Category Archives: Childrens’ Books

October Review – Better Late Than Never!

Adam Kay signing his book, This is Going to Hurt

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

I am back! First up, my apologies for not having blogged since mid-October, but you may recall that not only was I not feeling fictional, I was also not feeling very well, either! I wanted my cold to piss off and leave me alone, which it eventually has, more or less, but not without causing me to need time off work. I was in on the Monday after that blog, but even then I had a coughing fit, and stayed off the phone for the rest of that day, just doing the admin stuff – paperwork and computery stuff, and then I was too ill to be in work for the rest of that week! Absolutely streaming with a bloody cold! I did attempt to go in on the Friday, but it didn’t last long and I went home again.

I’d booked the following Monday off, and I was well enough to go out for the day, to Cheshire Oaks, and I came home loaded with a huge stash of chocolate, lol! I did buy a book, I acquired The Hate U Give from The Works for £2, although I still maintain that I prefer the cover of the US edition! Still got a bit of a cough, but I am generally a lot better than I was on the health front.

Still not feeling fictional, though! It’s book club this coming Thursday, and I have hardly read any of Do Not Say We Have Nothing. It’s not as though I dislike it, I don’t, what I have read has been fine, but I’m still not feeling it on the fictional front. I have been in the mood for factual stuff of late. I finished On Writing, by Stephen King, the other night – loved that book! I have thus finished 42 books this year, with just a bit of 2017 left to go.

The other thing is, that, while I was off sick, it was as though our internet came out in sympathy with my cold and decided to slow down! I mean right down. Really sluggish. Things taking ages to load, video clips buffering every few seconds… that sort of annoying slowness. Having given it a week or two to perk up, we contacted our providers with the results of a speed test my sister’s partner had performed for us, and they did some tests on Sunday, and then sent someone round earlier today. He did more tests and sorted things out, so we’re back up and running again! Nice and fast, as it should be. No longer fannying around, which is a technical term, by the way, but you knew that already, lol!

Anyway, you want to know about books, don’t you? You don’t want to hear my moans about how slow our broadband had been for the second half of October, do you?! You do realise, though, that this blog regularly contains large helpings of utter waffle!

The other book which was read last month, and utterly loved, was This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay, and I went to the book event at Waterstone’s on 27th October. He read to us from his book and then signed copies, so I had brought my copy with me for him to sign. Epic Win!

In the past few months, the only work of fiction I have finished is If I Stay, one of my YA books. I did also read one of my niece’s books, but that was fairly short, and even that was a few months ago, August, just before I started my job at the council! Since then, it’s been mostly non-fiction, having read about the periodic table of the elements, why internet food fads and diets are dangerous, how the Nazis were totally off their tits on drugs, the hilarious incidents in the life of a junior doctor, and the memoirs and writing advice of a hugely-successful author!

How do I get to feel fictional again? Why have I gone off fiction? I don’t understand what happened to cause it. I understand it in previous years. I remember a general book slump which started in 2012 and meant that I read very little from then until 2015, only managing the occasional book until around this time two years ago. 2012 was a pretty rubbish year for me, certainly the first half of it was, due to my grandad passing away and my redundancy after 13 years as a civil servant. It did pick up a bit in the summer though, as the London Olympics and Paralympics were on, and my club signed a certain Dutch centre-forward  that August at the start of the 2012-13 season, one whose goals would fire us to our 20th league title in 2013 when we would be declared champions the night before my 40th birthday! Oh, Robin van Persie! 🙂

I only managed the occasional book between those times. I loved Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent, Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple, but a lot of books, even with promising blurb, didn’t grab me until the end of 2015 when a fiction book and a non-fiction book both helped get me in the mood for reading again. The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, and Why the Dutch Are Different, by Ben Coates, are to be thanked for helping me out of that slump!

Last year, I had a fiction slump, but only because I had just finished A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara, and that is one seriously epic book! So, I completely understand why I was only able to manage non-fiction for the rest of 2016 after THAT chunky monkey! However, I’ve not read anything quite so epic in 2017! Nothing to rival the 720 pages of A Little Life, that’s for sure, so why the hell am I having a fiction slump now?!

This is one reason why I’ve not even started Turtles All the Way Down, the latest book by John Green, which was published in October. I don’t want my experience to be clouded by doubts over my ability to enjoy fiction! Despite the slump, I am still acquiring fictional titles, and I even purchased a few last week when I headed off to Waterstone’s at the Trafford Centre, picking up Sabriel, by Garth Nix, What Light, by Jay Asher, a Christmas-themed YA novella by the looks of it, and the Booker Prize winner for 2017, Lincoln In the Bardo, by George Saunders. I have to admit I had no idea what the hell a bardo was. Not in the sense of that book’s title, anyway! To me, the only Bardo I knew of was the one-hit-wonder duo, Bardo, who represented the UK at the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest with a song called “One Step Further”!

That was also a bit of a risk – regular readers of my blog might recall some of my rants about prize-winning novels and how difficult they are to read! I think the only Booker Prize winner I have finished and enjoyed so far in my life was Life of Pi, by Yann Martel! But Lincoln In the Bardo sounded interesting – something to do with spirits fighting over the soul of Abraham Lincoln’s son.

I think that about brings me up to date, anyway, except for some news on the children’s book front. It seems David Walliams has a new book out, Bad Dad, so no doubt my friend Sarah’s son, James, will be wanting that one! My niece, Charlotte, the Junior Bookworm, has recently been reading and enjoying The Twits, by Roald Dahl. A classic! And on that note, I think we’ve covered everything, and I have returned to my regular waffly and very nerdy self – come on, it doesn’t get much nerdier than mentioning Bardo in the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest, does it?! So, until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple
  • The Art of Racing In the Rain – Garth Stein
  • Why the Dutch Are Different – Ben Coates
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Turtles All the Way Down – John Green
  • Sabriel – Garth Nix
  • What Light – Jay Asher
  • Lincoln In the Bardo – George Saunders
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  • Bad Dad – David Walliams
  • The Twits – Roald Dahl
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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, Chunky Monkeys, Cross-Stitch, Football, Humour, Junior Bookworms, Literary Issues, Month in Review, Music, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized, YA Books

August Review

Life without books

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

You can thank Liz Craig for the above photo – she sent it to me in FB Messenger, and it seemed right for this blog! 1st September is here, which for Potterheads means it’s that epilogue at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 19 years on… Albus Severus Potter is on platform 9 3/4 ready to head to Hogwarts…

Anyway, we’re ready to head to the review of all things bookish that went on chez moi during August 2017, and it’s been a pretty busy month, and a successful month on a lot of fronts. Let’s start with finished books from last month, and two of them came off the Ongoing Concerns list after having spent quite some time on there. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, was finished in August, as was Periodic Tales, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams. As I read one of my niece’s books on Wednesday when we had the day trip to St Anne’s on Sea, Oi Dog! by Kes and Claire Gray and Jim Field completes the trio of books finished in August.

The Angry Chef was chosen by Anne and I at book club as we were the only two there last month – I do hope we’re going to have a better turnout this coming Wednesday! I am 53% of the way through this book, so I hope to get more finished over the weekend. Has to be said, though, that I am busy, especially with the events which unfolded since the end of July, events which mean I’m starting work on Monday!

I’d been booked onto a jobs fair in Swinton, which I attended on the last Friday in July. At this event, a lady from the local council spoke to me and asked me for 2 copies of my CV (for my transatlantic followers, I believe you call it a resumé in the States) as she said there may be some openings coming up… The following week as we head into August, I get a phone call from a lady called Gail, inviting me for an interview on Monday 7th August at Unity House, which is part of the civic centre complex in Swinton.

So I go to this interview on the Monday morning, and am interviewed by Gail, who was due to retire, and Michelle who was succeeding Gail, and that lasted around 20 minutes, and then I headed on my way to Salford for a couple of appointments, with a fairly decent feeling that “things went about as well as they could have done, although you can never be sure with interviews…”

Anyway, I’ve got time to get my lunch before my appointments, and I’m sat in KFC on Salford Precinct’s car park, having had my food, and I get a phone call, and it’s Gail calling me back to offer me the job! Chuffed to bits, to say the least! So, this month has been a bit busy with all that! I’ve had to provide references, then provide an alternative reference because one of the people I’d named was on sick leave and they needed someone else pretty quick as they were keen to get me started as soon as possible. I have also had to email scans of my passport and a bank statement for proof of ID and address, and complete and return medical forms, so there’s been a fair bit to do for me, and for them, before they could get me started. They needed to get me a staff pass, get me put on their computer systems, and that sort of stuff, plus check the things I had sent to them and make sure they were OK. However, this Tuesday just gone, I got my start date, and thus I will be back in work this coming Monday.

So, that’s work, and then there’s been the start of the new football season! 2017-18 is under way, and United’s Premier League campaign has started with us ending August top of the league with the only 100% record in the top flight! This is unusual. Normally, after only 3 matches, you’d expect about 3 or 4 clubs to have maximum points, 9 out of 9, but everyone else has dropped at least two points already, and we’re the only ones with the full 9 points. We’ve also kept 3 clean sheets, winning 4-0, 4-0 and 2-0, so you couldn’t really ask for a much better start, except to ask for better linesmen than one of the numpties we had for the Leicester match who wrongly ruled Juan Mata offside in the first half! I know I always say our players are never offside, but Juan definitely wasn’t!

The transfer window has now closed, that shut at 11pm last night, and doesn’t re-open until January, but we didn’t need to do anything on the last minute. We’d got our players, three new ones plus the re-signing of Zlatan Ibrahimović who will resume action when he’s fit again after his knee injury from last season. Still trying to decide who I want on my next United shirt, but I won’t be getting that just yet, I’ll be waiting until I’ve had at least one payday in this new job, so it might not be until October before I have to make that tricky decision, which still looks like being between Mata, Matić and Mkhitaryan at the moment! Have to say, though, that Pogba’s had a great start to this campaign so far. The signing of Matić has helped, as he is a defensive midfielder, so his job has freed up Agent Pogba to venture further forward and add to our attacking line-up. The performances have been much more like the United of old, not the tedious crap from a lot of home games last season!

Anyway, books… back to the OC List… As I have said, The Angry Chef is top of the list, with 53% read thus far, so I have read at least half of it, and am really enjoying it. Due to being busy, I might not finish it in time for book club, but I certainly want to finish it. With two books having come off the OC list last month, Manchester England, by Dave Haslam, has been put on the list for the purposes of resuming this book which I started years ago. There was also a vacancy for a YA novel, and Dead Ends, by Erin Lange, filled that position.

Went a bit mad yesterday, actually. Unlike the footy, there are no deadlines for books unless they are library books, lol, but I thought I’d have my own “transfer activity” on transfer deadline day, seeing as United wouldn’t be farting around on the last minute, lmao, and I had a bit of a clear-out come book replacement session, giving two batches of books away, one to a cafe in Eccles, and the other to a charity shop in Swinton. The piles of books you can see in the photos are those I gave away. The latte in the first photo is a giveaway that those books went to the cafe. So, I cleared out 21 books in total. However, I did acquire quite a lot of replacements, and ended the day with 15 “new” items of reading matter, 11 from Eccles, 4 from Swinton. I say new in speech marks as many of them were second-hand apart from a couple of the books in Swinton, but they’re all new to my considerable collection!

Books acquired 31st August 2017

These are the books I ended up bringing home. August has been a mad month for books, though, as this batch of 15 just adds to the book buying I did last month. There have been a lot of purchases! A lot of them are charity shop books, though, so it’s not like I’m paying full RRP on that many of them. Occasionally there have been some freebies, plus the odd one or two ridiculously cheap ones, such as The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness, one of the 15 from yesterday, which set me back all of 20p! Mind you, even that is “pricey” compared to The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham, which was a mere 10p! The freebies were the two by Erica James, The Dandelion Years, and Summer at the Lake, plus Summer Loving, by Allie Spencer.

The two Erica James books were from the Malaga Drift cafe, but I had given them ten of my books, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable that I left the cafe with two books from their bookshelf. The other freebie was from the Charities 2gether in Salford shop in Eccles precinct, as they’d not managed to sell it and it had been on the shelf for ages, so I think the bloke was happy to see anyone take an interest in it!

Amongst the many books acquired this month, there have been a few which I’d been keen to get for some time. Brilliant Orange, by David Winner, about the Dutch national football team was one of those books, plus The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald, and 13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson. Nice when you can get your mitts on a book you’ve had your eye on for a while, isn’t it?! Anyway, that about brings us to the end of this review for August! I am not listing all those books in the photos, not in this blog, it would take forever – you’ll just have to look at the photos. If you want to know what any of them are, just ask!

Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Oi Dog! – Kes & Claire Gray and Jim Field
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • Dead Ends – Erin Lange
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness
  • The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
  • The Dandelion Years – Erica James
  • Summer At the Lake – Erica James
  • Summer Loving – Allie Spencer
  • Brilliant Orange – David Winner
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend – Katarina Bivald
  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson

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Filed under Books, Bookstagram, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Duplicate Books List, Football, Free Books, Handbag Books, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Month in Review, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

From St Anne’s With Books

Books bought in St Anne's 30th August 2017

My stash from St Anne’s on Sea

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

August nearly over, soon be time for the monthly review, soon be time for book club once again – that’s on 6th September so a week to go, and the good news is that The Angry Chef now tops the OC List! I am just over halfway through this important book, 53% read, and really loving it! You know how I am about books, or you probably should do if you’ve read my blogs for long enough… You know I am loathed to say anything is a “must read” – I don’t attach compulsion to books, as a rule, as I think people should read whatever books they enjoy as long as they are reading books and keep doing so!

However, I would like to attach a “Strongly Recommended” to The Angry Chef, as I really do think a hell of a lot of people need to read this book! Especially those who might otherwise fall prey to internet quackery regarding diets and weight loss! I don’t fall for ANY of that crap, I’m probably one of the most cynical old gits on the planet and I think if anything sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is!

It may seem like a long slog, especially for impatient people, but if anyone really does want or need to shift some weight and then keep it off, the best bet is to join either Weight Watchers or Slimming World. Both focus on gradual loss over a period of time, don’t insist on you cutting anything out of your diet, but focus on portion control, minimising intake of saturated fats, and burning at least some of it off! There are no quick fixes – it’s a hare and tortoise situation when it comes to weight loss, or it is if you want to maintain that new lower weight! I did Weight Watchers back in the early noughties, so I have some experience of successful loss in the past.

Don’t waste your time or money on internet fads! They might get a quick result to start with, but then leave you dissatisfied and then you put the weight back on because whichever internet fad the unsuspecting dieter has fallen for has instructed them to cut out several things they really enjoy eating, and probably several things they actually could do with retaining in their diet for the purposes of energy… So after the initial loss, as Anthony Warner explains in his book, the dieter stops seeing such good results, and also probably feels ridiculously hungry and tired because they’re not eating enough… so then they resort to comfort eating and the pounds go back on! Better to spend pounds on this book, £12.99 RRP, than to waste plenty more on various fads and gimmicks and end up hungry, tired, miserable, and with a garage full of white elephants such as some mini blender or juicer used once or twice and then left to gather dust!

Chief Bookworm’s Food & Drink Advice… Some of this is a bit obvious, other bits not so, but this is 44 years’ worth of life, and of stuffing my face with food, lol!

DO NOT drink alcohol if  you’re on antibiotics! By the way, those ONLY work for infections! They do NOT work for viruses, so if you have a cold or the flu, stick to the Beechams Flu Plus or Night Nurse capsules, or whatever, but don’t go pestering your GP for antibiotics ’cause they won’t work and they will cause your body to resist them when you actually DO need them! (Other cold & flu capsules are available, lol!)

NEVER drive or operate heavy machinery under the influence of alcohol, or any other mind-altering substances for that matter!

There is NO need to cut anything out of your diet unless your body actually rejects it, or you simply dislike the taste of it!

If you simply dislike the taste of something, DO NOT claim to be allergic to it! Just be honest that you don’t like the taste! Allergies should NOT be treated as trendy! Those who genuinely DO suffer from food intolerances have a difficult enough time as it is! I know someone who is genuinely allergic to fish and seafood, which, if she eats it by accident, causes severe stomach cramping and vomiting. I am pretty sure she wishes she could eat it without being ill, but she can’t. It is no fun having anything wrong with you, and that includes allergies, so if a food doesn’t make you ill, just tell the truth – you don’t like it. I like a broad range of food, but there are still one or two things I don’t like!

While we’re on the subject, DO accept it when someone else tells you they don’t like a certain food! DO NOT try to force them to try it! And, yes, that includes children! Our taste buds change over the years. When we’re young, there may be many things we don’t like, but we might like them when we’re older. Gently encourage kids to try a small bite every now and then to see if they do like it, but don’t make a big song and dance about it if they don’t! When I was a kid, even as old as 11, I didn’t want anything on a burger! I just wanted a burger in a bun and that was it. NO dressing, no relish… nothing! I was about 14 when my tastes changed and I started liking Big Macs and other burgers like that!

Reuben feeding Mum at St Anne's August 2017

Feeding time! Reuben feeds my mum…

Right, anyway, back to books, and as I mentioned under the photo, I’d been to St Anne’s on Sea earlier, with my mum, sister, niece and nephew, and books were acquired! I also had the pleasure of reading one of Charlotte’s books, which she had brought with her for me to read! The book in question was Oi Dog! by Kes and Claire Gray and Jim Field, and it is the sequel to Oi Frog! which I have also read!

My own purchases were a couple from WH Smith’s and a couple from one of the many charity shops in St Anne’s – Pop Co, by Scarlett Thomas, and a quick read, Geek Girl: Geek Drama, by Holly Smale. My purchases from WH Smith’s were Letters To the Lost, by Brigid Kemmerer, and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han. I’ve acquired quite a lot of books during the course of August, amazing I still can keep partial track of them! Sadly, I did end up with a duplicate the other day, because I forgot that I already had Reaper Man, by Sir Terry Pratchett! I really must find my Discworld list or make a new one to have with me so that I know which ones I already own!

Other recent acquisitions include Blitzed, by Norman Ohler, which is about drugs in Nazi Germany – spoiler alert here, sorry, but essentially Hitler and co were all high as kites! Stoned out of their minds on what we now know as crystal meth! The Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas, was a recent purchase, as was the paperback Ravenclaw edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – the first in the series has been re-issued in house editions (in hardback and paperback) to celebrate the fact that 2017 marks 20 years since the first Harry Potter novel was published, way back in 1997!

This does mean that Philosopher’s Stone will be on my List Challenges list twice, but when I publish it at the end of 2017, you can check off the ordinary version if you have that, and if you have ANY of the four house-coloured editions, you can check off the blue-covered Ravenclaw edition I’ve put on the list. I’ve been sorted on Pottermore, and I’m in Ravenclaw, so I have put my house’s edition on there, but feel free to tick it off even if you’re in Gryffindor, Hufflepuff or Slytherin! If so, you’re clearly a fellow Potterhead, and that’s fine by me!

Anyway, that’s about enough waffle for now! Transfer Deadline Day is now upon us as I type – we’re into the early hours of 31st August now, even though I started this on the 30th! I do a lot of late night blogging, lol! I don’t think we’ll be signing anyone. We’ve already got Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matić, Romelu Lukaku, and we have re-signed Zlatan Ibrahimović who will return when he is fit again after his injury, so if we do sign anyone on deadline day, I will be surprised! I am also surprised that, after only 3 games, we are the only side to maintain a 100% win record! Usually there are still 3 or 4 clubs who’ve won all their games after 3 matches, but no, United are the only side with 9 points out of 9 thus far!

I shall be back fairly soon, as it’ll be time for the August Review shortly, lol, so until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • Oi Dog! – Kes & Claire Gray and Jim Field
  • Oi Frog! Kes Gray and Jim Field
  • Pop Co – Scarlett Thomas
  • Geek Girl: Geek Drama – Holly Smale
  • Letters To the Lost – Brigid Kemmerer
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han
  • Reaper Man – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Ravenclaw pbk) – J. K. Rowling

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Filed under Bookstagram, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Duplicate Books List, Food & Drink, Football, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

Trophies, OCs, and Book Club Emergencies

Me and Mum with EFL and UEFA Cups 2017

Me and my mum at Old Trafford with the EFL Cup and Europa League trophy

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Yes, I’ve been to have my photo taken with the silverware we won last season! Had to be done! Obviously, the Community Shield has already gone back, Arsenal having won that last weekend, beating Chelsea on penalties in the traditional “curtain-raiser” to the new season. That has got under way now, with a very entertaining game to kick off the 2017-18 season, Arsenal beating Leicester City 4-3. United are at home to West Ham United on Sunday afternoon, so I shall be back at Old Trafford, in the Stretford End, and hoping for a home win and an actual proper challenge for the title this season for the first time since Fergie retired!

Still awaiting the start date for my job, hopefully I might hear something this coming week. I guess they are getting in touch with the references I provided.

Periodic Tales is now up to 82% having read a bit more of it earlier. We’re getting there, lol! It’s a very interesting book, and I am enjoying it, but it’s not one I feel I can read quickly. I have to take my time with it, and I sometimes need to look things up. Actually, what I was looking up was about sea squirts, as I had never heard of them before!

Dark Fire is up to 8%, but still not quite really enough to get it on the OC List officially as yet. However, I am unofficially adding it, and I have got 7 books on there at the moment. 2 fiction, 3 non-fiction, 2 young adult. The reason that I’ve got three non-fictions is because one of them is the book club book, and thus a “wild card” of sorts. As discussed in recent blogs, that book is The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, and I have got that one up to 10%. I have chosen Dead Ends, by Erin Lange, for my newest young adult addition to the OC List, a book I bought on Wednesday night, along with The Angry Chef, and My Turn, by Johan Cruyff.

Currently, the OC List looks like this…

  1. Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams. 82%
  2. Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson. 50%
  3. The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry. 35%
  4. A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard. 16%
  5. Dead Ends – Erin Lange. 11%
  6. The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner. 10%
  7. Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom. 8%

Priorities are to get Periodic Tales off the list, it’s been an Ongoing Concern for quite some time, lol! Also, to continue with The Angry Chef, and to get going with Dark Fire.

Very disappointingly, there were only two of us at book club on Wednesday night, consequently it was a bit pants!

Sorry, but you really do need a few of you there for it to be a good book club! It’s not all that much fun when there’s only the two of you, and the other is one of the least-forthcoming members! OK, in one way it was handy, as Anne was quite happy to go along with my choice of The Angry Chef for our next meeting, and to agree on the date, which will be 6th September, but sometimes I get the feeling she thinks I’m in charge of the club and that I know more than I do! I don’t! I might be a long-serving member of that book club, I’ve been in it since October 2008, after all, so 9 years this coming autumn, but I’ve not been the one to send emails round or anything like that! I have had to do the communications after this meeting, but that’s because there were only the two of us!

Anyway, I messaged Waterstone’s Deansgate on Facebook after the meeting to let them know the situation, and they forwarded the message on to Emma, who has now sent out an email. I have forwarded the email to Anne, and also replied to Emma to ask her to add Anne’s email address to the contacts list, as she has only joined in recent times. Emma’s a manager now and pretty busy, so it’s unlikely she can attend much, if at all, but she’s still happy for us to meet up there and to recommend any book ideas to us for book club reads.

I’ve also been having a problem in that my email was returned with an error message. I think I may have written Anne’s email address down incorrectly. Trouble is, as I’ve said, she’s pretty quiet volume-wise, and she does also have a bit of an accent, so I actually find it a bit hard to hear what she’s saying. All the more problematic, then, that she seems to lean on me so much. I really wish she wouldn’t. Particularly as, while I was trying to type a private message to Waterstone’s Deansgate on my iPad, therefore trying to do my best in the circumstances, and she’s there wittering on, fussing, and basically doing my head in!

Apologies for the rant, and I don’t wish to sound harsh, but she really annoyed me! I dearly wanted her to shut the hell up! Firstly, so I could concentrate on what I was typing, and also because there was no point anyone talking to me while I was trying to concentrate, because I wouldn’t really hear a word of it properly! There’s only the two of us, and if those two had been me and one of the others, I think we could have handled things evenly and fairly between us, but no chance given who the only other person was besides yours truly! So, she’s leaning on me, expecting me to do bloody everything, when I’ve never even taken full charge of a book club meeting before, but while I am ACTUALLY TRYING TO DO JUST THAT, she is bloody wittering on pointlessly, fussing, and just basically pissing me right off!

If anyone has any tips on how I can get someone to stop leaning on me and leave me alone, without being horrible to them, that advice would be much appreciated! How do I shake someone off?! I don’t want to be horrible, as I said, but I need her to get the hint and thus leave me alone. I feel I’m the last person she should be coming to, for her own good she needs to ask someone else. Especially as I feel I don’t hear her properly. I’m not deaf by any means, but perhaps I do need my hearing tested? Anyway, the fact is that I find her very difficult to hear for whatever reason, but perhaps someone else in the book club hears her perfectly and would be a much better person for her to ask?!

For the common good of the pair of us, I need a bit of help! What can I do to convince her to go to someone else?! How do I let her down gently and let her know I’m not the right person for her inquiries?!

Right, enough about book club stress, and back to other book-related matters… Picked up a few charity shop bargains in Eccles earlier, including The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham, for a mere 10p from the Mustard Tree shop, which is where I used to volunteer a few years ago! Wyndham, of course, is perhaps best known for The Day of the Triffids, the BBC TV adaptation of which, when I was a kid, scared the crap out of me, lol! I did enjoy Chocky, though, when I was a bit older, and that was adapted for a series on Children’s ITV, and I read the book because of that series.

The other bargain purchases were Foundation, and Foundation & Empire, both by Isaac Asimov, both 70p each, and Possession, by A. S. Byatt, at a mere 20p. However, there is supposed to be Prelude to Foundation, which goes before the two Asimov books I acquired.

Actually, Prelude is a prequel, so I guess it might be possible to just read those two, then find a copy of Second Foundation, to complete the trilogy if I enjoy it enough to do so. Anyway, if I ever do get around to trying these books, they certainly would make good Handbag Books! For now, though, I shall get this finished and published so you can have a good read! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • Dead Ends – Erin Lange
  • My Turn – Johan Cruyff
  • The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
  • The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham
  • Chocky – John Wyndham
  • Prelude To Foundation – Isaac Asimov
  • Foundation – Isaac Asimov
  • Foundation & Empire – Isaac Asimov
  • Second Foundation – Isaac Asimov
  • Possession – A. S. Byatt

 

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Bookstagram, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Handbag Books, My Bookworm History, Ongoing Concerns, Rants, Television, YA Books

OC Overhaul, Book Benches and an Emergency Book!

OC Overhaul July 2017

Bullet journal documenting my Ongoing Concerns overhaul…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Yes, I have gone and done it! I have taken decisive action on the notorious Ongoing Concerns List, and trimmed it down! I decided it was unfair on certain books which were not being read, I hadn’t touched them for weeks, if not months, and I thought let’s just take them off the list, at least for now, and put them back on some time later if I CAN be arsed reading them instead of leaving them on there for decoration without them making any ounce of progress as far as Goodreads percentages are concerned.

Several YA books are therefore back in the TBR pile as partially-read books, with receipts or travel tickets in them as bookmarks so I know where I’m up to when I do decide to resume them at any time in the future. There are now two YA novels on the new OC list, those being Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, and One Italian Summer, by Keris Stainton. She actually liked one of my posts on Instagram the other day! I am a frequent Bookstagrammer on there, most of my posts on Instagram are about books! There are some which aren’t, but I’m very much into the whole Bookstagram thing.

One non-fiction book has been returned to the TBR list, but Periodic Tales, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams, and Neither Here Nor There, by Bill Bryson, remain on the OC List as our current representatives of factual reading matter! This coming week, on Thursday, I will be meeting one of my favourite non-fiction writers, Stuart Maconie, who is coming to Waterstone’s on Deansgate to promote his new book, Long Road From Jarrow, which will be published that day. That one will have to join the TBR pile though, as I’ve got two non-fictions on the list, and I said I was going to resume Manchester, England by Dave Haslam as my next non-fiction selection on the OC List once one of the current factual books has been read, and will be using my “and the bees still buzz” bookmark in it!

It’s all go on the book front in Manchester at the moment, and I shall return to the matter of Mancunian book-related events shortly, once I have covered the fiction section of my new trimmed-down OC List, lol!

OC Wipeboard July 2017

The OC Wipeboard – cleaned and tarted-up with the new list. The magnets have been on for a while, from Berlin, Chichen Itza, and Marrakech respectively. The blue thingy is a wipeboard eraser, and is magnetic. I might just plonk that on the top and put a few more magnets on, or sometimes change them around. I needed a new pen for it anyway, as the one it came with had gone funny. The board itself needed cleaning, too, but I sorted that out, so it looks pretty good now, and I have a few colours I can use on it. I’m sure non-permanent OHP pens would also work on it…

So, the fiction section… Obviously, this currently consists of Dissolution, by C. J. Sansom, the first book of his Shardlake series, and my current book club book, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old. I am now 12% through that so it has joined the list because I have read at least 10% of it. Thus the OC list is at six, with a nice balance of 2 fiction, 2 non-fiction and 2 young adult. If I find even that is too much and things are not being read, I will have to trim it down further, but it’s a lot better than it was!

Bookbench trail map

Bookbench Trail Map

I did promise you more book-related goings-on in Manchester, so this is what I was on about, the Bookbench Trail. A bit like when we had Cowparade in the noughties, but with sets of benches in the shape of books, decorated by various groups and schools, and dotted around Manchester, both in the city centre and out in various suburbs. This is on for 2 months from 10th July to 10th September, so it just started this Monday just gone.

The above photos are from some of the benches in the Arndale Centre in town. The crayons remind me of some of Charlotte’s books, actually, lol! I’m thinking about The Day the Crayons Quit, and The Day the Crayons Came Home, both by Drew Daywalt. If you haven’t read these books, you really should! They’re brilliant and very funny!

Anyway, one foolish thing I did yesterday was that I forgot to put any books in my handbag! Oops! I was going in to town for my volunteering, and also to give blood afterwards, although it turned out that my haemoglobin was low, so I couldn’t donate a pint of my O positive on this occasion. I realised in the morning, after leaving the house to get a bus to Eccles, that I had forgotten to bring any books with me. I was not best pleased, as you can imagine! Chief Bookworm had no Handbag Books! Oops!

Emergency Book July 2017

Emergency Book!

Bearing in mind I’d be volunteering in the morning, and that I’d be doing the sudoku in the newspapers while on the tram to town, I wasn’t so much bothered about not having a book for the outgoing journey, but I figured that, if I was going to be giving an armful to the vampires, I would need a book to pass the time during my donation, so just before I went to the donor centre, I nipped into Fopp, where they have a selection of cheap books as well as music and films, and picked up Life After Dark, by Dave Haslam, for £3 to take with me. Hence the bit in the title of this blog about the Emergency Book!

So, I took the Emergency Book with me to the donor centre, only for me to turn out to be a bit low on iron and unable to give blood! Oh well, never mind! The book is a history of British nightclubs and music venues, as you might expect from a DJ, and I read a little bit of it on the bus on the way home from town, although the rest of it will have to wait, at least until after I have finished with one of his other books, and that’s still not on the OC list yet, anyway!

Didn’t have a fellow bookworm on that bus, but the previous day, I had a fellow bookworm on the tram to Eccles when I was coming home from town. I was reading Dissolution, she was reading The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry, which she said she was enjoying. I said it was on my TBR List. She said she’d read and enjoyed Dissolution! My copy of The Essex Serpent is in the pile of books, mostly hardbacks, known as my Bass Amp Book Tower!

Well, I shall now go and get myself a brew, and do some reading perhaps. My lads have their first game of the pre-season tour later, at what is silly o’clock for us here in the UK, but that’s not too much trouble as I can always watch it in bed and I am a night owl, so I will probably be awake for most of it anyway!

Wonder when the Gnome will get his finger out of his arse and get some more players off Jose’s shopping list?! I don’t think the manager is very chuffed at the extremely lethargic “speed” at which Gnome is progressing with this task, and we fans certainly aren’t! We need more players, and we need to be buying them, not letting other players go in exchange! Especially not strikers, as we don’t have enough as it is! No, Inter Milan, you cannot have Anthony Martial! We don’t have enough forwards! We might possibly have some spare defenders or something, if you need anyone in those positions at the back, but we need all the strikers we can get!

We have practically exchanged Rooney for Lukaku, so we have Lukaku, Martial and Rashford. That in itself is not enough strikers. We need at least one more, because we cannot bank on Zlatan returning. If he comes back mid season and manages to bang in the goals despite his age and despite having had a serious knee injury, that should be considered a bonus!

Anyway, that is about all from me for now, you’ll be relieved to learn, lol! So, until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Long Road From Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • The Day the Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home – Drew Daywalt
  • Life After Dark – Dave Haslam
  • The Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry

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Filed under Authors, Bass Amp Book Tower, Books, Bookstagram, Childrens' Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, Junior Bookworms, Manc Stuff!, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Travel, Uncategorized, YA Books

June Review

Penguin orange book spines

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Another month over, and time for the monthly review, plus a look at the first half of 2017. Consider this the half-time break, go and get your pie and a cuppa, while the manager gives his team-talk, lol! (And while I secretly wish to boot my beloved club’s chief exec up the arse with one of my Timberlands if the bloody gnome-alike doesn’t start making more moves in the transfer market pretty bloody sharpish! Come on, Woodward! Even bloody Arsenal have signed someone today, and we know they’re not always the most active in the transfer market, lol, so how embarrassing does that look that you’ve yet to tick off any other players from Jose’s shopping list other than Lindelof?!)

Anyway, we’re half-way through the year, and we’re at 31/30 on the Goodreads Challenge. Meaning that I met my target in May, but have since added one more book to the list, that being Pet Shop Boys, Literally, by Chris Heath, which I finished just before I went to see Neil and Chris in concert at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool last week!

It’s been a busy old month, with a concert, two birthdays, a christening, and the course that I’m currently on, which has increased my weekly amount of getting out and about! I probably should have fitted in more reading, but I didn’t, and I still need to start The Power, our book club read by Naomi Alderman, and the next book club is on 12th July, so I’d better get a shift on, I suppose…

I did buy two books at the church summer fair, those being Heartstone, by C. J. Sansom, and The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood, but I had given Sandra a few bags of books for her stall, so I still reduced my physical book count significantly.

And then new ones come in… Well, second hand ones from charity shops, but they’re still new to me… Revelation, by C. J. Sansom, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan, and Jacky Daydream, by Jacqueline Wilson

That last one is actually her autobiography, her memoirs of her childhood, but written in the same style as her novels! I really should read more of hers, but I did read The Story of Tracy Beaker years ago!

I was also busy with my band, and the past two Saturdays have seen us giving concerts instead of having our usual rehearsals, although it’s back to normal tomorrow, and I shall be blowing my horn at Flixton Junior School as usual. So, last Saturday, I was playing my horn at an Armed Forces Day event in Northenden, adding to my busy weekend.

And it was Glastonbury last weekend, so Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I was alternating between BBC2 and BBC4 with use of the red button as well! Then looking up how to play “Creep” by Radiohead on my ukulele. Only 4 chords, which repeat throughout the song, although fretting one of those chords is slightly tricky.

I also had a book reshuffle during the course of this month, going into the Book Chest in the garage and swapping some reading matter over between the chest and the stuff here in my room.

Books were discussed when Sarah and I met up for the Pet Shop Boys gig last week, and I got to see James’ collection of David Walliams books, as well as being lent Phil Collins‘ autobiography, Not Dead Yet. He was risking it for biscuit calling his book that when you consider that the Grim Reaper was on overtime last year, when the book was published, and went a bit crazy with the number of famous people he was taking from us!

Plus, my volunteering, as part of my Volition course, is at the cathedral bookshop in town.

So, there has been quite a bit of book-related stuff going on in June, just not all that much actual READING! Oops!

Hopefully, July will be better and I will actually get some reading done! It can’t be much less productive on the reading front than June has been! OK, I met my Goodreads target for the whole year, and I achieved that in May, but I had hoped to exceed 30 books by a bit more than just one book by now.

I want to get some stuff off my OC List which has been on there for rather too long and if books could talk, they’d probably be moaning that I’d forgotten all about them! The list seems to have gone “stale” in that hardly anything on it has been read lately! OK, the PSB book was finished off, but the only other two I’ve bothered with have been Periodic Tales, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl! A whole shedload of books need to be read, even if only a little bit. They need to be revived.

I think I feel that I don’t know what to read for the best at the moment. So many damn books need reading for one reason or another and the whole OC List thing, which I started in February, and which had been working well, seems to be going a bit Pete Tong!

I hope matters improve in July, and that things settle down after a busy month and I can get some significant reading done! To that end, I think it’s time I finished this off and got it published, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Oh, and in case I have any followers in Canada, and I don’t get round to blogging tomorrow, I send my advanced best wishes for a Happy Canada Day!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • The Power – Naomi Alderman
  • Heartstone – C. J. Sansom
  • The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
  • Revelation – C. J. Sansom
  • Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan
  • Jacky Daydream – Jacqueline Wilson
  • The Story of Tracy Beaker – Jacqueline Wilson
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Anderson

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Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Football, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Manc Stuff!, Month in Review, Music, Ongoing Concerns

A Red Letter Day

Pet Shop Boys Blackpool 21st June 2017

View from the front row! Pet Shop Boys at the Empress Ballroom, Blackpool

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

I’m in the middle of a pretty busy time right now, so things may be short, this blog might be one of them, or it might be typed over a number of days, and despite the fact that Neil & Chris opined that there are “a lot of opportunities”, the actual likelihood that I will get around to having anything resembling a good read is pretty remote! I have two family birthdays, a concert with my brass band, and my nephew’s baptism over the course of the next few days! Busy weekend!

The busy period actually started on Wednesday, as that’s when I met up with Sarah in Preston and we then went to Blackpool for the evening! The weather was hot, as it has been in recent days, but it was spitting at times, so our plan to have our KFC as a takeaway and eat our bargain bucket on the beach had to go by the wayside – we had to eat in and have our chicken indoors instead! Never mind! Seagulls probably would have tried to nick our fries anyway, if we’d attempted that, lol!

The main bit, once we’d stuffed ourselves silly with chicken, lol, was to head to the Winter Gardens for the gig. The thing is, there is more than one venue within the Winter Gardens, and the previous time I had seen the Pet Shop Boys in Blackpool, on the Performance Tour back in 1991, the first time I ever saw them in concert, the gig was at the Opera House, and thus we were seated. This time, however, we were in the Empress Ballroom, and were standing. Sarah and I are not the tallest of people, roughly around the same height of 5 foot 1 or thereabouts, but other fellow fans were letting us go in front of them, so we didn’t have too bad a view…

Part-way through the gig, during The Sodom And Gomorrah Show, one very kind bloke spots the pair of us and leads us right to the front for the rest of the show, including the next number which was It’s A Sin! So, we’re right at the front for the remainder of the concert, which was quite a few songs, and also being brought cups of water by Winter Gardens staff – let’s not forget it was an absolutely boiling day! So, we got some hydration and an unimpeded view of Neil and Chris! Absolutely brilliant gig in Mr Lowe’s home town!

Whoever you were, who led Sarah and I to the front, thank you SO much!

Phil Collins Not Dead Yet

As mentioned earlier this year: Borrowing this one from my friend!

Anyway, I guess I’d better mention some books, hadn’t I? If we go back to the previous occasion Sarah and I met up, that was back in February this year when we saw Neil and Chris at the Manchester Arena, and I had been reading Gary Kemp‘s autobiography, I Know This Much, and finished it in time to give it back to Sarah, along with Faster Than Lightning, by Usain Bolt, which she’d also lent me. At that time, in at least one of my February blogs, I mentioned that she was going to lend me Phil Collins‘ autobiography, Not Dead Yet. She hadn’t finished it at the time, I think, but I can now update you all with the information that she has now lent me that particular book!

David Walliams books

An impressive stack!

I also got to see a huge stack of David Walliams books, as her son, James, is a big fan of his stories. Indeed, we bought him at least one of those books, Ratburger, for Christmas a year or two ago now! He even has duplicate books – two copies of The Boy In the Dress, as they have two different covers – I’ve had that issue with some of my books, as has been well documented in these blogs, lol! The only David Walliams book which James has not yet got is the latest one, The World’s Worst Children 2, but I think he will be buying himself that with his birthday money, as he turned 12 the other week.

Anyway, from children’s books, and books lent by friends, to my current book situation. I need to start on The Power, not even started it yet. I had plans to reduce my OC list still further, and have only 6 books on it instead of 9, but I doubt that’s going to happen! I still feel that some of the books on my OC list have been forgotten about. A lot of them need resuming, I’ve not even read a page of some of them for ages! That’s why I thought getting the OC list down even further would be a good idea, but I don’t think it’s going to happen for a while yet. Might be best to stick with 9 books for the time being.

Certainly not right now. I’ve only finished off one book this month, that being Pet Shop Boys, Literally, by Chris Heath. However, as I have reached my 30 book target on Goodreads, the Chris Heath book and any others I read this year are above and beyond my target figure, but other books might have to wait until we get into July! Or at least until this weekend is over! Maybe get some of the YA stuff off the list, it will probably be the quickest to read and finish off once I resume it, as opposed to some of the non-fiction stuff which takes a bit longer. I enjoy non-fiction, of course, but it’s a more detailed read than a lot of fiction, and I progress at a slower rate, particularly with stuff such as Periodic Tales.

Friday, 23rd June, 2017, 20:54h.

Back again! Returning to the blog, if only to finish it off while watching Glastonbury. Well, alright, listening to Glasto, ’cause I’m at Computer Corner right now so I have my back to my telly. This is clearly a very music-minded blog with a few books mentioned too!

Apparently, today is Olympic Day, so I can’t fail to bring a bit of sport into it, can I, as I’ve been an Olympic nut since I was 10 going on 11 – feel free to hold Torvill & Dean responsible for that, lol! The Winter Olympics of Sarajevo 1984 were the first Games I got into, and I’ve got far too many favourite moments to list, and I’ve also read a fair few books on the matter! On the Games in general, and about certain incidents, or certain sportspeople. In recent times, I’ve read Faster Than Lightning, Usain Bolt‘s autobiography, and also a Quick Reads book, Headhunter, by Jade Jones, Team GB’s Olympic taekwondo champion in London and Rio. Although I read this one some time ago now, as a book club book, I can also recommend The Dirtiest Race in History, by Richard Moore, which is about the men’s 100m final at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, and Ben Johnson’s positive drugs test only a day or two after the race.

Before I get this wrapped up, I shall set you an Olympic teaser – see if you know the answer to this one…

What was the significance of Jenny Jones winning bronze for Great Britain at Sochi 2014?

I don’t have any medals to hand out for anyone who does get the right answer, but you will earn my respect as a fellow Olympic nut if you know the answer to that one! I’m off to get another drink and to watch Glasto, so until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • I Know This Much – Gary Kemp
  • Faster Than Lightning – Usain Bolt
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • Ratburger – David Walliams
  • The Boy in the Dress – David Walliams
  • The World’s Worst Children 2 – David Walliams
  • The Power – Naomi Alderman
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Headhunter – Jade Jones
  • The Dirtiest Race in History – Richard Moore

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, Computer Corner, Music, Olympic Games