Category Archives: Chunky Monkeys

Bookworm Dilemma Time Again

Lady and Unicorn finished March 2018

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Four days into March, and we have our first finished book of the month, our 11th of the year so far, as I polished off the last chapter or so of The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier, earlier this afternoon, and have now only got Hawksmoor on my OC List! ell, I’ve got my e-book, too, I guess, but I tend to save that for match days. Ebooks are for when I’m coming home from Old Trafford, and we are either stuck in the car park near the stadium for ages, or stuck in post-match traffic in Trafford Park.

I don’t live far away from the ground, only about four miles away, but it feels like miles away at times when it takes ages to get home. Depends who we’ve been playing, of course, and it’s always been a bit bad coming out, but roadworks started last  year which are set to cause disruption up to 2020 as tram tracks are being put down for a new Metrolink route.  The trams will eventually go to the Trafford Centre, but they will stop near Old Trafford and near the Imperial War Museum North on their way to the shopping mall, so the whereabouts of the road cones may alter from 2017 to 2020, but it’s a pain in the arse on match days!

Right, anyway, enough ranting about how long it takes to get home from football matches, and back to books…

I can’t just have ONE book on my Ongoing Concerns list, can I?! I have to have several books on the go because what if I am not in the mood for one of the books? I have to have a few different items of reading matter so that there’s something which grabs me! I know I will have a new book club book as of Wednesday evening, but with that and Hawksmoor, that would still only be two books! I need a couple more, I think. Need about 3 or 4 books on the go. Yeah, I can get on with Hawksmoor, and I will do for the next few days, to get it beyond halfway, but I want, er sorry, NEED, other books in my reading life! Hawksmoor is an enjoyable read, not saying it isn’t, but it is not a “fast book” to read, or at least I don’t think it is. I don’t feel it’s something I can get through on my lunch at work, for instance.

One thing’s for certain, the other book in that photo, on which my finished Tracy Chevalier novel and the Penguin Classics bookmark are resting, will NOT be a Handbag Book! That book is A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth, and to call it a Chunky Monkey would be an understatement! It is MASSIVE! Over 1400 pages! I read An Equal Music, by the same author, last year, but that was nowhere near the length of A Suitable Boy! An Equal Music is only around 400-500 pages. Substantial, but not overly-huge. I could start the book, and it would be a long-term Ongoing Concern, but it would have to be one I read at home. The only other possibility, if it were not too dear, would be to acquire it for my Kindle as well, and thus be able to read it on the go at times, but that would all depend on whether I am enjoying the book if I decide to give it a go.

I do have more Tracy Chevalier novels, unread ones, which I could read. I have Burning Bright, and The Virgin Blue, which could be considered, and either of those would be suitable as a Handbag Book. If anyone ever wants to get into historical fiction, but they’re a bit put-off by the chunkiness of a lot of books of that genre, I would definitely recommend that Tracy Chevalier’s novels would be a good starting point before moving on and overcoming their fear of chunky novels! Just because a book looks over-facing does not mean it’s a difficult read – it might be very readable once you get into it and you find yourself whizzing through it. On the other hand, some slimmer books have turned out not to be the quick reads one might imagine them to be! Size can be deceiving! Never mind not judging a book by its cover, I would say you shouldn’t judge a book by its size!

There’s also one called Remarkable Creatures, if I’m not mistaken, but either I don’t have that, or it’s in my Book Chest, and as the weather has been so awful of late, I have yet to go into the garage this year to see what’s in there! Chief Bookworm is not very fond of the cold weather! Especially not the bitterly cold winds we’ve had of late. If things warm up a bit, I might venture to the Book Chest, might even select a few more to take in to work for my colleagues to borrow and read, but at the moment, buggered if I’m doing that when it’s so freezing cold out there! Sod that for a game of soldiers, as the saying goes! The weather is far too shite, and that’s a technical term, as you no doubt know by now, lol!

I DO want to go into the garage, though. Need to check the Book Chest and what’s in there. Wondering if my copy of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick is in there, and if I still have my copy of The Man in the High Castle, also by the same author. That one was a book club book a few years ago now. Actually, I didn’t feel as though that one was science fiction – it was more alternative history to my mind.

Not that I am short of potential reading matter on the science fiction front in here, though! There’s plenty of books I can put my hands on right now from that genre, without wrapping up warm and venturing out to our garage, lol! I have got a lot of them from Fopp in town, which is across from the blood donor centre, and has a lot of books on a 2 for £5 offer, including the SF Masterworks range. I picked up Ubik, by Philip K. Dick, and The Food of the Gods, by H. G. Wells from Fopp on Friday evening as I’d been into town to renew my bus and tram pass for another month. I also ventured to Waterstone’s, as you might expect, lol, and acquired To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. That one’s a bit chunkier than the other two, though. Not massively chunky, certainly not compared to Vikram Seth‘s epic novel which I mentioned earlier, lol, but not the slim volume that several of my other SF books are.

I wish I’d remembered that Connie Willis one when I did the “Dog Blog” last month, though! Would have been a good one to mention for my Chinese New Year special!

However, I probably should start using that bookmark I finished off last month, and for that I should choose a Penguin book, lol, preferably one with an orange and white cover, so perhaps I should give The Chrysalids a go? Definitely a Handbag Book, at a mere 200 pages long, so I might as well. I got it a while back, possibly some time last year, from the Mustard Tree shop in Eccles, and it was only 10p! Yeah, let’s add the John Wyndham book to the OC list and see how that goes!

As I said, I will have another book after Wednesday evening, and although we do sometimes read non-fiction, the likelihood is that it will be fiction more often than not, so I am considering adding a non-fiction book to the OC List. I have a few in mind, and as long as I have a couple of Handbag Books, it wouldn’t matter if one of my books was a hardback. I could wait until Wednesday, there is sense in that, but there is also sense in making a start on something while I am still a few days away from Book Club, to give other books a chance to be read before I know what my next book club book will be. Republic or Death! by Alex Marshall does have the added advantage of being a potential Handbag Book – that’s the one about national anthems which I have mentioned in previous blogs, but I still think The 33 might be an option – that’s the one about the rescue of the Chilean Miners in 2010, by Jonathan Franklin.

The other good bet, fiction or non-fiction, is to resume another book which I had already started previously, and get it finished. Some of my books on my Goodreads Challenge, for any given year, are ones I had started some time ago, but I finish them off later and they go on the list for the year in which I finish them. I think I will certainly start The Chrysalids, though, and see how things go with other books. I should make a start, really, so that’s about it for this blog! Until next time, by which time I may have a bigger OC list once again, lol, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • Burning Bright – Tracy Chevalier
  • The Virgin Blue – Tracy Chevalier
  • Remarkable Creatures – Tracy Chevalier
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick
  • The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick
  • Ubik – Philip K. Dick
  • The Food of the Gods – H. G. Wells
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog – Connie Willis
  • The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
  • Republic or Death! Travels in Search of National Anthems – Alex Marshall
  • The 33 – Jonathan Franklin
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Filed under Authors, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Chunky Monkeys, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Science Fiction, The TBR Pile, Weather

Russians, Wizards and Unicorns…

Finished books 21 Feb 2018

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

First up, thank you SO much! The Dog Blog for Chinese New Year has had 13 likes! I am glad so many of you enjoyed it! In total I have had over 500 likes for my blogs, some entries more than others, but that last one seemed to go down very well! Not a themed one this time, just a general book blog and an update on the Ongoing Concerns, two of which were finished off in the previous 24 hours, leading me to start a new book earlier today!

Within a matter of hours from late on 20th February and in the early hours of the 21st, I finished Mort, by Sir Terry Pratchett, and then Russian Winters, by Andrei Kanchelskis, both of which I enjoyed enormously! Two completely different books, one a work of fantasy humour, and the other an autobiography, but both brilliant in their own ways. I’d previously read Andrei’s original autobiography, as mentioned in earlier blogs, which was published when he was still a Manchester United player, which shows how long ago THAT was! He left us for Everton in 1995, so 23 years ago now! Russian Winters is brilliant for a catch-up, to find out what happened after he left Old Trafford. Obviously, he was at Goodison Park for a bit, but after that, I had kinda lost track, so it was very interesting to read about his various clubs as both a player and then later a manager. He was one of my favourite players when he was at United, my 2nd fave after King Eric.

I definitely need to read more Discworld and not leave it so long in between visits! I absolutely loved Mort and it was a great book to have as a Handbag Book, and to read on my lunch at work. Who’d have thought the Grim Reaper would enjoy a curry, lol! It does pose the question now, though, of whether I continue to read them in order, in which case, the next Discworld book would be Sourcery, or whether I look for other books where Death and possibly also Mort make a reappearance. The thing about Discworld is that the books don’t really follow on. There’s not a sequence. It’s not like, say, Harry Potter, where there is a defined order of the books if you want things to make chronological sense.

So, with two books read, including one of my Handbag Books, it means that I need to add new books to the Ongoing Concerns, because otherwise, there’d only be two of those, and I’m halfway through Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, which I need to get on with for my book club. As I said previously, if I get that one read before 7th March, I’ll get a bit more of Hawksmoor read while I have the opportunity, but Eleanor Oliphant is a priority.

It does mean that I have now finished 3 books this month, and 8 in total so far this year. The War of the Worlds was my first February finish, but the two I’ve polished off in the last day or so take my month’s total to 3. Not bad for a short month. Hmmm… can I get Eleanor Oliphant finished off before we start March?! As mentioned before, that one is a hardback, so that’s being read here at home, not taken to work with me.

So, with finishing two books off, I need new ones, and at least one of them needs to be a Handbag Book. I have gone with The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier, and I have already read 11% of it. I have already read one of her books, the brilliant Girl With a Pearl Earring, which I read a few years ago now and loved. These are works of historical fiction, but they are not chunky, unlike many other books of this genre, so if you were thinking of reading some historical fiction, but thought the size of many novels a bit off-putting, I’d start with some Tracy Chevalier novels. You could always move on to the chunky monkeys later and read some C. J. Sansom or something like that!

Rainbow Book Tower Feb 2018

I also have another vacancy on the Ongoing Concerns list, but here is where I am finding it hard to decide. Part of me is thinking I should start on the books on the rainbow spines tower, which would mean Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli, would be added to my list. However, I have already replaced fiction with fiction – the Tracy Chevalier book, as mentioned above, replacing Mort in my handbag. Thus, as the other book I have just finished was non-fiction, that being Russian Winters, there should be another non-fiction book on the OC list! Do I go with another autobiography, or perhaps a different factual book? Perhaps time to put Neither Here Nor There, by Bill Bryson, back on the list? That is already at 50% from last year, so I could resume that one. It would make sense to resume it and finish it off. Plus, it’s also a paperback, and fairly slim, so it would go in the Handbag!

Yes, I think we’ll go for the Bill Bryson. Get that finished off. Perhaps take Hawksmoor out of the bag for now, put The Lady and the Unicorn and Neither Here Nor There in the handbag and go with those. I may yet start Stargirl soon. We shall see. Can I manage 5 books on the OC list? I had more than that on plenty of occasions last year, but sometimes it just got out of hand and some books just weren’t being read at all. I don’t want that – it defeats the object of the Ongoing Concerns list if some of the books aren’t exactly ongoing!

There needs to be a manageable list, and I think having an OC list of 4 books is very manageable. Let’s see how we get on with the Chevalier and the Bryson. Hopefully, they will be fairly quick reads and I can then get more books on the list! Eleanor Oliphant will probably be replaced with whatever is the next book club book, but I won’t know what that is until 7th March.

Anyway, I know this one is a bit short, but it’s time for me to settle down into my pyjamas and watch a bit of the Winter Olympics until I need to get zeds ready for work in the morning! Our women have reached the semi-finals of the curling. If we can win our semi, we would be guaranteed a medal, silver at worst, and thus Team GB would have a new national record medal tally at the Winter Olympics! The men are in a play-off to try to get into the semi-finals. Come on, guys!

So, I’m off to watch some of the action on snow or ice until I fall asleep, lol! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Russian Winters – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • Sourcery – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Bookstagram, Chunky Monkeys, Fantasy Fiction, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Ongoing Concerns

Books, Timbits and the Winter Olympics

War of the Worlds finished Feb 2018

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

The Martians were finished off in the early hours, lol! The War of the Worlds became my 6th finished book so far this year, my second by H. G. Wells, and my second work of science fiction this year. Therefore, so far, I have finished 1 general fiction novel, 1 autobiography, two science fiction novels, a children’s book and a crime novel. Not bad considering we’re only in early February!

I think it makes for timely reading, and perhaps more should read it. There is a lesson in how the Martians were killed off. These creatures, on their own planet, had eradicated all disease, but that became their downfall when they came to Earth. They couldn’t resist our germs, our bacteria saw them off! They had come to Earth, thinking they were great, zapping everything to bits with their Heat Ray, killing the humans and then consuming their blood… but maybe some of those humans had the lurgy, like the bugs which have been going around here of late, so no wonder the Martians died!

It all made me think of the time when I was a kid, back in the 70s and 80s. The days before everything was over-sterilised and people got their knickers in a knot about kids putting soil-covered fingers in their mouths, rushing over with wipes… Back in the day, our parents warned us about the plant life we shouldn’t eat, the stuff which WOULD make us very sick, or even kill us, if we did put that in our mouths, but they didn’t bother about the harmless stuff, even if it didn’t taste all that great… They knew we would perhaps try it once or twice, then realise for ourselves that it wasn’t worth bothering with in terms of flavour! However, it WAS worth doing, as it turned out, as I hardly know anyone of my age or older who has a food intolerance! I know all of three people! One who’s allergic to fish, one pork, and the other allergic to onions, but that’s it. Three people. Nowadays, there seems to be a huge issue with allergies, be it nuts, dairy, or whatever! I think part of this is because people fuss too much about kids eating a tidgy bit of soil or mud!

STOP FUSSING! LET THEM EAT SOIL!

Seriously, if it means they can eat a huge variety of food without being ill, and you can go out for meals without having to badger the restaurant manager for ingredients lists, let your kids stick their fingers in the soil and try it! They’ll probably only do it the once, anyway, find that it doesn’t taste particularly good, and not bother again, but that one taste might just help their body cope that bit better and not reject certain foods! Just a bit of advice from a 70s baby!

Right, anyway, moving on from Martians being killed off by bacteria, I need another Handbag Book! I’m having one of those “What the hell should I read next?” moments! It won’t be a hardback, that’s for certain, I’ve got two of those on the go as it is, as I am still reading Russian Winters, by Andrei Kanchelskis, and have now made a start on our latest book club book, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman. I do have Hawksmoor, which I tend to read in chunks, a chapter at a time, lol, so I need something that might prove a quicker read, particularly bearing in mind that I like to have a bit of a read at work when I’m on my lunch. Followers of mine on Instagram will know that I often sit in our deli at work, having something to eat and having a good read! There are quite a few Bookstagram posts from my lunchtime reading sessions!

Rainbow Book Tower Feb 2018

I could, of course, start on my Rainbow Tower of Books! This photo shows the current state of the tower, from the pink-spined (indeed pink-covered) Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli, at the top, to the “pot of gold” at the bottom, the gold spine belonging to The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt. That one would actually be resuming a book I’d made a start on a few years ago, but I was in the middle of a book slump at the time and even though I liked it, it wasn’t enough to override my reading malaise. That’s not to say it wouldn’t be enough now, though. If I hadn’t thought I would ever finish it, I’d have given it away to a charity shop some time ago. It has a great cover, too! Really clever design! I know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but let’s face it, some covers are just bloody brilliant, aren’t they?! One of the other brilliant covers in recent years is that of Look Who’s Back, by Timur Vermes, which I read and loved a couple of years ago!

By the way, this is my 201st book blog! After I published that last one about Andrei and the Martians, Word Press sent me a notification to tell me it was my 200th book blog! Many thanks to all of you who follow and read my blogs!

Some of those books on the tower are a little chunky, but I don’t think any are particularly excessive size-wise! No major chunky monkeys, anyway. Nothing along the lines of A Little Life, let alone War and Peace, so there should be room in my handbag if I do decide to read my way through the rainbow tower of books, or maybe one or two of them could just stay at home if they were on the chunky side. Seems a decent variety on that tower, too. Got a couple of biographies, some general fiction, some young adult fiction and some science fiction or fantasy on there.

Perhaps I should read a book about books? For instance, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald, or How To Find Love In a Book Shop, by Veronica Henry. Or I could read some more non-fiction, and choose Republic or Death! Travels In Search of National Anthems, by Alex Marshall. Or one of two books I can see close by with doughnuts on the covers! One of them is called Doughnut, and is by Tom Holt, the other is This Book Will Save Your Life, by A. M. Homes. Mention of doughnuts is making me think of Timmie’s! Mmmm…. So glad we’ve got Tim Horton’s over here now! I discovered the joy of Timmie’s when I was in Canada in 2009, and wanted them over here ever since – branches opened around here towards the end of 2017, the one in Salford, on Bury New Road, opening a week before Christmas. Mmmm…. Timbits! 🙂

Well, I shall have a think and get back to you all with my decision. Only kidding! I really need a mug of hot Vimto and to settle down for some late night viewing – live coverage from PyeongChang of people doing mad stuff on snow and ice, otherwise known as the Winter Olympics, lol! I would just fall on my arse! I’ve never had the greatest of balance in the bloody first place, so slippy surfaces are not really my cup of tea, but I admire those who can do tricky stuff on them! Mind you, even some of them end up going arse over tit in a spectacular manner – this is what happens when it all goes Pete Tong in winter sports! Some of the falls in the men’s slopestyle snowboarding last night, for instance…

Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading! I might have chosen another Handbag Book by then!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in tonight’s blog entry…

  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • Russian Winters – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli
  • The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt
  • Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend – Katarina Bivald
  • How To Find Love In a Book Shop – Veronica Henry
  • Republic or Death! Travels In Search of National Anthems – Alex Marshall
  • Doughnut – Tom Holt
  • This Book Will Save Your Life – A. M. Homes

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Books About Books, Bookstagram, Chunky Monkeys, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Humour, List Challenges, Non-Fiction, Olympic Games, Science Fiction, Sports

Bookworm’s Progress and All Manner of Reading Matters…

Not Dead Yet finished Jan 2018

Phil Collins and also H G Wells finished this week!

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Been a good week on the book front, although some sad news has meant it will be longer before my friend and I meet up and I return her book to her. As you can see from the photo above, the brilliant Not Dead Yet was finished earlier this week, and I then polished off The Time Machine the following day! As I planned, I am lining up The War of the Worlds to go on the Ongoing Concerns list, one H G Wells science fiction novel replacing another. Well, novellas, actually, as neither book is particularly long. Even The War of the Worlds is under 200 pages long!

While we’re on science fiction, we have to mention the sad news from earlier this week, as Ursula K. Le Guin passed away on Monday, aged 88. I have not yet read any of her books, but I might look into them, The Left Hand of Darkness being one of the best-known of her novels. Rest in Peace, Ursula. 😦

Priority lies with The Red House Mystery, though, as that is my book club book and I need to get on with that before 7th February. My 15th February deadline which I set for Not Dead Yet is irrelevant as I have finished the book in good time, but I won’t be giving Sarah the book back on that date. She and I were due to see Paul Young at the Preston Guild Hall. However, Paul’s wife sadly passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer, so Paul has understandably postponed his February concerts, which will be rescheduled for later this  year. I will have to see if I can cancel the half-day leave I booked, as I won’t need it on that date now, and I might need it whenever the new date for the concert might be if it’s also a midweek gig.

Blogging today, I do realise I am too late for an Australia Day special, might have to do one of those next year if I remember in time. Would have to do it on 25th January here, though, so that it would be 26th January Down Under. That way I could mention any books set in Australia, and also some by Aussie authors, such as Hannah Kent, who has already given us two awesome novels, Burial Rites and The Good People. If I am not mistaken, Markus Zusak is also an Aussie, so I could mention The Book Thief, which is on my list of favourite books, and which I gave out for World Book Night in 2012 on my 39th birthday! Someone remind me to do an Aussie-themed book blog in 2019! I did an Irish special last year for St Patrick’s Day, so if you want to read that blog, check out the March 2017 archives!

The thing about these internationally-themed blogs is that I only need a few examples from any country to make up a blog. Where would I even start with my own?! So many English authors to choose from, and probably all the usual suspects anyway, such as the Brontës, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens! Besides which, our patron saint, St George, has his day on 23rd April… which also happens to be Chief Bookworm’s birthday! I tend to spend the day having a lie-in, unwrapping pressies and going out to eat… Whether I could fit a blog in on my birthday is another matter, or even whether I’d want to…

While we should never rule anything out completely, I would say that it would be highly unlikely that you would have a blog from me on my 45th birthday later this year…

Right, anyway, I need some hydration, so I shall just get myself a drink, and I shall return shortly…

* Chief Bookworm pops downstairs for a drink *

Right, I’m back! Sorry about that! Hot Vimto in my Cantona mug on a coaster on top of the printer as I sit here at Computer Corner, tapping away on my laptop!

I might have been too late for Australia Day, but it is Holocaust Memorial Day today, so we can at least mention a few works of fiction set around that terrible time, including The Auschwitz Violin, by Maria Angels Anglada, which I read a couple of years ago – pretty sure it’s on my Goodreads Challenge of 2016. The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas, by John Boyne, is an obvious mention as well, and The Book Thief also touches on those sent to concentration camps, although not actually based around a camp. One other book, one which I read some years ago now, is a collection of short stories based on the author’s experience, and it was recommended to me, on Facebook, by David Hunt probably about 9 or 10 years ago now. The book is by Tadeusz Borowski, and it’s called This Way For the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen. It’s what he doesn’t say, what is implied, which gets to you. One which should be read, but maybe not in public as you might find it too upsetting.

There’s actually one I mean to get, The Librarian of Auschwitz, by Antonio Iturbe, and I shall have a look for it next time I am in a book shop, which won’t be long off knowing me! There’s also The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris, another recent book, only just published earlier this month. That one’s based on the true story of a concentration camp tattooist, and as we’re on for books based on true stories of World War II, we need to mention Schindler’s Ark, by Thomas Keneally, which inspired the award-winning film Schindler’s List.

I was going to mention some more of the books I’ve acquired in recent times, and I have some charity shop bargains to mention, but first, we go back to my childhood, and I found a book the other night which had my name in it, and it was one I have had since I was in the first year juniors at primary school, what is now year 3, and that’s the year my niece is in at school. The book is Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood, by Alf Prøysen, a Norwegian author who passed away in 1970, before I was even born, but his stories of this little old lady who shrunk to the size of a pepper pot at inconvenient times were read to us by our teacher, Mrs Lloyd, when we were in that first year junior class at Monton Green Primary School, which would have been the academic year of 1980-81. So the book turned up on the Puffin Club book catalogue and it was bought for me as I had enjoyed some of the stories in class.

Mrs Pepperpot book

So, this is my book from when I was Charlotte’s age, and I am going to re-read it, and then perhaps my niece might like to borrow it! After all, I enjoyed it when I was 7 going on 8, so it’s probably the right age range for Junior Bookworm! Mrs Lloyd was great, one of the best teachers I ever had. Years later, she even bought me some chocolate to celebrate when Mum and I met up with her in a supermarket shortly after I’d graduated from uni in 1994!

Right, as I promised, the charity shop books which I didn’t mention the other night because I already had a pretty long list of books to mention by the end of that blog, lol! One of the charity shops on Swinton Precinct had a four books for a quid offer, essentially making these items of reading matter 25p each… I chose Playing With Fire, by Gordon Ramsay, which I think is the follow up autobiography to Humble Pie, which I already owned.

East of the Sun, by Julia Gregson, was one of the four books. I also have another of hers on the notorious TBR list, Jasmine Nights, which I either got from a charity shop or a church fair. Either way, it was a cheap acquisition.

Broken Music, by Sting, was another of the four books. It’s his autobiography. Useless fact time here, folks… Sting went to the same school as Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys! Sting would have been two years above Neil. They both attended St Cuthbert’s RC Grammar School in Newcastle Upon Tyne. So there you go! I know this because I’ve been a Pethead for years, but I’m also partial to the music of The Police and some of Sting’s solo stuff, particularly Fields of Gold and Englishman In New York – that latter one, of course, providing the melody for our terrace song about Henrikh Mkhitaryan who has gone to Arsenal in the swap deal which saw Alexis Sanchez come to United!

He had a good debut last night, actually, setting up two of our goals as the lads won 4-0 away to Yeovil Town in the 4th round of the FA Cup. The goals came courtesy of Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku, giving us a convincing win and a place in the draw for the 5th round, which will be made on Monday.

Anyway, back to the four books, which brings us to the fourth, that being Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It sounds like a humorous one – after all, the late great Sir Terry was the author of the Discworld series. The edition I picked up at the charity shop was actually a World Book Night edition from 2012, which was the same year I was giving out special copies of The Book Thief for free at the Trafford Centre! Go back to my blog archives from early in 2012 and you’ll read about my preparations for that!

Oh, and I picked up Ulysses, by James Joyce, at one of the other charity shops in Swinton the other day. That’s a right chunky monkey, though. Might have to find some sort of guide to the novel before attempting it. I have read some Joyce, previously, but only Dubliners, which is a book of short stories set in the Irish capital.

This pretty much brings my book news up to date. Just a thought… We’re not even at the end of January and the list of books mentioned so far in 2018 is already at 66! Of course, as things go on, books get repeat mentions, and they’re already on the list, but plenty of previously unmentioned books get added and last year’s list was over 500 books long when I came to publish it at the end of December! If you’re on List Challenges, and you like big lists and you cannot lie, lol, check out Joanne’s Bookshelf – Books Mentioned in 2017 and see how many you’ve read from all the books I mentioned on here last year!

So, that’s it for now, I’m off for a reading session! Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Red House Mystery – A. A. Milne
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • The Auschwitz Violin – Maria Angels Anglada
  • The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne
  • This Way For the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen – Tadeusz Borowski
  • The Librarian of Auschwitz – Antonio Iturbe
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris
  • Schindler’s Ark – Thomas Keneally
  • Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood – Alf Prøysen
  • Playing With Fire – Gordon Ramsay
  • Humble Pie – Gordon Ramsay
  • East of the Sun – Julia Gregson
  • Jasmine Nights – Julia Gregson
  • Broken Music – Sting
  • Good Omens – Sir Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  • Ulysses – James Joyce
  • Dubliners – James Joyce

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Book Review of the Year…

Hello there, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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Magnifique! From foreign books to bargain books…

Cantona signing 25th anniversary 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

I was going to do that in French, in honour of it being the 25th anniversary of my club signing my all-time favourite player, but bookworm translates as <<rat de bibliothèque>> or “library rat”, which doesn’t sound all that flattering, does it?! I know some people actually prefer to be book dragons rather than book worms, even in English, so I shall forego the rodent comparisons!

Funnily enough, on one book-related group on Facebook, earlier this week, someone asked whether any of us have any books in other languages beside their own, and whether we read books in other languages. Yes, I can read in other languages, although I am much slower in French, German or Spanish than I am in English, and I would also need a dictionary or some form of translation technology handy. I guess you can probably Google verb tables for various languages these days? Anyway, back to the books in other languages, and one of my prized books in another language is Un Rêve Modeste et Fou, the original French edition of Eric Cantona‘s autobiography. I also have the English version, My Story, both of which were signed by the King back in the mid 90s while he was still at United.

I miss those days… when United trained at The Cliff, and it was reasonably easy for a fan to go down there, watch the lads train, and then meet the players afterwards to get their autographs and have photos taken with them before they headed home! Not been the same since they started training at Carrington!

Today and tomorrow, 26th and 27th November, are the significant dates… I always celebrate the Cantona anniversary over two days because the news broke on the 26th, that Thursday evening in 1992, at around 6:30pm our time, and then Eric actually signed for United the following day. I was 19 at the time, a student, in the second year of my degree, at home with my parents and sister, but only my mum and I were at home that particular evening. My sister was at trampolining and I think my dad was away on business. I thought my mum was pulling my leg at first when she called me downstairs to tell me the news, which had just come on the telly. She wasn’t, though! It was for real! Manchester United had agreed to sign Eric Cantona from Leeds United for an “undisclosed fee” – later revealed to be a bargain, a mere £1.2 million!

United marked the anniversary weekend with a 1-0 home win against Brighton and Hove Albion yesterday afternoon, amazingly a 3pm kickoff which is pretty rare for United these days, lol, and I don’t care what others say, I think Ashley Young SHOULD claim the goal as his, rather than it going down as an own goal! I am totally against the current trend of treating slight deflections as own goals! The defending team’s player does NOT want it going against him, so let the attacking team’s player claim the goal as his! It should ONLY go down as an own goal if it was bloody obvious that the unfortunate player put the ball in his own net! For example, the then Blackburn Rovers defender, Jeff Kenna, at Old Trafford in November 1997 in a 4-0 win for United around this time 20 years ago! Now, THAT was a definite own goal if ever there was one! He rolled the ball back, thinking his goalie was there. His goalie, however, was at the other side of the net, as I recall, so the ball rolled over the line and into the net at the Stretford End, 4-0 to United, and Kenna stood there wishing the pitch would open up and swallow him!

Anyway, never mind my own goal rant, back to books… and we were on for books in foreign languages, weren’t we? Besides Eric Cantona’s autobiography, I do own a few other books which are not in English, including Charlie y la fábrica de chocolate, by Roald Dahl (I think you can work out the English title from the Spanish one in this instance, lol) and Die Bücherdiebin, by Markus Zusak, and I reckon you could take an educated guess at translating that from German… I bought myself that one when I was in Berlin in 2012. A good tip is to go for books you already know fairly well in your own language!

I don’t actually own copies of the books I studied for A-Level French, though. Those were Eccles College’s copies, and I never bought my own. Mind you, I didn’t want reminding. I found French literature hard to get my head around at the time, and I really went off the language for a couple of years, until United signed Eric Cantona, lol, so no, I don’t have my A Level French set texts, even though I do own copies of the books I read at high school for GCSE English Literature. Mind you, I don’t have ALL the books I read at uni for the literature half of my degree! I gave quite a few away when we moved house in 2006! If I hadn’t read them and didn’t think I was going to get around to it, I gave many of them away. My office’s charity committee were having a charity book fair at the time, so I gave a lot of books to my colleagues for that.

And now we return to our regularly scheduled look at books in English, lol! The Good People now stands at 37% read, and I am on for page 142 of 380. Over a third read, and I hope to get some more read in the coming weeks. The next book club meeting is on Wednesday 6th December, so there’s still time to get more of it read!

church fair bargains St Marks 2017

Oh, and I got some bargains yesterday! Prior to the match, I went to St Mark’s Church in Worsley for their Christmas fair. My niece is at the primary school there, and she’s in the choir, so she was performing at the event. Thus I listened to my niece and her classmates, and I also managed to get 4 books for the whopping sum of… wait for it… 50p! Yep! Bargains! It isn’t every day you get four books for 50p, is it?! And, unlike in the “Cheap Flights” song by Fascinating Aida, there are no additional extra costs – it genuinely did set me back a mere 50p to acquire the above books, lol! If you have never heard “Cheap Flights”, I suggest you look it up on You Tube! It’s a classic!

So, I picked up American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, quite a chunky monkey that one, lol, The One Memory of Flora Banks, a YA book by Emily Barr, The Odyssey, by Homer, for no particular reason, and same applies to The Pelican Guide to English Literature, edited by Boris Ford! Just seemed like a good idea at the time, lol! Actually, I’d picked two books, American Gods, and The One Memory of Flora Banks, and handed over my 50p, and the bloke said “You can take two more if you want to” so I chose the other two as well!

Flixton CBB Xmas Lights Urmston 24 Nov 2017

Blowing my horn on Friday evening in the Flixton Community Brass Band

Yep, that’s me on there, photo taken by my mum, but I took a screen shot when she uploaded it onto Facebook. It was the annual switching on of the Urmston Christmas tree lights, and our band have performed at this occasion since the Community Band was formed in 2014. Usually, it absolutely pisses it down throughout, but we actually had a spell on Friday where it stopped raining for quite a while, so it’s the least wet we have ever been, lol! Despite my dental surgery on Wednesday, I was fine playing my horn, as I found out on Thursday evening when I attempted it. Mind you, the teeth which had been removed had been at one side of my mouth, so putting my mouthpiece to my lips and blowing in it did not affect anything.

So, yes, for fairly recent followers, that is one of the other things I do besides reading books, lol! Well, I also work, of course, but I meant things I do in my spare time, when I’m not at Unity House in Swinton working as an admin officer! Oh, and as I’ve just mentioned my dental surgery from this week just gone, I meant to mention that Mum is now reading I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – she started it on Wednesday, as she took it along to the hospital with her to read while I was having my dodgy teeth removed! She’s certainly enjoying it so far, finding it very amusing!

Well, I think that’s about it for now. I have covered a multitude of sins tonight, though, to be fair, lol! Eric Cantona, yesterday’s match, own goals, books in foreign languages, the latest progress of my book club book, church fair book bargains, brass bands, Christmas lights, dental surgery and Zlatan! All being well, I plan to get some Christmas shopping done tomorrow after work, so you probably won’t be getting a blog from me tomorrow – I’ll be mooching round the Trafford Centre, no doubt heading to Waterstone’s during the course of the evening, lol! So, until I do present you with the next instalment of vaguely book-related waffle, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Un Rêve Modeste et Fou – Eric Cantona
  • My Story – Eric Cantona
  • Charlie y la fábrica de chocolate – Roald Dahl
  • Die Bücherdiebin – Markus Zusak
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • American Gods – Neil Gaiman
  • The One Memory of Flora Banks – Emily Barr
  • The Odyssey – Homer
  • The Pelican Guide to English Literature vol. 3 – Boris Ford (editor)
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović

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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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