Category Archives: British Weather

June Review and Relevant Reading…

Novel approach

Hello, fellow Bookworms!

This might be short. June has not been a good month on the book front, as nothing has been finished off. However, some reading was done on my holidays, and I did acquire a book while I was in Boa Vista, Cape Verde Islands!

I took my new Kindle Paperwhite on my jollies, and certainly read some more of Twisting My Melon, Shaun Ryder‘s autobiography, while I was on the plane, on the way to my holiday destination, and got that up to 55%, so that is over the halfway mark. Probably the best result on the reading front last month, as we are now in July.

Oops, as we are now on 1st July, before I go any further, it’s time to wish my Canadian followers a very Happy Canada Day! Hope you’re enjoying your long weekend!

For my American followers, advanced wishes for a Happy Independence Day this coming Wednesday!

Right then, on with the books and the bit of reading that I have managed last month. I didn’t end up reading Spirals In Time, the book about seashells, but did find a book at the hotel, which I started and then brought home with me, Islander, by Patrick Barkham. This is a journey around the UK archipelago, visiting little islands around the British Isles, and I read around the first 15% of it, so it joins the Ongoing Concerns. Even it’s about my own set of islands, I was on an island from another set of islands when I started reading it, so it still seemed apt. Plus, it’s a holiday souvenir, lol, just like Attention All Shipping was when I brought it home from Mexico five years ago!

Dune on a dune June 2018

Relevant Reads – Dune on a dune!

So, as you can see above, I did it! I read Dune on a dune! Well, I did read a page or two of it. Only just started, so it can’t go on the OCs just yet, I would have to read more of it for it to go on that, but I got the Relevant Reads photo opportunity, so I want to see yours! Doesn’t have to be exotic! Have you ever read The Catcher in the Rye sitting in a field of rye? Kitchen Confidential in a kitchen? Alone in Berlin while alone in the German capital city?! I want your “relevant reads” stories and evidence! I’ve been writing these book blogs for nearly 8 years now, and I’d like to hear from those of you who have been kind enough to decide to follow my blogs!

Spain v Russia is in extra time… is it going to be won in extra time, or am I going to have to shuffle off and watch a penalty shoot-out? Come on, Spain!

Anyway, May’s lack of reading has continued into June. I had only finished off one book at the start of May, and that was the last one I added to my Goodreads Challenge list, Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction, by David Seed. I’ve done some cross-stitch, I’ve been on my jollies, come back, gone back to work, had family birthdays and some seriously boiling weather, and joined Slimming World, but there’s not really an awful lot to report on the book front!

The other thing is that the current heatwave makes me feel tired at times. I just want a siesta, lol! I don’t really feel like reading. I might nod off, especially if the book wasn’t really grabbing me! Even if I was enjoying it, I might still be too sleepy.

Spain and Russia is going to a penalty shoot out…

Russia won on penalties. Not what I wanted. Croatia v Denmark at the moment, which is still 1-1 after both teams scored very early! Right now, that looks like heading for extra time. I don’t really mind who wins. Slight preference for Denmark, as United have had a few Danish players in the past, (Jesper Olsen, Peter Schmeichel and Anders Lindegaard), but I wouldn’t be upset if Croatia won, especially after they stuffed Argentina 3-0 in that group game! I have harboured an immense dislike of the Argentinian national side since Mexico ’86! I was 13 when that World Cup was on, so it’s 32 years now!

Book club on Wednesday. I have read a little bit, and I mean a LITTLE bit of Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng, and I have liked what I have read, but I just haven’t been up for reading anything at the mo. So, I won’t discard the book. Even if I haven’t read much of it by Wednesday, which I won’t have, it may be something I return to at a later date. A few years ago, during a reading slump, there were books I read a bit of and liked, so I have not completely given up on those, I might return to The Sisters Brothers some day, amongst others. I do like the cover of that one, it’s very clever!

At least I will have another fortnight for what will be a re-read, as a book club has been started at work, and the first meeting is on 18th July, at lunchtime, and we’ll be reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer. As I have mentioned on here before, this book was a book club read some years ago for the Waterstone’s Deansgate book club, but it’s quite a while since I read it, so I don’t mind that my council colleagues have chosen something I’ve already read.

The other thing I need to mention is that there is now even a TV book club here in the UK, on Zoe Ball’s programme on Sunday mornings. I have set the series to record, which is a wise move as I was on holiday when the series started, and I am usually having a lie-in on a Sunday anyway, so I can catch up later. Well, I can when the footy’s over, but Denmark v Croatia has gone into extra time…

Adam Kay book signing

Not sure which books have been discussed since the first one, but Zoe started with the book which was my favourite read from last year, the excellent This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay! I think it has recently come out in paperback, but I bought the hardback last year and then got it signed when Adam came to Waterstone’s Deansgate in the autumn! I think as many people as possible should read it, although maybe doing so in public might not be a good idea as you’ll get some funny looks when you laugh your head off at certain bits! The photo above is from when Adam was signing my copy of his book.

Well, that’s about it for now, although the Danes and Croatians are still playing at the moment, so no result as yet. Still 1-1 from right at the start of the match. Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Twisting My Melon – Shaun Ryder
  • Spirals In Time – Helen Scales
  • Islander – Patrick Barkham
  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • Dune – Frank Herbert
  • The Catcher In the Rye – J. D. Salinger
  • Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain
  • Alone In Berlin – Hans Fallada
  • Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction – David Seed
  • Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
  • The Sisters Brothers – Patrick DeWitt
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
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Filed under Books, British Weather, Cross-Stitch, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Goodreads, Historical Fiction, Manc Stuff!, Month in Review, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Science Fiction, Television, Travel, Weather

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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Book Review of the Year…

Hello there, fellow Bookworms!

There is less than a fortnight left of 2017, ladies and gentlemen, Sir Mo Farah was crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year at the weekend, so I think it’s only fair if we do some sort of Book Review of the Year round about now! I might just get one or two more books read before the year is out, as I am currently enjoying The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, by Sarah Knight, and I have started on Mr Dickens and His Carol, by Samantha Silva, so I could get to 44 or even 45 books before we let in 2018! I finished The Good People a few nights ago, so that took me to 43 for the year. I’d quite like at least one more, to make it 44 so I’ve read my age in books, lol!

As most of you probably know by now, I’m hardly the world’s biggest fan of self-help books, but when a book comes along to encourage people to stop giving needless f**ks about things they really don’t care about, or don’t want to do, I am all for that! Indeed, I feel that I’ve already been reducing the number of f**ks I give since I hit my 40s! So I am happy to get on board with that! Also, it’s not ableist. Whether fully able-bodied, or with any kind of disability or health condition, anyone is capable of ceasing to give a f**k about completely pointless things! Things they can’t do, things they don’t enjoy, things they don’t want to do, things they don’t want to know about! You don’t need to be fully-able bodied in order to give zero f**ks about the Kardashians, for instance!

I started the year off by finishing off Pear Shaped, an e-book autobiography by Adam Blain, I think I’d got it for free on my Kindle. Anyway, he was writing about his brain tumour, hence the title, but he has since recovered, I am delighted to say. There have been a few books which I have started in a previous year, but finished off in 2017, most notably Jamrach’s Menagerie, by Carol Birch, Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson, Periodic Tales, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams, and Pet Shop Boys, Literally, by Chris Heath, which I read this summer to coincide with my 30th anniversary of becoming a Pethead! Also, I saw them twice in concert this year – in February here in Manchester, and in June in Blackpool, home town of keyboard player, Chris Lowe.

Actually, today, 19th December, it is 30 years since “Always On My Mind” hit the top spot in the UK charts to become the Christmas Number One for 1987! Other notable 30th anniversaries in December are the release of my all-time favourite Christmas record, “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, which reached number 2 in the charts behind Neil and Chris, and it is also 30 years since one of the most sensible things my dad ever did… 30 years since he gave up smoking! He had the flu at the time, a really bad strain of it, and lighting his pipe gave him an epic coughing fit, so he gave up to get over the flu, and by the time he was well again, in early 1988, he realised he hadn’t smoked for about 2 or 3 weeks, and he just never went back to it.

February saw me going down to Wembley, as you may recall, to see Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 in the League Cup Final, and when United booked their place in the final, I was trying to decide which books to take down with me on the coach for the journey to Wembley, and the return to Old Trafford. The book I read on the way down was The Pie at Night, by Stuart Maconie, but with the coach’s reading lights not working on the journey home, I had to resort to my Kindle, and thus Premier League Years 1992/93 by Andrew Hyslop was my reading matter on the way back, detailing Manchester United’s first Premier League title as we ended our 26 year wait to be champions.

I later got The Pie at Night signed, along with Long Road from Jarrow, when I met Stuart Maconie at Waterstone’s in July. Not read the Jarrow book yet, but I did read The People’s Songs earlier this year, so two books by Mr Maconie made my Goodreads Challenge list!

* Excuse me a mo… Chief Bookworm needs a drink – back shortly *

Right, back again! Sorry about that! Anyway, March was notable for my decision to read Tuesdays With Morrie once a week, each Tuesday! April brought about Billy Ocean in concert, jury service and my birthday, making me an old gimmer of 44, lol! I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović was finished off that month, as was An Equal Music, by Vikram Seth. Adrian Mole, the diary-writing character created by the late great Sue Townsend, celebrated his  50th birthday in April, and Penguin actually published a book of the poems Adrian wrote! The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 starts off in January 1981, so he was 14 on 2nd April that year. I was 8 three weeks later in real life! Thus, yes, Adrian is 6 years older than me. The first couple of Adrian Mole books are around 33 years old, or so, as they came out around 1984 if I’m not mistaken. I probably got my copies of the first two books around 1985, aged 12. Pretty sure that one of the kids at Salford Trampoline Club recommended them to me, possibly Tammy, as my sister had started training there by then.

Actually, earlier in 2017, around February, I revisited my 12 year old self in a blog thanks to an idea from Facebook. Someone had asked which 12 books would you give to your 12 year old self, so Joanne from 2017 visited Joanne from 1985 with a dozen books from her future!

From early July to early September, we had the Book Benches scattered around Manchester with a trail map so that you could go and find them. I was actually volunteering at Manchester Cathedral’s bookshop at the time, so was right at the heart of things, and saw book benches in the cathedral, in the Arndale Centre, and in the National Football Museum. Pretty sure I saw a book bench the other week, actually – at the Lowry outlet centre on Salford Quays, so maybe one or two have stuck around after the event, as we’re in December now and it’s nearly Christmas! The book bench event actually ended just after I started my job at Salford Council in early September. Watch out for the giant bees in town in the summer of 2018! Manchester will be truly buzzin’!

I read a few children’s books this year, as you might expect given that my niece, Charlotte, aka Junior Bookworm, likes her auntie to know what she’s reading, and wants me to enjoy some of her books! In 2017 I was able to add Esio Trot to the list of Roald Dahl books that I have read! Charlotte was reading The Twits not long ago, which was one of Ellie’s favourites as a kid! Sadly, we said rest in peace to Dick Bruna back in February when the Dutch author, famous for the Miffy books, passed away. As with the Roald Dahl books, Bruna’s tales of Miffy the rabbit were part of mine and my sister’s childhood, albeit before the Dahl… Miffy books were borrowed from Eccles Library when we were little and first learning to read.

On the other hand, we wished many happy returns to Stephen King, as the prolific author, famed particularly for his horror novels, hit his Big 70 in September, shortly after my dad hit his Big 70! As you may recall, my pressie for my dad was that big chunky biography of spy thriller author, John le Carré. I hit the hundred book blogs milestone earlier this year, back in March, I think, and I currently have 72 followers, so thank you to all of you who subscribe to this blog full of book mentions and other mad and random waffle, lol!

A few YA books made my Goodreads Challenge list, as I read One Italian Summer, by Keris Stainton, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, and If I Stay, by Gayle Forman. Although I don’t have an out and out favourite genre, unlike many bookworms, I will say that I like a bit of historical fiction, and there were a few novels on the list which come into that category, including The Ashes of London, by Andrew Taylor, Dissolution, by C. J. Sansom, and The Good People, by Hannah Kent. That is my most recent finish, of course, but as I said earlier, I am hoping for one or two more before the year is over.

I had quite a non-fiction binge in the autumn, but I do like factual reads anyway! It was that which led to my second author event of the year and my choice for favourite book of the year… the wonderful This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay. Moving in parts, but utterly hilarious in others, you would be taking a huge risk by reading it in public, unless you don’t mind some odd looks while you laugh your arse off! The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, was a very good, quite witty, and pretty important book, one which as many people as possible should read in order that they stop falling for faddy diets and other con tricks on the internet!

Well, those are most of the highlights of my year in books. I hope to get at least a few more blogs in before the month, and the year, are over. I have actually blogged every month this year, which is a first. Prior to 2017, my blogging had been very patchy at times, long times went by without a blog. However, there have been blogs every month. I shall now bring this particular entry to a close, so until I blog again, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
  • Mr Dickens and His Carol – Samantha Silva
  • Pear Shaped – Adam Blain
  • Jamrach’s Menagerie – Carol Birch
  • Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Premier League Years 1992/93 – Andrew Hyslop
  • Long Road from Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
  • The Twits – Roald Dahl
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • The Ashes of London – Andrew Taylor
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner

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Mystic Mince Pies, Hot Milk, and Traffic Jams…

Hot Milk and Mr Dickens

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the books are so delightful! Yep, we’ve had some snow today at Bookworm Central, lol! Some actual snow, as opposed to the usual attempt to snow in the UK. We have a kind of weather which I would describe as “Trying To Snow” which is when there’s a very minor flurry but nowt else, lol! However, at several times during the course of the day so far, it has been snowing. There has been some rain in between times so that has washed it away, but we have had snow. Not enough to build a snowman, not round here, unless you make a mini snowman on a garden wall or something.

Been a busy old week, and not over yet considering it is scheduled to be the Manchester Derby tomorrow at Old Trafford – snow permitting, of course! Anyway, I was at the match on Tuesday as United played CSKA Moscow in our final group game. Prior to the game, Dad came round for tea as we were going in his car, as has happened frequently this season. After our chilli con carne, we had some mince pies and squirty cream, and when Dad squirted cream on his pies, it looked like a 2 on one pie, and a 1 on the other, so he said that would be the score that night…

Not best pleased at half-time when we were trailing to a blatantly offside “goal” which should never have stood. Thankfully, in the second half, we turned things around in the space of three minutes midway through the half, with Romelu Lukaku equalising before Marcus Rashford put us ahead… and that reminded me of the pies and squirty cream, lol! 2-1 it remained, so when I got back in the car with Mum & Dad, the talk was of the Mystic Mince Pies, lol! Never mind your “Paul the Octopus” predicting winning sides in the World Cup, we had Mystic Mince Pies predicting the scoreline in United’s Champions League match!

So, we have won our group and we are through to the knockout stages, which start in mid-February. European football has a winter break, although we will find out on Monday who we have got in the first knockout round. As we have won our group, we will be away in the first leg, and at home in the second. It’s better that way, because if you don’t get a particularly good result in the first leg, you know you’ve got home advantage which can really help to turn things around in the second leg! Having said that, when we did the Treble in 1999, our quarter final and semi final ties against Inter Milan and Juventus saw United have the home leg first, and away leg second, and we still ended up winning the trophy!

Right, that’s the footy done, on to the books, lol!

Didn’t get any more of my book read in time for book club the next night, but I did get 70% read, so was mostly able to participate in the discussions, and I will finish it off – after all, I have just under a third left to read of The Good People. After our discussion, for which there were five of us, with Stephanie rejoining the fold as well as the four of us from last month – myself, Michelle, Nick and Diane, we discussed the next book and whether we should read something Christmassy, or deliberately un-Christmassy, and I said perhaps we should make it something reasonably short as we might not get a lot of time to get some reading in over the festive season! So, with a couple of us already owning a copy, we went for something fairly short and set in the summer, Hot Milk, by Deborah Levy. Our next meeting is on 10th January to give us a bit more time to read after Christmas and New Year!

Prior to the start of the book club, I met up with three of my colleagues from my days at Manchester DBC – June Padley, Anne Emmott, and Martin Biddles! It was great to be able to have a chat with them again and catch up a bit, also to be able to let them know I am working again at the moment. It was Martin’s birthday, so I guess that’s why they had met up. I said I’d seen one colleague fairly recently, Janice, as she volunteers at one of the charity shops here in Monton, and I am still in touch with quite a few people from my decade at Albert Bridge House on Facebook, and one or two on Instagram.

Right, anyway, I already had Hot Milk, as I said above, but I did buy myself something rather festive on the book front while I was at Waterstone’s, that being Mr Dickens and His Carol, by Samantha Silva. Something suitably seasonal, especially if our stupid weather insists on giving us the white stuff this year!

Chocs and books 2017

Thursday night, after work, Mum and I went off to the Lowry Centre on Salford Quays, as we had a voucher for Pizza Express, so we went in the shops first before we dined, and I stocked up on chocolate from the Cadbury’s shop, as you can see, lol, and a couple of cheap books from The Works, picking up The Snow Globe, by Sheila Roberts, and Hygge and Kisses, by Clara Christensen. Maybe not quite Christmassy as such, but certainly a plot which suggests cosiness, and that’s what many of us want at this time of year!

Then we come to yesterday, and the reason I ended up having to get a bus into Eccles today after my hairdo – I had to get my bus and tram pass, which was what I intended to do after work yesterday, and I got on a bus in decent enough time in Swinton, and headed on into town… except that when the bus actually got into Manchester, it was just bloody crawling along Bridge Street and taking an eternity! I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make it across town to the travel shop in Piccadilly Gardens before it closed at 6pm, so I was a bit pissed off to say the least! But, I was in town, so I thought I might as well do the other stuff, in other words get myself something to eat from the Christmas markets, and as I was on that side of town, and the shop was open for a while yet, I went in Waterstone’s.

Traffic jam compensation books December 2017

Yes, I know. But I was so damn annoyed at the traffic jam that I felt I needed some retail therapy, so off I went into my natural habitat, lol, and came out with three books – Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, by Sarah Knight, and Warcross, by Marie Lu. I have mentioned the “not giving a f**k” book before, I think. I already like to think that I give fewer “flying ones” than I used to, but I felt this book would be good anyway! It would be a vindication of my general reduction of f**k-giving, so to speak!

Most of the stuff on telly these days is hardly worth giving a f**k about, especially reality TV shows! Unless they’re about food. I like Masterchef, although I probably shouldn’t watch stuff like that. Cookery programmes make me hungry, lol! I remember watching Ken Hom’s Chinese Cookery late at night on BBC2 when I was a teenager in the late 80s, and that used to make me ridiculously hungry! I absolutely LOVE Chinese food! Always have done since I was very little!

I have half a mind to read Warcross and Ready Player One back-to-back as I feel the premise of both books is pretty similar, and Furiously Happy is a book I have seen on a lot of lists on List Challenges, and people have said, in reviews, that it’s very funny.

I was going to add that, if you want “very funny”, you should definitely read This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay, but I’ve been saying that already for a few blogs now, lol! Been saying it since about September or October! Another book I would recommend if you want a good laugh is Cheer Up Love: Adventures in Depression with the Crab of Hate, by Susan Calman. I came upon that one by chance – I just happened to notice it a year or so ago when it was out in hardback and was being promoted in the Arndale Centre branch of Waterstone’s…

One of those times when you start reading a book in a bookshop, and you just know you’re going to have to take it to the counter and buy it because it’s too good not to buy! I didn’t even know who the author was at the time, turns out she’s a Scottish comedienne, but the fact that it was at least a bit about depression interested me – I’ve had a few bouts of that over the years, so I have experience of how shite it is when you’re going through it, and the “Crab of Hate” part of the title amused me, so I picked a copy off the shelf and started reading… and started laughing! It is on my list of books which have made me laugh my arse off, so if you want a good giggle, give it a try!

(Shite is a technical term, by the way!)

I think that’s about it, although I did pick up a couple of cheap books at the Rotary Club shop in Eccles this afternoon as I was waiting for the travel shop to re-open after their lunch break, lol! I picked up Unholy Night, by Seth Grahame-Smith, and The Spy Who Came For Christmas, by David Morrell. Both sounded suitably seasonal. Seth Grahame-Smith is the same guy who did the Austen-reworking, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, lol! Anyway, until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
  • Mr Dickens and His Carol – Samantha Silva
  • The Snow Globe – Sheila Roberts
  • Hygge and Kisses – Clara Christensen
  • Furiously Happy – Jenny Lawson
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
  • Warcross – Marie Lu
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Cheer Up Love: Adventures in Depression With the Crab of Hate – Susan Calman
  • Unholy Night – Seth Grahame-Smith
  • The Spy Who Came For Christmas – David Morrell

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My Idea of Fun

Lee Sharpe - My Idea of Fun

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It definitely wins MY award for book of the year!

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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

Beach Huts, Angry Chefs, and Bargain Books!

Coffee cake and books August 2017

Coffee, cream cake, and bargain books…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to another blog entry as August is  upon us which means I’ve been blogging for seven years now! As I think I mentioned recently, I started this blog in August 2010, shortly after I had become an auntie! The other anniversary which will be coming up very soon, this coming week in fact, will be my 10th anniversary of joining Facebook!

Not that I use it much now, but I joined Twitter in early 2009, and I think I joined Instagram some time in either 2011 or 2012. I was certainly still working in Chorlton when I first joined Instagram, so it was definitely before the summer of 2012. I post photos of various things on there, but a lot of them are book-related, I am a regular Bookstagrammer, so if any of you wish to follow me, you can do so. I’m joannedj1973 on Instagram.

Before we go any further, congratulations to Sir Mo Farah, 10k World Champion 2017!

* does celebratory Mobot *

He seemed to do it the hard way, though. Mind you, I’m more than used to seeing United do that, lol! We still need another player, a fourth signing, before the transfer window closes on 31st August, so perhaps it’s time to do some more Gnome vs Book challenges to encourage Mr Woodward to get his arse in gear once again?!

I finished the beach hut bookmark on 2nd August, but the above two photos are from when I was in the process of stitching it. I got ideas from a mixture of charts and motifs. Did consider putting something between the writing and the waves, perhaps a small shell or a crab, or something, but decided not to in the end. I was particularly pleased with the waves. I adapted them from part of a design I found. The row of waves on the chart was slightly longer than what I needed, but I could fit 3 on my design, and they make a nice border at the bottom!

The hut itself was improvised, adding the life ring and panels in the door, plus seagulls above the hut. I chose my own colour scheme, too. Usually, when I “hit the hut”, I am off for a pizza, lol, but I had actually been to a beach hut, hence the theme of the bookmark and my decision to resume Veronica Henry‘s novel.

Hit the Hut 3

This photo featuring the finished bookmark and the corresponding novel, The Beach Hut, in which I am now using the bookmark, was put on Instagram, and has been liked by the author herself, Veronica Henry even commenting to say she liked the bookmark! Yay! I have also had likes and responses on Instagram from Keris Stainton, author of One Italian Summer, which I read and enjoyed recently. Authors liking my Bookstagram posts! Woo-hoo! Our Ellie has put in a request for The Beach Hut when I’ve finished reading it, although she’s still reading I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović at the moment. My mum has recently finished reading Red, Gary Neville‘s autobiography, which she had been borrowing from me, and had read outdoors in our garden during some recent nice weather!

The Beach Hut has now been resumed, with a current slight increase to 35%. I have started A Quiet Kind of Thunder, by Sara Barnard, which is at 16%, and has thus been added to the Ongoing Concerns list. I have also started Dark Fire, the second book in the Shardlake series by C. J. Sansom, but as I’ve yet to reach the 10% stage on that one, it will have to wait a little longer to join the list. It will be our book club meeting this coming Wednesday, 9th August, so if I like what we end up reading, that could become a temporary 7th OC, but this list is not going to get out of hand like it used to do.

I also have to remember not to neglect existing OCs. I still need to make progress with Periodic Tales, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Neither Here Nor There! I feel there is a particular need to get on with Me and Earl. Perhaps a major YA session is called for, with me focussing on the Jesse Andrews novel, along with making more progress with A Quiet Kind of Thunder.

With Book Club looming, I managed not to buy anything from Waterstone’s earlier, but I certainly made notes for future purchases! 5 YA novels and one non-fiction book caught my eye, the factual book being The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, which is about how so much “information” about foods and diets on the internet is a load of male bovine excrement! Some of the things which online quacks claim are good for us are either harmful or, at best, not doing us anywhere near as much good as their supporters make out! There is a review on the front of the book from Jay Rayner, whose book, The Ten (Food) Commandments, I read towards the end of last year when I could only manage non-fiction books after my epic Book Hangover which I suffered once I’d finished A Little Life! I might see if the rest of the book club can be convinced to give The Angry Chef a go – I’m pretty sure it’s been a while since we did some non-fiction.

I still intend to get around to resuming Manchester, England, by Dave Haslam, though. It is definitely on the agenda once a non-fiction book comes off the OC List! That has not changed.

Charity shop bargains August 2017

However, just because I didn’t buy anything at Waterstone’s does NOT mean I did not purchase any reading matter! On the contrary, I picked up these two bargains for 20p each from the bargain basket of the Salvation Army charity shop in Eccles! At only 20p, I thought I’d give The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, by Joël Dicker, a chance to join my TBR list at the very least, lol! The other book, Cross My Heart & Hope To Spy, by Ally Carter, is the second in the Gallagher Girls series about the spy school, so I was particularly chuffed to pick that one up for only 20p! Epic Win!

Well, I am off to attend to my reading matter, so that’s about all for now! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • Red – Gary Neville
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • The Ten (Food) Commandments – Jay Rayner
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair – Joël Dicker
  • Cross My Heart & Hope To Spy – Ally Carter

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Sticky Weather!

Sticky Weather June 2017

Avoid sunburn – Stay indoors and read!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

It’s sticky weather, as Peter Kay would put it! I do have to venture out tomorrow, as I’m volunteering at Start in Salford, as I currently do on Monday mornings, but I shall be taking precautions against this abnormally hot and sunny weather which my country is currently experiencing! Hopefully, though, there will be SOME chance to sit and read and avoid getting sunburned!

The weather’s reminding me of one of the newly-knighted Sir Billy Connolly’s stand-up routines, about holidays and sun cream…

“I’m a kind of pale blue. It takes me a week of sunbathing to get white! I go into a chemist’s… “I’ll have a bottle of suntan lotion, please! Factor 57.” They gave me an asbestos suit and a welder’s helmet!”

This might not be the longest of blogs, but you ought to know the news that Pet Shop Boys, Literally, is now finished! Yep! One more off the OC List. It’s been a bit quiet on the book front this month, I have only finished off one book so far in June, but perhaps it will pick up again later. As I go to see Neil & Chris in concert this coming Wednesday, it is a timely finish for the book about their first-ever tour back in 1989. I didn’t see them on that tour, but I did see them two years later, funnily enough in Blackpool, on the Performance Tour of 1991!

PSB Literally finished

I will be back at the Winter Gardens in midweek with my friend Sarah. She was there that night, too, but although we were penpals at the time, she and I didn’t meet up until the following year. My sister, Ellie, went with me the first time I saw the Pet Shop Boys, and also the first time I saw Erasure, in 1992 at the Manchester Apollo, but all the subsequent concerts where I’ve seen either of my two favourite synth duos have been with Sarah, and all the Erasure gigs I’ve seen with her have been at the Guild Hall in Preston. The PSB gigs have been at either the Arena or the Apollo, including the one in February this year at the Arena.

Obviously, after the bomb last month, the Arena is still out of use at the moment, being repaired, although it is hoped it will re-open soon. Although I was disappointed about the Maccy D’s closing, as it used to be very handy for a post-gig drink to cool us down, I still think it’s the best concert venue, certainly in terms of location. It is so handy for going into town and having something to eat first, then making your way over for the gig.

I will have to make a start on The Power, by Naomi Alderman, my book club book, but it’s not on the OC List as yet, so the list is down to 8 books at the moment. I’m still thinking that I should add a “chunky monkey” to that list, and due to a response from one of my friends on Instagram, my former colleague Jill, it’ll probably be The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett.

Goodreads challenge surpassed

You see, I’ve met my Goodreads Challenge, and I’ve learned from last year! I am NOT going to alter my challenge, I’m going to see how many more books I read beyond the 30 I’ve finished off thus far! So, I will not panic if I have a book hangover after a particularly epic novel, as I did last year when I finished A Little Life. I will probably stick to non-fiction until I feel ready to read a story again. 2016’s challenge was very handy in imparting some useful book-reading lessons!

  1. DON’T increase your target number of books! Just see how many books you read beyond that number when you hit your target.
  2. DON’T panic if you have a Book Hangover! Just read books which are different to the one which gave you the hangover.

I was having a Book Reshuffle earlier. That’s a bit like a Cabinet Reshuffle, except that it’s useful, lol! Actually, that means it’s nothing like a Cabinet Reshuffle, lol! Anyway, I was putting some books in the Book Chest in the garage and taking some out. I think there’s going to be another mini-clearout, might take a few and divvy them out between local charity shops.

I was mostly going into the Book Chest because one of the books I picked up at the church fair last week was Heartstone, by C. J. Sansom which is the 5th book in his Shardlake series of historical fiction, and I knew I had a few other books of his in my book chest, so I was essentially going for a shufty to re-familiarise myself with what the hell I had in there. I discovered that I have Dissolution and Dark Fire, which are the first two books of that series. Sovereign and Revelation are the third and fourth books, but I don’t have those, nor the 6th book, Lamentation. This is not a cause for concern, though. There’s time yet. I will list them in reading order on the List Challenges list, and at the end of this blog. I like series to be in the right order.

Other books I took out of the book chest to have close to hand were Humble Pie, Gordon Ramsay‘s autobiography, which sounds good, and Robbing The Bees, by Holley Bishop, which is described as a biography of honey. I have read books about tea, coffee and chocolate, so don’t be too surprised! Besides which, bees are very much in the news of late, as they’re a symbol of Manchester, so I thought I might add that to Manchester, England, by Dave Haslam in my Manc Reading theme. There are beehives in town, by the way… on the roof of Manchester Cathedral, and also on the roof of The Printworks.

This one’s not from my book chest, but from one of the tubs in my room… Fathomless Riches, by the Revd Richard Coles. Those of you who are my age and into 80s music will probably remember the UK’s best-selling single of 1986, which was “Don’t Leave Me This Way” by The Communards, a song which is still guaranteed to get me on the dance floor at a disco, even though I’m no dancer and will probably just dance around my handbag, lol! Well, Richard Coles was one half of The Communards, along with the rather more well-known Jimmy Somerville. Coles is a vicar now, has been for some time, and his book is about how he went from pop to pulpit!

Well, I need to go from blogging to freshening up, which is pretty tricky in sticky weather, so that’s about all there is for this entry. Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • The Power – Naomi Alderman
  • The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • Sovereign – C. J. Sansom
  • Revelation – C. J. Sansom
  • Heartstone – C. J. Sansom
  • Lamentation – C. J. Sansom
  • Humble Pie – Gordon Ramsay
  • Robbing the Bees – Holley Bishop
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • Fathomless Riches – The Revd Richard Coles

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