Category Archives: Charity Shop Bargains

A Sense of Completion

MUFC Europa League Winners 2017

Mission Accomplished: European Silverware and Goodreads Challenge…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome again to yet another blog from the most waffly bookworm in Manchester! As you can see from the blog title and the photo, there is a feeling of satisfaction and completion here. On Wednesday night, my lads delivered the goods in Stockholm, beating Ajax 2-0 in the Europa League Final to win the trophy for Manchester and complete the set of continental silverware! We have now won every trophy European football has ever had to offer at least once each! European Cup 3 times, the old European Cup-Winner’s Cup in 1991 and now the UEFA Cup (as the Europa League was known for donkey’s years) on Wednesday night in Sweden. Actually, it’s the first time we have ever kept a clean sheet in a continental final! Even in our other victories, the opposition had had a goal back, but not this time!

Yes, we’re still shocked and upset, but the best tribute to the 22 who died at the Arena on Monday night is that the show goes on… the sports, the entertainment… The athletics went ahead this evening on Deansgate and outside the Town Hall, and the Great Manchester Run goes ahead on Sunday. As it says at the end of the poem I posted in my last blog, this is Manchester, and the bees still buzz!

Anyway, on from sports to the matter of books, and United’s trophy collection isn’t the only thing being completed this month, as my Goodreads Challenge has also reached my target of 30 books! Yay! As I had mentioned after our last book club meeting, I never included our current book on the OC List. It was far too short! An overnight read as it turned out, and I finished The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman, by Denis Thériault, last weekend! This took me to 29 books for the year, and I finished Nul Points earlier today, Tim Moore‘s book of Eurovision losers, so that brings up the 30 books I had set as my target!

So, what to do next? My OC List is now down to 9 books at present, I’ve not added to it yet. It’s also a question of what to do next with the Goodreads Challenge side of it. Last year, I set the original target at 25. I met that around May or June of last year. Plenty of time to go, I thought, so I upped the target to 40, thinking another 15 books was perfectly sensible…

But then I read A Little Life. And then I had an Epic Book Hangover! Oops! For the rest of 2016, I did not feel up to reading ANY fiction at all! Nothing appealed to me. Nothing grabbed me. My final total for 2016 was 30 books, and that’s because I managed to read some non-fiction books for the rest of the year! I’d missed my target by 10 books, though, because I’d wasted a lot of time fretting about my inability to read any fiction.

However, I now know that if the same thing ever happens again, I can turn to my non-fiction reads, of which I have plenty I can be getting on with, so I am NOT going to let it bug me if I have Reader’s Block on the fiction front. It would only be a worry if I didn’t fancy reading anything at all! This has also happened in the past, so I am not going to bother upping my Goodreads Challenge total. I will leave it at 30 and see how many more books above and beyond my target number I can read by the end of 2017!

So, back to the Ongoing Concerns… Pet Shop Boys, Literally, now returns to the top spot, followed by Periodic Tales. The number of OCs is currently 9. Do I add to that, or get others off the list first before adding new ones? I really think some of the YA ones on there could do with reading! Perhaps get PSB off the list first, though. The book is at 62% and I am going to see them in Blackpool in June, so back to Chris Heath‘s account of their first proper tour back in 1989…

Just looking over at the OC pile, and the nine books consist of four non-fiction titles and five YA novels! My plan, from a previous blog, was to get the list to a balance of general fiction, non-fiction, and young adult. Three of each. So, next non-fiction to come off the list gets replaced by a general fiction title, and the next two YA books to come off the list are also replaced by general fiction, and we would get to that three of each stage. The others could be like for like replacements. So, let’s say I finish Pet Shop Boys, Literally next. That non-fiction is replaced by fiction. Next book after that is Periodic Tales, another non-fiction, but that could be replaced by another non-fiction, as we’d have got the non-fictions down to three. After that on the list are Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, followed by Finding Audrey, so those are the two YA titles which would be replaced by general fiction once those had been read, but then we’d have that balance.

So, the OC pile stays at nine. No more books are added. Next non-fiction, and next two YA novels are to be replaced by general fiction, and then we’re set.

For one of my next fiction ones, once I’ve finished with Pet Shop Boys, Literally, I have a few in mind. Obviously, Midnight Blue, a recent acquisition could be read, but then again, maybe it’s time I gave The Miniaturist a go? However, I did recently find I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb, at a charity shop in Salford for £2. Bearing in mind that it’s quite a chunky book, and the RRP was £9.99, that’s still quite some bargain, even if I have had much cheaper acquisitions from the local charity shops, of which we have many in Monton, Eccles and Salford! I still can’t see that book without thinking of the Spandau Ballet song, lol!

Anyway, that’s about it for now, and while we’re still on 26th May, 18 years on from the best night of my life in Barcelona in 1999, I wish all my fellow Reds a Happy St Ole’s Day! Until my next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman – Denis Thériault
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • Periodic Tales  – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • Midnight Blue – Simone van der Vlugt
  • The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
  • I Know This Much Is True – Wally Lamb

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Filed under Books, British Weather, Charity Shop Bargains, Football, Goodreads, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Reader's Block, Sports, The TBR Pile

Four Out of Five Ain’t Bad!

Missing books found Bookstagram pic

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

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

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

Missing books found 14 April 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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

A Tale of Two Copies

all the light we cannot see

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

It was a charity shop bargain. Only a quid. At that price, it’s worth it to risk it for a biscuit! I firmly believe I already have a copy, but it’s in the Missing Books List, as mentioned a few blogs ago, lol, and so All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr, also joins the notorious Duplicate Books List. That’s how some of my others on that list came to be on it… because I either thought I’d lost it or given it away to a charity shop, or that I had it but not in a place I could put my hands on it easily, so I went and bought a copy cheaply at one of the local charity shops around here, and then the original copy turns up eventually, and I have two of them… The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt, ended up on the Duplicate Books List in this manner!

So, having bought the Doerr novel, I was wondering where the original was, decided to make a certain part of my wardrobe unit accessible by shifting the stuff in front of it… I open the door and find out that Shakespeare, by Bill Bryson, now needs to join the Duplicate Books List! Aargh! And it’s not the only Bryson book of which I have two copies, either! I have two copies of The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, too! So, I think we now have n-n-n-n-nineteen books on the Duplicate Books List! Oh dear!

Yes, just checked. I have found my Word document from this time last year, when I listed my 17 duplicate books, so we do have 19 now, and they are as follows…

  • The Year of Reading Dangerously – Andy Miller
  • The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
  • The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne
  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan
  • Anita and Me – Meera Syal
  • Manual of the Warrior of Light – Paulo Coelho
  • The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell
  • The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid – Bill Bryson
  • The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt
  • The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith
  • The Rotters’ Club – Jonathan Coe
  • A Passage To India – E. M. Forster
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D. H. Lawrence
  • The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks
  • The Periodic Table – Primo Levi
  • A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  • All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
  • Shakespeare – Bill Bryson

Some were different editions with different covers, so I was completely unaware that I already had a copy – The Year of Reading Dangerously, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover definitely come into that category.  Saw them on offer, couldn’t resist, completely unaware of the fact that these very books were already amongst the reading matter in my room, and then I eventually discover that I have two copies of the same damn book… Oh bugger!

The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, was a half-read book from my student days, so I probably thought I’d given my first copy away to a book sale at work when Mum and I were moving house to our present address in 2006 and I had to have a major cull of my books. Thus I was VERY surprised to find that I still had my first copy!

Usually, at the end of my blog, I list the books I’ve mentioned in that blog, but I’m not going to do that with this one, as I’ve already listed them above. So, unless I mention any books which are not on the Duplicate Books List, you’ll have to refer to the list above. There might be one or two if I mention my Ongoing Concerns, but there’s unlikely to be a big list as I’ve already done that for this blog and I’m not bloody listing them all at the end as well! I’m no parrot- I’m not repeating myself!

Some blog news now, and a guy called Jack Faivish commented on my last blog, Tuesday Night’s Alright (For Reading), inviting me to contribute to his blog, tvandcity, which was very kind of him, although I suspect my televisual interests are very retro and I’m not really into much in terms of current telly! I’m not a fan of much stuff which is on the box these days – far too much rubbish which doesn’t appeal to me at all!

When I tend to mention telly, the only current stuff I usually bother with is Pointless, Masterchef, footy matches, occasional other sports (usually the Olympics and Winter Olympics when those are on), and music videos. Maybe a documentary every now and then if it’s something which interests me, such as volcanoes, but that’s not really a lot, is it? Besides which, I don’t watch soap operas, I don’t watch most reality tv shows, I don’t watch those serials from the States which are always being plugged on Channel 5, Sky One or Sky Atlantic… I really don’t follow anything like that, so I doubt I’d be of any use to a television blog unless they are into the old stuff from the 70s and 80s, when I was a kid, there weren’t many channels, but what was on them was much better than the crap we see today!

And today’s stuff is too dumbed-down for the most part. People called the television the “idiot box” when I was younger, but it really is in this day and age. At least when I was a kid, you had a lot more informative stuff on the box, particularly when BBC2 showed Open University programmes late at night and at weekends! My dad used to watch loads of those! Now, the OU is online, but they’re not on telly any more, adding to the sense that there’s little of any real value on the box. Then again, that means I’m not missing much by reading instead!

“I find television to be very educational. Every time someone switches on the set, I go in another room and read a book!” – Groucho Marx.

Right, anyway, back to books of which I only own ONE copy, at least as far as I’m aware, lol! An Equal Music now heads the Ongoing Concerns charts and completion level is now at 78% so it shouldn’t be too long before that particular “chunky” has been read. The number of OCs is currently 6, as Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, has been added to the list. I had a cursory read the other night, liked what I read, and decided that it should join the list. I must like nerdy lads in YA novels, lol, as I liked Colin Singleton in An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green, when I read that one last year, and Greg Gaines makes me lol for pretty similar reasons. I don’t think he’s quite as geeky as Colin, but he’s definitely a nerd, and that seems to amuse me.

The geek shall inherit the earth!

Well, maybe, maybe not, lol, but certainly the act of having a geeky character in a book seems to appeal to me. Audrey’s brother, Frank, in Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella, also makes me laugh, and he’s definitely a geek!

More books may well be added to the OC list fairly soon, but at the moment, we have six on there while I decide which of my countless unread or partially-read books should enjoy a larger share of my attention! I love YA, as you know, but I’m conscious of the fact I’ve already got a fair bit of that on my OC list – my current list of 6 is half YA at present, with Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Finding Audrey, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl representing that category of books! I had already compared books to food in recent blogs, saying you don’t want the same thing all the time, you want some variety. Just as much as you fill a plate with various bits and bobs from an eat as much as you like buffet, you need a balanced diet in general. Even if you love a certain meal, you wouldn’t have it every bloody day, would you? So, I need other books on my OC list, not just young adult novels with geeky lads in them, lol!

I still intend to start on Dumplin’ fairly soon, and the idea of reading through that “rainbow tower” of books still appeals to me, and that would start off with Stargirl, so that would be YA. I think I should finish at least Nick & Norah, though, before any more YA makes its way on to the OC list! Some general fiction, rather than YA, could go on my list, or perhaps some non-fiction. Another autobiography, perhaps? I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic is on my list at present, though, so maybe non-fiction which isn’t autobiographical, or at least less autobiographical. Perhaps some historical fiction, too. Those are usually amongst the “chunkies” of the book world, but there’ll certainly be space on my plate for a chunky novel once An Equal Music has been read. Perhaps I should give Gould’s Book of Fish a go, or even re-try The Luminaries?

Anyway, I’m off to close the wardrobe door and put things back where they were. Maybe the missing books I blogged about earlier this month are hiding out in another part of that unit? We don’t have time for that episode now, but it will probably crop up in a future blog! For the time being, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Non-duplicate books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
  • Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • Gould’s Book of Fish – Richard Flanagan
  • The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Duplicate Books List, Football, Humour, Literary Issues, Music, My Bookworm History, Olympic Games, Ongoing Concerns, Television, The TBR Pile, Volcanoes, YA Books

Joanne D-J and the Forty Bookworms

book-selfie-march-2017

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

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Books knocking around for a while

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

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

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

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

Book and bookmark rediscovered March 2017

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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

Educational Porpoises

Books that make you happy

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Don’t you think that above photo contains some much-needed advice?! I have lost count of the times I’ve had to rant about the unnecessary issues which seem to crop up all too often in the otherwise wonderful world of books! Therefore, I’m going to offer bits of advice and some random waffle here…

Firstly, the ONLY age restriction,when it comes to books, is for erotic novels! Such “mucky books” should only be read by those of us 18 years old or over! That, for me, is the only age restriction I would ever place on any book! If the content is of a sexual nature, it’s adults only. Otherwise, anything goes! Read above your age, read below your age. You could be 77 and reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, or you could be 7 and reading Pride and Prejudice. Whatever floats your boat!

Read books written by men, and read books written by women. If you only read one of those sets, you are missing out on some great books in the other set! Stop restricting yourself unnecessarily! It’s pointless and stupid!

The “Dead White Men” couldn’t help being white. Or male. And at least some of them may have been dead before their works finally got published! Some of them wrote some great books – don’t snub them just because you’ve heard some “right-on” person slagging them off! They didn’t choose their works to go on some literary canon or other, it wasn’t their decision, so don’t take it out on them! Try a bit of Dickens – I can recommend A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations.

PROPER diversity is about including everything, therefore in book terms, that means reading books by all sorts of authors INCLUDING some dead white men, it does not mean reading books by all sorts of authors except the DWM!

Read books by people from all around the world! Books give you the chance to “travel” when you have to stay where you are! Sometimes they can remind you of where you’ve been, or give you ideas of where you might want to go. Well, books set in real locations can, anyway. You might have a spot of bother doing this with fantasy fiction, as I’ve not yet discovered how any of us can get to Hogwarts, Narnia, Middle Earth or the Discworld! Sorry! You should still read some fantasy, though, but travel to those places is still only in our imaginations as yet. (A pity, ’cause I’d love to go to Hogwarts!)

Don’t over-analyse books and read loads of extra meanings into them! Yes, OK, you might have learned this skill at school, college or uni, and might have to apply it to certain books you are studying, but I can assure you there is NO need to apply it to any other books you’re NOT studying! I had to do it in my student days, but it’s not something I’ve bothered with since graduating! As I’ve said before, if an author describes a room as blue, it simply means the room was decorated in that colour scheme, it does not necessarily mean the author was going through a bout of depression when he or she wrote that book!

If you’ve ever read, or even heard of, A Farewell To Arms, by Ernest Hemingway, and wondered if there was such a book as A Farewell To Legs, I’m pleased to be able to tell you that such a novel does exist! It’s by Jeffrey Cohen, and it’s the second book in the Aaron Tucker mystery series. So now you know!

There’s NO shame in reading Young Adult novels when you’re an older adult! There’s some damn good stuff out there which is seen as YA – don’t be afraid to read it! Yes, even on buses, trams or trains! I was already in my late 20s when I started reading the Harry Potter series, and it was recommended to me by one of my colleagues at work.

There’s also NO shame in reading younger kids’ books, either! There’s loads of good books out there for youngsters, and you can’t beat a bit of Roald Dahl! I’ve recently read Esio Trot, one of my niece’s books.

Join a library and borrow books for free! Not just physical books, but you can also borrow audiobooks, too. You may even be able to borrow e-books which would then go on your device for a limited time, just as you would borrow a physical book from a library for a number of weeks, but you’d have to check with your local library.

Check out charity shops for cheap books! There are plenty of bargains to be had! It is still on my notorious TBR pile, but I bought The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, from a charity shop, for a mere £1. AND it was the hardback edition! Epic Win! Also, if you do need to make space for new books, donate old ones you’ve read, or are probably not going to get around to reading, to charity shops so they can offer them as bargains to other bookworms!

As the penguin in the photo advised, read books which interest YOU! The raved-about books might not float your boat, and I myself have had issues with some of the books which have won prizes in recent years! Don’t get me started on Booker Prize Winners, lol! If you read the blurb, and the book appeals to you, read it. It doesn’t matter how popular it is, if it means something to you, that’s all you need to care about! No need to give a shit about what anyone else thinks!

If a book ISN’T grabbing you, give it around 70 to 100 pages, and if it still hasn’t done anything for you, put it down and find another book. There is NO point wasting time persisting with something you’re not enjoying, so unless you have to read it for educational purposes, or even educational porpoises, try another book. You can always try that book again later, see if it’s any better on a 2nd or even 3rd attempt, but you don’t have to finish it! Giving up is NOT a negative thing! It is a positive thing because it shows you’ve had the common sense to stop wasting your time with something you’re not enjoying, and you’ve decided to try something else instead! One day, I might try The Luminaries again, which was a book I didn’t make much progress with the first time I tried a few years ago. I swapped my original copy for a copy of Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier, which I loved, but I have since bought another copy of the Eleanor Catton novel at a charity shop, so it might end up being given a second chance.

Educational porpoises

Are there such things as educational porpoises? Who knows?!

Read fiction and non-fiction. Find factual stuff which interests you, and read about that, as well as reading stories. As I’ve said in other blogs, when I’ve been off on a rant, the ONLY distinction we ever need to make when it comes to any book is whether it is fact or fiction we are reading! We do NOT need to worry nor care whether an author is male or female! There is absolutely NO need to budget for any flying f**ks on that front, as they do not need to be given!

If you’re learning another language, try finding a translation of a book you already know in your own language. When I was studying GCSE Spanish at evening classes in the late 90s, I bought myself a copy of Charlie y la fábrica de chocolate – I’m pretty sure you can work out which Roald Dahl book that is…

Poetry anthologies can be dipped in to. Even with a “favourite poet” you’ll like some poems more than others. I don’t think we are meant to “get” every single poem, we are to find the ones which resonate with us. So, even if you’ve only read one or two poems by that particular poet, I’d still tick off the anthology if it turns up on List Challenges! A couple of my faves are quite long poems – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Goblin Market, by Christina Rossetti. The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe, is pretty good too.

There’s no such thing as too many books! The most common problem amongst bookworms is having insufficient bookshelves! I definitely experience this problem, lol! I think it’s time I brought this entry to a close, as I think I have covered most issues! As long as it’s not spam, do feel free to comment on these blogs. I appreciate that a lot of people seem to enjoy them, some entries more than others, but if there’s anything you want to ask or say, please do! As I said, as long as no-one’s spamming, and people are asking relevant stuff, I don’t mind!

So, until I publish another long waffly post onto this blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books and poems mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  • Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  • A Farewell To Arms – Ernest Hemingway
  • A Farewell To Legs – Jeffrey Cohen
  • The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
  • Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
  • The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  • The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • Charlie y la Fábrica de Chocolate – Roald Dahl
  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – Samuel Taylor Coleridge (poem)
  • Goblin Market – Christina Rossetti (poem)
  • The Raven – Edgar Allan Poe (poem)

 

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Filed under Adult Fiction, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Foreign Languages, Handbag Books, Humour, Literary Issues, Rants, YA Books

The Bookworm On The Bus

bus-reader

The bookworm on the bus goes read, read, read… all day long!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

If there isn’t a verse of “The Wheels on the Bus” dedicated to bookworms on the bus, then there bloody well should be! That gentleman was reading on the 33 bus when I was on my way home from Eccles earlier this evening. The book he was reading was We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler, of which I also own a copy. Mine being a 99p charity shop bargain, actually, as it’s still got the price label on it, lol!

I imagine our bus bookworm had a rather longer commute than I did. As I am currently based at the West One retail park, near Eccles, I am not far from where I live, which is a good thing, but it doesn’t really present much of a reading opportunity for me unless the traffic is particularly shite and then I might get the chance to get one of my Handbag Books out and have a good read as the bus crawls its way along at the speed of an arthritic ant with some particularly heavy shopping, to paraphrase from Blackadder!

The book being read, the novel by Karen Joy Fowler, was from a few years ago now, when a lot of book covers seemed to be yellow and black! Not sure what the current trend is, but a yellow and black bandwagon was clearly being jumped upon by publishing houses some time around 2013 and 2014! I can understand why The Bees, by Laline Paull, had a yellow and black cover, that made perfect sense given the theme of the novel, but why did nearly every damn book which came out around that same time go for the same bloody bee-like colour scheme?!

We are now on 1st March, so Happy St David’s Day to any Welsh bookworms reading this blog, and I expect many kids up and down the UK are preparing for World Book Day at school tomorrow! My niece, Charlotte, is going as Verruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl. Charlotte is very much like me – a bookworm and a chocoholic, so it’s not too surprising she chose a character from that particular book.

The actual World Book Day, for most of the world, is 23rd April, St George’s Day here in England and in a few other countries and regions too – Catalonia in Spain springs to mind, and it is also my birthday. It is still World Book Night for anyone participating in that event, as I did back in 2012, when I gave out copies of The Book Thief at the Trafford Centre. However, the thing about 23rd April, from an academic year perspective, is that it often falls during the Easter holidays every few years, so in order to use World Book Day to promote literacy and a love of books in UK schools, they had to choose a time which would be term time every year, thus early March got the nod.

As I’ve said previously, I’m in several book groups on Facebook, and I have one of my own, which I started in April 2008, so we’re coming up to the ninth anniversary of the creation of I’d Spend All Day In Waterstone’s If I Could Get Away With It! on 14th April! I usually just refer to it as the Waterstone’s group for short! At the time I started that group, I was still a civil servant, and still working in town, not far from the massive Deansgate branch of Waterstone’s, which would explain why my flexi-time at work was often up shit creek without a paddle, lol! I didn’t really want to return to the office after lunch – I just wanted to stay in Waterstone’s all day and read books!

Two weeks to go to my next book club meeting, in which we will be discussing If I Could Tell You Just One Thing, by Richard Reed. As mentioned in a previous blog, it’s one of those which can be dipped into, as it’s various famous people giving bits of advice. Emma, who currently runs the book club, emailed the other day. She was apologising, rather unnecessarily, for having been ill when we last met up, and reminding us to bring suggestions for our next book. I have told her that I’m prepared to try most books with the obvious exceptions of horror, dystopia, and current affairs!

I’m not really all that crazy for thrillers, either, to be honest. Loads of other readers go mad for the latest thrillers – books such as Behind Closed Doors, by B. A. Paris, or The Girl On The Train, by Paula Hawkins, get raved about online, and people talk of long waiting lists to borrow those books from libraries, but I’d be the one calmly looking at other books and not caring that everyone else is in a queue! I will take a passing interest and make a mental note of its popularity, but I will leave it for other readers if it’s not my cup of tea. I don’t get put off by the popularity. Other books are popular too, and I might buy them if they appeal to me. After all, the Harry Potter series is hugely popular, and I love those books!

Ten years ago, while I was on holiday in Las Vegas, the final book of the main series came out, so Mum and I went to an event at the branch of Borders in a mall just off the Strip, and that’s where I got my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. So, popularity of book does NOT put me off! It just depends on the book! I’m a very random reader, though, and I guess I’m programmed differently to many other bookworms. I don’t really have a favourite author or genre. I just look at random books and see if the blurb makes me want to read them or not! And I know they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but there are some seriously good covers out there, and they DO attract readers! One of the best covers in recent times was the cover of Look Who’s Back, by Timur Vermes, and that was a brilliant book, too! Very funny.

So, I read a lot of different books to many people, but I still don’t hold with Haruki Murakami‘s line from Norwegian Wood

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”

Not necessarily, Murakami san! Sometimes you HAVE to read the same books as others, such as when you’re at school and your whole class is reading the same book. However, that does NOT mean you’re all going to feel the same way about that book! Some will love it, some will hate it, and others will just think it was OK but nowt special! I’ve had plenty of set books at school, college and university in my younger days, so I’ve been in plenty of classrooms with other people who were reading the same books as myself. I am fairly certain we all got different things out of those books!

I don’t recall disliking any, but there were a few which I have forgotten all about, lol, so they were clearly not resonating with me all that much to begin with. I may have skim-read those in a hurry for certain weeks of certain modules. I think my main complaint about any of the books would have been that some of them were dull, and those were usually the textbooks from literary criticism modules! Since I graduated, which was back in 1994, I have needed literary criticism about as much as I’ve needed A = pi r squared since I sat GCSE Maths in 1989! In other words, not at all, lol!

I don’t doubt that it is OCCASIONALLY useful to look deeper into a novel and work out if the author was telling us anything between the lines, but there is such a thing as overdoing it, and literature courses at degree level definitely overdo it! I think people read far too much into books, they look for all sorts of possible symbolism, but what if the author genuinely hadn’t given a shit about any of that nonsense?!

Maybe the curtains being blue had bugger all to do with depression, maybe the lady’s dress being green had bugger all to do with environmental issues, but you can bet your life that if some people are at a lecture at uni right now, reading some novel where there’s a lady in a green dress in a room with blue curtains, they’ll be over-analysing the author’s descriptions and reading stupid shit like that into the story!

Anyway, no need to read anything into the fact that I need a brew, other than the fact that I’m thirsty! So, I shall bring this to a close and go and make myself a cuppa! Until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler
  • The Bees – Laline Paull
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
  • The Book Thief  – Markus Zusak
  • If I Could Tell You Just One Thing – Richard Reed
  • Behind Closed Doors – B. A. Paris
  • The Girl On the Train – Paula Hawkins
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling
  • Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes
  • Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami

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Take a Chill Pill, Doris!

storm-doris-weather-map

I’d put your Big Coat on if I were you…

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

You’ll be pleased to learn that I am still here! Well, you should be pleased to learn that, lol, given that I had to put my Big Coat on and venture out to Eccles earlier today, braving all that Storm Doris could throw at me! Thankfully, she didn’t actually throw anything at me personally, but it was pretty damn windy and I saw at least one small tree which had been blown down. That Doris is bloody wild, and she needs to take a chill pill and sit down with a cuppa and a good book!

Actually, I’m the one sitting down with a mug of tea and a good book or two! Well, I’ve got my brew, and I’m at my computer, and I’m about to blog about books once I finish ranting about our “lovely” British weather! I know it’s February, but there really is NO need for it to be that bad! I imagine the Shipping Forecast is a bit wild today – I bet Charlie Connelly would be glad he’s not writing Attention All Shipping now and having to brave any waters around the UK, particularly here in the north-west! I predict the Irish Sea will be as rough as a badger’s arse – it is pretty damn rough at the best of times, I’ve had some infamous ferry crossings in my younger days, which I am in no hurry to repeat!

Something I WILL be repeating later this year is going to see the Pet Shop Boys! Not only did Sarah and I enjoy a fantastic gig at the Manchester Arena on Sunday night, but her birthday pressie to me (for my forthcoming 44th birthday in April) is a ticket to see Neil & Chris again on 21st June in Blackpool! She is still reading Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins, but will pass it on to me later this year once she has read it. Going back to Messrs Tennant and Lowe, I kinda gradually became a Pethead during the course of 1987, so by the end of this year, I will have been a PSB fan for 30 years! No, I can’t believe it, either! I can’t believe 1987 is so long ago!

Around the mid 80s, when I was 12 or 13, I really couldn’t give a toss who sung any particular record. I didn’t have a favourite band or singer, I just liked a lot of stuff in the charts and didn’t care who it was by. In the autumn of 1986, I absolutely adored “Suburbia”, but kept forgetting to tape it off the charts when I listened to the Top 40 on a Sunday evening, and I’d probably had to spend my pocket money on a birthday pressie for my dad, whose birthday is in September, so I guess I was skint, as per usual, lol, and thus couldn’t afford to pop to Play Inn, the record shop in Eccles, and buy the song on 7″ single.

The following summer, when “It’s A Sin” was number 1, my sister bought that record, and it was then that I discovered that it was that same duo who’d been responsible for “Suburbia” the previous year, so that’s probably when I started to become a fan, and so started the process which led to me being a Pethead, which I have now been for three decades!

Anyroad, back to the reading matter…

books-in-progress-feb-2017

Most of those are ongoing concerns, with the exception of The President’s Hat, by Antoine Laurain, which was a former book club choice from a few years ago, which actually came with its own detachable bookmark! It is a partially-read book which had been in one of my containers for a while, but I thought I would dig it out again and perhaps continue with it, maybe once I’d finished with Mr Hawks and his travels around the Emerald Isle with a domestic appliance in tow… I have fewer than 100 pages to go now in Round Ireland With a Fridge, so it may well be read before I head to Wembley on Sunday for the League Cup Final between Manchester United and Southampton. I’m on page 150 of 248, so, yes, not all that much more to read. Pretty decent bet that this will be the next book I finish this year, my 9th on the Goodreads Challenge for 2017!

As detailed the other day, I’m on page 44 of Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella, but I only acquired that one on Tuesday when I was visiting my dad in hospital. He’s had his double bypass operation today, by the way, and will be in intensive care for a few days, probably brought out of controlled coma over the weekend. Page 44 out of 280 is 16% of the book, though, so it’s a decent start!

I’m on page 177, the start of chapter 14, in I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 53% of the way through, so in footballing terms, we’d be talking early minutes of the second half, lol! Zlatan is coming to Wembley with me, as you’d imagine. I’m also hoping the man himself is going to score at Wembley during the course of the match!

Now we come on to our chunkier books in my list of ongoing concerns… An Equal Music, and The Saffron Trail. I am on page 222 of An Equal Music, part-way through part 4 of the Vikram Seth novel, 46% of that read, so probably time I got that to at least the halfway point! I’m on page 295 of The Saffron Trail, start of chapter 29, which is apparently 55% of the way through Rosanna Ley’s novel.

I keep thinking perhaps I should start The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, or perhaps The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton, but both are big hardbacks, so neither of them would ever be a Handbag Book! No way would either of them come to Wembley with me, for instance! The Night Circus was a charity shop bargain, as I think I said before, a mere quid from the British Heart Foundation shop in Salford, and The Miniaturist was a freebie from book club a few years ago, and is now signed by Jessie Burton, as I met her last year at Waterstone’s on Deansgate when she came to talk about The Muse, thus I bought that and had it signed, too, but her debut novel had been a freebie in my case!

I’m off to weigh up my options for what to read next, particularly once I’ve finished with Mr Hawks and his progress around Ireland with his fridge, lol, so until the next time I blog, take care, don’t get blown away by Doris, and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • The President’s Hat – Antoine Laurain
  • Round Ireland With A Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  • The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
  • The Muse – Jessie Burton

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