Billy No-Mates at Waterstone’s on meeting night, has somehow pulled through and come out of intensive care! Hence the blog title, Not Dead Yet, which is, coincidentally, the title of Phil Collins‘ brilliant autobiography which I read and loved at the start of this year! I had to give that copy back as my friend Sarah had lent it to me, and I returned it to her when we went to see Paul Young in February at the Preston Guild Hall, as you may recall. However, I did manage to pick up a paperback copy when I was in Wales the other week, for a mere quid in a charity shop in Conwy, so I now have one of my own, and I have let my dad borrow it. I thought he would enjoy it, but didn’t think it would be right to have lent him Sarah’s copy!

I have let Charlotte from Waterstone’s know about the date and the book for the meeting, and I have now emailed a few of the people who have been in the book club in the recent past to let them know it’s back on, and to give them details of the date, time and book. Keeping everything crossed, although maybe not eyes, lol, that people turn up! Personally, I don’t give a shit how much or how little of the book they’ve read, I don’t always get books finished so I can’t call others out on it, and anyway, it’s turning up that matters right now! I just want enough people to turn up to make it worth doing!

I think, if enough of us do turn up, that I will make a suggestion for the next book club, which would probably meet some time in November. I know this will be an old book, but with it being 100 years since the end of the First World War, I think I might suggest that we read All Quiet On the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, or something of that ilk. Talking of the centenary of the end of WWI, a large display of poppies is going to be outside the Imperial War Museum North on Salford Quays until late November, so anyone in my neck of the woods has a couple of months to go and see it.

Me with Bee United 1st September 2018

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of large items on display in my area, this brings me back to Bee In the City, which is currently still running until about 23rd of this month, so you’ve still got around another fortnight to do any more bee-spotting! That was me last weekend, when I was on my epic bee hunt – I got someone to take a photo of me with Bee United at Old Trafford. I’d been doing a lot of bee spotting with my mum on the Friday afternoon, which I mentioned in my August Review blog, and then I continued my quest the next day, albeit on my own, visiting Media City, the Lowry Outlet Mall (where there’s a lot of little bees, including one decorated by pupils from my former high school), Old Trafford and then into town.

I was getting about by tram and by foot, and as I was walking from Old Trafford football ground to the cricket ground and tram stop, I was thinking how I was now at least in a fit state to do all this walking around. If it’d been a couple of months ago, before I started at Slimming World, I would have been knackered and having to rest a lot more than I needed to last weekend! And, despite what I had to eat during my week off work, when I went to Wales, and the Lake District, and even had an ice cream on the Saturday while making my way from one Old Trafford to the other, I still managed to lose 4 and a half pounds on Monday when I weighed in after a week off! If I can get at least another pound off this coming Monday, I’ll have lost 1 and a half stone!

Right, anyway, I was back in work on Monday, and brought my colleagues some fudge from my trip to Wales. I had a lot of emails to catch up with after having been off for a week! I’d missed the August book club meeting, where Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine was discussed, but the next meeting is on 25th September, and it’s another re-read for me, as the book is Water For Elephants, by Sara Gruen, which, ironically, was the first book I read for the Waterstone’s Deansgate book club when I joined that in October 2008! After that, the October book will be Salmon Fishing In the Yemen, by Paul Torday. This will be the first one which won’t be a re-read for me, lol! I own a copy of the book, had it for donkey’s years, but not got around to reading it yet.

So, I have Water For Elephants and Snap to get on with for book clubs, plus What Does This Button Do? by Bruce Dickinson, the Iron Maiden frontman, as Sarah has lent me that one and I need to get it read so I can give it back to her when we go to see Madness at the Manchester Arena in December. Not started Snap yet, but 15% of the way through Water For Elephants and 10% read of What Does This Button Do? at the mo. I can probably skim much of the elephants one, as I have read it before, I just need to refresh myself on the story. The other two books with deadlines are new to me.

Now on to the non-deadline books, and, as you can see from the top of the blog, I’ve already finished one book this month, as I polished off Your Eighties, by Sarah Lewis, on my Kindle in the early hours of today! Not sure how I came about it – it may well have been either free or 99p on a Kindle offer, and you know what I’m like when it comes to the 1980s, so it had to be downloaded and read! This means I’m now on 26/30 on my Goodreads Challenge, only 4 more books to go to meet my target, which is pretty good considering I’ve been working a whole year now, full-time, and I got bugger all read in June and only one book either side of that in May and in July. Getting six read in August was a big help!

My current Handbag Book, besides all the ebooks on my Kindle, is Good As You, by Paul Flynn, which is a 30 year history of gay Britain from 1984 to 2014 taking in the three decades from the release of “Relax” and “Smalltown Boy” to the go-ahead for gay weddings in the UK. It’s probably the book I am most enjoying right now, and not just because of all the 80s disco music, but also because a lot of it centres around Manchester, and the writer is a Manc and not much older than me, so I know, or at least know of, many of the places in town that he mentions! I actually went to the gay village last weekend on my bee hunt, as there is a big bee in a park near Sackville Street and Canal Street. A rainbow-coloured bee, needless to say! The LGBTQ+ Queen Bee. It was moved temporarily, as I believe it was on a float during the Pride parade at the end of August, but it has returned to the park. Years ago, back in the late 90s, I had a work placement at a housing association, and the office where I was based was on the edge of the gay village.

LGBTQ+ Queen Bee

The guy in the bee’s eye is Alan Turing, the guy who cracked the Enigma Code, therefore played a major part in helping the Allies defeat the Nazis and win the Second World War. Thus, to any decent person, this guy is a hero. Unfortunately, not to our politicians, certainly not those around at the time, who had a big problem with the fact that he was gay. Some people are just ungrateful bastards, aren’t they?! One of the many reasons why I dislike politicians, especially right-wing ones.

I’ve never been bothered as to whether a couple is a man and a woman, two men, or two women. What I think is important is that people are loyal to one another in relationships. Whether that’s a straight one or a gay one is unimportant, the important thing is to be faithful and not go seeing anyone else behind your partner’s back.

Anyway, back to the books, and Good As You is 37% read, so that’s currently leading in the Ongoing Concerns list, closely followed by The Antidote, by Oliver Burkeman at 35% read. There are some other partially-read books, but they’ll have to take a back seat to some of the books with deadlines. I can return to less urgent reads later.

I’m off to the Creative Craft Show tomorrow, at Event City, near the Trafford Centre, so I’ll be taking a bit of my loom knitting with me and looking for tips, particularly regarding different stitches, and with casting off, and on Sunday I might be going to see those poppies I mentioned earlier, which are on display outside the Imperial War Museum North. I will be back with another blog entry soon enough though, but until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Snap – Belinda Bauer
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • All Quiet On the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Water For Elephants – Sara Gruen
  • Salmon Fishing In the Yemen – Paul Torday
  • What Does This Button Do?  – Bruce Dickinson
  • Your Eighties – Sarah Lewis
  • Good As You – Paul Flynn
  • The Antidote – Oliver Burkeman
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August Review – Books, Bees, and a Bag

Bookstore Conwy Wales 29 August 2018

Me in Hinton’s of Conwy, when I was in Wales on Wednesday.

Hello again, fellow Bookworms! Or should that be Book Dragons, given that I was in Wales a couple of days ago?!

Have had a very nice week off work to finish August. Monday was a bank holiday here, and then I have been using up annual leave for the rest of the week as I can only carry 5 days or fewer over into my new leave year which starts in September. Hence I have been out and about this week and the weather has been great! You can have some really good days out here in the UK if the weather’s not too shite (which is a technical term, as you know by now)! We’ve actually been having a decent summer this year, helped by that heatwave in July! Usually we have to go abroad for that sort of weather! Actually needing sun lotion and after-sun in this country is something of a novelty, hence many of us still go on about the Summer of 1976!

Anyway, never mind me waffling on about the weather, another month has come to an end, and therefore it’s time for the monthly review blog, and the most successful month so far this year for finishing books off, as I have finished SIX books in August! Yay! I’ve also finished off a couple of items I’ve been making on my knitting looms, so I can show you those as well! Right, all aboard for August’s Review of the Month blog… Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for books, bees, bara brith, a bag and a baby hat…

Well, August’s first two finishes were both early in the month and they were two I loved and gave 5 stars to, although they were both very different to one another. The first was Notes On a Nervous Planet, by Matt Haig, and that was followed very closely by The Man I Think I Know, by Mike Gayle, both of them finished off within the space of 24 hours! I had discovered the Mike Gayle novel thanks to the Zoe Ball Book Club on her Sunday morning show on ITV, and gave it a go on the strength of that, so thank you, Zoe, for choosing that one as one of your ten books!

Back in the 90s, I used to think she was a bit annoying, actually, probably as she’d jumped on the football bandwagon without knowing her stuff and thus not helping the cause of female supporters, especially the likes of myself who want to be seen and respected as clued-up knowledgeable fans just as much as male supporters, but in recent times, with running this book club on telly, I’ve seen a different side of her. She’s a couple of years older than me, so I guess it’s that difference between being some annoying mid 20s bimbo back in the 90s, and now being middle aged, as I am myself, and obviously matured a lot!

Anyway, enough waffling on about Zoe Ball, and back to the books. Book club at Waterstone’s seems to be either dead or in intensive care, lol, although I do have one at work, despite missing the most recent meeting because I’ve been on leave all this week, but I did eventually finish Wigs On the Green, by Nancy Mitford, which I’d been up to around 75% of the way through when it was supposed to be the meeting night, only to end up sitting in the coffee shop area of Waterstone’s Deansgate for around 45 minutes on my own like Billy No-Mates, and then realising that no bugger else was going to turn up, so I might as well have a shufty, buy some books to cheer myself off, because I was a bit pissed-off to say the least, and then go for a Cheeky Nando’s before getting a tram home! As one does!

For a quick read, and I mean quick, my next finish was probably the shortest adult-orientated book I’ll have read all year, the 100 page Alan Bennett quickie, The Lady In the Van. OK, so Fantastic Mr Fox, by Roald Dahl, is probably the shortest book I’ve read this year, but that is a children’s book, so this is the shortest I’ve read which is aimed at an adult readership, and is a biography of the cantankerous old bat who lived in her clapped-out van in Alan’s front yard for quite a number of years! I guess he was a bit too kind to her in the first place and she took advantage of that and spent the rest of her life there.

Little bag finished August 2018

It was also around this time that I finished my bag. Having acquired some actual knitting looms from Abakhan Fabrics in town, I set about making some stuff, and this was my first creation. The bag itself is made on that long rectangular loom, and the handle was made by using the “knitting fork” or lucet, which you also see in the photo – that two-pronged wooden thing with the hole in it. The variegated purple bits give a bit of a contrast to the sparkly white main bit of the bag.

Me with a bee Manchester 31st August 2018

Bee In the City – Manchester, 23rd July to 23rd September 2018

I’d gone into town to do a bit of bee-spotting, because, as I have mentioned before, Bee In the City is on in Manchester, and the surrounding area, at the moment, and runs up until 23rd September, I think, so there’s still around 3 weeks left to go bee hunting, and I’ve been doing a lot of that today, and will be doing more of it over the weekend. Certainly tomorrow. I have the app on my phone, so as well as taking photos of the bees, I’m also entering the codes on my mobile to unlock the bees and count how many I’ve seen. In terms of book-related stuff, there are bees in some of the libraries in town, certainly in Central Library, and I think there’s a bee in the John Rylands Library on Deansgate, so I will have to investigate that!

French Revolutions finished August 2018

On Sunday, just before my Big Week Off, lol, I finished off the utterly brilliant French Revolutions, by Tim Moore, which has now been added to the roll of honour featuring books which have made me laugh my arse off over the years! If you like travel writing, sports writing, and/or you are in need of a damn good laugh, you should definitely read French Revolutions! It’s up there with Penguins Stopped Play, by Harry Thompson! I read that one some years ago now, and that was hilarious! You don’t even have to be into cricket to enjoy Penguins Stopped Play! Just read it!

Bara Brith and Coffee in Conwy 29th August 2018

Bara brith and a cup of coffee, Conwy, North Wales

That’s in case you were wondering what the hell bara brith is when I listed it with all the B words at the start of the blog, lol! It’s a kind of tea loaf from Wales, and Mum and I had a slice each when we were in Conwy on Wednesday. I am well aware that many of my followers are not from the UK, so I guess you would’t have known about certain items of food and drink from these shores! If I’ve got any Welsh book dragons following this blog, they’ve probably known for donkey’s years, but I know that quite a few of you are more far-flung, including the USA and Canada. The last time I recall knowing my follower count, I had either 77 or 78 followers, I think, so thank you for deciding to follow this mad blog and I hope you’re enjoying this entry!

By the way, the book I am holding in the photo at the top of the blog is not one that I actually bought, but I did purchase The Pebbles On the Beach, by Clarence Ellis, when I was in Hinton’s of Conwy.

Twisting My Melon finished 30 August 2018

I was in the Lake District yesterday, but was spending time in the holiday park with my sister, her partner and my niece and nephew, including sitting in a hot tub, which was lovely, and I definitely want to do that again! Therefore, I didn’t get out and about near the Lakes and didn’t get to go in any shops, so no books were purchased. However, I did get to finish off one of my ebooks during the journey there and back! Twisting My Melon, by Shaun Ryder, became my sixth finish for August, and my 25th finish for 2018 so far, thus meaning I have 5 more books to go to meet my Goodreads Challenge for this year! Woohoo!

Little hat finished 31st August 2018

Bringing you right up to date, as this blog draws to its close, this is the little hat I finished earlier, although it would only be big enough for a new baby. It will probably go on the stall at the church Christmas fair later this year. The size of the circle determines the size of the hat. I bought a set of four, and the biggest one would be too big, and would probably make a snood, but the next biggest one would probably make a good adult-sized hat. The third one might make a kid’s hat or at least an older baby or toddler, but that small one would be for a newborn, probably.

I’ve also been taking some books to charity shops in Monton and Eccles while I’ve been off. Occasionally, I need to do this to make way for newer purchases. Sometimes I just have to figure out “Am I going to read this?” or “Am I going to finish this?” If not, then I might as well give it away, especially if I’m likely to get a cheap copy from a charity shop in the future should I ever decide I do wish to read it! Some books crop up in charity shops all the time, so there’s a good shout that I’d get hold of it again if I do want to read it, but I’ve given away my previous copy.

Well, that’s about it for now, so I’d better get this published while we’re still just about in August, lol! Until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Notes On a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig
  • The Man I Think I Know – Mike Gayle
  • Wigs On the Green – Nancy Mitford
  • The Lady In the Van – Alan Bennett
  • Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl
  • French Revolutions – Tim Moore
  • Penguins Stopped Play – Harry Thompson
  • The Pebbles On the Beach – Clarence Ellis
  • Twisting My Melon – Shaun Ryder

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Mixed Bag on the Book Front

August 2018 finishes part 1

Hello there, fellow Bookworms!

As the title suggests, there’s been mixed news on the book front, and in the photo above, you will see two of the four books I have finished so far this month! Yep, August has been good thus far when it comes to finishing books, and I loved both Notes On a Nervous Planet, by Matt Haig, and The Man I Think I Know, by Mike Gayle – indeed, I have commented on Instagram to let him know I loved the book and would like a sequel! I have to say that there were times when I thought James DeWitt’s parents needed to go on the Literary Slap List, though! Probably a spoiler alert here, but I was chuffed for James when I got to the bit where he stood up to them and essentially told them to stop patronising him! Would definitely recommend either or both books to anyone!

Yesterday, I got two more polished off, finishing Wigs On the Green, by Nancy Mitford, and then a nice quick, short read, that being The Lady In the Van, by Alan Bennett. Enjoyed both of those as well, although more 3-4 stars rather than the Matt Haig and Mike Gayle books which would get 5 stars each from me.

August 2018 finishes part 2

So, we’re now at 23 out of 30 on the Goodreads Challenge for this year, and hopefully I will be able to make it at least to target. I didn’t want to set a ridiculous amount of books, bearing in mind that I’m working full-time and have to fit reading in at lunchtimes, evenings and weekends, when I’m not doing other stuff, such as getting weighed, going to the gym, or going to matches – although don’t start me on that! Not until the Boring Bus-Parking Pillock gets sacked! Please keep your fingers crossed for me that this happens sooner rather than later, and that we go for a proper manager – you know, one who encourages attack-minded football, promotes more players from the youth team, and who doesn’t criticise players in public! Someone who’s rather more like that nice Scottish bloke we had for 26 and a half years from November 1986 to May 2013 would be good… hint hint!

Returning to Wigs On the Green for a moment, as I need to mention the less than wonderful news on the book front – that there was only me at book club on Wednesday! I didn’t get Stephanie’s message until after the event that she wasn’t going to be able to make it, so I didn’t get to discuss Nancy Mitford with her, unfortunately. I was left feeling very upset and very angry on Wednesday and into Thursday. I have given Waterstone’s Deansgate a piece of my mind via Messenger, but they haven’t got back to me yet. I told them that I felt they’d abandoned us, and that the dwindling numbers of people attending in the last year or so since Emma stepped down and no-one took over from her proved that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way!

You’d think a bookstore would WANT to have a book club and be proud of it, and promote it as a regular event at that branch, wouldn’t you? Indeed, they used to, which makes it all the more baffling that they stopped doing so. Also, what makes it worse, is that it seems to have fallen on me to try to keep things going, and I am obviously crap at persuading people! I’ve emailed, I’ve put it on our social media platform at work to try to drum up interest, and I get one or two hinting that they’re interested, but then they don’t bloody turn up… Beyond pissed-off! This book club needs someone who is GOOD at persuading people, and that person is NOT me! I am good at a lot of things, but that is not one of them! To use a technical term, I am shite at that sort of thing! I need someone else on board to do that! (Firm believer that everyone should play to their strengths, and persuasion is not really one of mine. Persuasion is, however, a novel by Jane Austen, and one which I read some years ago – for book club, ironically enough, lol!)

I don’t even see how it’s such a problem to maintain a book club and provide a member of staff to run it. They were doing it for a good 8 years or so, and it’s not as though it was that frequent a pull on their resources! All they need to do is make ONE member of staff available for ONE hour from 6pm to 7pm for ONE evening roughly every month! Is that really too much of a demand?! Every 4 to 5 weeks, we would need one person to run a book club meeting for one hour! We don’t need the shop shutting to everyone else, we meet up in the coffee shop area, anyone is welcome to join, and we are hardly asking for some all-day event! It takes more members of staff to assist with an author event when someone comes in to read from and sign copies of their book, for crying out loud!

Waterstone’s Deansgate management – you should be ASHAMED of yourselves!

(They still haven’t got back to me yet. Not even with a shitload of flimsy excuses for no longer providing a member of staff to run our book club!)

Anyway, back to more pleasant things on the book front, and you know that I do List Challenges and see how many books on other people’s lists I’ve managed to read, or at least half-read in my uni days, lol, plus I also create lists of my own, such as the one which goes with these blogs and lists all the books I mention on here for a year! I feel a bit “late” for those lists of Books You Should Read Before You Turn 30 or even 40, as I’m 45 now, lol, but I’ve just been through one of Books You Should Read Before You’re 80, and I’d read or at least half-read 67 of them, which isn’t too shabby! It always depends on whether that other person has the same tastes in books, doesn’t it?! It was quite a long list, and did contain quite a few of my favourites, such as The Book Thief, Girl With a Pearl Earring, and The Art of Racing In the Rain, though, so whoever compiled that list has got good taste in books! As for the actual list for this blog, the current one is at 247 books, although there will be more by the time I’m finished with this blog entry, as I will be mentioning a few more books that I’m pretty certain haven’t featured on the 2018 list so far… Anyway, another challenge for you, and I’m posting a blank one for you to fill in, plus my list of answers…

Right, OK… French Revolutions is now 68% read, and Twisting My Melon is on 55% as I recall, but now that the Mike Gayle book has been finished, which I was reading in both paperback and ebook formats, I can return to Shaun Ryder on my way home from matches. Rather tempted to get the Kindle app on my mobile and actually read during matches given the bus-parking we Reds are subjected to under the current manager…

I am going to be focusing more on What Does This Button Do? by Bruce Dickinson, especially as there may not be a book club any more and I might as well focus on the one deadline I do have – to get a book read before I give it back to my friend Sarah when she comes in December to see Madness with me at the Manchester Arena! It’s a hardback, so it will be for reading at home, really.

August 2018 purchases part 1

I picked these up on Wednesday, after hanging around for 45 minutes in the coffee shop area hoping I would have a book club meeting… I think The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien, is short stories. The Antidote, by Oliver Burkeman, is non-fiction, possibly psychology, and appealed to me due to my oft-stated dislike of many of the self-help books available on the grounds of them being unrealistic. Some peoples’ idea of positive thinking is my idea of delusion and fantasy! If these books were realistic, if they encouraged positive thinking within the constraints of the world we live in, that would be fair enough, but all they do is get people’s hopes up, that something is going to happen which is at best a flying pig situation, and then people just end up disappointed. Personally, I think getting people’s hopes up is a shitty thing to do to people!

They are the book equivalent of sports “journalists” coming out with all that bollocks about Cristiano Ronaldo returning to United, which happened every damn transfer window for years! In other words, just a con to get money out of people and get their hopes up over something which would probably only happen once Hell had frozen over and hosted the Winter Olympics!

Cynicism is your friend! Trust me on this! If you lean towards cynicism, and tend not to believe much of what you hear or read, you are much less likely to be taken for a ride, and thus much less likely to end up feeling disappointed! A good level of education also helps. The more you use your brain, the less likely you are to be conned.

August 2018 purchases part 2

Right, OK, and another batch of books, but be fair – three of them were only £3 each! The bargains were The Wild Robot, by Peter Brown, ostensibly a kid’s book, but you know I do not give an airborne copulation about that, The German Girl, by Armando Lucas Correa, and The Massacre of Mankind, by Stephen Baxter, which is a sequel to The War of The Worlds, by H. G. Wells, which I read earlier this year. The less cheap one is Good As You, by Paul Flynn, which seemed apt with Pride coming up here in Manchester next weekend, and as many of my fave singers are gay, or were in the case of Freddie Mercury and George Michael, I figured there would be a lot of mention of some of my favourite music! It covers the time from 1984, the year of both “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood and “Smalltown Boy” by Bronski Beat, up to 2014, and the start of gay weddings here in the UK (although civil partnerships had already got the go ahead some years previously and Sir Elton John was one of the first celebs to have one.) Should be a good read!

Loom knitted hats as of 19th August 2018

These are hats, in case you were wondering! Well, they will be, all being well, when they’re finished! One of my other things besides reading. Chunky wool for both of them, and circular looms. Craft show coming up at Event City, near the Trafford Centre, in September, so I might go to that, even if only to get some advice on casting off. I’m still pretty new to this, and I watch YouTube videos to see how to do stuff, but there are times I think I could do with someone showing me in person. Some things I don’t always “get” without someone there to show me.

Well, I think that’s about it for now, so until the next time I’m back with another blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Notes On a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig
  • The Man I Think I Know – Mike Gayle
  • Wigs On the Green – Nancy Mitford
  • The Lady In the Van – Alan Bennett
  • Persuasion – Jane Austen
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • The Art of Racing In the Rain – Garth Stein
  • French Revolutions – Tim Moore
  • Twisting My Melon – Shaun Ryder
  • What Does This Button Do? – Bruce Dickinson
  • The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien
  • The Antidote – Oliver Burkeman
  • The Wild Robot – Peter Brown
  • The German Girl – Armando Lucas Correa
  • The Massacre of Mankind – Stephen Baxter
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • Good As You – Paul Flynn

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July Review – Out of the Slump

Book finished July 2018

Hello there, fellow Bookworms!

Last day of July, so it’s review time, and this makes it a 3rd blog for the month! Yay! Plus a book finished and a bookmark made – that being the red woolly one I made on my afro comb, which you saw with my copy of Wigs On the Green, by Nancy Mitford, in my previous blog! That book, as I mentioned recently, is a third of the way through, 34% read, and there are two weeks to go to my book club at Waterstone’s on Deansgate, or there will be tomorrow, anyway! Next aim for that one is to get it to 50% read.

Anyway, I finished Ego Is the Enemy, by Ryan Holiday, so for the first time since early May, I’ve had an addition to my Goodreads Challenge list, now at 19/30, and it has been worth doing some Bookstagramming! I have also had to update unpublished lists on List Challenges, besides the one I do for this blog, which you will get to see either at the end of December or the start of 2019! The list is already over 200 books long, 227 as I type this part, but I will be adding to that with this blog, probably.

Yesterday, 30th July, Emily Brontë would have been 200! I studied Wuthering Heights when I was at uni, way back in the early to mid 90s, but have to admit I found it a struggle, and when it comes to works by the Brontë sisters that I have read, I must say I found Jane Eyre, by her sister Charlotte, an easier read. I read that one way back when I was in the 3rd year at high school, what would now be known as Year 9. When it comes to Wuthering Heights, I do like the song by Kate Bush, lol! Kate herself had a special birthday yesterday, too – her Big 60!

Right, anyway, never mind all that, time to get on with the book review for July… I’m thinking of taking Hawksmoor off the OC List or only mentioning it if I make any further progress with it. It’s been stuck at 58% read for ages now, so unless I move it on a bit, is it really worth mentioning? With the new footy season almost upon us, there’s every likelihood that I’ll be returning to Twisting My Melon, by Shaun Ryder, which was at 55% after the last time I read some of it, but if we have to wait ages in the car to get out of the Old Trafford car park after a match, then I can see Shaun getting off my OC list by the end of the calendar year, and another ebook being finished. As I mentioned in my previous blog, my season ticket arrived last week – a sure sign that another Premier League campaign is on the horizon!

Talking of United, Shaun Ryder and all things Manc, the bees are in town! I know I have mentioned this earlier this year, but now town is a hive of activity due to Bee In the City! I know we often say that town is “buzzin'” but it really is at the moment, and the giant bees are here until around 23rd September. I shall have to go into town and have a shufty! Perhaps this weekend.

Returning to ebooks for a moment, Fire Woman by Josephine Reynolds is on 25% read, that being the account of Britain’s first female firefighter. The other book that I’ve got ongoing as an ebook is one where I’m doing it part ebook part paperback as I have both formats for this novel – that book being The Man I Think I Know, by Mike Gayle, which I discovered recently thanks to the Zoe Ball Book Club on telly (Sunday mornings on ITV – I record it on Sky+ as I’m usually having a lie-in, lol!). The Mike Gayle novel is at 18% at the mo, although I’m thinking that’s what I’m going to read once I’ve finished this blog! I am giving books a bit of a push… how much of a particular book I can read in half an hour, that sort of thing…

I mentioned Notes on a Nervous Planet, by Matt Haig, in my last blog, and I started reading that last night, getting 22% of it read in the wee small hours, and improving slightly on that before starting this blog, by getting it to the 26% mark! Also at 26% is French Revolutions, by Tim Moore. This is the guy whose book, Nul Points, about the acts which failed to register any votes in the Eurovision Song Contest, I read and enjoyed last year, and in this one, which had been knocking around my room for a while, he gets the mad idea to cycle the Tour de France route! As we’ve just had the Tour de France, won by Welshman, Geraint Thomas, I thought it would be an appropriate read.

Woolly stuff 2018

As well as my red bookmark, this is some of my other stuff – ongoing items on my improvised looms. This just gives you an idea of some of the other things I get up to when I’m not reading! One of the other things I’m up to is making some attempt at shifting the pounds, and I had lost two and a half pounds yesterday evening at Slimming World, and need only two more pounds off to have lost my first stone!

Recent purchases 25 July 2018

Some recent purchases there, which I forgot to mention in the previous blog, apart from the Mike Gayle book. As with Gayle‘s novel, Dark Pines, by Will Dean, is also one of the books which has been reviewed on Zoe Ball’s TV programme. That one is in the “Scandi crime” genre, and features a deaf protagonist, which is an unusual angle. Three Things About Elsie is the second novel by Joanna Cannon, who I met a couple of years ago when she was signing copies of her début novel, The Trouble With Goats and Sheep. You might also be familiar with the name of Mohsin Hamid, as he has had a few novels published, most notably, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which I read and enjoyed some years ago now. Exit West piqued my interest because of its plot, in which black doors are rumoured to appear and people who walk through them leave one city and enter a different one! Sounds intriguing!

Books and coffee July 2018

Technically, we’re now on for 1st August, but this is still the July Review, and I still have a few more books to mention before I get this published. I think I may have listed a book called The Note not too long ago, a novel by Zoë Folbigg. Anyway, The Distance, also by the same author, was one of my purchases last week, along with The 1,000 Year Old Boy, by Ross Welford, and The Boy At the Back of the Class, by Onjali Q Rauf. Those two are essentially children’s books, but you probably already figured out how many shits I give about stuff like that! If it sounds like a good read, I’m up for it! The only books which need an age restriction are ones containing adult material – erotic novels, in other words, but unless there’s a lot of sex involved, the beauty of most books is that they’re open to all ages!

That’s about it now for the July Review, I’ve mentioned a lot of books, and given progress updates, so until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading! Oh, and keep cool, as the heatwave’s supposed to be returning!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Wigs On the Green – Nancy Mitford
  • Ego Is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday
  • Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • Twisting My Melon – Shaun Ryder
  • Fire Woman – Josephine Reynolds
  • The Man I Think I Know – Mike Gayle
  • Notes On a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig
  • French Revolutions – Tim Moore
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • Dark Pines – Will Dean
  • Three Things About Elsie – Joanna Cannon
  • The Trouble With Goats and Sheep – Joanna Cannon
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Mohsin Hamid
  • Exit West – Mohsin Hamid
  • The Note – Zoë Folbigg
  • The Distance – Zoë Folbigg
  • The 1,000 Year Old Boy – Ross Welford
  • The Boy At the Back of the Class – Onjali Q. Rauf

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Overdue May Review, and New Device

May 2018 book and bookmarks

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Sorry for the delay, but the first part of this blog needs to be the May Review, although it will be pretty short as I didn’t exactly read much! What you see above, two bookmarks and a book, is the grand sum of what got finished last month! It was while I was cross-stitching the bookmarks that I felt myself getting more into my stitching again, so that has kinda taken over, although it will have to take a back seat after Sunday as I won’t be doing any more with needles and floss until I get back off my jollies, about which more later!

So, I finished Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction, by David Seed, and made a couple of bookmarks. I did get to around a quarter of The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, which will be resumed, even if it wasn’t read in time for my book club. Our next meeting for that is 4th July, and we’ll be reading Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng for our next meeting.

Before I go any further, I was saddened to learn today that chef and author, Anthony Bourdain, has died. As I have mentioned on this blog plenty of times, I read the Bourdain Omnibus a good while ago now, when I was still working at Albert Bridge House, so we’re talking before 2009, and absolutely LOVED it! I would definitely say it’s amongst my favourites! Not being from the US, I didn’t get to see his TV shows in recent years, but I have read a couple of his books – that omnibus is two books in one – Kitchen Confidential and A Cook’s Tour. Rest in Peace, Anthony.

(All 3 books listed in case you’ve read the omnibus, or read the books separately.)

Right then, back to the books. I think, in one of my March or April blogs, shortly after Earth Hour, I put a photo on here of my Sony E-reader and my Kindle. Not entirely sure when I actually got my Sony device, but I got my Kindle, which is a 4th generation one, apparently, back at the end of 2011 – feel free to peruse the archives from around August or September 2011 to November, and you can read about the whole Kindle Saga from back in the day, lol!

Anyway, I’ll have had that Kindle 7 years by the end of this year, and I think I might have mentioned that I feel the battery goes down quite quickly considering it’s switched off a lot of the time, and I am pretty sure I mentioned a month or two ago that I was considering getting myself a new one some time soon… This is where Yammer comes in… Yammer is a social media platform for council staff, and because I’m on it, I get notifications in my inbox at work… so I get one earlier this week that one of my colleagues is selling a Kindle Paperwhite for a mere £60! So, I like the post and express my interest.

Not only had it not been sold yet, but the lady selling it works not too far from where I work! Basically, just down the road a bit! I thought it might have gone at that price, but I was in luck! They’re about £110-120 to buy absolutely brand new, so this was almost new and £60 and also came with a case for it! Plus a charger, of course.

E-readers June 2018

Left to my own devices!

The one in the leopard-print cover is my new Paperwhite, and the ones lying down are the Sony Reader and my other Kindle! I have simply added my new Kindle to my devices. I still have my books on my original one, plus I also have the Kindle app on my iPad, so can read books on that too – actually, if I want to see anything in colour, the iPad would be the one to use! My other two Kindles are black and white. Not really that arsed, though. Most of the stuff I read doesn’t need to be in colour unless there are perhaps some diagrams or photos.

I was doing some reading on my new Kindle yesterday, once I’d got it set up – resuming Twisting My Melon, by Shaun Ryder, which is now up to 41% read. I will probably continue that one as I head off on my hols very shortly! That’s going to be what I need to sort out over the weekend. Well, on Sunday, anyway, when I’m doing my packing. Tomorrow is the church summer fair at St Paul’s so I’ll be helping Mum out on the stall there, but Sunday will be the time to get the suitcase and hand luggage out and sort out the vast majority of what’s coming with me. The odd thing might need to go in right at the end, in the early hours of Monday morning, but most packing will be done the previous day.

I have already said, of my physical books, that Dune, by Frank Herbert, is definitely coming to Cape Verde with me so I can read Dune on a dune, lol! I have also decided on a definite non-fiction choice of Spirals In Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells, by Helen Scales. As this will be a beach holiday, the book about seashells seemed apt. I was also thinking about Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green, given that we might even see some turtles nesting, but that particular work of YA fiction is a hardback, and I’m already taking Dune! Perhaps I should pack Skyfaring: A Journey With a Pilot, by Mark Vanhoenacker? I’ve had that one a while. Should get it read, especially as my paternal grandad was a pilot! No wonder I like flying!

Congratulations to Casey Stoney, who has been appointed the Head Coach of Manchester United’s women’s team! As long as she gets our lasses playing the United way, with attack-minded, entertaining football, that will be the main thing! The less said about that bus-parking numpty in charge of our men, though, the better! Don’t get me started on him, other than that he needs to take the brake off on that damn bus or he needs to do one! I have a good mind to start instigating the waving of white hankies in the coming season, which is what the fans do in Spain when they’re fed up with the manager and want him out! Jose’s managed in Spain, so he should know what it would mean if the Red Army started getting the white hankies out at Old Trafford!

World Cup starts next week, while we’re on the subject of footy! No doubt I’ll probably watch a game or two on a screen in the hotel bar or something as I’ll still be on my jollies when things get going in Russia! Sadly, I don’t really rate the chances of my national team making much progress. England are a bit too shite these days (technical term, obviously, lol!) so they’ll either go out at the group stage and be home from Russia before the proverbial postcards, or they will somehow scrape into the knockout stages and then lose in a penalty shoot-out, which is just a very normal way for England to exit a tournament! Seen it all too often over the years, and that’s included times when England have been half-decent!

No idea what bloody time games are going to be on in Cape Verde, though! I mean, there’s a difference of 3 hours between Moscow and the UK, with the Russians ahead of us, and then the time in the Cape Verde Islands is 2 hours behind the UK, so that’s a good 5 hours’ time difference, and some parts of Russia, where games might be taking place, might be even further ahead! Bloody big place, Russia, unlike either my native home or my imminent holiday (vacation) destination! If matches are on at stupid times, I can always console myself by reading Football in Sun and Shadow, by Eduardo Galeano, a book I bought recently, at the same time as the one about seashells.

Helliconia, by Brian Aldiss, is definitely NOT coming with me! It’s far too chunky! Besides which, I’ve already chosen Dune for some chunky science-fiction, lol!

Oh, perhaps I should just get this finished and published so I can have a damn good look at the book situation and decide on my holiday reading matter?! Take care, and until next time, Happy Reading! If you’re also off on your holidays (vacation), take care and have a safe journey there and back!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction – David Seed
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
  • The Bourdain Omnibus – Anthony Bourdain
  • Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain
  • A Cook’s Tour – Anthony Bourdain
  • Twisting My Melon – Shaun Ryder
  • Dune – Frank Herbert
  • Spirals In Time – Helen Scales
  • Turtles All the Way Down – John Green
  • Skyfaring – Mark Vanhoenacker
  • Football in Sun and Shadow – Eduardo Galeano
  • Helliconia – Brian Aldiss

 

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March Review and Childhood Cookbooks

Word for World is Forest finished March 2018

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Another month, another 5 books finished! I can’t guarantee I will be this consistent all year, but so far in 2018 I have finished 5 books and published 6 blogs each month! This means I am now on at 15/30 on my Goodreads Challenge – half way to my target and we’ve only had three months so far. Also, a third of the way to matching the total of 45 books which I managed to finish off in 2017!

There’s another bookmark on the way. Might just about get it finished before the month is over, but not in time for this blog. It is nearly done though. Only needs the back-stitching finishing and a tassel of some sort adding.

So, anyway, we’re at the end of March 2018, I have 77 followers now, so thanks to all of you for putting up with my random waffle, and welcome to some of the new followers who have discovered this blog of late. These blogs go right back to August 2010, so feel free to mosey around in the archives. I have published over 200 book blogs, and have been pretty prolific in the last year or so. Before that, it was rather inconsistent.

Time to move on to the actual books now, lol, and let’s look at what I’ve finished off in March. My first finish for the month, and it seems like ages ago now, was The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier, which was a brilliant read. A couple of quick-to-finish children’s books came next, Fantastic Mr Fox, by Roald Dahl, and The Slimy Stuarts, by Terry Deary, the latter being a book from the Horrible Histories series. I had picked up a few Horrible Histories books at a charity shop in Swinton after work one night!

Towards the end of this month, in the past week or so, two more books have taken my monthly total up to five. First up was my ebook, The Man In the Middle, by Howard Webb, which had started off as my match day book as I had been reading it to pass the time in the car while stuck in the car park at Old Trafford, or in Trafford Park, on the way home from one of our home games, but I ended up reading it on days when I wasn’t heading to the Hallowed Ground, and finished it off at home one night last week!

Finished books 29 March 2018

Bringing my monthly total to a consistent five, I finished off The Word for World is Forest, by Ursula K. Le Guin, last night, thus adding another science-fiction book to my read list, and Don Davidson to my Literary Shovel List! Whilst I didn’t find him quite as anger-inducing as the bigoted nutjob Joseph Strorm, Davidson certainly needs a good thwack on the head with The Shovel, and he has to be added to Humans In Science Fiction Novels Who Are An Embarrassment To The Species! As with my feelings of sympathy towards the mutants in The Chrysalids, I quickly took the side of the “Creechies” in Le Guin’s novella. I think, once I’d have given Davidson the Shovel treatment, I would then grab him warmly by the throat and yell “Stop showing us all up, you arrogant knobhead!”

At least, for now, the interplanetary embarrassment is only in works of fiction. Bad enough that, in real life, there are too many dicks here on Earth who embarrass the species as a whole, and their part of the planet in particular, without going to new planets and behaving in that manner! The novella was written in the late 60s and early 70s, being first published in 1972, the year before I came into this world. It’s easy to see it as a damning criticism of some of the worst atrocities committed during the war in Vietnam, but it’s still pretty relevant now, especially with the concept of male privilege – you could see some of the “yumans” in the plot, Davidson in particular, exhibiting what might be called Earthling Privilege, lording it over the poor Creechies whose planet they’d invaded and buggered up ecologically! Having screwed their own planet up in the first place, they’ve buggered off to mess some other planet up as well and piss off the inhabitants.

Don Davidson definitely joins the Shovel List. By contrast, I liked Raj Lyubov, who was one of the few who made an effort to treat the Creechies with respect and learn about their way of life.

Will I continue with The Chrysalids? Maybe, but it is on hold for now. I might even make some attempt at North and South, a final go to see if it does grab me, but if it doesn’t, no point plodding on with it. I will just have to accept it is one of those which hasn’t fizzed on me. Won’t be the first, and I doubt very much it will be the last. I do not persist with books I’m not enjoying. As you already know, I don’t agree with all that bullshit about not giving up. Sometimes, giving up is the wisest thing you can do. If you’re making no progress at something, and not enjoying it, time to pack it in! You might have to try a bit harder if you need to read a book for the purposes of your academic or professional attainment, but if you don’t have to read it for education or employment, and you’re not enjoying it, time to put it down and find a different book!

Hawksmoor‘s still hanging around, and I plan to get some of that read this weekend, another chapter at least, get it past the halfway stage. It’s been on 49% for a while, so time we took it beyond 50, especially if I just accept that North and South isn’t doing it for me. The other book whose title you can see on the wipeboard on the top photo of this blog is Six Little Miracles, by Janet Walton. I found it at a charity shop in Swinton the other day. For those of us who were around in the UK in the 1980s, you may recall the birth of the Walton Sextuplets, the six girls born in 1983 – well, this is their mum’s autobiography, the memoir of growing up, meeting her husband, and trying for a baby – then ending up with half a dozen of them at once!

Childhood cookbooks

My first recipe books!

Talking of growing up, Veronica Henry, author of The Beach Hut and How To Find Love In a Book Shop, amongst other novels, posted a photo on Instagram the other day which had me going back to my childhood, as it featured a book I’d received when I was a kid, either a birthday or Christmas present – a recipe book called My Learn To Cook Book – funnily enough, I still have it, alongside The Mr Men Cookbook! Both of those have some damn good recipes in them! The former is by Ursula Sedgwick, and the latter by Roger Hargreaves. Mr Topsy-Turvy’s Upside Down Pudding is particularly good!

SF purchases March 2018

Onto recent purchases now, and then we can think about What To Read Next, that great bookworm dilemma, lol! I was in town yesterday, essentially to get my bus and tram pass sorted for another month, but any old excuse to do a spot of retail therapy while there, eh?! The books you see in that photo are Ammonite, by Nicola Griffith, Neuromancer, by William Gibson, and the one at the top of the pile there, Resistance is Futile, by Jenny T. Colgan. That comment by Matt Haig on the cover amused me enormously! “A riotous cocktail of geeks” – there’s a recommendation if ever there was one!

I’ve read a couple of his books, actually, both very different, but both great – The Radleys, and Reasons To Stay Alive. The former is fiction, and very funny, and the latter is autobiographical and a good read, especially if you’re looking for books relating to mental health issues. Also, I have How To Stop Time, and The Humans, right here by Computer Corner, on my science fiction row between the robot bookends!

I could always read one of the new purchases. After all, I’ve finished the Le Guin, so there’s room for some more science fiction on the OC List. Non-fiction is accounted for, of course, with the Walton sextuplets book I mentioned earlier. I will also need a new choice of book on one of my e-readers for match day, so I will have to have a shufty on my Kindle and my Sony Reader to see if there’s anything I really fancy reading or resuming!

I could read The City and The City, by China Miéville, which is about to be dramatised in a 6 part series on the BBC starting just after Easter. That’s a paperback, though, not on my e-readers. I also had my eye on The Cellist of Sarajevo earlier today. I’d previously had two copies, it was one of my notorious Duplicate Books, lol, so I took one in to work with some other books, so that my colleagues can borrow and swap them, but I was giving some thought to reading my remaining copy of the Steven Galloway novel.

Well, I think that’s about it for now. Easter Long Weekend starts here! I will be back again with another blog before too long, lol, but until next time, have a lovely Easter, hope you get plenty of eggs and maybe some books, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl
  • The Slimy Stuarts (Horrible Histories) – Terry Deary
  • The Man In the Middle – Howard Webb
  • The Word for World is Forest – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
  • North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • Six Little Miracles – Janet Walton
  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • How To Find Love In a Book Shop – Veronica Henry
  • My Learn To Cook Book – Ursula Sedgwick
  • The Mr Men Cookbook – Roger Hargreaves
  • Ammonite – Nicola Griffith
  • Neuromancer – William Gibson
  • Resistance is Futile – Jenny T. Colgan
  • The Radleys – Matt Haig
  • Reasons To Stay Alive – Matt Haig
  • How To Stop Time – Matt Haig
  • The Humans – Matt Haig
  • The City and The City – China Miéville
  • The Cellist of Sarajevo – Steven Galloway

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February Review – Read Amid The Winter’s Snow 2018

February Finishes 2018

February Finishes – 5 books and a bookmark

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

I know there’s a day to go, we’re not quite done with February yet, as our current weather is proving to us, lol, but I finished another book off tonight to make it 5 finishes this month and 10 in total so far this year, and the likelihood of me finishing another book off in the day we have left of this book is about as remote as my chances of NOT falling on my arse if I were ever to attempt any snow sports! Even attempting to walk to work once I’ve got off the bus is precarious enough for me in snowy and icy weather!

As you no doubt know, this “Beast from the East”  has brought significant amounts of snow to the UK for the first time since that bad winter of 2009-2010, which is all well and good if you’re a Team GB athlete who has just got back from the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang and could feasibly ski or snowboard down the streets in this weather, but the rest of us are not exactly cut out for wintry weather! Couldn’t see myself doing any “big air” events. Big hair, yes, lol, but not big air!

The last time we had such snowy weather, I had a particularly bad fall near the car park not far from where I was working at the time, in Chorlton, bumped into a lamppost as I slipped and hurt my ribs – they were sore for several months after that, so I do NOT want a repeat of that eight years on, ta very much!

Anyway, it’s time for the monthly review, so, as well as the “Penguin Classics” bookmark, what else did I manage to finish off in February? Well, it started with the Martians getting finished off as my first February Finish was The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells. The other four books kinda came in pairs within days or even hours of each other. Around 20th to 21st February, I finished off Mort, by Sir Terry Pratchett, and hot on the heels of Mort was Russian Winters, by Andrei Kanchelskis. Less than a week later, two more books were polished off.

Yesterday, I finished Neither Here Nor There, by Bill Bryson, which I had decided to resume, having started it last year and got exactly half-way before it kinda stalled as an Ongoing Concern of 2017. Anyway, I resumed it and was glad I did. The usual Bryson fare, witty and snarky as ever! Oh, and he mentions the 1984 Winter Olympics when he gets to Sarajevo! Epic Win! Not that I’m biased or anything, lol, but… 14th February 1984… Torvill & Dean… Ravel’s Bolero – one of my all-time favourite sporting moments, and the start of me becoming an Olympic Nut!

Today was the turn of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, to be brought to a conclusion on the reading front, and another excellent read. As this is my current book club book, and the meeting is on 7th March, I have just over a week now before the meeting to get on with other books and give them a serious chance to make significant progress without having a book club book to prioritise.

I have added an e-book to the mix as well, although I only just started that on Sunday on the way home from our 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford, so it’s only at the 3% read stage yet. The book is The Man In the Middle, by Howard Webb. I figured I might as well read something on my Kindle which was footy-related so the ref who officiated at the 2010 World Cup Final was as good a choice as any. Not the first referee’s autobiography I’ve read though, of course, as I read The Rules of the Game, by Pierluigi Collina, a couple of years ago. That’s on my 2016 Goodreads Challenge, lol! One of the few books I managed to read for the rest of that year once I’d finished A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara! That book gave me an EPIC Book Hangover! Couldn’t read any fiction for the rest of 2016, but I did manage a few non-fiction books!

There are a few home games coming up in March, though, so I hope to get a bit more of Howard Webb‘s book read in the coming month. We have home fixtures against Liverpool (Premier League), Sevilla (Champions League), Brighton & Hove Albion (FA Cup), and Swansea City (Premier League), so I would expect to make decent progress on the ebook front!

February 15th saw me off to Preston to see Paul Young in concert, and thus I was able to give my friend Sarah her book back. She had lent me the brilliant Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins, which had been my second finish of this year, back in January! A great gig, by the way. Wonder if Paul has an autobiography? He’s had a pretty long career, after all, and, like Phil Collins, he was involved in Band Aid – indeed, he sung the opening lines of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” back in 1984. (The original and still the best version!)

medallistsmontage-2018

L-R: Dom Parsons, Izzy Atkin, Laura Deas, Lizzy Yarnold & Billy Morgan.

Considering February is a short month, and also considering that I spent a fortnight of it rather distracted by events in PyeongChang, I am quite amazed that I finished off 5 books again this month, same total as January. This is also my 6th blog of the month, so in terms of books and blogs, I have started consistently!

The five people in that montage are Team GB’s medallists at the Winter Olympics, five medals is a national record for us at a Winter Games, beating our previous best of 4 medals in both 1924 and 2014. Plenty of firsts for us in South Korea… First British medallist on skis (Izzy Atkin), first British bloke to win a medal in the skeleton (Dom Parsons), first British athlete to retain a title at a Winter Olympics (Lizzy Yarnold), first time we’ve had two athletes on the same podium at a Winter Olympics (Lizzy Yarnold and Laura Deas), and a new national record medal tally achieved when Billy Morgan won bronze in the men’s snowboarding big air event!

Funnily enough, though, we could be in line for another bronze from Sochi! With all the positive drug tests by Russian athletes, and retrospective reallocation of medals, we are awaiting confirmation that the standings from the 4 man bobsleigh final of 2014 are to be amended. Great Britain’s GB1 bob team finished 5th originally in Sochi. However, two of the bobs who finished higher than our lads were Russian crews. One team of Russians won the gold, and their other team came 4th. With those records removed from the books, the IOC look set to upgrade the bobs in 2nd, 3rd and 5th place, thus meaning that Great Britain’s 4 man bob team should receive bronze medals. That would actually make Sochi our best Winter Games, as our four medals won at the time were 1 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze. In PyeongChang, we didn’t win any silver medals – it was 1 gold and 4 bronze.

Penguin books and bookmark 2018

The “Penguin Classics” bookmark was finished off this month, so I decided to do a Bookstagram display featuring a couple of classic Penguin books! I have yet to read either Everything Is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer, or The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham, but I may yet get round to reading either or both of them in the fullness of time! Pretty decent chance of The Chrysalids, actually, given that I have already enjoyed some science fiction this year.

So, now I shall start to turn my attention towards March. With my book club book read with a week to spare, I might read a bit more of Hawksmoor, try to get that to at least 50% or more. I will also continue with The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier, which is now my main Handbag Book at present. Hawksmoor is currently still on 39%, the Chevalier novel is on 19% at present, but I am reading that at lunchtimes at work, and will probably read a lot more of it at home. I might wait before adding other books to the Ongoing Concerns. One will have to be non-fiction to replace the Bryson. I might also, whether fact or fiction, look to finish more books off which I have started previously.

Then again, I am still itching to read that book about national anthems, Republic or Death! by Alex Marshall. It could, feasibly, become a Handbag Book. Born A Crime, by Trevor Noah is also factual, though, and slimmer than the book about anthems. Whatever I decide, you will find out in the coming blogs! Until that time, though, by which time I hope the weather has improved, lol, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Russian Winters – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • The Man In the Middle – Howard Webb
  • The Rules of the Game – Pierluigi Collina
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • Everything Is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
  • The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • Republic or Death! Travels In Search of National Anthems – Alex Marshall
  • Born A Crime – Trevor Noah

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