Category Archives: Childrens’ Books

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

Swede Dreams Are Made of This

swede-reads

Swede Dreams: United are going to Stockholm!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Apologies for an omission from my previous blog. My niece was round here on Tuesday with some of her favourite reading matter, which Charlotte and I were reading together. I have mentioned these two books before, both by Drew Daywalt, but they are The Day the Crayons Quit, and The Day the Crayons Came Home. Both brilliant and very funny books, and expertly read by my niece! She is such a fluent reader, and puts inflection into her reading. I think she’s bringing Oi, Frog! by Kes Gray and Jim Field, round with her next time. She has some great books!

Obviously, my last blog entry was written before our game against Celta Vigo, so this is my first opportunity on this blog to mention that we’re through to the Europa League Final in Stockholm on 24th May! Woohoo! Sadly, for several reasons, I won’t be there, and will have to settle for watching it on telly, but we got through. It was 1-1 on Thursday night, but we had won the away leg 1-0, so we won 2-1 on aggregate. One consolation is that our final opponents, Ajax, weren’t convincing either. They had won their first leg 4-1, but lost the second 3-1 in Lyon, so they squeaked through 5-4 on aggregate. They will also be missing a player through suspension, they had a guy sent off, so the fact that Eric Bailly was dismissed along with Celta Vigo’s goalscorer, can be offset slightly!

So, if you were wondering about the title and the photo of books by Swedish authors, it’s ’cause United are going to Stockholm! Of course, I have also found my copy of A Man Called Ove since then – it was missing at the time, as you might recall. One of the notorious missing books, although Ove and three of the others were later found in my wardrobe unit. Still haven’t got the foggiest where The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy, has disappeared to, though! That is a mystery yet to be solved, lol!

On the Goodreads Challenge, I’m currently at the stage of having read 26 books so far this year. My target for 2017 is 30 books. Something tells me I might have to update at some point, lol! Diary of an Oxygen Thief, by an anonymous author, was book number 25 on the list, and finishing off the last 9 pages of Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson, took me up to my current total.

As for the books hoping to get on to the Goodreads Challenge list, otherwise known as the Ongoing Concerns, Pet Shop Boys, Literally, by Chris Heath still tops the list, but I’ve been reading quite a bit of Nul Points lately, so Tim Moore‘s book has crept up to 2nd on the list. The PSB book is at 62%, with Tim Moore’s book about Eurovision Song Contest losers on 55%. The Tobacconist, by Robert Seethaler, is at 51% so it’s just over halfway, but I need to get on with that one, really, as my book club is this coming Thursday! Oops!

Just below The Tobacconist, is Periodic Tales, so non-fiction is taking up 3 of the top 4 places on the OC List at the moment.

* My my! At Waterloo, Napoleon did surrender… *

Oops! Sorry! Just getting in the mood for Eurovision, lol! I felt we needed a bit of Abba. Well, they are the most successful act to have become famous because of the Eurovision Song Contest, so we might as well appreciate the Swedish superstars. Actually, Frida (Anni-Frid) is Norwegian, but the other three are Swedes. When Pick of the Pops was on Radio 2 earlier, the first of the two years was 1976, and Abba were number one this time 41 years ago with Fernando. They had 9 UK number ones, 7 in the 70s and 2 in the early 80s, from Waterloo in 1974, which started it all, to Super Trouper in 1980, the last of their songs to top the British charts.

I apologise that this blog entry is a bit on the short side, but let’s not forget that my previous one was rather waffly, lol! I’ve mentioned more books than I did last time, though! I will be back again sooner rather than later with another blog, but, until then, take care, Happy Reading, and enjoy Eurovision if you’re also watching it tonight!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Day the Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home – Drew Daywalt
  • Oi, Frog! – Kes Gray & Jim Field
  • A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams

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Filed under Books, Childrens' Books, European Literature, Football, Goodreads, Junior Bookworms, Music, Ongoing Concerns

Mermaid Mystery

Books bought 29th April 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

“I’m on the toilet at the 9:30 Club, and I’m wondering how mermaids pee.”

Isn’t that a brilliant opening line?! People get drawn to books because of their covers (we know we shouldn’t judge books by their covers, but we still do, lol), and often because of the blurb, but a good opening line can do it for you as well! It’s what attracted me to The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli, when I was in Waterstone’s yesterday! She is also the author of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which is on my notorious TBR list. Indeed, it’s in the rainbow tower of books!

The other book in the photo, Anna and the Swallow Man, by Gavriel Savit, is set in Poland in 1939, so a WWII setting, with a child separated from her parents, certainly from her father, early on, so not unlike The Book Thief in that respect. Anyway, as you can see here, from this photo, Savit’s novel came with a freebie…

Book and bookmarks 29th April 2017

Actually, my copy had TWO free matching bookmarks in it, and I also picked up the free postcard while I was in Waterstone’s, although that’s for a completely different book, Checkmate, by Malorie Blackman. Must admit I’ve yet to read any of her books, but I’ve certainly heard of them, Noughts & Crosses for definite. The postcard will no doubt end up being used as a bookmark anyway, lol! Offering free matching bookmarks is a pretty common promotional method, usually for the book shop to put one in each copy or put a pile on the table alongside the book they are promoting, although occasionally a book might actually have a detachable bookmark, such as the time I bought The President’s Hat, by Antoine Laurain, a book club book a few years ago. (That was a novel about the former French president, François Mitterrand, by the way, NOT about Washington Wiggy!)

I got another couple of books read while I was in Waterstone’s, so I am up to 24/30 on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I admit these were kids’ books, as seen above, but I read widely anyway, from children’s books to epic novels, and I’ve recently got a few long term ones off my notorious Ongoing Concerns list, so why not read a couple of quickies in Waterstone’s?! They were Tidy, by Emily Gravett, and The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt, which is the follow-up to the brilliant The Day the Crayons Quit, which I have also read, probably last year! I’ve mentioned it on my blog this year, though.

Charlotte is now moving on, though, more towards books which take more than a day to read, books with chapters. As mentioned recently, they’re reading The Wind in the Willows, or certainly parts of it, at her school. I don’t think I’ve ever read it, but I certainly remember the animated TV adaptation in the 80s, as I’m pretty sure Mr Toad was voiced by the legendary Sir David Jason. Then again, in a year or so, it’ll be Reuben’s turn for some of those books from which Charlotte is moving on. Reuben’s on the board books, he’s 6 months old at present. He has his mum, dad and big sister reading to him, so hopefully my little nephew will also love books as much as my niece does.

Obviously, in the next day or two, I’m going to have to do the April Review on here, so I’m not really focusing on the OCs right now as that’ll be a big part of the monthly summary of bookworm activity, but I’ve been making some progress with Pet Shop Boys, Literally in recent days, Chris Heath‘s account of the duo’s first tour in 1989. At the last count, I was on for page 212, and had thus read 62% of the book. I mentioned in a previous blog, earlier this year, that 2017 marks 30 years since I became a Pethead during the course of 1987, so it’s part of the anniversary celebrations of 3 decades of yours truly appreciating the musical talents and output of Neil Francis Tennant and Christopher Sean Lowe!

The OC list is still currently standing at 8 books, as I have still not decided on the books to replace The Saffron Trail and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. I did think, though, about honouring a couple of authors, one who’d passed away recently, and one who would have celebrated his 69th birthday on 28th April, but who passed away in 2015. We have recently lost Robert M. Pirsig on 24th April, the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, while the late great Sir Terry Pratchett would have turned 69 on Friday, so I was giving some thought to Mort, the fourth book of the Discworld series.

I’ve still got Diary of an Oxygen Thief, an anonymous novella, on my TBR pile, but I shall have to check again how long it is, or rather, how short, as it could be a one-day read which would not need to join the OC list any more than those children’s books I read at Waterstone’s! The Ongoing Concerns are books which are going to take me at least a while to read, they’re not going to be one-day or even overnight reads.

I might just read that one I bought earlier, though, the Becky Albertalli book… It would be my YA replacement for Nick & Norah and, after all, I’d also like to know how mermaids pee! Until the next time I blog, which won’t be very long in coming, lol, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli
  • Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
  • Anna and the Swallow Man – Gavriel Savit
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • Checkmate – Malorie Blackman
  • Noughts & Crosses – Malorie Blackman
  • The President’s Hat – Antoine Laurain
  • Tidy – Emily Gravett
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home – Drew Daywalt
  • The Day the Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt
  • The Wind In the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M. Pirsig
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, Junior Bookworms, Music, Ongoing Concerns, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Love In The First Degree

An Equal Music finished 18 April 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

First day of jury service done and dusted, and very successful on the book front as I wasn’t called to serve on any of the four juries for which they were selecting people today. I have phoned up, and I am not needed tomorrow, so I just need to phone again after 6pm tomorrow to see if I am needed on Thursday. Otherwise, I have a day off. I still plan on reading, though! I am seeing this whole jury service thing as a major opportunity to get through a lot of books!

An Equal Music is now finished! Yep, the orchestra has played the final chord on that one, and it was a mostly-enjoyable read, although some bits puzzled me, as in wondering if they led to anything or if I needed to remember that little detail, was it really significant to the plot? Having finished a work of fiction with a musical theme, I then decided to make further progress with a non-fiction book on music – Stuart Maconie‘s The People’s Songs. That’s now up to 59% in Goodreads terms.

As I said in the previous blog, I feel a pull towards more non-fiction on my Ongoing Concerns list, and I am thinking of adding Tim Moore‘s Nul Points to the collection. It’s a partially-read non-fiction book about acts which have failed on an epic scale at the Eurovision Song Contest! Acts which did not receive a single vote from a single country! It goes up to 2005, so, yes, it’s a bit old now, but should be a good read and it is coming up to the Eurovision time of year anyway, so good timing, I think! I was up to page 98 the last time I read it and that is out of 378, so we’d be talking over 25% when I check Goodreads and then put it on my OC Board and in my handbag to take around with me.

* marks the book as currently reading and that she is on page 98 of 378, and Goodreads has informed her that she has read 26% of the book thus far… *

The other books mentioned the other day, on the non-fiction front, are still possibilities for the OC list in the very near future, but we shall go with Nul Points with Eurovision on the horizon.

Wind in the Willows 8 Editions

After we had been informed, this afternoon, that we were no longer required to stay, I left the courts and headed for Waterstone’s. Yeah, I know… you’re so gobsmacked about that, aren’t you?! NOT! Rather a good job I was in my natural habitat as I got a message from my mum asking me if I owned a copy of The Wind In the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. Unfortunately, not something I have actually ever read, although I recall the animated TV adaptations on Children’s ITV in the 80s, with Mr Toad being voiced by the legend that is Sir David Jason. However, at the time of being messaged, I was in the children’s and young adults’ section at Waterstone’s so I offered to get a copy… and that is when I found out that the Deansgate branch boasted no fewer than EIGHT different editions of the classic children’s novel! I shit you not! EIGHT different editions of The Wind In the Willows! Weighing in at a range of prices from £5.99 to a whopping £16.99! See the above photo for the eight editions lined up!

I challenge any of you to find me ANY instance where ANY branch of ANY book shop, worldwide, has MORE than eight different editions of the same book! I think you’d be hard-pushed to beat eight different editions of Kenneth Grahame‘s novel at Waterstone’s Deansgate in Manchester!

Wind in the Willows 2

I bought the Oxford Children’s Classics edition on the right in this photo.

There are still seven different editions left at that branch, although I did buy a copy. It’s for the Junior Bookworm, Charlotte. Looks like they’ll be reading it at school. I expect schools still do have multiple copies of certain books, but I know my niece and what she’s like with books. I know she’ll want one of her own! I also saw another interesting book while I was in the children’s department, The Bookshop Girl, by Sylvia Bishop, which might also appeal to my niece.

On the YA front, I admit I am still after Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and have not seen a copy in store yet. I might just have to bite the bullet and get it ordered some time. but I saw yet another book whose title made me think of a song (I’m often finding books which do that for me, lol!) – The Bombs That Brought Us Together, by Brian Conaghan. I am pretty convinced the title is inspired by lyrics from “Ask” by The Smiths, although slightly paraphrased from the original words of Morrissey…

So ask me, ask me, ask me!

Ask me, ask me, ask me

Because if it’s not love, then it’s the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb the bomb…

The bomb that will bring us together.

See? Definitely inspired by Smiths lyrics if you ask me! (See what I did there?!) The title of this blog, however, is from a Bananarama song, lol! I just wanted the title of a song on a “legal” theme given that I’m on jury service! I know I’m not needed tomorrow (well, actually today as it’s just gone midnight here as I type), but I have to phone up later and see if my presence is required on Thursday. In the meantime, the reading marathon will continue!

Well, I think I’d better either get on with some reading or catch up on Pointless! Perhaps I should delete some or I’ll never get round to watching them. I think they’re repeats anyway – pretty sure I’ve seen some of the contestants before! It’s very hard, with quiz shows, to know if they’re running a current series, or just old ones, especially when they’re on every weekday, and with Pointless Celebrities on Saturdays! (I can think of a lot of “celebs” these days whom I would regard as pointless, lol!) In Pointless, of course, the whole aim of the game is to score 0 points, which is the exact opposite of the Eurovision Song Contest! And with that, I shall get this published and return to Nul Points! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • The Wind In the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  • The Bookshop Girl – Sylvia Bishop
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • The Bombs That Brought Us Together – Brian Conaghan

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Filed under Books, Childrens' Books, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Humour, Junior Bookworms, Music, My Bookworm History, Ongoing Concerns, Television, YA Books

Books, Weather and Other Easter Eggstras…

Book club book April 2017

The new Book Club reading matter…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Back again with another blog as we head into the Easter holidays, and also following on from the fact I was at my book club the other night, so we will be reading The Tobacconist, by Robert Seethaler, for our next meeting, which will be on 18th May.

We are now into the early moments of Friday, 14th April 2017, thus it is 9 years to the day that I created my book group on Facebook! I’d Spend All Day In Waterstone’s If I Could Get Away With It! If you are on Facebook and fancy joining, feel free to put in a joining request. I vet profiles to see how much of a bookworm anyone is, but I imagine I should see  plenty of evidence from any of you who follow my book blog. We stay pretty much on topic with posts about books and the world of literature and literacy, and I don’t tolerate spammers – I boot those out at the earliest opportunity if and when we have any, so you won’t have to worry too much about irrelevant posts on the group.

This is why I much prefer groups to pages on Facebook! Groups are far easier to police. Pages can be a free-for-all at times, with any Tom, Dick and Harry claiming to “like” them, but then proceeding to post a load of rubbish on them; spam, clickbait and other irrelevant shite! I’ve unliked and unfollowed several pages in recent times because I got fed up of them being targeted with spam and clickbait, and I was left wondering if those pages actually had any Admins, because they were bloody useless if they did!

Even less use than the proverbial chocolate teapot. At least you could eat one of those!

Anyway, never mind the spammers and the useless admins, let’s get back to books, with Zlatan now heading the OC list and up to 84% read! Woo hoo! The People’s Songs, by Stuart Maconie, is at 42% so I’ll be looking to get that to at least the halfway mark in the next day or so. Really enjoying that one. Of the newer additions to the list, The Tobacconist is already at 13%, with City of Bones not far behind on 12%, although I expect the Seethaler novel to progress quicker as it’s a shorter book, and it has priority because it’s a book club book.

I’ll be looking to get Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s autobiography read, and then passed on to my sister who was first to put her request in. The Tobacconist is a relatively short read, as was the previous book club book, so I’m hoping that I will get that read fairly quickly in plenty of time for the next book club, and then I can get on with other books. I’ll have to give serious thought to what I am taking with me to read when I do my jury service – may well need something chunky, lol!

Another-Crappy-Weather-Forecast-YouTube

“And to summarise the Easter Bank Holiday weather, I’d say it’s a good opportunity to stay in with a good book or two…”

Yeah, that looks pretty much like typical British weather for a bank holiday, and we have two of those over Easter, Good Friday, which we’re in to now, and then Easter Monday, so get the kettle on, make a brew, and sit down with a good book, and some hot cross buns or Easter eggs as well! Here’s a bit more weather advice from me…

Rain: Too wet to go out, so stay indoors and read a book!

Snow: Too cold, and also wet, to go out, so stay in with a hot drink and read a book!

Gale force winds: Don’t get blown away! Stay indoors and read a book!

Hot and sunny (very rare for the UK, lol): Go outdoors and read a book!

Hope that advice helps!

Couple of old photos of me reading outside, there! Both from 2008, although one of them was from when I was on holiday in Italy, which would definitely explain the nice weather! We must have been having a nice day back home for the other photo, though, lol, as I was outside in our garden, having a brew and a read! In the photo taken at home, my book is War and Peace, and the holiday reading was The Engineer of Human Souls, by Josef Skvorecky, a Czech author whose works I was introduced to by David Hunt on Facebook. He also introduced me to Bohumil Hrabal, and I’ve read a few of his books since, including Too Loud a Solitude, Closely Watched Trains, I Served The King of England, and Dancing Lessons For the Advanced in Age. If I forgot to mention Hrabal a few months ago, when I was listing authors by whom I’ve read more than one book, that would be an oversight, given I’ve read a few of his! They’re fairly short, so make for good quick reads.

Me at Easter in the 70s

Anyway, as we’re heading towards Easter, and I’m posting some old photos of yours truly, I shall leave you with this one to enjoy, from an Easter years ago. I look about 4 so it could well be 40 years ago in 1977! Not got my specs on, so I probably was just about four or almost four. I wasn’t really convinced enough to wear my specs until I actually started school, which was in the September of that year. Children’s books usually have large-print text anyway, so I probably could read them pretty well without glasses. Can’t see any books on the table, but I am clearly enjoying a few Easter eggs. I’ve always been a chocoholic, just as much as I’ve always been a bookworm!

Actually, before I was convinced enough of my need for specs, I used to wear them on top of my head, copying my paternal grandad, the late Dennis Dixon-Jackson! Even though I didn’t see Nana and Grandad D-J as often as I saw Grandma and Grandad Bacon, Grandad D-J had clearly influenced my earliest style of spectacle-wearing, lol! I actually became quite possessive of my specs once I did see the point of them, and didn’t see the point of anyone else wanting to try them on as they were made to my prescription, so other kids would just think things looked very odd through them!

That probably is about all for now, so I shall get this published and wish you all a Happy Easter! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
  • War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  • The Engineer of Human Souls – Josef Skvorecky
  • Too Loud a Solitude – Bohumil Hrabal
  • Closely Watched Trains – Bohumil Hrabal
  • I Served The King of England – Bohumil Hrabal
  • Dancing Lessons For the Advanced in Age – Bohumil Hrabal

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, British Weather, Childrens' Books, European Literature, Facebook & Other Social Media, Handbag Books, Ongoing Concerns, Rants, Travel, Weather

Polishing Off The Pie

Pie at Night finished March 2017

Finished! The Pie has had its chips (and gravy), lol!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

That’s The Pie at Night finished! 14 books on the Goodreads Challenge now, as Stuart Maconie‘s brilliant guide to what the north does for fun joins the list of books I’ve read this year! Wahey! It can now come off the list of Ongoing Concerns, although I might want to get that list down further before adding more to it. Then again, I might not! There are plenty of books round here begging to be read, lol, so it won’t be too long before new ones are added! After all, I expect others to come off the OC list pretty soon.

Unless anything drastic happens, I’m expecting this coming Tuesday to be the last of my Tuesdays With Morrie sessions! That one is certainly a very moving and poignant book, although I am not one to cry over reading matter. Doesn’t mean I don’t experience feelings when reading, I certainly do, but not what some people would describe as “ugly crying”.or “ugly sobbing”. When I was reading A Little Life last year, I wanted to hug Jude on several occasions, and wanted to punch the living daylights out of several characters in that novel who had mistreated him! Willem was my favourite from that novel.

Moonstone will still need to be a priority as it’s for book club. Mind you, it’s only short and I’m just over halfway through it at present, so that should be off the OC list fairly shortly, and I also think Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist is making good progress. It’s not that I’m not enjoying the others on the OC list, but maybe I’ve just been more in the mood for certain books rather than others.

So, with one book off the OC list, and with others soon to follow, we need to think about which fresh books or half-read books to add to the mix! Do we opt for Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, particularly as it’s going to be made into a film? It has to be said that I’m not much of a cinema-goer anyway, so it’s not all that important to get something read before it appears at the flicks! It’s not that I don’t like films, I do, but I really have to get my arse in gear to go and see them, and it’s not really something I lose sleep over if I miss out on seeing something – I can always get it and watch it on DVD, and even then, I’ve got plenty of those I’ve not got around to watching yet!

I think it’s the matter of wondering if I really have a couple of hours to set aside for a film. A book can be picked up and put down and picked up again. Yes, I have read books in one sitting before now, but it’s been a long time since I did that with anything other than a kid’s book! I managed The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark in one go the other day, but that’s a children’s book, it had fewer than 100 pages!

Rainbow Book Tower March 2017

The Rainbow Book Tower

What I COULD do on the OC front is tackle that rainbow pile of books from pink-covered Stargirl at the top down to The Sisters Brothers whose spine serves as the “pot of gold” at the bottom! I could add the next book from that pile any time I need a new item of reading matter on the OC list. There are also some of the runners-up from the vote to become my “Wembley Book” for the EFL Cup Final last month, the vote which was won by The Pie at Night, which I have just finished. One of the runners-up on that front was The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier, so that one should be given serious consideration.

If you recall my recent blog, I mentioned a book with a “mad-looking snowman” on the cover – the anonymously-penned Diary of an Oxygen Thief – well, I took the plunge and acquired it the other day, and it has become a Handbag Book, as has Headhunter, by Jade Jones, the Olympic Taekwondo Champion from 2012 and 1016. It’s from the Quick Reads series and was written after London 2012, but before Rio 2016. As it’s a very slim volume, I expect to get through that one fairly rapidly once I decide to make a start on it! I have a couple of “chunkies” on the OC list at present, so I don’t feel remotely bad about having one or two at the short end of the scale. I also managed to pick up a book in a sale the other day, but I have not yet read Eragon or Eldest, so Brisingr is a long way off being read! The fourth book of that series is Inheritance, but I don’t have a copy of that, and that’s not a major concern right now!

I am not sure if I mentioned this in previous blogs, but I recently received documentation calling me up for jury service in April, straight after Easter. My parents, and my late maternal grandparents, have done it, and if their experiences are anything to go by, I am hoping to get some epic reading done during the fortnight I expect to be fulfilling that obligation at the courts in town! Crime is not my usual genre when it comes to books, so it’s unlikely I’ll be reading anything of a legal persuasion, unless, perhaps, I choose to read Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood! That one’s in the rainbow tower, though, so if I decide to read books in order of coloured spines, there’d be three others I’d need to read before the Atwood!

Anyway, I think that’s about it for now! The pie has been eaten, but there are plenty more books on the menu, and it’s so hard to choose! I want a bit of everything on my plate, a sort of read-as-much-as-you-like buffet on the literary front, as it were! Hence the Ongoing Concerns – I can have a bit of YA, a bit of travel, some autobiography, and a couple of chunky helpings of general fiction… A food court but for books, so no matter what you’re in the mood for on the reading front, if you’ve got a few different types of books on your OC list, you can get on with whichever suits your mood at that time!

Until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Moonstone – Sjón
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
  • The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark – Jill Tomlinson
  • Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli
  • The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt
  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Headhunter – Jade Jones
  • Eragon – Christopher Paolini
  • Eldest – Christopher Paolini
  • Brisingr – Christopher Paolini
  • Inheritance – Christopher Paolini
  • Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood

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Filed under Books, Childrens' Books, Food & Drink, Football, Handbag Books, Humour, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, Olympic Games, Ongoing Concerns, Travel, YA Books

Educational Porpoises

Books that make you happy

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Educational porpoises

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books and poems mentioned in this blog entry…

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

 

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