Category Archives: Computer Corner

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

Voyage of Discoveries

Garage finds 15th May 2017

Unlike Bono, I HAVE found what I’m looking for, lol!

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Back again with another blog for your reading pleasure, and, firstly, congratulations to Portugal who won the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday night, the first time they have ever won it! Next year’s ESC will be in Lisbon. I have some good news and bad news on the book front, so let’s crack on with this…

The bad news, or rather, disappointing news, is that there is now a 20th book to add to the notorious Duplicate Books List, as I have found a copy of The Cellist of Sarajevo, by Steven Galloway, which I didn’t know I already owned when I bought a copy not long ago! Oops!

However, I went on the voyage to the bottom of our garage, lol, due to a tip-off from my mum that there were some plastic boxes with books in them, which might contain some that I’d been looking for. Sure enough, there it was… The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy! Yay! All the “missing books” I’d bemoaned on here earlier this year have now been located and retrieved! Alone in Berlin, by Hans Fallada, was also in that container, so please remind me of this if I mention in a future blog that I’m looking for it and don’t know where I put it! Also in that same box was The Radleys, by Matt Haig, but I have read that one a few years ago. Really good book.

There were two other things of interest which I fished out of those containers. One of them was my Hello Kitty diary, which I had used as a travel diary for a few years in the early noughties – first couple of excursions were the London Eye and Camden Market trip and the Amsterdam Tournament trip, both in 2002, but the diary is open at the back in the photo to reveal something from 2003 and our holiday in the USA to see United’s pre-season tour that summer…

I think I may have mentioned this before, I’ve certainly mentioned it on Facebook, but we had to fly from Heathrow on that tour as all the flights from Manchester were booked up. West Ham’s team were going on their pre-season tour that day, although I’m not sure where they were jetting off to, but that meant there were a lot of footballers milling around with us in the departure lounge and duty free areas at Heathrow Airport, and that’s when I met Jermaine Defoe and got his autograph in the back of my travel diary! Jermaine is currently at Sunderland, although I guess he’ll be leaving this summer due to their relegation. As he’s an England international, he can’t really afford to stay with a relegated side and play in the Championship if he’s going to be picked for the Three Lions. He needs to be at a Premier League club.

You will also see a cross-stitched bookmark on the photo. That is the very first cross-stitched bookmark I ever made! Way back in the early months of 1997, 20 years ago, when I first decided to give cross stitch a try! Eric Cantona was still playing for us at the time, although he retired that May. He remains my all-time favourite player. I replaced that bookmark with another in the book in which I had found it, a book about United, appropriately enough although about a more recent time than the seasons Eric played for us, so I could bring the bookmark up to my room and photograph it for the benefit of my 54 followers, plus those who read my blog via Facebook! Once I’ve published it on here, I also paste a link onto FB so my bookworm friends on Farcebook can also enjoy my waffle, lol!

Rotterdam! Rotterdam! We’re the famous Man United and we won in Rotterdam!

Talking of United, we’re on 15th May, so Happy Birthday to our former defender and deputy captain, Patrice Evra, 36 today, and Happy ECWC Anniversary, as it’s 26 years since United won the European Cup-Winners’ Cup in Rotterdam! 15th May 1991. Les Sealey, Denis Irwin, Clayton Blackmore, Steve Bruce, Mike Phelan, Gary Pallister, Bryan Robson (captain), Paul Ince, Brian McClair, Mark Hughes and Lee Sharpe. That starting eleven played the full 90 minutes. Unusual for no subs to have been used, but there you go! Sadly, Les Sealey died in 2001, but the other 10 guys are still with us.

Drink, drink, wherever you may be!

We are the drunk and disorderly!

An’ we don’t give a s**t an’ we don’t give a f**k

‘Cause we came home with the Cup-Winners’ Cup!

Oops! Sorry! While we’re on the subject of Rotterdam, Feyenoord, whose ground was the scene of our night of glory in 1991, won the Dutch title yesterday for the first time in 18 years – their previous Eredivisie title had come in the 1998-99 season, the same time United did the Treble, of course, but now they are celebrating again after clinching it at home yesterday with a 3-1 win. I don’t know if I have any Dutch bookworms amongst my followers, either on here or on Facebook, but if I do, and any of them are Feyenoord fans, congratulations on your title!

While we, and Feyenoord fans, were celebrating in 1999, that season saw the final time the European Cup-Winners’ Cup would be contested. UEFA brought it to an end that season, so the final winners, Lazio, got to keep the trophy, although there is a replica in the National Football Museum here in Manchester, along with a plaque celebrating the years it has been won by clubs here in the UK. I know I talk of Ongoing Concerns with regard to books, but the ongoing concerns with regard to continental football tournaments in Europe are the European Cup (Champions’ League) and the UEFA Cup (Europa League), the latter of which will see Manchester United play Ajax in Stockholm on 24th May – next Wednesday! Eek! It’s getting close!

Anyway, I probably ought to return to the topic of books, lol! I really need to get The Tobacconist finished as soon as possible. As much of it read by Thursday as I can, ahead of my book club. Thing is, it’s Nul Points which is still grabbing me at the moment! I’m also in the middle of stitching a couple more bookmarks! As there is no such thing as too many books, there is also such a thing as not enough bookmarks! I have been known to use a lot of things as improvised bookmarks, including postcards, expired bus and tram passes, and tickets from concerts and football matches, but I do have a fair few actual bookmarks, particularly as I stitch a lot when the mood takes me! So glad I found my Eric Cantona one, though! Wondered where that had got to! It’ll be his birthday next Wednesday when United play Ajax in Stockholm! He’ll be 51!

So, that’s about it for my news at the moment! There will be more book-related waffle fairly soon, along with side orders of music, football, crafting and other points of interest! Until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Cellist of Sarajevo – Steven Galloway
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • Alone In Berlin – Hans Fallada
  • The Radleys – Matt Haig
  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore

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Filed under Books, Computer Corner, Cross-Stitch, Duplicate Books List, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Music, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, Travel

Good Morning, Judge!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

The joys of jury service, eh?! Last week, I wasn’t on a case, this week I am, but there’s still a lot of hanging around in the jurors’ lounge and thus plenty of reading time to keep bookworms happy, lol! Especially if a point of law needs to be raised and the judge doesn’t need us jurors for that… Thus, long lunches and plenty of book time! Therefore the OC List might be unrecognisable soon with some long-standing books coming off the list at last! You’ll remember that I finished off An Equal Music last week, along with The People’s Songs, and now another couple which have been on the list for some time, along with the Vikram Seth novel, have also been finished and joined the ranks of the Goodreads Challenge instead!

By the way, tonight’s court-themed blog title comes courtesy of a hit by 10CC back in the 70s! I’m not expecting the case to go on too long, which is a good thing because I’m not sure how many more legally-themed songs I can think of! We’ve had Love In The First Degree, All Rise and now Good Morning Judge! Talking of Love In The First Degree, it’s quite a co-incidence that I should use a Bananarama song title for a blog title last week and then we hear the news that Bananarama are making a comeback! I’m sure that’s just a fluke and we’ll not be hearing similar news for Blue and 10CC!

If I hadn’t been going through legally-themed titles, I might have gone with A Little Respect for today’s blog, as it’s the birthday of Andy Bell from Erasure, and I have loved them since my teens, back in the late 80s – second only to the Pet Shop Boys as far as my musical favourites go, and I’ve seen Andy and Vince in concert several times, almost as many times as I’ve seen Neil and Chris!

Right, anyway, so, where were we?! Ah, yes, finishing off books and getting them off the OC list because I’ve had a lot of time to kill on jury service, lol! So, yesterday I finished off The Saffron Trail at last, a really great book with a really good plot twist near the end! I’d actually got that book in October last year because I wanted something set in Morocco, or at least partially set in Morocco, to take on my jollies with me to Marrakech, and a Google search of “books set in Morocco” threw up that one along with a few others, the blurb looked good, and I managed to get a copy of Rosanna Ley‘s book from W H Smith’s in the Trafford Centre. Waterstone’s had some novels by the same author, but not that particular one, but WH Smith had a copy, so I was in luck. I got a bit read before and during my jollies, but I have read most of it since then, and it has reminded me of my time in Morocco in November.

I still want to slap Ted Robinson from The Saffron Trail, though! Well, actually, punch his lights out for being a total arsehole, or asshole as they’d say in the States, as he’s one of the American characters in the plot. He’s on the Literary Slap List, that’s for certain!

That one had been on 55% for a while, along with Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, but I finished that one off today, before making further progress with City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, the first of the Mortal Instruments series, which is now up to 21% according to Goodreads.

Before we come on to the usual “what the hell should I read next?” dilemma, lol, I saw an interesting book-related question on Facebook earlier, concerning books which you may have originally hated, or at least not liked very much, first time around, but then you read them again later and really enjoyed them. Not sure I’ve experienced that as such, yet, but there is one book I remember having to read when I was at high school, round about 30 or 31 years ago now, the academic year of 1986-87, anyway, when I was in my third year at high school (year 9 as it’s known these days).

It was one of those instances where the whole class reads the same book. The book was The Gun, by C S Forester, and it didn’t really float my boat as a 13 or 14 year old. However, this is now 2017, I am now 44 years old, and if I were to get hold of a copy, I might try it and see if it grabs me this time round. I think they picked the book at the time in the hope it would appeal to the lads. I was a teenage girl and the thought of reading about some huge-arse cannon used in some silly battle or other didn’t seem like the sort of reading matter which would be up my street.

As I said before, though, we’ve moved on 30 years or so, I’m an adult, and a very random reader with pretty broad tastes! I read quite widely, I like to think, although there’s some stuff which really doesn’t appeal to me – such as horror or books by known right-wingers, as I have no wish to read something that’s either going to scare the living crap out of me or annoy me and get my blood pressure up! I’m not too thrilled about crime fiction, either, although I’ll give it a go as long as the plot isn’t too gory or scary!

I think I need a brew. On second thoughts, no. I KNOW I need a brew! I shall be back shortly with a cuppa… cannot possibly decide what to add to the OC List next unless there’s some tea inside me…

Right, back again with a brew and the remainder of my birthday cake. Oh, and a special thank you to all of you who follow my blog! 50 of you now! Not bad at all for something I just started up in 2010 in order to amuse myself and see if anyone else was undeterred by my waffle! I do go on a bit! You may have noticed, lol!

So… let’s not put it off any longer… Having just finished another couple of books in the past couple of days, we go back to that age-old question of what the hell to read next! The eternal bookworm dilemma…

Let’s look at what I’ve just finished. We have The Saffron Trail, which is general fiction, and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which is YA. So, if I were to replace like with like, we’re looking at one general fiction and one young adult to come off the sub’s bench, so to speak! But I could just disregard that and pick two completely different books to those which have come off the list. I could go with some fantasy and resume my Discworld progress with Mort, by Sir Terry Pratchett. It would give me a good laugh and be a really good size for my handbag. I’ve got I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov, here by Computer Corner, and that’s around the same size, physically, as Mort, so if I wished to attempt a bit of science fiction, there’s always that. Out on the landing, on one of the bookshelves, I have Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, which is supposed to have an 80s setting to it, or at least a lot of 80s references in it.

Then again, there’s some of the “Prodigal Books” – those which once were lost, but had been found, lol! You may recall that four out of five of my “missing books” turned up. Just don’t start me on The God of Small Things, as I haven’t the foggiest when that disappeared, let alone where the hell it is! If you wish to revisit the sorry tale of my books going walkies, go back in the archives, you’ll probably need either February or March of this year, and blogs entitled Missing Words, and All The Books We Cannot See. However, there was a happy ending in Four Out of Five Ain’t Bad!

Of the Prodigal Books, most had been at least started, other than All The Light We Cannot See, plus the still-missing novel by Arundhati Roy (see above) but there’s three partially-started books – The English Patient, Thirteen Reasons Why, and A Man Called Ove. It occurred to me that if I were to resume Thirteen Reasons Why, plus either the Ondaatje or Backman, it would be a like for like substitution for the general fiction and YA I’ve just finished. However, for the general fiction, there’s the temptation to go with All The Light We Cannot See on the grounds that I could make serious inroads with this fairly chunky one while I’m still on jury service! Shorter reads can wait their bloody turn, lol!

Anyway, I’d probably better give some thought as to what to put in my bag for tomorrow. Perhaps I should take some which need getting on with… The Tobacconist, as it’s my current book club book, probably should be one of them, but we’ll see… I’m off to sort my books out, so if you wish to know which books I end up adding to the OC List, you’ll have to keep your eye out for email notification of my next blog, lol! Until then, 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
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
  • The Gun – C. S. Forester
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  • Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  • A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler

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Filed under Books, Computer Corner, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, List Challenges, Literary Slap List, Music, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

Get The Balance Right

Zlatan book finished April 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

As you can see, Zlatan is at 100% Yes, another book completed in 2017! Number 18 for this year on the Goodreads Challenge, and thus OFF the list of Ongoing Concerns! Mr Ibrahimović‘s autobiography will now be handed over to my sister so she can read it. I believe in marking off my OCs as being 100% read on my board before I take them off the list and move other books up.

I was dithering about what to add next, other than knowing it really should be some non-fiction to replace the non-fiction I have just finished, but then I remembered that blog from a couple of months ago about my half-finished tour biography of the Pet Shop Boys, and that I’d said on here I was going to finish that book as part of my celebrations of having been a Pethead for 30 years this year! Therefore, Pet Shop Boys, Literally, by Chris Heath, joins the OCs! As I said at the time, the book is already 50% read, so it is literally a Half-Read Book! It joins the list somewhere in the middle. An Equal Music, by Vikram Seth, resumes top spot on 78% now that our Swedish hero is off the list.

So, we’re back to 9 books on the OC List, of which 7 are fiction and 2 are non-fiction, bringing us on to the matter at hand and the title of tonight’s blog, which is, of course, a song by Depeche Mode, as fans of 80s music will no doubt know! The issue being that I feel I need a better balance between fiction and non-fiction on my list. The factual stuff is being outnumbered, which doesn’t seem very fair as I enjoy a good factual read as much as I enjoy a good story! Always have done since I was a kid! I am thinking, therefore, that even if the next one or two books to be finished and come off the OC list are fiction, they will be replaced on there by factual tomes! I feel I should have at least 3, if not 4, non-fiction books if I’m going to have 8 or 9 books on the OC list as a whole. It needs to be more even!

Once that is up and running, and I do have a better balance, we can have like-for-like books coming off the “substitutes’ bench” so to speak. I can certainly see some Bill Bryson being added to the OC list in the near future. I had thought about Mother Tongue, but that might not go on the OC list, as I was so near to finishing that book when I last read it that it would not take much to get it finished off, thus there is very little point in adding it to the list for just a day or two! Like with the really quick reads, I see very little point in adding certain books to the OC List – an Ongoing Concern is a book that’s going to take me more than a day or two to read, or to finish off if it is already partially-read!

There WILL be some Bryson, and it will happen fairly soon, but it’s more likely to be Down Under, Neither Here Nor There, or The Road To Little Dribbling which is added to the OC List when I need another dose of non-fiction adding to it. There will be at least a bit more Stuart Maconie, too. I have Hope & Glory lined up to be read at some point once I’ve finished The People’s Songs. I’m going to have to look to see if I own a copy of Cider With Roadies, also by Maconie, and I hope I do! He also wrote a book called Adventures On the High Teas, but I don’t own a copy of that at present. No rush as yet – let’s get my existing Maconie books read first!

John Cleese‘s autobiography, So, Anyway, is lurking in an accessible part of my room, on one of my book piles, so that is another distinct possibility! Should be pretty funny knowing Cleese! It would also be the perfect excuse to make plenty of Monty Python references in this blog. Not that I need an excuse to go all Pythonesque on you, lol!

What do we have here, lurking around Computer Corner? Hmmm…. Maarten Meijer‘s biography of Louis van Gaal, one of my half-read books. I liked Louis and wish he’d been retained to see out his three years. I still don’t like Jose Mourinho. At all. Yeah, alright, he’s good in the transfer market, but the cons outweigh the pros, and he really should STOP criticising players in public! That is NOT the United way! It is also crap man-management! If you have to give a player a bollocking, you do it in private, in your office! That’s how Fergie did it, and that’s why he was so successful! 26 and a half years as our manager, 13 league titles, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, 1 European Cup-Winners’ Cup and 2 European Cups… and his reign only came to an end due to retirement.

Fergie defended his players in public, even at the expense of the media giving him a load of shit for it, but that is how he retained their loyalty and got so much out of them. He NEVER rubbished his players in the press or on telly! Also, he knew the players should get the credit and the attention far more than him, and he accepted that! Jose needs to stop being such an arrogant, egotistical little twat!

There is only one person on earth I can think of with an ego even bigger than that of Jose Mourinho, and that is a certain Tango-tinted twat who is, unfortunately, currently residing in the White House…

I would say that Jose has all the man-management skills of a dead gnat, but that would be far too harsh on the poor gnat!

Anyway, enough about that arrogant arsehole, and back to the books…

Also lurking near Computer Corner, we have The Year of Reading Dangerously, by Andy Miller. This has been one of the notorious Duplicate Books, of course, but one copy is being offloaded soon. However, that still means I will have one copy for my reading pleasure when I eventually get around to it. We also have How To Teach Quantum Physics To Your Dog, by Chad Orzel. I know bugger all about quantum physics, I only got a D for bog standard physics when I did my GCSEs at high school, lol, and that was way back in 1989, 28 years ago, but maybe reading this would help me understand more scientific stuff in an entertaining way?

I wasn’t completely useless at science, unlike PE, but I wasn’t brilliant at it either. My dad was the scientific bod in our family – my best subjects at high school were music and foreign languages, followed fairly closely by history and literature.

Still on the science books front, there’s a partially-read copy of Periodic Tales, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams, which I think is downstairs in our living room. I could always resume that one if my quest for more non-fiction and a more even balance of reading matter on my OC list calls for more science, although that would be chemistry, not physics. Chemistry really would be my dad’s area of expertise! However, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, one area of interest for me, which my dad got me into when I was young, is volcanoes, so I could always get round to reading Krakatoa: The Day The World Exploded, by Simon Winchester. A tiny little bit of it has been read, some time ago, but only about the first 11 pages, so we can start again from scratch, really.

Anyway, I think that has drawn up a decent list of non-fiction ideas for future additions to the OC List when I need factual reads to be added! It also brings to an end this blog entry, so I shall get it finished off and published. Until next time, take care, have a Happy Easter, and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson
  • Down Under – Bill Bryson
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • The Road To Little Dribbling – Bill Bryson
  • Hope & Glory – Stuart Maconie
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • Cider With Roadies – Stuart Maconie
  • Adventures On the High Teas – Stuart Maconie
  • So, Anyway – John Cleese
  • Louis van Gaal: The Biography – Maarten Meijer
  • The Year of Reading Dangerously – Andy Miller
  • How To Teach Quantum Physics To Your Dog – Chad Orzel
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Krakatoa: The Day The World Exploded – Simon Winchester

 

 

 

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The Seven OCs of Rhye

Library Cushion

Cardinal! Fetch the Soft Cushions!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Isn’t that cushion wonderful? Just right for us bookworms, eh?! As I’ve mentioned in my blogs, I’m on a placement at the moment, and I was pricing cushions and other items of soft furnishing, so I noticed the “library cushion” and thought it would be perfect for this blog! Being in that department, I also started to think of the legendary Spanish Inquisition sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, lol! Doesn’t take much to get me thinking about Monty Python stuff, but being surrounded by soft cushions in need of pricing, it was just asking for it, quite frankly! Yes, I know. You weren’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition, were you?!

NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!

Our chief weapon is fear! Fear and surprise. That’s two. Wait a minute, I’ll start again…

Oops! Let’s get back to books, shall we? You won’t be too surprised to learn that I’ve started on The People’s Songs, by Stuart Maconie, which I bought at Cheshire Oaks. Essentially, it’s the story of late 20th century Britain in 50 songs, and I’m already 23% of the way through it! Almost a quarter of it read already, as we head into the early 70s with its prog rock and metal…

People's Songs book

This means we now have 7 books on the Ongoing Concerns list, hence the title of tonight’s blog, a play on The Seven Seas of Rhye, by Queen! I could also have had Sailing on the Seven Seas, by OMD, from the early 90s, or even just Seven Seas, a hit in the mid 80s for Echo and the Bunnymen, but I thought we’d go with Freddie and co.

Anyway, the OCs are back up to 7, and we have more non-fiction back on the menu, as most of the others currently on the OC list are fiction, mainly YA, other than I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović, our Swedish striker’s autobiography. As I said in my last blog, I was reading some more of that after Zlatan had scored for us against Everton on Tuesday night.

(Those of a “Tractor Boy” persuasion should look away now…)

Talking of footy, our former striker, Andrew Cole, has undergone a kidney transplant, so I hope you can excuse my further football waffle as I wish him all the best for a full and speedy recovery. Although other players have since equalled the feat, he became the first player to score 5 goals in a Premier League match when he helped United annihilate Ipswich Town 9-0 on 4th March 1995 at Old Trafford. Poor Ipswich were lucky to get nil! Roy Keane opened the scoring that day, Mark Hughes contributed two goals, and our other goal which was not from Cole came from Paul Ince.

(Right, OK, it’s safe for any Ipswich Town fans to return, lol!)

Of course, we should also mention the partnership he formed with Dwight Yorke when the Trinidad & Tobago international joined us from Aston Villa in 1998, a partnership which would fire us all the way to the historic Treble in May 1999, aided and abetted by fellow strikers, Teddy Sheringham and the complete and utter LEGEND that is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer! Particularly significant moments for Cole en route to the Treble came in the semi-final second leg away to Juventus when he ensured United would be going to Barcelona for the final with our winning goal in Turin in our 3-2 victory, and he helped us clinch the first part of the Treble, with our winner against Spurs at Old Trafford on the final day of the 1998-99 Premier League campaign. He lobbed the ball over Ian Walker in the Spurs goal to give us what would be the winning goal. 2-1. Absolutely vital, as Arsenal also won that day, so it was our win which gave us the title by a point.

Alright, enough footy now. Back to the reading matter, lol!

I was looking for other Stuart Maconie books which I’ve not read, and I found Hope and Glory, which is partially-read, but I might just restart that one when I get around to it. I’m not sure whether I own a copy of Cider With Roadies or not, but I hope I do, and I hope it’s somewhere I can get my hands on it easily! May have to check my wardrobe, under Computer Corner, and in the Book Chest in the garage… At least I know which of his I have read – both of them mention pies in their title, lol!

As far as Bill Bryson is concerned, I have absolutely, DEFINITELY read Notes From a Small Island! That is for certain! I also know I have read at least one of his books where he’s back in his native USA, but I am trying to remember which one! I think it’s the one he starts with the classic line…

I came from Des Moines. Somebody had to.

This is from The Lost Continent, so therefore I have read that one. I have also read at least half of Mother Tongue, Bryson’s book on the joys and peculiarities of the English language. I have several other books of his lurking around, including Down Under, Neither Here Nor There, Made In America, and The Road To Little Dribbling, which is his return tour of the UK. And then there are two of his books on the notorious Duplicate Books List, but I’ve already mentioned those recently, lol! I shall have to do a Bill Bryson special one day…

There may yet be additions to the OC list – after all, I had eight books on there recently, and it’s currently at seven, but at least I’ve got some more non-fiction on there alongside all the YA and the chunky novels! Now I’ve got that box set by Cassandra Clare, I may well wish to start the first of those books pretty soon, see what City of Bones is like… I decided to risk it for a biscuit at The Works with that set, so I may as well see what I’ve let myself in for, lol!

For now, though, that’s about all for this blog, so until the next time I type something vaguely book-related out on this trusty laptop, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • Hope and Glory – Stuart Maconie
  • Cider With Roadies – Stuart Maconie
  • Notes From a Small Island – Bill Bryson
  • The Lost Continent – Bill Bryson
  • Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson
  • Down Under – Bill Bryson
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Made In America – Bill Bryson
  • The Road To Little Dribbling – Bill Bryson
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Computer Corner, Football, Half-Finished Books, Humour, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Sports, Television, Travel, YA Books

Joanne D-J and the Forty Bookworms

book-selfie-march-2017

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

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Books knocking around for a while

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

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

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

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

Book and bookmark rediscovered March 2017

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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

Book of the Irish

Happy Reading Gaelic

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

If there are any Irish bookworms amongst my followers, Happy St Patrick’s Day! We’ll get some Irish books, or at least Irish-themed books in this blog, as that’s our obvious theme for this one! Talking of which, as you know from My Family and Other Bookworms, two of my aunties were over from Ireland last weekend, Andrea and Jennifer, and I had mentioned that my Auntie Jenny had left her Kindle on the plane on the flight over from Dublin to Manchester. Actually, her Kindle and her iPad. Thankfully, though, they were found by cabin crew and looked after at Manchester Airport, so when my auntie phoned up, they were able to put an owner to the items and were sending them out to her in the post, so I hope she’s now received them and has got all her electronic books back!

As we are going to be mentioning Irish books, or at least books set in Ireland, I think we should start off with one I read and loved very recently, that being Round Ireland With a Fridge, by Tony Hawks. I can definitely recommend this one, as can my dad! It’s the result of a drunken bet, and it’s VERY funny! For anyone who doesn’t know, Hawks was a minor pop star back in the late 80s, as part of a one hit wonder act called Morris Minor and the Majors. You may recall, if you were around in 1988, a song called Stutter Rap (No Sleep Til Bedtime), which was a parody of No Sleep Til Brooklyn by the Beastie Boys. Well, Hawks was partly responsible for that! Hmm…. that’s “responsible” in the loosest possible sense of the word, of course, lol!

I also mentioned, in a recent blog, one of my Paulo Coelho books, one of the as yet unread ones – Brida. Now, I KNOW Coelho is definitely NOT Irish – he’s Brazilian if I am not mistaken, but Brida is set in Ireland, so it’s getting a mention in this blog! That’s hanging around here, in Computer Corner. Talking of which, if we actually go under the laptop and thus into the sort of Computer Cave, as it were, we will find Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt. That is definitely set in Ireland and by an Irish-American, as it’s the first instalment of his memoirs. He followed that up with ‘Tis, and also wrote Teacher Man, a book about his experiences as a teacher in several New York schools.

Onto books lurking in my wardrobe… Not that I can get to this without shifting some stuff in front of the doors, but I know the Barrytown Trilogy, by Roddy Doyle, is somewhere in my wardrobe unit, or at least I am pretty certain it is! I have the trilogy edition, but as separate novels, the books are The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van, all of which feature the Rabbitte family in Dublin, and I’ve put them on the List Challenges list as a trilogy and as the three separate novels, so come the end of this year when I publish the list, you’ll be able to tick them off as you see fit if you have read the all-in-one version or individual novels. Or even both!

Well, we can’t have a blog about Irish books without mention of James Joyce, can we?! That would be an epic fail! I have to admit that the only book of his that I have read is Dubliners, which is a collection of short stories of Dublin life in the early 20th century. I have yet to attempt Ulysses – if anyone has read that one, what’s it like? I have heard it has a reputation as a “challenging” read!

It’s not the most comprehensive blog regarding Irish books, I know, but if it gives readers a starting place and a few ideas, that’s the main thing. I do need to move on to an update regarding the Ongoing Concerns now, as I made progress with a few of them yesterday! I have started Moonstone, by Sjón, and am almost a third of the way through it already, reaching 32% according to Goodreads! It has been added to the OCs, so there are currently 8 on that list right now, and I have updates for three more of them…

The Pie at Night, by Stuart Maconie, now tops the OC charts, as it is up to the 70% read mark, and is a truly good read. He just strikes me as the sort of bloke I’d like to have a good chat with about music, and books, and footy! I was reading the chapter about footy yesterday, actually, which mentions matches at all sorts of levels, including Manchester United’s Champions League home game against Olympiakos in March 2014, three years ago, when we overturned a 0-2 first leg deficit, winning 3-0 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate, thanks to Robin van Persie’s hat-trick! Rochdale and FC United also get significant mentions in this chapter. Mention of ‘Dale reminds me of one of my former colleagues, Mark Owen (no, not the one from Take That, lol, a less-famous one) who once called his fantasy footy team Up The Dale Down The Ale!

Before we go on to the other two books with which I made progress yesterday, I must also mention that United made progress yesterday in the Europa League, as we won 1-0 on the night with a 70th minute goal by Juan Mata at the Stretford End, to win 2-1 on aggregate, and we found out this lunchtime that we have been drawn against Anderlecht of Belgum in the quarter-finals, with the first leg away, second leg at Old Trafford. Anderlecht were United’s first-ever opponents in Europe, back in the autumn of 1956 in the European Cup. We stuffed them comprehensively, as we won one of the legs 10-0, which is still our record victory to date, I believe. I doubt a 10-0 thrashing is on the cards this time, but I just hope we win and make progress – we need to be more clinical and finish teams off. We also really need to stop fannying about at the back! (That’s a technical term, by the way, lol!)

OC List March 16th 2017

My Ongoing Concerns wipe board…

So, back to the books now we’ve got the footy out of the way, and I decided we needed to make some further inroads with the YA novels on the Ongoing Concerns list, and got Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist up to 40%, and Finding Audrey up to 29%. They are still quite a bit behind some of the other books on the OC list, but if we can get some of the others OFF that list, we can focus more on some of the YA stuff. The likelihood is that Moonstone will be finished fairly quickly, which gets that out of the way, and Tuesdays With Morrie will be read again this coming Tuesday and thus that will be even nearer completion. I also think getting The Pie at Night finished off fairly soon is a distinct possibility.

Yes, those are magnets from a few of my holidays at the bottom of the wipe board! From Berlin, Chichen Itza and Marrakech, respectively. The books are listed in order of closest to completion. If I added another couple of books, I could have a top ten, like the charts, lol, but eight is more than enough, really, and I need to get it down a bit! As I have said, though, in previous blogs, I had to have several books on the go at one time in my student days, so it goes back to the early 90s and I never got out of the habit even after graduating in 1994. Half of my degree was in literature, so I had to half-read a lot of books!

Anyway, I think that’s about all for now, so I hope you’ve enjoyed our little look at books of an Irish persuasion and an update on the Ongoing Concerns! Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • Brida – Paulo Coelho
  • Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
  • ‘Tis – Frank McCourt
  • Teacher Man – Frank McCourt
  • The Barrytown Trilogy – Roddy Doyle
  • The Commitments – Roddy Doyle
  • The Snapper – Roddy Doyle
  • The Van – Roddy Doyle
  • Dubliners – James Joyce
  • Ulysses – James Joyce
  • Moonstone – Sjón
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom

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