Category Archives: Charity Shop Bargains

Mission Accomplished!

Gallagher Girls Series

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Blogs are like buses, sometimes… You wait absolutely ages for one, and a couple come along at once! Not sure this is going to be the usual double-decker though, just one of those little buses, but we shall see…

It’s just that I have some quite big news on the book front for all of you who have read my blogs and know that I’ve been acquiring the Gallagher Girls series of YA novels about girls at a spy school over the past year or so, and have been doing so by getting them from local charity shops. In my previous blog the other night, I had managed to get my mitts on Book 4 from the Age UK shop on Monton Road, and just had Book 5 to get…

Well, I got it this afternoon from The A Word, a charity shop in Eccles in aid of an autism charity. There were a few books from the series, actually, but Out of Sight, Out of Time, by Ally Carter, was one of the Gallagher Girls books available in that shop, and only a quid, so my series is now complete and I have been able to do it by acquiring them from local charity shops, mostly in Monton and Eccles.

All part of a pretty good day, really. Started by getting certain things sorted for the end of the year – I have said I will be busy around new year, and so the List Challenges lists associated with my reading for the year, and the books I’ve mentioned on here during the course of 2019, may well be published before my unavailability. If I remember, lol, I will let you all know in January what that was all about!

Got my bus and tram pass, so that got sorted for another few weeks. Also had a little look at the Christmas markets that are based in Piccadilly Gardens. Manchester looking very festive! Bought some stroopwafels from one stall and some cheese from another – it’s actually charcoal cheese. Yes, it’s black, but do not let that put you off! It tastes like Mini Cheddars! UK readers will know what I mean! They’re made by Jacobs and they’re a savoury snack, diddy cracker-type things that are mildly cheesy and very pleasant! That’s for my Transatlantic friends – my best description of what Mini Cheddars are. If  you have any shops that import British food, you might be able to find them. Anyway, this particular cheese tastes like those do.

And then I got a tram back to Eccles and had a mooch round there, and found the Gallagher Girls book in that charity shop I was telling you about.

After returning home for a short while, it was time to head off to Tim Horton’s for tea – Mum and I do this at least once a month, although we hope to fit another visit in before the end of the year. It has been the Manchester Derby today, albeit across town at our neighbours’ ground, not at OT, but it clearly didn’t matter to our lads that they were the away side as we won 2-1! Yay! Jingle bells, Jingle bells, jingle all the way! Oh what fun it is to see United win away! City 1 United 2. Marcus Rashford from the penalty spot on 23 minutes and then Anthony Martial on 29 minutes. City got a goal back with 5 minutes to go, but we held on for the win.

From the last blog, in which I was talking about getting around to it, or even a round tuit, lol, I can now start on the Gallagher Girls series knowing that I’ve got all the books. However, I might draw up a shortlist, or longlist, of some books I feel I’ve had for ages, which could be priorities for the Getting A Round Tuit List…

English Passengers, by Matthew Kneale, would probably have to be quite high up on that list, as I have said on a few occasions that I have had that book for a while and not got round to it yet. Same goes for Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett, and Mister Pip, by Lloyd Jones. Another one I could add is Nocturnes, by Kazuo Ishiguro, which is a book of five short stories about music and nightfall. He’s Japanese, but has lived in the UK since he was 5. He is now 65, so that’s been quite a while now, lol!

I could even try to give The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, another go. I did try it some years ago, but didn’t get very far. However, I was having a bit of a book slump at the time, so I don’t know if it was that the book wasn’t right for me, or whether it was just that it was a bad time for me to try to read it.

Resuming C. J. Sansom‘s Shardlake series could be another thing for the Around Tuit list… I did read the first book, Dissolution, a year or so ago, but really need to get back to the series and start on Dark Fire. Especially as there are 7 books in that series and I have quite a way to go, lol! For the record, the others are Sovereign, Revelation, Heartstone, Lamentation, and Tombland. Quite a lot of reading material there, especially as it’s historical fiction and quite chunky! Tombland definitely looks like a chunky monkey of a book!

While we’re on chunky monkeys and historical fiction… Ken Follett! The Pillars of the Earth definitely needs to go on the A Round Tuit list!

Right, gonna break off and resume in a bit. Match of the Day is coming on soon, and the Manchester Derby is the first match on it, so once I’ve seen our 2-1 away victory over City, I shall resume this blog!

* goes off to the loo, then settles down in front of the telly for the footy… *

Right, back again! Telly is still on, but the derby has been on and I have watched our victory, so I am back at my laptop again! Before I went off to watch highlights of City 1 United 2, I was mentioning my A Round Tuit list of books I’ve had for some time and probably should get around to trying. One of those could be Norwegian Wood, by Haurki Murakami. I have definitely had that one knocking around here for donkey’s years.

Might be worth exploring under the laptop, actually, as there are several piles of books under Computer Corner! I think I’ve got Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt under there, and I have definitely had that one a long time without reading it yet, so I could add that to the list. Not arsed if it’s fiction or non-fiction, I’m investigating stuff that I’ve had around for quite a while, whatever form of published writing it takes… Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short stories, etc… If I see a book that I recognise as having been hanging around here for a substantial length of time, then it can go on the list!

Think of it as a branch of the TBR Pile, but perhaps a priority list for some of those which have waited patiently enough to be read, ha ha! Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts, definitely needs to be added to the list. Here I am finding more books for the A Round Tuit list, and the “small bus” blog starts to look a lot bigger! Got a few chunky monkey historical fiction novels by Edward Rutherfurd under Computer Corner, including New York and Dublin. Those have been around for some time! The Forest is there, too, but I read that some years ago for the former Waterstone’s book club. I also have Paris, and pretty sure I have Russka, too.

I think that’s probably about it for now, or I might start waffling on about more historical fiction novels. I can save those for the next blog, lol! Trust me, there are more, and most of them are pretty damn chunky! I’ve got 153 books on the list of things I’ve mentioned on here this year. Yeah, that’s not a lot compared to past years, but given that I only started reading and blogging again in April after a book slump and the early months of my bereavement, it’s not too shabby. There will be 4 pages of books as things stand. Each page on List Challenges has 40 books. Might get it to a 5th page, providing I break the 160 book barrier! Not unfeasible given what I’m like when I get going and find books to mention on here!

If I can’t get around to blogging before Christmas, I wish you all the very best for the season, and I hope to be in touch between Christmas and New Year to get a few more books mentioned and review stuff from the year from the books I have managed to read. It’s been the year of the Object Lessons, really! Still got plenty more of those lined up so I hope to get through some of them in 2020.

Until the next blog, have a very Merry Christmas and I hope you get plenty of books, or at least gift cards for book shops!

Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Out of Sight, Out of Time – Ally Carter
  • English Passengers – Matthew Kneale
  • Bel Canto – Ann Patchett
  • Mister Pip – Lloyd Jones
  • Nocturnes – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
  • 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
  • Tombland – C. J. Sansom
  • The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  • Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami
  • Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
  • Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
  • New York – Edward Rutherfurd
  • Dublin – Edward Rutherfurd
  • The Forest – Edward Rutherfurd
  • Paris – Edward Rutherfurd
  • Russka – Edward Rutherfurd

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Filed under A Round Tuit!, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Chunky Monkeys, Computer Corner, Food & Drink, Football, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Poetry, The TBR Pile, YA Books

Getting A Round Tuit…

A Round Tuit

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Back again, and a bit of catching up to do as I’ve not blogged for a bit. Meant to, but didn’t get around to it, or even a round tuit, lol! I do hope I will get at least another blog in before the end of the year, although I’m pretty busy around new year, so the usual List Challenges lists that relate to this blog and to what I’ve read this year might have to be published either just before new year or in early January. So, I’m sitting at my laptop, listening to Absolute 80s, and United are winning 2-1 against Spurs, both our goals by Marcus Rashford, and I’ve got some updating to do on the book front…

Think the last blog was August or September? I had been to Power Up at the Museum of Science and Industry in town, had some ear discomfort, a bit of vertigo and dizziness, and then a touch of the notorious Badger’s Arse with a stupid cold.

Don’t think I’d been to the Lakes at that point, no I hadn’t. So that’s the next bit, around mid September around the time of what would have been Dad’s birthday, when Mum and I had a short break in the Lake District, and also stopped off at a couple of other places on the way back on the Tuesday, so we covered Bowness, Brockholes and Blackpool in one day!

As you can imagine, I purchased a few books during this break, and I have read one of them! It was one of the books I bought at Waterstone’s in Blackpool, and it seemed apt given that the seaside town has three piers… the book was Pier Review, by Jon Bounds and Danny Smith, and it is their account of their road trip around the coast of England and Wales to visit all the piers! They’re from Birmingham, about as far from any seaside resort as you can get in mainland Britain, lol, and they rope in this friend, Midge, to do the driving, only this means they have to get round the country within a fortnight because Midge needs to be back in Brum in time to get his arse to the job centre and sign on!

In October, my friend Sarah and I went to the Royal Northern College of Music in town for an event which was part of the Manchester Literary Festival. Prior to this, I hadn’t actually been to the RNCM for donkey’s years – not since I was at high school, doing GCSE Music, and me and Dad went to a big band concert at the college. However, the reason Sarah and I were at the RNCM in October was because one half of our favourite duo was talking about the literary influences on his lyrics! Yep, Neil Tennant, the singing half of the Pet Shop Boys, was in town, so Sarah and I were there to see him, and the ticket price included a copy of his book, which was published late last year, One Hundred Lyrics and a Poem. For the purposes of this blog and literature, I am classing that book as a poetry book anyway, as song lyrics are essentially poems with music added!

Of course, there has been a lot of PSB news since the autumn. First, they announced the greatest hits tour, Dreamworld, and Sarah and I will be off to the Arena in May 2020 to see Neil and Chris once again! Also, there was a new album announcement. At that time, the title wasn’t revealed, just the first single, Dreamland, and recently Burning the Heather has been released, but they have since revealed that the album title will be Hotspot, another one-word title to the surprise of absolutely nobody who knows anything about Pet Shop Boys albums, lol! I don’t think it was intentional at first, but after about 3 or 4 albums, when either Actually or Introspective came out, I think someone mentioned it to Neil and Chris, and it has been a tradition ever since! Hotspot will be released in January.

You may recall that, back in the summer, I had an optical emergency, and needed new specs, which resulted in me having two new pairs of glasses, distance and reading. At that time, I started on the Object Lessons book, Eye Chart, by William Germano. I have now finished this book, meaning I have read 6 Object Lessons books this year. In total, I have managed 18 books this year with 4 weeks remaining of 2019. Considering that I didn’t start on the books until April, that’s not too bad.

For anyone interested in the Gallagher Girls series, by Ally Carter, about the spy school, and my ongoing challenge to get the series via charity shops, I have now got the fourth book, Only the Good Spy Young, which I found at the Age UK shop on Monton Road recently, so I only need the 5th book now to complete the set, as I own books 1 to 4 and also book 6. I plan to read the series once I have them all, although I probably could start sooner.

9th November marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. At that time, as a 16 year old at sixth form college, it took us all by surprise, although I since learned that a lot of stuff was going on in the Eastern Bloc which kinda led to the events in Berlin in 1989, events which actually started in Hungary in 1988 when their head honcho realised that their economy was stagnating and he went off to see Gorbachev in Moscow. He was a bit concerned about Soviet history of sending the tanks in, but he needn’t have worried this time. The Soviet premier knew the same stuff was happening in the USSR and things would need to change soon, so he wasn’t going to send the tanks in to Budapest if Hungary wanted to go all Western and open their borders up. I have made a start on The Berlin Wall, by Frederick Taylor, but that might be an Ongoing Concern for some time, lol, as it’s a bit of a chunky hardback and not really a book I want to lug around with me.

While we’re on the subject of the 30th anniversary of the end of the Iron Curtain, I really could do with finishing 1989: The Year That Changed the World, by Michael Meyer. I started that book quite some time ago, but really need to resume and finish it! I still can’t believe the 1980s are so long ago now! Mind you, even the 1990s are a while back. This year marked 25 years since I graduated from university in 1994! In May this year, it was 20 years since United won the Treble when Ole put the ball in the Germans’ net on 26th May 1999!

Funnily enough, United have won 2-1 this evening, as well, although against Tottenham Hotspur, not Bayern Munich! Marcus Rashford got both our goals this evening. Ole’s our manager these days, but did score another against Bayern when we had the Treble Anniversary match in May and stuffed Bayern’s old boys 5-0 at Old Trafford twenty years to the day that he made history in the Nou Camp.

On the Ongoing Concerns front, one hardback I am taking around with me is Me, by Sir Elton John, his autobiography. Very enjoyable and quite funny. Need to get on with it, my sister has put in a request to read it when I’ve finished with it! I could go on to Face It, by Debbie Harry, which I got at the same time as Sir Elton John’s book. They were on offer at Asda in Swinton not long ago.

I picked up something of an interesting book at Waterstone’s the other week, the premise of which sounded like a good laugh. The book is Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente, and it sounds as though someone has combined The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, with the Eurovision Song Contest, which has resulted in a pan-galactic version of Eurovision with it’s dodgy songs and biased voting, and set it, musically, in the 70s glam rock era! Showing my age here, lol, but glam rock was in when I was a baby! Slade and Wizzard were doing battle for the Christmas number 1 spot back in 1973. So many of the best Christmas records came out in the 70s and 80s, actually! One or two before or since, but the vast majority of classic festive records for this time of year came out during the 70s and 80s! My all-time fave Christmas song came out 32 years ago in 1987, and is the legendary Fairytale of New York by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl.

Absolute 80s currently playing Don’t Leave Me This Way by The Communards, one of my all-time favourite songs! Not much of a dancer, lol, but this one is practically guaranteed to get me up on the dancefloor at a disco! Number 1 and best-selling single of 1986, pop pickers!

I started out this blog with the Round Tuit, and perhaps I should make that some kind of theme on this blog when I get around to any book that I have had knocking around for some time! There are quite a few that I have had for absolutely ages and not read, so we shall start a new category… the “A Round Tuit” book list for books I’ve eventually got around to reading! Some of them might be half-read books that I get around to resuming and finishing off. Perhaps Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, by Louis de Bernières, for instance.

Busy with the steel band tomorrow night and Wednesday next week, then my team’s Christmas meal next Thursday, so we will finish work early and head off to eat. I will also have to get some more Christmas shopping in and do some pressie-wrapping while wearing my United Santa hat and listening to festive songs, so I may or may not get a blog in before Christmas, but I hope I will get one in between Christmas and New Year. I will probably stick to not bothering with the Goodreads Challenge. I think challenges like that skew reading habits. You feel like you need to read a lot of short books so that you can get as many in as you can during the year, and therefore it discourages the reading of chunky monkeys. If you stop giving a toss, it’s very freeing, as it says in those books I’ve read about not giving a f**k! You’re not skimming, you’re not sticking to short books, you are taking your time and savouring what you read, and if you read an epic novel or two, and it takes you a while to get through them, so what?!

Maybe one day, I will go back to that, but I rather like not giving a shit about targets! Reading should be about pleasure and enjoyment. Even when I read non-fiction, it’s still for pleasure, I read factual stuff I’m interested in and most of my reading in 2019 has been factual. I did my fair whack of having to read books by a certain time when I was a student and what happened back in those days was that I was left, after graduation, with quite a few books I can’t really remember! I can certainly remember some of those I did read in their entirety, such as The Magic Toyshop, by Angela Carter, Death In Venice, by Thomas Mann, and The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins-Gilman, but some of the others, particularly the classics and chunky novels, I have a hard time remembering anything about the plots because I had to skim-read! Even though this one wasn’t particularly chunky, I just cannot remember anything about the plot of Surfacing, by Margaret Atwood! Sorry, Margaret! It was on one of my literature modules for my degree, but I can only remember the title and author.

I’d better get this finished as Match of the Day is coming on soon! In case I don’t get another blog in this side of 25th December, I will finish by wishing all my followers a very Merry Christmas and hope you get lots of books, or at least bookstore gift cards!

Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Pier Review – Jon Bounds and Danny Smith
  • One Hundred Lyrics and a Poem – Neil Tennant
  • Eye Chart – William Germano
  • Only the Good Spy Young – Ally Carter
  • The Berlin Wall – Frederick Taylor
  • 1989: The Year That Changed the World – Michael Meyer
  • Me – Sir Elton John
  • Face It – Debbie Harry
  • Space Opera – Catherynne M. Valente
  • The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernières
  • The Magic Toyshop – Angela Carter
  • Death In Venice – Thomas Mann
  • The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins-Gilman
  • Surfacing – Margaret Atwood

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Filed under A Round Tuit!, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Chunky Monkeys, Football, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Object Lessons, Ongoing Concerns, Poetry, Science Fiction, Sports, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

The Unwelcome Return of Brock’s Posterior.

do i need more books pie chart

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Or rather, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough… ad infinitum… Seriously, it is doing my head in! This current lurgy has been lurking since around 14th-15th August or so, when I had what I can only describe as dizziness before getting some zeds. I still felt a bit dodgy at work on the Thursday, so I rang up our medical centre while I was in the office and I got an appointment for that, which was in Eccles on the Saturday morning before I returned to the Museum of Science and Industry to actually go to the Power Up event, and the doc looked in my ears and said what I’d had was likely to have been vertigo as I had described feeling as though I was turning even when I was laying still. He gave me a prescription to sort that out. However, he didn’t find any infection, but I was coming down with a sore throat that day. Still had a nice time at MOSI, although would have been nicer if the Badger’s Arse wasn’t upon me!

Full marks, though, to my local medical centre who found me the appointment at the Gateway on the Saturday. I didn’t even know they could do that before they found that appointment for me, but I was pretty impressed! It was still fairly local and it was convenient.

So glad that this is a Bank Holiday weekend, and that we have that extra day off tomorrow! I was off on Monday just gone, too full of a cold to be in work, and then for the rest of the week, I’ve definitely been under the weather. Sometimes it’s been because I’ve not been able to get enough sleep at night due to the damn coughing. My catarrh has been worse than ever, too! Seriously, my ears and nose hate me! I can see why the Spanish word for a cold is el catarro. I feel like I need a lifetime’s supply of catarrh pastilles from Boots! So, a bit of reading has been done, but not much. I’ve not had too much problem with watery eyes, as such, but I’ve needed to catch up on lost zeds at times due to the coughing. However, a little progress has been made on the book front.

I’ve got two non-fiction books on the go. Still reading Eye Chart, from the Object Lessons series, and I have resumed Made In Scotland, by Sir Billy Connolly, as the TV programmes were on last weekend, and that reminded me that I had the book and should get on with it.

Still dithering over the fiction. Perhaps I should get at least one of my non-fiction books off my Ongoing Concerns list first before I start a fiction book? I know that has never stopped me before, but I feel the need to build back up since my recent book slump last year and my bereavement in January.

In recent blogs, I’ve mentioned that I’ve now got to the stage where I need reading glasses and distance glasses. I can tell you one advantage right now when it comes to my reading glasses… I don’t need a magnifying glass any more to read the digits at the bottom of my Tim Horton’s receipt! I always do the online survey for Timmie’s so I can get a free baked good, but the code at the bottom is quite small, and I’ve had to get a magnifier out in the past. No need for that now! The Canadian coffee and donut chain opened up branches in the UK starting in late 2017, and opened one in Salford just before Christmas that year, so Mum and I have been making it a regular thing. We usually go at least once a month. We first had Timmie’s ten years ago when we went to Canada, and had been wanting branches over here ever since! I have probably mentioned this in previous blogs, but thought I’d bring it up again as I can now read the codes on my receipts with my new specs!

Anyway, let’s get on with the damn books… that’s what we’re really here for, isn’t it?! Couple of items of reading matter were acquired last Saturday when I was in town. Well, I had a sore throat, it was the start of the Badger’s Arse, I needed some retail therapy, didn’t I?! I acquired Thanks a Lot, Mr Kibblewhite, by Roger Daltrey, and Wish You Were Here, by Mike Gayle, from W H Smith’s. Actually, that latter one could be listed in the Books With the Same Name as Song Titles list, as Wish You Were Here is an old song by Pink Floyd. It was also the name of a TV travel show that was on telly when I was a kid, presented by Judith Chalmers!

Having just looked it up, it ran from January 1974 when it was first shown on British television, back when I was still a baby, and the last programme was broadcast in June 2003, by which time I was 30, so it lasted around 29 and a half years! I guess the fact that people can now book their jollies on the internet and look at hotels and holiday resorts on their computer meant that there wasn’t the need to have TV shows about holidays (vacations) anymore.

I may have mentioned a series by Ally Carter in previous blogs, the Gallagher Girls series about a spy school. Managed to get another of the books in that series, the third one, from a charity shop in Swinton after work the other day, so I have got the first three now, and also the sixth one. I already had I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You, which I have actually started some time ago, need to resume that one, and the second book is Cross My Heart & Hope to Spy. I got hold of Don’t Judge a Girl By Her Cover the other day, so I’m just missing books 4 and 5, Only the Good Spy Young, and Out of Sight, Out of Time. The sixth book is United We Spy, but I have that one. My aim has been to get them from charity shops. I could easily get them from a regular book shop, but not only is it more fun to look out for them when they’re not in actual book shops, it’s a lot cheaper when I do find them, and helps whatever good cause that shop raises money for.

Couple of other recent charity shop finds, these two both hardbacks, were Life, by Keith Richards, and Past-It Notes, by Maureen Lipman. Somewhere, I have another of her books, You Got an Ology? which is from when she starred as Beattie in a series of brilliant commercials for British Telecom. The book contains the scripts from the adverts, and also some background stuff on the making of the ads! I really hope I can find it, as it’s a brilliant book and very funny, especially for those of us who remember those adverts!

There has been an extension to the time for reading A Taste of Honey. Due to the fact it’s the school holidays at the moment over here, it’s the time when a lot of staff are off if they have kids, and they’re going away, so the staff book club at work has cancelled the August meeting and put back the discussion on Shelagh Delaney‘s play until late September. I still need to see if I can find it on YouTube, an entire performance. I think it’s best with a play, as I’ve said before, if you can see it performed. That’s the whole point. What you are reading is a script. It needs to be acted out.

* goes to get a catarrh pastille *

Right, sorry about that, Bookworms. Back again now. Got the fan on as well, as the damn heatwave has returned. The stupid catarrh is still here. Wish that would bugger off.

As you will notice from this blog, a few of my recent purchases have been autobiographies. Perhaps I could have a phase of getting those read. I do have a lot lying around. Various ones. Mostly either sports people or musicians! From where I am sitting, I can see Between the Lines, by Michael Carrick. Still need to get that read. Might as well do the autobiographies while I’m still very much in non-fiction mode, as well as the Object Lessons books, and any other factual reading matter. Could also resume Chapter and Verse, by Bernard Sumner. I wouldn’t rule out biographies, either, and I have This Is a Call, by Paul Brannigan, which is a biography of Dave Grohl.

this is illogical captain

As I’m still very much in non-fiction mode, another book I bought recently, which I may start soon, is The Art of Logic, by Eugenia Cheng. It would be illogical not to! Why am I thinking about Mr Spock from Star Trek?! I am a fairly logical person, particularly to the extent that I like logic puzzles and sudoku, but the problem with being logical is that too many other people are definitely NOT logical, lol!

Anyway, the list on List Challenges is now at 124 books. This means we have gone on to a 4th page when the book list gets published. I think you are probably like me, and if you go on List Challenges for the book lists, you like nice long ones that are several pages long so you can go through hundreds or even a thousand or so books, and see which ones you’ve read, so this year’s list will probably be a bit disappointing, as it will be on the small side, but it is getting a bit bigger, lol! I tend not to bother at all with the really small lists. The minimum number of items is 10 and I rarely bother with those. The more books there are, and the more random and varied the selection, the more chance there is that I might have read some of them.

If there’s only ten books, that reader might have picked ten that I’ve never read! Also, if they only read certain genres, they might not be my cup of tea. I might have read some of them if it’s fantasy or science fiction, but I’m unlikely to have read any, or many, if it’s crime or romance. If it’s pretty random, and it’s a mix of fact and fiction, and if there are any particularly funny books in the list, there’s a better chance that I’ve read a few! Travel writing is a decent bet as a genre, I will probably have read a few of those, especially if any are by Bill Bryson as I’ve read a few of his books. Plus, that’s non-fiction anyway!

Right, well, time I got this blog posted, really, so we’ll leave it there for now. We can resume again another time, when there’s more books to mention, and hopefully the Badger’s Arse from Hell has buggered off and stopped troubling me! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Eye Chart – William Germano
  • Made In Scotland – Sir Billy Connolly
  • Thanks a Lot Mr Kibblewhite – Roger Daltrey
  • Wish You Were Here – Mike Gayle
  • I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You – Ally Carter
  • Cross My Heart & Hope To Spy – Ally Carter
  • Don’t Judge a Girl By Her Cover – Ally Carter
  • Only the Good Spy Young – Ally Carter
  • Out of Sight, Out of Time – Ally Carter
  • United We Spy – Ally Carter
  • Life – Keith Richards
  • Past-It Notes – Maureen Lipman
  • You Got an Ology? – Maureen Lipman
  • A Taste of Honey – Shelagh Delaney
  • Between the Lines – Michael Carrick
  • Chapter and Verse – Bernard Sumner
  • This Is a Call – Paul Brannigan
  • The Art of Logic – Eugenia Cheng

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A Right Spectacle…

Eye Chart Object Lessons book

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Doctor, doctor, I think I need glasses.

You’re dead right, mate! This is a fish and chip shop!

Excuse the bad joke, but it seemed apt, as I need new specs! OK, in my case, I already wear them, and I know to head to an optician’s rather than a chippy, lol, but it all started in the wee small hours, just after midnight, when I had an optical emergency – the left arm came off my glasses! There is no such thing as a good time for your specs to break, but there are some seriously inconvenient times, such as weekends, bank holidays, and stupid o’clock in the morning! I also had a lens fall out of my specs once, when I was at high school, and I was in an English lesson at the time, doing a reading comprehension exercise, so that wasn’t the best time for my specs to be knackered, was it?!

(Weekends aren’t too bad now, as there are places I could go to on Sundays if the breakage were to occur during opening hours. Just that it didn’t. It was silly o’clock.)

The other thing is, that specs were easier to fix back in the day. Dunno how they make them now, but you can’t seem to screw them back together anymore, not certain pairs, anyway, so if an arm breaks off, that’s it, you’re buggered and you need new specs. I don’t have a spare pair. Mum superglued the arm back on, and they are wearable, but I had to phone up my manager and get the day off work so I could go to the optician’s and get this sorted out. She wears specs, too, so I knew she’d be fine about this.

So, the upshot of all this is that your Chief Bookworm has now reached that stage of her life where she needs two pairs of glasses, one for reading and one for distance. Another sign that I am officially middle-aged, I guess! It’ll be brochures for Saga Holidays next, lol! Actually, it probably will, but not for a few more years yet, as you have to be 50 for that! That and the Sun Life guaranteed over 50s plan, ha ha! From 2023, I will have all that kind of spam and junk mail to look forward to, won’t I?!

Anyway, I get to collect my new specs on 9th August, and will be going for them after work, so I just have to put up with these ones, with their non-folding arm, for a week and a bit, and then it’s off to Boots in the Trafford Centre again to pick up my new glasses!

In terms of reading matter, I am still on for Sock, from the Object Lessons books, so no change there, but today’s optical drama has determined my next OL book for when I have finished reading about footwear. I felt that there was really only one relevant book I could choose next… Eye Chart, by William Germano. Could it really have been any other book? Unless there actually is one about specs, but I don’t recall seeing one about glasses, or I would have bought it by now if I had done.

There has been a book on my desk at work for some time. Well, not on my desk, but in a document holder on my desk, and I am not even sure how it got there. Did I pick it out of the book box? Did I put it in the book box in the first place, but then put it on my desk? Or did someone else use my desk and leave it there? Perhaps it was put there while I was off work quite a bit earlier this year due to bereavement? I was off during January, parts of February, and pretty much all of March as I initially went back too soon, and needed to go off again as I wasn’t ready mentally after Dad died. So, quite feasibly, someone could have been using my desk for a bit while I was on sick leave, and picked the book up and put it on the desk meaning to read it… The book is The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, by Joël Dicker. Bit of a chunky one. Does sound interesting, but I’m not sure I’m ready for fiction yet, and, as I said last time, I think I might attempt a return to fiction with some comedy.

As I said in the last blog, I returned to the staff book club at work last week, and we are going to be reading A Taste of Honey, by Shelagh Delaney, but prior to that, the book had been Where My Heart Used to Beat, by Sebastian Faulks. I didn’t get around to reading it, but did manage to get a copy. In fact, I think I got it at the St Thomas’ Church Summer Fair at the end of June when Mum and I were also running a stall. I got quite a few books from the book stall on that fair, about half a dozen, lol! In terms of this blog, I class church fairs in the same category as charity shop bargains, as the books are cheap and sold for a good cause.

One of the other books I bought at that fair in June was Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope, which also has the distinction of being the title of a song by the Pet Shop Boys from their 1992 album, Very. I do recall this being mentioned at the time of the song’s release. Not sure whether the book is any good or not, but I got it quite cheaply, so if I try it and it’s not my cup of tea, I’ve not wasted much dosh.

Marcus Rashford Funko Pop

This is definitely my cup of tea – a Marcus Rashford Funko Pop! Got it earlier today from the Hallowed Ground. We went there as well as the Trafford Centre, as United had asked Mum to prove she’s over 65, even though she’s been over 65 for five years now as she’s just turned 70! So, after we’d been to the ticket office so that they could see that Mum is definitely eligible for her concessionary-price season ticket, we went into the shop, and I found the Funkos. The only issue was that the others they had were Romelu Lukaku who certainly seems to be on his way out, and Alexis Sanchez, and I imagine that he will probably leave too! In the collection of Funkos, the others for United are David de Gea, and Paul Pogba, but those weren’t available. I’d definitely consider buying a DDG Funko, but I don’t know if Pog is staying or going. If they were to make a Juan Mata Funko, I’d buy that, but they haven’t got one of the Special Juan. A glaring omission, if you ask me!

They should do some United old boys as Funkos – especially King Eric with his upturned collar! A Cantona Funko would be awesome! Perhaps even a Fergie Funko, with Sir Alex looking at his watch, lol! Perhaps Teddy and Ole Funkos, as a set, with the Treble trophies… sorry, just getting carried away with United players I’d like to see as Funko Pops!

Back to books now, and I mentioned earlier this year, in my blogs, that I had a book about the Rhine. Which I do. It is The Rhine, by Ben Coates. However, when it comes to European waterways, I actually have THREE books about the Danube! Not kidding, either! If I ever go on a river cruise on the Danube, I will definitely have to read those if I haven’t done so by then. I have Danube, by Claudio Magris, The Danube, by Nick Thorpe, and Danubia, by Simon Winder! I also own Germania, by Simon Winder, and I’ve not read that yet! It is described as “a personal history of Germans ancient and modern” – should be a good read when I eventually get around to it, lol!

See? I told you I was random, didn’t I?! Every now and then, when I realise I’ve acquired a few more followers for this blog, I welcome them to Joanne’s Bookshelf, but warn them that I do tend to waffle on, and go off at tangents, and I also warn them that I witter on about some of the most random books that anyone is ever likely to mention in a blog!

I have been blogging for nearly 9 years now, I started this book blog in August 2010, not long after I had become an auntie to Charlotte. Junior Bookworm has just turned 9 and is still very much an ardent reader. In that time, since my niece arrived in this world, I have blogged about pretty much most literature on here… Novels, novellas, short stories, poetry, plays, literary theory (usually about how boring those particular modules were when I was a student, lol), plenty of subject matters for non-fiction, and plenty of genres for fiction… I have covered everything from books suitable for babies and toddlers right up to books only suitable for adult readers, everything from The Very Hungry Caterpillar through to Venus In Furs, if you like!

Occasionally, I have had themes. I did a blog on football autobiographies once, and early in 2018, to celebrate the Year of the Dog, I did a blog on books with dog-related titles and/or dogs in starring roles for a Chinese New Year special. However, most of the time, my blogs are very random, as this one is, lol! I think one of my favourite themed blogs was the one I did a couple of years ago after getting the idea from a book group post on Facebook. The idea was to go back in time with 12 books to give to your 12 year old self, and I really enjoyed doing that! I think that was in February 2017 if you want to check the archives! I may have called it Back In Time For a Good Read, or something along those lines! Anyway, I take you right back to the summer of 1985 by which time I had clocked up a dozen years on the planet, so if you like books and fancy a bit of time-travel right back to the mid eighties, look that blog up and see which books I chose for the 12 year old version of me!

It’s not quite Back to the Future, there’s no sports car time machine or Marty McFly, lol, but there’s the 1985 FA Cup Final and Live Aid, and me travelling back to my own past with a dozen books for my younger version!

Anyway, the 2019 version of me, the 46 year old bookworm, is now off to get a bit more reading done, lol! Got socks to read about! Until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Sock – Kim Adrian
  • Eye Chart – William Germano
  • The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair – Joël Dicker
  • A Taste of Honey – Shelagh Delaney
  • Where My Heart Used to Beat – Sebastian Faulks
  • Can You Forgive Her? – Anthony Trollope
  • The Rhine – Ben Coates
  • Danube – Claudio Magris
  • The Danube – Nick Thorpe
  • Danubia – Simon Winder
  • Germania – Simon Winder
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
  • Venus in Furs – Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

 

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Floating Islands and Local Plays By Local People!

.Floating Island dessert Mauritius 2019

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

That dessert in the photo is the Floating Island I mentioned in my last blog. Mum and I had these at Ponte Vecchio on our first full day at our resort in Mauritius. The usual Grand Port buffet restaurant needed to be closed for some reason, so they opened up the Italian restaurant for lunch, and Mum and I had a lovely meal there, especially this dessert. However, that meant we wanted this dessert again, but it wasn’t on their evening menu, and led to this, which would not be out of place as a Monty Python sketch…

Mum: We would like the Floating Island, please.

Waiter: I’m very sorry, that’s only on our lunch menu.

Mum: When are you open for lunch?

Waiter: We’re not.

See what I mean?! Don’t get me wrong, we did enjoy our accommodation for the most part, but there were some areas for improvement on their part! So, I still think, of all the jollies I’ve ever been on, the El Dorado Seaside Suites on the Riviera Maya in Mexico still tops the list. That’s where we went in 2013, as you may recall, as part of my 40th birthday celebrations that year. I certainly think, for free onsite activities, the Shandrani has plenty going for it. The setting is beautiful too. We were there in their winter, as it’s in the southern hemisphere, so there were some issues with finding one of the restaurants, Le Sirius, when some of the lamps had their timings wrong and were off when it was dark. As I said, I would tell them, if they ask, that we enjoyed it on the whole, but I would give some constructive criticism around areas which need improving.

I did like the Beachcomber travel wallet we got before we went on the holiday, though. That was a lovely touch when our documents came with about a fortnight to go before the hols. I will be using that for future holidays for tickets and stuff!

Let’s get on with some book stuff now, and we can return to jollies later. Sock, from the Object Lessons series, is still an ongoing concern. I get bits read when I’m on my lunch at work. They are only short books, though, so they don’t take too long to read. As the book talks about socks and other similar items of footwear and foot wrapping, it also mentions puttees, which, for me, was a reminder of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières. I was reading that back in the day, back in the 1990s, and got halfway through it, my bookmark is still in there between pages 206 and 207, but I don’t know what happened, perhaps I got distracted by other things and haven’t finished it off. I should do, but part of me wonders if I need to re-read up to that point to refresh myself of what happened, as it’s been a bloody long time!

As I recall, I was enjoying it at the time, although I had to look a lot of things up, especially Greek words! I have been to a couple of Greek islands since then, though, so that may help, although I’ve not been to Kefalonia, which is where this novel is actually set. I have been to Santorini, which is beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone, and also to Kos for the day when we were on holiday in Turkey. The novel was hugely popular back then, seemed like everyone was reading it at that time! It appealed to me on the music front.

As we’re on books I’ve had for ages, here we have one that I’ve had for quite some time, although not as long as Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Have any of you read this one?

English Passengers Matthew Kneale

We have English Passengers, by Matthew Kneale. Published in 2000, so it’s more recent, only 19 years old, lol, and I’m not sure I’ve had it a full 19 years. On the back of my copy is a price sticker for £1.00, so I got it from a charity shop when I bought it, I didn’t pay the full £8.99 that was the RRP when it came out and is stated on the back of the book. Obviously, something appealed to me at the time when I bought it, but it has been around amongst my TBR Library for some time and has not yet been read. OK, the same can be said of a lot of books, lmao, but for some reason, this one does keep catching my eye and sticks out as a Book I’ve Had For Donkey’s Years But Not Read Yet!

I’ve still not read any fiction this year, just been poetry and non-fiction, but I went back to the staff book club at work the other day, and our next book is actually a play, so we have drama on the cards here!

The last time I studied a play, I was at university, so it’s a pretty long time ago as I graduated 25 years ago! My final year dissertation was about plays, as it was on the theme of lies and liars in the plays of Henrik Ibsen. I know two of the three plays I based my thesis on were A Doll’s House and The Pillars of Society. I think the other one may have been The Wild Duck.

However, the book club reading matter is rather closer to home. In fact, I doubt it could be any more local than A Taste of Honey, by Shelagh Delaney! Delaney wrote this play when she was only 19 years old. She was from Salford, from the Broughton area, and the play is also set here. I know this might make me sound like those two weirdo shopkeepers from The League of Gentlemen, but A Taste of Honey really is a local play by a local person! I may even see if there’s any performances on YouTube as I think you really need to see a performance if you’re studying a play. It does help. You are reading something which is meant to be acted out.

Just pulled a book out of my purple Kipling bag. All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque. I had started reading that last year, given that 2018 was 100 years since the end of the First World War. I got myself a new handbag though, so changed over to that mostly. My current bag fits the Object Lessons books, but I would need to go back to bigger handbags, really to start having Handbag Books again, or take them with me in an extra bag. That has been known. Maybe I should start a Backpack Books list? I have a Hogwarts backpack that I bought myself not long ago for the trip up to North Shields with Salford Steel, so sometimes I take that with me to places as well as my handbag, and there are often books in my backpack! Sometimes I set off with them, sometimes I come home with them!

Just how bloody hot was it on Thursday?! It was crazy! I would love to know what temperatures it reached in Salford and Manchester on Thursday, because it was still bloody boiling even in the evening! After work, I went into town for an event organised by Cruse – UK readers may know of Cruse, they’re an organisation who provide bereavement support, and this was a group for adults who have lost a parent. The meet up was at Manchester Central Library, and by the time it was over, I came out of the library around quarter to eight in the evening and it was still absolutely boiling! Then I crossed the tram lines and went to Wagamama to eat. Came out of there around an hour later… still pretty damn warm! Quarter to nine at night and still ridiculous temperatures! If it weren’t for the familiar surroundings, I would have questioned if I was in Manchester! Perhaps it was a parallel Manchester, but with hot weather?! It certainly wasn’t the usual weather for my neck of the woods, lol!

When I had got to town from Swinton on the bus, I had time for a quick visit to Waterstone’s before heading to the event, and purchased a copy of A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole – the edition with the red cover and yellow hot dogs on it – I love that cover, and believe the book is meant to be very funny. If I am going to get back into fiction, I think I want something that’s going to give me a good laugh! Actually, when I looked it up on Amazon just now, there was a glowing review of it by Sir Billy Connolly, who said it was his favourite book of all time, and I think you all know I’ve been a big fan of the Big Yin for donkey’s years! My all-time favourite comedian.

I have actually got his Made in Scotland book, which I started a while ago, so I can continue with that, but that’s not fiction, so wouldn’t get me back into made up stuff.

On the List Challenges list for this blog, I now have 82 different books listed for the things I’ve mentioned so far this year on my blogs, which means we’re into our third page in terms of published lists. When a list is published, there are 40 items to a page. Given that I didn’t start blogging this year until April, that’s not too bad, really. This list is going to be shorter than usual, I suspect, but probably as random as ever! We have poetry, plays, books about the art of not giving a f**k, children’s books, historical fiction, science fiction, books about medical conditions and disabilities, autobiographies, object lessons, travel, and books about books! Bit of young adult, too. My lists have a lot of random stuff on them. I am a very random person. You might have noticed, lol!

You may recall from previous blogs, way back in 2012, after the London Olympics and Paralympics, that I put a photo up of me with a gold postbox. I think I did, anyway. Royal Mail painted postboxes gold up and down the UK in places of significance relating to athletes who won gold for Great Britain in those home Games, and we have one in Salford in honour of Dame Sarah Storey, the cyclist who won multiple golds in the Paralympics that summer. I think she won 4 golds if I remember rightly.

Anyway, Royal Mail have now painted some other postboxes white with cricket bats and stumps to celebrate England’s victories in the Cricket World Cups for our women’s team in 2017 and our men’s team this year, and as Old Trafford, Lancashire’s ground, was a host venue, there is a celebratory postbox in town. Possibly there isn’t a postbox near the cricket ground itself, maybe there is, but there is now a cricket-themed postbox in town and I saw it on Thursday night, so I thought you might like to see it. I’ve only read one book that’s cricket-related, but that was the hilarious Penguins Stopped Play, by Harry Thompson! I definitely recommend it. Even if you’re not into cricket, it is so funny! It is on my list of books which made me laugh my arse off while reading them!

Another funny book I can recommend, one that I read a couple of years ago now, is Round Ireland With a Fridge, by Tony Hawks. I remembered it again recently because of Mr Hawks’ previous claim to fame before he became a published writer… as a pop star, albeit a one hit wonder. He and a couple of mates teamed up in the late eighties and, under the name of Morris Minor and the Majors, reached number 4 in the UK singles charts in early 1988 with a comedy rap hit called Stutter Rap (No Sleep ‘Til Bedtime), a send-up of the likes of the Beastie Boys who were hugely popular back in 1987-88! As BBC4 shows old Top of the Pops on Friday nights, they’d got to the stage where it was late 1987 and early 1988, and this song was being performed on the show on some of the TOTPs that I had recorded and watched on my Sky+ box, and that reminded me that this was the first bit of fame enjoyed by Tony Hawks before his writing career!

Incidentally, BBC4 are now up to April 1988 in terms of Top of the Pops, and thus Heart by the Pet Shop Boys is number 1, so I was a very happy bunny watching it last night! The main reason I was particularly keen on watching the shows from December 1987 and into January 1988 was that Always On My Mind was number 1 for four weeks, so I was basically watching those shows because of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe! There were other good tunes as well, including Stutter Rap, which was quite witty for a daft novelty record, but I admit I was watching because I’m a PSB fan!

So, what other things have I bought recently on the book front? There’s Rivers of London, by Ben Aaronovitch, and the much talked-about Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens. Feels like every book group on Facebook mentions that novel! Perhaps I should see what it’s like? I’m not really one for much talked about books, but then a lot of those seem to be crime thrillers, so that’s not really my genre anyway. This seems a bit more general fiction even if there is crime and mystery in it.

Wonder what the Booker Prize nominations are for this year? I tend to find winners of such prizes off-putting. I did enjoy Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, but I’ve attempted one or two others that have won the Booker Prize, and didn’t get very far with them. Found myself plodding and wondering if the plot was going to get moving at all! It was The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, that I found hard-going, and I did swap my original copy at a pub restaurant some years ago in exchange for Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, which I loved! I did get another copy of The Luminaries, though, thinking I might try it again, as I was having a book slump at the time we attempted it for our book group.

Well, the list on List Challenges is now up to 89 books, lol! I think that’s about it for now! More about books, holidays and other waffle coming soon, but until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Sock – Kim Adrian
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernières
  • English Passengers – Matthew Kneale
  • A Doll’s House – Henrik Ibsen
  • The Pillars of Society – Henrik Ibsen
  • The Wild Duck – Henrik Ibsen
  • A Taste of Honey – Shelagh Delaney
  • All Quiet On the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
  • A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
  • Made in Scotland – Sir Billy Connolly
  • Penguins Stopped Play – Harry Thompson
  • Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch
  • Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  • The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier

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Towels, Tigers, Travel and Tortoises

Towel Day

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Happy Towel Day to all you hoopy froods out there! We’ve actually got some new towels in our bathroom recently. Dark teal ones, really gorgeous shade. So, yes, I’m a frood who knows where our towels are! For those who are unfamiliar with the works of the late great Douglas Adams, I am making reference to the legendary work of science fiction humour that is The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. As 25th May was Douglas’ birthday when he was still with us, it has been declared Towel Day in his honour since he passed away.

Sadly, while on the subject of authors no longer with us, Judith Kerr passed away earlier this week, aged 95. She is particularly famous for her children’s books, one of the best known ones for young readers being The Tiger Who Came to Tea. One of those books my sister and I enjoyed when we were kids and my niece has enjoyed it too in recent years. Charlotte, the Junior Bookworm, is quite into David Walliams books these days, and has recently been laughing her way through Fing. According to my sister, Charlotte had already started reading it in Waterstone’s and had got through the first three chapters in the book shop! You know it’s a good book when you haven’t even left the store and you’re already well into it!

You won’t be at all surprised to learn that I was at Waterstone’s earlier today. Let’s face it,  you’d be more gobsmacked if I hadn’t been, lol! The big one in town, on Deansgate. I wanted some more of those Object Lessons books – you will recall in a recent blog that I bought and read Souvenir, by Rolf Potts, and I wanted more from the same series about items which interested me, so I will be mentioning those shortly. I also got some books from HMV this afternoon. Yes, I know, it’s ostensibly a record shop, or that’s what it’s famous for, but they do have books and usually on offer.

As you know, my dad passed away in January. I used to get him HMV gift cards for Christmas, I had been doing this for some time. However, he hadn’t got round to using the last two I’d got him, and Mum found them amongst his stuff the other day. I got them checked out before I bought anything and, yes, they were both still valid and with a tenner on each. I have now spent one, on some books, but I still have one to use.

Books bought 25th May 2019

Book haul from HMV and Waterstone’s.

The three at the bottom, plus White Teeth, by Zadie Smith, were from HMV, and the other five were from Waterstone’s. I did toy with getting myself another copy of Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins, and I still might. I had read that the other year when Sarah lent me her copy. I then found a paperback edition last summer for a quid at a charity shop in Wales when I went to Conwy and Llandudno for the day in August. I then lent that copy to my dad as I thought he would enjoy it.

Although we got a lot of his stuff after he died, my Phil Collins book wasn’t amongst the belongings. It doesn’t really matter as I have read the book, but it would have been nice to have got it back anyway!

Obviously, with having my ups and downs, I am not doing the Goodreads Challenge this year, as I mentioned in a previous blog. I only just started reading again in April. Book slump, followed by bereavement, meant that I hadn’t finished a book since the end of November, until April this year. I have now finished my fifth book of the year, though, as I finished off You Do You, by Sarah Knight while I was on my lunch at work the other day! It’s the second book I have read by this writer, as I previously read and enjoyed The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k the other year.

I am very near to my sixth book, too, as I am almost at the end of the ebook version of The Girl With the Curly Hair, by Alis Rowe. You may well know her from Facebook and other forms of social media. She has Asperger’s Syndrome, so she’s on the autistic spectrum, and posts about life on the spectrum from her own experiences and in order to help others – both those with the conditions and those without. Having an invisible health issue myself, my lifelong dodgy thyroid, plus being introverted and having my run-ins with depression from time to time, there is a lot I can relate to when Alis posts on FB, so I downloaded her book on my Kindle. Other than that she is an early bird and I’m a night owl, I feel there’s a lot of cross-over and stuff in common.

I would like to get to double figures in books read by the end of the year. I know that’s a low target, but I don’t care. I also don’t care if nearly all the books I read this year are non-fiction. I have read a couple of poetry anthologies, too, but I’ve not finished any novels yet, and the books on the horizon for being finished look like being factual stuff, too. I’ve still got the book about Ole on the go, so a biography will add to the non-fiction list once that’s been read.

Anyway, as I said a few paragraphs ago, lol, I bought some more of those Object Lessons books when I was at Waterstone’s earlier. Given my impending jollies, Luggage, by Susan Harlan, was an obvious choice! I’d bought a book about souvenirs, I might as well buy one about suitcases, lol! The other two OL books are about relevant items to me due to being a bookworm and a music nut, as they are Bookshelf, by Lydia Pyne, and Personal Stereo, by Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow.

Sony launched their first-ever Walkman portable personal cassette player in 1979, so it’s the 40th anniversary this year. I had a couple of personal stereos, not branded ones, since the mid 80s, getting the first one when I was 12. I think it was for Christmas in 1985, so, yes I would have been 12. I got another at about 15, but it was in 1989, ten years after Sony launched the first model, that I saved up and bought myself a Sony Walkman. One with MegaBass, in my case, and that really served me well in the early 90s when I was a student and commuting to Bolton and back on the bus for the three years of my degree at uni! Pretty sure I still have that Walkman, and that it’s in the garage. Might even still work if fresh batteries were put in it! We still have some tapes in the garage, so if my Walkman does work, I would have something to play them on, lol!

In the past 30 years, though, audio technology has changed. I went from a Walkman and tapes to a portable CD player, and also MiniDiscs at one point, and an MP3 player, and then, of course, an iPod, and in recent times the advent of having my music on my phone so that everything is on the same device and I would notice if someone was trying to ring me while I was listening to some tunes! My tastes in music haven’t changed much, just how I listen to my favourite songs! I’m listening to music digitally, on my mobile phone, when I’m on the bus or tram, but it’s pretty much the same stuff I loved to listen to on tapes back in the day! Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, and pretty much most other 80s music, especially the synth stuff! Human League, Depeche Mode, New Order, Soft Cell, Ultravox, OMD, etc…

Tortoise, by Peter Young, is not from the same series, not an Object Lessons book, but it is from a series about different animals. I am hoping to see some giant tortoises when I’m on my holidays, so that’s why I bought the book, in case you were wondering! No, I don’t have one as a pet. I don’t have any pets. Lots of music by the Pet Shop Boys, but no pets, lol! The only time we had any pets, temporarily, was when my sister and I were at primary school and we looked after Sooty, one of the nursery class’s guinea pigs, during school holidays. We did that a few times, particularly when Ellie was in the nursery.

Well, that’s about it for now, I think, so have the rest of a Happy Towel Day, fellow froods, and I shall be back again some time soon! Might not be this side of my jollies, but I will be around again before too long! Take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  • The Tiger Who Came to Tea – Judith Kerr
  • Fing – David Walliams
  • Souvenir – Rolf Potts
  • White Teeth – Zadie Smith
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • You Do You – Sarah Knight
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
  • The Girl With the Curly Hair – Alis Rowe
  • Ole – Ian MacLeay
  • Luggage – Susan Harlan
  • Bookshelf – Lydia Pyne
  • Personal Stereo – Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow
  • Tortoise – Peter Young

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Computer Corner, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, List Challenges, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Poetry, Science Fiction, Travel

Science Fiction and Cheeky Nando’s

Tallest structures in the world 2019

Hello again, fellow Bookworms,

Trying to decide what to read next! Also got to give some thought to holiday reading. OK, so my Kindle will be coming on my jollies, so there’s plenty of ebooks on that, and there is always the chance I will find some book or other while I’m away and come home with some reading matter as a souvenir, but I usually do take a physical book or two away with me.

However, there’s still some weeks to go, and I still need to decide what to read now, never mind when I’m on the plane or sunning myself overseas! So, what I could do with, and this is a concept that might be familiar to other bookworms, particularly on Facebook and particularly if you’re a fellow Potterhead… the Book of Requirement. In the Harry Potter series, I think it might be around the 5th book where this comes in, there’s a Room of Requirement at Hogwarts. A room that isn’t always there, but makes itself appear and become available when it’s needed, which it does for Dumbledore’s Army when Hermione and others form the resistance movement against Umbridge and all the dark stuff that’s going on by then…

Thus, someone came up with the idea, in a meme, that there should be a book that turns itself into whichever book it is that is right for you at that time! A book that might, sometimes, be blank, but then when you’re having one of those “I don’t know what to read next” times, you open that book, and it is whichever book is just right for you at that time. The Book of Requirement! If there was such a book, that’s what I could do with right now, lol!

patronus is a bookworm

As for the Harry Potter books, I’ve listed them all on the books mentioned in 2019 list on List Challenges, the 7 main books, anyway. I’m not going through all the spin-offs, I just wanted to raise the issue of the Room of Requirement so you got the idea about the Book of Requirement concept.

Someone once said, and I think it might have been Margaret Atwood, that the book to read is the one that makes you think. Right now, though, the book to read is the one that will make me want to continue reading and help me get back in the mood for more books! I’ve been in a book slump since November, and my dad popped his clogs in January, then the funeral was in February, so I’ve only just been in the mood for reading since April, therefore it’s not necessarily about books that make me think, although I do read a lot of non-fiction so it is pretty true that they usually make me think, but the book to read is the book that makes you want to read even more!

Decisions, decisions! Fiction or non-fiction?

If non-fiction, what to read about? If fiction, which genre? Historical fiction? Science fiction? Fantasy? General fiction? Some people on social media suggest re-reading an old favourite when in a slump, but I just feel that I should read something I’ve not read before as I have absolutely stacks of unread and partially-read books…

I may have to resort to getting a few out and selecting a book by the time-honoured method…

Ip dip do, cat’s got flu, dog’s got chicken pox, out goes you!

Sometimes, that’s the only way to make a decision! I mentioned, last time out, that Howard’s End is On the Landing was on our landing, which seems appropriate enough, lol, but there are plenty of books on our landing. There are also some books downstairs, and, of course, in the book chest in the garage. And then, there are all the books in here. There are books right under Computer Corner as well as on top of surfaces near here!

I seem to have two copies of The Music Shop, by Rachel Joyce! One hardback and one paperback. I think it’s because I couldn’t find the hardback at the time, and found a copy of the paperback in a charity shop, thinking I would need it for the work’s book club, although they would have read that as I think I was on leave due to bereavement when they were reading it. My hardback copy was from a charity shop, too, so both copies of the book were pretty cheap!

Regular readers of my blog will recall the infamous Duplicate Books List from a year or two ago now. I think I actually ended up giving the duplicates to charity shops last time I was having a clear out, so I no longer have more than one copy of those books, and there were quite a lot on the list. I think it was at 17 or even 19 books at one point where I owned two copies of the same book! A lot of it was accidental, I genuinely forgot that I already owned those particular books, saw the book on offer in a charity shop and bought it, before realising that I already owned a copy! Occasionally, though, it was deliberate, as I knew I had a copy but didn’t know where it was, and bought another copy anyway with the intention of reading it fairly soon. However, I didn’t get around to it, as you might have guessed, lol!

Let’s see which books are lurking around here…

I’ve got Who’s the B*****d in the Black? here, the autobiography of former referee, Jeff Winter. I could read that, actually! It would be the third referee’s autobiography that I’ve read, as I’ve read The Rules of the Game, by Pierluigi Collina, and The Man in the Middle, by Howard Webb, in recent years. Could take the Jeff Winter book on holiday if I’ve finished the biography of Ole by then, as it might help alleviate the notorious Football Withdrawal Symptoms which come upon me once the season is over, and it very nearly is! Final game of the season this coming Sunday for my lads, at home to Cardiff City.

Although the lads have run out of steam in recent weeks, I still reckon we’ve done much better than we would have done if the Bus Parking One hadn’t been sacked the week before Christmas. Ole did give them belief back, but I think fitness and stamina need to be worked on to get us back to the side that used to be able to play to the final whistle as they did under Sir Alex. I expect that, with those who stay, and with the new signings, Ole will make it a priority to get a side together that keeps going for 90 minutes plus stoppage time.

We’ll be in the Europa League next season, which is a bit of a pain as those games are on Thursdays, so I’ll have to miss steel pans some weeks.

Funnily enough on the covers of the referee books, Howard Webb isn’t brandishing any cards. Pierluigi Collina is showing a yellow card on his, and Jeff Winter is showing a red card on his, giving some player the grand order of the early bath!

Still deliberating whether to take Dune with me on my jollies so I can read it on a dune in June. I was actually looking at my science fiction section the other day, and considering To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. That one actually sounds quite amusing. I could give that a go. I think it’s a time-travel novel by the sound of the blurb. I’m still considering Resistance is Futile, by Jenny T. Colgan, on the grounds of humour. It is “a riotous cocktail of geeks” according to Matt Haig.

OMG, there’s a Nando’s receipt in my copy of the Connie Willis book, lol! It’s for an order taken at 7:17pm on 2nd March 2018, and from the Nando’s in Piccadilly Gardens! Must have been in town after work and bought the book at Waterstone’s on Deansgate, and then gone for a cheeky Nando’s before I got the bus or tram home… I am partial to a cheeky Nando’s, it has to be said! On that occasion, I had the double chicken breast wrap, with chips, and a bottomless soft drink. I also had a reward on my Nando’s card, so I actually got money off! Eat in total was £8.50 which is pretty damn good!

There is a Waterstone’s receipt at the front of my copy of The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin. It’s dated 2nd February 2018, so I bought that book exactly a month before the Connie Willis novel. According to the receipt, I also bought a brown notebook with dotted pages on that same occasion, plus The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester. I probably went for a cheeky Nando’s that night as well, although there’s no evidence of my dining destination for 2nd February! Not in any of my nearby books, anyway!

I still intend to read The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon, but am thinking I might wait until I’m home from my jollies before starting that one due to the sheer physical size of the book. I don’t really want to be lugging it anywhere, so it’d be one I’d read here at home, and thus I don’t want to start it now and really get into it and then feel that I do have to cart it around with me, and I certainly don’t really want to be carting it around overseas! So, we shall wait until I am back from my hols before that one is commenced!

Another one I’m not about to attempt yet is S, by J J Abrams and Doug Dorst. I got this a couple of years ago now, as I recall, from a bookshop and cafe on Lever Street in town. I think it’s called Chapter One. The idea of this book is that it’s an old library book and it’s been written in by these two people, students I think, who write comments in the margins, and there’s loads of stuff in it between certain pages. Postcards and the likes… All part of the story, so it’s going to take some kind of strategy to work out how to tackle this one when I do read it. I think the guy at the shop said, at the time, that there’s a lot of stuff online about it, so I might look for online advice and ideas when I do get around to trying it. Again, a book I will probably want to keep at home. It’s not massively chunky,  well not compared to The Priory of the Orange Tree, lol, but with all the things inside it, I don’t want anything getting lost or mislaid once I do start reading it.

I have some seriously weird and random books, don’t I?! Regular readers of my blog won’t even be surprised, though, lol, as I’m a very random person and I do waffle on about anything and everything! It will be, mostly, about books, but then other ingredients are added to a blog entry… music, food and drink, Manchester United, holidays I’ve been on or am going on, various handicrafts… Somehow, though, it hasn’t put people off as I seem to have over 80 brave souls now who follow this blog!

I’ve always read anything which took my fancy. Some people tend to stick to one thing or another. Some like romance, some like horror, some crime… my late dad was very much into spy thrillers, he certainly read a lot of Len Deighton and John le Carré novels when I was a kid. That was during the Cold War era of the “Iron Curtain” so there was plenty of material for spy novels! He also liked war-themed stuff, but then again, his dad was a bomber pilot in the RAF during the Second World War, so that’s pretty understandable. He also liked poetry, as I mentioned recently, and I certainly share at least some of that – definitely the appreciation of Roger McGough, anyway!

I’ve liked fiction and non-fiction pretty  much alike since I first learned to read. I’ve even read a lot of reference books. That’s how much of a nerd I am, lol! I remember getting an encyclopaedia for Christmas one year as one of my pressies. I think I was about 8 or so. Anyway, there was a double-page spread of Flags of the Nations. Bear in mind this was about 1981 or so. Dad went through all the flags and wrote a C next to all the countries that were communist, so there were a lot of those back then! That’s when I asked him something of a hypothetical question at the time… If East Germany and West Germany ever became just Germany again, did my dad think they’d be western like us or eastern like the Russians? My dad thought they’d be eastern like the Russians. Then again, at that time, I think we all thought it would be how it was forever, we didn’t see the Berlin Wall coming down… that all came as a massive surprise when it happened at the end of 1989!

Obviously, towards the end of this year, it will be 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down, so I may well do a special blog on it, or at least part of a blog. Having been to Berlin in 2012, I have seen some slabs of the Wall, and also where the Wall was is marked throughout the city with two lines of cobbles and metal plates bearing the words Berliner Mauer 1961-1989. Fascinating city, I would love to go back there again.

Anyway, I think that’s about it for now, so until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
  • Howard’s End is On the Landing – Susan Hill
  • The Music Shop – Rachel Joyce
  • Who’s the B*****d in the Black? – Jeff Winter
  • The Rules of the Game – Pierluigi Collina
  • The Man in the Middle – Howard Webb
  • Ole – Ian MacLeay
  • Dune – Frank Herbert
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog – Connie Willis
  • Resistance is Futile – Jenny T. Colgan
  • The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon
  • S – J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Chunky Monkeys, Computer Corner, Duplicate Books List, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Food & Drink, Football, Half-Finished Books, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Science Fiction, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books