Category Archives: Cross-Stitch

And The Bees Still Buzz!

Bee bookmark finished June 2017

Bookmark finished! Will be using it when I resume this book.

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome once again to the mad world of Joanne’s book blogs, which involve typing long, waffly blog entries which mention books and a whole load of other nonsense as well! Such as cross stitch, which is relevant, really, as I cross stitch a lot of bookmarks for my reading matter, and I finished off the Manchester bees bookmark the other night, as you can see from the photo! I will be using it when I resume Manchester England, by Dave Haslam. Given my current policy on my Ongoing Concerns, though, I need to get two non-fiction books finished off first!

As you might recall, the OC List is down to 9 books at the moment, but this consists of 4 non-fiction books and 5 Young Adult novels. I am trying to get it to 3 general fiction, 3 non-fiction and 3 YA books, so the next non-fiction to be finished would be replaced with a general fiction book, as would the next two young adult books I finish off!

Pet Shop Boys, Literally, still tops the OC List on 62%, but it’s the next two on the list where progress has been made of late. I am halfway through Periodic Tales now, 50% read, so wo-oh, we’re halfway there, as Bon Jovi put it in “Living On A Prayer”! Progress has also been made in recent days with Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, so that looks like the next YA book which will be coming off the list! That will be making way for a general fiction title, as will one more YA book, then I should eventually have 3 of each and a bit of balance as per my plan.

My next book club meeting is this coming Wednesday, so I’ll have to remember to put The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman back in my handbag for that. I’ve already read that one, of course, it was an overnight read so it never went on my Ongoing Concerns list! It was much too short to be an OC! Wonder what our next book will be?!

Church fair later, as I’m typing this in the wee small hours of 10th June, so I will be helping out at that – rather conveniently our brass band is not rehearsing until the afternoon, early evening, so I’m able to help out on my mum’s stall. We were setting up yesterday afternoon, so I took some books with me to have a bit of a clear-out. The Duplicate Books have gone! I figured there was no point in having the two copies of each lying around, so those and a few others have gone on the stall for other people to enjoy! I have also given them some of the books I’ve already read this year. Not that I didn’t enjoy them, but I’m not likely to re-read them, so I might as well let Sandra have them for her stall.

Oh, and the other book news… Due to a course I am currently on at Manchester Cathedral Visitors’ Centre, I will be volunteering for a half day per week, and I have arranged to do mine at St Denys’ Bookshop! So, I will be in amongst books, plus other church stuff, and my first stint will come on Friday this coming week.

So, back to the OC List and there now seems to be something of a waiting list of books waiting to go on the OC List once other books come off it, lol! Manchester England, by Dave Haslam, will be my next non-fiction to join the list when the time is right, that one is a book to be resumed, as it is partially-read, but I would also quite like to start This Is Your Brain On Music, by Daniel Levitin, so that’s another non-fiction in the queue! On the general fiction front, and this would be a priority as I am trying to get that balance and add some general fiction to my list, I was looking at some of my “chunky monkeys” in a recent blog, if I remember rightly, and considering which of those to add to the OCs…

chunky books 2017

Chunky Monkeys – Some seriously epic reads here…

I did have a comment on my Chunky Monkeys photo which I posted on Instagram, with my former colleague Jill recommending The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, so I may well opt for that one, especially as, if I enjoy that, I can then go straight on to the sequel, World Without End! I think the other books on that photo are stand-alone novels, although I do believe Gregory David Roberts, who wrote Shantaram, has recently brought out a sequel, The Mountain Shadow. The only thing which would make any of the Chunky Monkeys have to wait would be whatever book I’m reading next for book club if it ends up being fiction, my cup of tea, and longer than an overnight read, lol!

I definitely feel that the time is right for another go at a big book! If I DO suffer a Book Hangover, as I did after I finished A Little Life last year, I shall go with some non-fiction for a while to see if that keeps me reading even if I can’t find any fiction I fancy!

I know this is a bit on the short side, but it will have to do for now. It’s the silly season now, as far as football’s concerned, international qualifiers for next year’s World Cup are on at the moment, but club football will resume with pre-season friendlies in late July and then the new season will start in mid-August. The new season’s fixtures will be out soon, I guess, but we don’t know those yet, and we’ve not signed any new players as yet, so there’s not a lot for me to waffle on about right now, really, lol! Zlatan is a free agent again, although he’s still with us as he trains and does his rehab after his knee injury. We may or may not re-sign him, but that depends on how things go and if we get other strikers in and they bang in the goals, we might not need to call upon him again.

Definitely need to score far more goals next season, though! That is a fact!

So, that’s about it for now, and I shall get this published. More of the usual waffle again soon, but until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman – Denis Thériault
  • This Is Your Brain On Music – Daniel Levitin
  • The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  • World Without End – Ken Follett
  • Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
  • The Mountain Shadow – Gregory David Roberts
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

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Filed under Books, Cross-Stitch, Football, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile

May Review

bee bookmark a

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

We’re on Wednesday 31st May 2017, and thus it’s time for this month’s look back at books and other stuff that’s gone on this month! A fair bit of cross-stitch has occurred, as you can see from the photos of the bee bookmark, which is still in progress. There have also been some patterned bookmarks made this month, but some books have also been read, and the total of 30 books, which I set for this year’s Goodreads Challenge, has been met.

I am going to leave things as they are and see how many more books I can read this  year. I’d really love to add some of my niece’s creations – Charlotte, the Junior Bookworm, has been busy writing a few stories of her own, and illustrating them herself! She even understands about putting some blurb on the back! In years to come, if you ever see any children’s books by a Charlotte Williams, don’t be too surprised! She also writes and spells really well. The occasional mistake, but she puts a lot of adults to shame! She’s even had a go at science fiction with a story about aliens!

Her books don’t, as yet, have ISBN numbers, so it would be tricky to put them on Goodreads, sadly, but I can say I’ve been treated to advanced readings of them!

When April came to an end, I’d just finished Diary of an Oxygen Thief, and had reached the 25/30 mark on the Goodreads Challenge, so let’s go through the five books I’ve completed in May to bring the total to 30…

Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson, was the first of the five to be finished off. It had been almost-finished for some time, and I only had about 9 pages left to read, so I got that done! A bit of a departure from his usual books, as he is mostly known for travel writing, but this is a book about the history and development of the English language, another matter which is of interest to me.

The next book was Oi Frog! by Kes Gray and Jim Field, and was brought round by my niece for me to read! As I’ve said before, Charlotte has some brilliant books!

The Tobacconist, by Robert Seethaler, wasn’t quite finished in time for my book club, but I did finish it shortly afterwards, and I had read the vast majority of it by the time we met up at Waterstone’s, so it wasn’t as though I couldn’t discuss it! At the book club, our next choice was another short book, a novella entitled The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman, by Denis Thériault. This book was such a quick read that I didn’t bother adding it to the Ongoing Concerns list, as there was no point! It was an overnight read. Started one day, finished the next. A really good book, actually, although the postman’s colleague Robert, deserves to go on the Literary Slap List.

May is the time of the year, these days, when the people of our continent gather for the annual festival of dodgy singing, bad costumes and biased voting. Otherwise known as the Eurovision Song Contest! Congratulations to Portugal, who won for the first time ever, and also thanks and congratulations to Tim Moore for writing Nul Points, a book about all those acts since the mid 1970s up to the early noughties, who’d come away from Eurovision without a single vote to their names!

bee bookmark b

Still deciding what to do about my bookmark. I could actually fit another bee on it at the other side, facing the other way. It certainly needs a border no matter what else I add. The bee chart is diagonally symmetrical so I could turn it on one side and the bee would be a mirror image of the one I’ve already stitched.

I also need to work out a design on graph paper for stitching. When I started stitching in 1997, I did United’s honours list in cross stitch, but it’s only last week that we won the Europa League, a trophy best known to us older footy fans as the UEFA Cup. Thus I never designed a version of that for my honours list or other footy-related stitching, but I need to do so now! I intend to stitch myself a bookmark with the European Cup, European Cup-Winners’ Cup and UEFA Cup now that United have completed the set with their 2-0 victory over Ajax in Stockholm last Wednesday.

With The Tobacconist and Nul Points off the OC List, and with no new ones added as yet, we are currently running an OC List of 9 books, of which 4 are non-fiction and 5 are young adult. My next plan is to replace the next non-fiction book I finish, and the next two YA books I finish, with general fiction books, possibly including one of my “chunky monkeys” for added challenge, and then I would have 3 non-fiction, 3 general fiction and 3 young adult. This balance amongst my Ongoing Concerns is something I have mentioned in previous blog entries.

chunky books 2017

Some of my “chunky monkeys” for consideration…

Obviously, I’m not going to start ALL of these, lol, but I’m certainly giving serious thought to starting on one of them soon! Technically, given my 10% rule, and given that these books are so long – we’re talking around the 900-1000 page range here, I’d have to read around 90 to 100 pages to even get it to the 10% mark, so I could start on one for when the OC List gets another taken off it, but on the other hand, the one I start could grip me so much…

The books most likely to come off my OC List first are both non-fiction, with Pet Shop Boys, Literally, in the lead, and Periodic Tales second, and now up to 47% although I’ve had a bit of a to do on Goodreads because someone had altered the number of pages and it made it look as though I’d actually gone backwards percentage-wise! Grrrr!

Yes, I KNOW the book has more than 398 pages, but after page 398 all you have are notes, bibliography, acknowledgements and the index! Are you seriously telling me that people actually read those bits?! They’re just there for reference, for crying out loud! The main body of writing ends on page 398, so that is when I consider the book to end. When I get to that page, I will have finished Periodic Tales. I have just given someone a piece of my mind on Goodreads as I change the number of pages back again! And if Amazon says there’s 448 pages, they’re wrong anyway, as there’s only 428 even if you do include the index and suchlike at the back! I will calculate my percentages based on 398 pages, thank you very much!

Some fiction books can be like that, too. Not with indexes, of course, those are for non-fiction books, but occasionally you get additional things from the author, even extracts from some of their other novels, so the end of the book, for me, is wherever the main story ends. Sometimes you get a few pages at the back which suggest questions which can be considered if the book has been chosen as a book club book. All very well and good, but it gives a misleading impression about the length of the main book if you ask me, and might lead to similar arguments on Goodreads as the one I’ve been having regarding a non-fiction book – see above!

Anyway, what do you reckon with regard to my chunky monkeys? Which of these pretty lengthy books should I attempt? There are 6 possibilities. The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb, Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts, Paris, by Edward Rutherfurd, Magician, by Raymond E. Feist, and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. If you have any recommendations, I’d be happy to hear them, or rather read them in the comments, lol!

Another thought for when the time comes to get more general fiction on the OC List is that I should start on some of those hardbacks which are still resting in a tall pile on top of my bass amp! Possibly The Night Circus, or The Miniaturist, the latter of which is a signed copy since last summer when I met Jessie Burton at Waterstone’s in town.

Anyway, that’s about it for now, time to have another look at my bee bookmark and decide what to add to it… Until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Various books written and illustrated by Charlotte Elizabeth Williams, aged 6
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson
  • Oi Frog! – Kes Gray & Jim Field
  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler
  • The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman – Denis Thériault
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  • I Know This Much Is True – Wally Lamb
  • Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
  • Paris – Edward Rutherfurd
  • Magician – Raymond E. Feist
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke

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Filed under Books, British Weather, Cross-Stitch, Football, Goodreads, Junior Bookworms, Literary Slap List, Manc Stuff!, Month in Review, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns

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

April Review

Cross stitched book girl in frame

Another good month on the book front…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to the monthly review for April 2017! A month in which I have managed to finish off 8 books and reach the 25/30 stage on my Goodreads Challenge for this year. A matter of an hour or so ago, I finished Diary of an Oxygen Thief, by Anonymous, which it only took me a day to read. Wasn’t a particularly long book, only 151 pages. There was no point putting it on the OC List, as I felt it would be a quick read, which it proved to be. Likeable in an odd sort of way, rather in the way I enjoyed Fight Club last year!

While I accept that two of the eight books I’ve polished off this month were the kids’ books I read in Waterstone’s the other day, six of my finished reads during the course of April have been grown-up reading matter, lol! I have got quite a few long-term ongoing concerns off the list! Some of that is thanks to being on jury service, although I finished I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović before Easter and passed it on to my sister.

I also finished the cross-stitch of the girl with the book before Easter, as seen in the photo at the start of this blog!

Skintown, by Ciaran McMenamin, was published on 6th April, so I was finally able to find a photo of the actual cover for the purposes of List Challenges! This was a book which I had got as a freebie in February at a book club meeting, because it was an uncorrected proof copy.

That was also the day I was at Cheshire Oaks, and acquired a few books at The Works while I was there. While I don’t need to list all of them here, a couple of them were added to the OC List this month, those being The People’s Songs, by Stuart Maconie, which I have since finished, and City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, the first of the Mortal Instruments box set of 6 books, which I am still reading at present.

12th April was my book club night, and our chosen book for our next meeting, to be held on 18th May, is The Tobacconist, by Robert Seethaler, so that is currently one of my ongoing concerns.

Four of the five missing books were found on 14th April in part of my wardrobe unit, Good Friday proving a very good day for locating stray paperbacks, lol! Of those books which I had listed as missing in previous blogs, the only book still AWOL is The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy. I still haven’t a Scooby where that one buggered off to, as it used to be in Computer Corner! It went walkabouts some time ago, though.

An Equal Music, by Vikram Seth, was the first of the books I finished while on jury service. Also coming off the list thanks to my time at Manchester Crown Court were The People’s Songs, The Saffron Trail, and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.  The Stuart Maconie book hadn’t been on the OC list for long, but the other three had, so some of the long term OCs are finally off that list!

The OC List, as things stand at the end of April, has eight books on it, and this is the present state of affairs…

Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath – 62%

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews – 34%

The Tobacconist  – Robert Seethaler – 32%

Nul Points – Tim Moore – 30%

Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella – 29%

City of Bones – Cassandra Clare – 21%

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You – Ally Carter – 15%

Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson – 13%

Nul Points is, as you can imagine, a book about the acts which have failed to register a single vote from any country at the Eurovision Song Contest. I added this book in April, along with the Ally Carter book, the first in the Gallagher Girls series of YA novels about girls at a school for spies, and Bill Bryson‘s tour of Europe. I also added the book about the Pet Shop Boys, which I had mentioned earlier this year. That was already half-read, so it’s just a matter of resuming it, which I have now done. As I have listed the current OCs above, they will not be listed again at the end, just the other books I’ve mentioned in this blog which are not currently ongoing concerns will be listed in my usual bullet points.

I am now a 44 year old bookworm, by the way, as I celebrated my birthday last Sunday, 23rd April. Have to admit that I had a day off from the reading. It was a day for eating, and also for celebrating a 2-0 away win at Burnley for my lads. I just wish more of the home performances were better, I feel short-changed! We’ve had far too many draws this season, especially at Old Trafford, and I am not impressed! Too many wasted opportunities. Anyway, less about the footy and back to the books…

On Saturday, I read Tidy, and The Day the Crayons Came Home, which accounts for the two children’s books added to the Goodreads Challenge this month, and on Sunday I polished off all 151 pages of Diary of an Oxygen Thief, as I mentioned at the start.

So, as we head into the merry month of May, there are more books to be read, more to be added to the OCs, and hopefully more to come off that list, too! I will probably add at least a book or two to the OC list to get it back up to ten. I just need to decide which books to choose! Got plenty of possibilities! Maybe The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli, just in case she actually lets us know how mermaids pee, lol! Maybe I might even find The God of Lost Books, er sorry, The God of Small Things?! Stranger things have happened, like Leicester City winning the league last season, but that book must be around somewhere! I’m pretty sure I didn’t give it away!

Oh well, I think that’s about all my book related waffle for now, so I’ll get this published so you can read my review of April’s book-related activity! Until my next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry (other than the current OCs)…

  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • Skintown – Ciaran McMenamin
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • Tidy – Emily Gravett
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home – Drew Daywalt
  • The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli

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Filed under Books, Cross-Stitch, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Free Books, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, List Challenges, Month in Review, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Assorted Book Bits…

Cross stitched book girl in frame

Girl With a Book – stitched and framed.

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Moonstone is back in the handbag. Mind you, that’s because it’s Book Club tomorrow night, so I’m getting ready. I’ll be at my placement prior to that, so I’ll have to head to town from there – well, go back into Eccles and get a tram, anyway. Thus, I have to take the book with me. The girl in the photo is taking her book with her, although we don’t know which book, lol! I finished stitching her on Monday night, and put her in the box frame which I bought from The Range. I felt the frame suited the design of the stitching and the material I used, which was a hessian square from a Docrafts “bare basics” pack.

Skintown cover

You may recall, a few months ago, that I picked up a freebie at book club, because it was an uncorrected proof copy of a book yet to be published at that time. As Skintown, by Ciaran McMenamin, was published on 6th April, and we are on 11th April today, I have now been able to get a proper photo for it on a Google image search and amend my list on List Challenges accordingly. It will now show the above cover, rather than a photo of the author, which had been used to hold the book’s place in the right order on my list of books I’ve mentioned on this blog during the course of this year!

The cover of my copy is not like that, but as I got it before it was actually published, it’s to be expected that things get changed before a book actually comes out properly compared to when advanced proofs get issued! Having said that, when I got The Chimes, by Anna Smaill, as an uncorrected proof freebie a year or two ago, that actually pretty much retained the same artwork on the cover when the book was published.

Maybe I should try to get Skintown as our next book club book when we meet tomorrow? I would really like it if, even just once, we could read something I’ve already got in so I wouldn’t have to fork out! Also, I think that proposed cull, and taking of books to charity shops, might well be happening. It will get a lot of stuff out of the way. At least some of the Duplicate Books might go, too. I doubt I’ll ever read them in tandem with someone else, so one set of them can leave the building!

Anyway, onto a discussion on Facebook earlier, concerning The Catcher In The Rye, as someone else had just read it. I read Salinger‘s novel a few years back now because of a debate going on on my book group – On Friday it will be 9 years since I started it! 14th April 2008 was the date I’d Spend All Day In Waterstone’s If I Could Get Away With It! was created, and my friend David Hunt was the first to comment on the group’s wall! I remember, during the Catcher In The Rye discussions, Lizzie Harvey had been one of the ones who wanted to punch Holden Caulfield, lol!

Thing is, that I came to see Caulfield as a typical teenage lad – I just thought he was like a lot of lads I knew when I was at high school and sixth-form college, particularly high school… the sort who can’t be arsed with school, either fail their exams or don’t do as well as they could if they’d made more effort, they’d bunk off from school, and they would definitely try to get in pubs and clubs and get served with booze while they were still under-age! I didn’t have a very high opinion of teenage lads when I was a teenage girl – most of them were stupid arseholes, and a lot of the others, even if they were alright, were still not the most mature of creatures! At 16, I knew I wanted to go to uni, I didn’t have time for dickheads!

Actually, my ambition to go to uni started when I was about 4 or 5, but at that age, I had no idea what I would want to study. I had no idea what I’d be good at, if anything at all. I did know I loved books, though, which was obviously going to be to my advantage, lol!

Current OCs April 2017

Zlatan Ibrahimović, he is our Swedish hero…

My current OCs with Mini Zlatan on top! The People’s Songs, by Stuart Maconie, has now moved up a place since that photo a few days ago. Zlatan‘s autobiography is now at 75% so getting nearer completion. Well, he did help his own cause further by scoring our opening goal against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Sunday afternoon in our 3-0 win over the Mackems! Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford scored the other two goals. I was at my placement at the time, but thankfully, my book towers were still intact when I got home – they hadn’t fallen over as they did when we beat Leicester City in February, lol! Clearly, Mkhi’s opening goal against the Foxes that day got my books all excited! To the extent that I’ve become a bit wary of my reading matter before matches, particularly away ones, and I’ll look at my book towers and ask them nicely not to fall over, even if anyone scores a particularly spectacular or important goal for United, lol!

My niece in her natural habitat – Waterstone’s!

You have my sister to thank for these! Junior Bookworm in her natural habitat! It’s school hols at the moment for Charlotte, so she was at the Trafford Centre the other day, in Waterstone’s, choosing some new books for herself, and one for Reuben, which she was going to read to her baby brother!

Charlotte choosing books April 2017b

Charlotte and her daddy having a good read!

That look of concentration as she focuses on her book! A true bookworm, and definitely taking after her auntie! Not biased, not at all, lol! Thanks, Ellie, for these photos, and Zlatan will be with you fairly soon now, as I’ve not got too much more of his autobiography to read, as I mentioned earlier!

Now, you’d think that, with book club tomorrow, I’d wait and see what the next book is for that before adding anything to my OC list, wouldn’t you? That would be the sensible option. However, bookworm tendencies can override common sense and can make you go ahead and start another new book anyway, even though you’ll be starting another newbie soon enough, and thus you’ll end up with 9 books on the OC list… Then again, with both An Equal Music, and I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović heading for the finishing line, why the hell shouldn’t I add new books to the list?  It’s my OC list, after all! City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, is being added. As I mentioned previously, it’s the first of the books in the Mortal Instruments series, the box set of 6 books I got at Cheshire Oaks last week.

Well, this has been an assortment of book-related bits and bobs, hasn’t it? After tomorrow evening, I’ll know my new book for our book club, so that will probably be one of the main items on my next blog, but for now, that’s about it, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in today’s blog entry…

  • Moonstone – Sjón
  • Skintown – Ciaran McMenamin
  • The Chimes – Anna Smaill
  • The Catcher In the Rye – J. D. Salinger
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Cross-Stitch, Duplicate Books List, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Free Books, Handbag Books, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, My Bookworm History, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

Risk It For a Biscuit!

Zlatan book April 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Zlatan’s up to 65% – in the Goodreads sense, that is! As he scored our equaliser at home to Everton the other night, I decided to bring him off the bench and start making his autobiography, I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović, a more active Ongoing Concern once again! An Equal Music is still in the lead on the OC list, currently on 78%, but after quite a month of reading in March, I’ve focused on cross-stitch at the start of April, putting those finishing touches to my League Cup Winning Years bookmark, plus starting and making progress with a design featuring a girl with a book under her arm.

So, the cup bookmark has had a tassel of sorts added to it, and threads added to the handles for “ribbons” on the trophy, and it has been put into use in I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović, which is appropriate as Zlatan did score two of our three goals in our 3-2 EFL Cup Final victory against Southampton in February. Our other goal at Wembley was scored by Jesse Lingard. Actually, it was funny… for our first goal, we got a free kick after Herrera was fouled, and my mum said “That’s too far out”. So, the ref blows the whistle, Zlatan takes the free kick… 1-0, pick that out, Saints! That may have been too far out for most players, but not for Zlatan! Definitely not too far out for him!

Anyway, enough waffling about footy, for now, although I’m sure I’ll return to that subject! You can see from the photos my finished cup bookmarks, the FA Cup one from last year, and the League Cup one from this, plus the ongoing concern on the stitching front. I have included the pattern so you have an idea what the design should look like when I’ve finished it. Despite her having a book under her arm, I don’t really see that one as a bookmark. I see myself putting it in a nice frame. I could always stitch another of that same design to use as a bookmark, though.

I think I mentioned the other day the thought of having another sort-out for the charity shops. Perhaps a few I have read but am unlikely to read again, plus a batch of stuff which is either unread or only slightly-read and which hasn’t really grabbed me. I need to make room for other books, so some may need to go. Particularly as I acquired a few earlier at The Works when I was at Cheshire Oaks. It’s not so much the box set of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, as that can probably go on a bookshelf on the landing with other box sets, but I bought a few other individual items of reading matter as well. Those are all non-fiction.

Books and chocolate April 2017

The Mortal Instruments, some non-fiction and some chocolate

I decided to risk it for a biscuit with the box set, it was quite a bargain when I worked out the price per book. City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, and City of Heavenly Fire. They’re numbered, too, as you can see from the photo, so I know the order in which to read them! Very helpful! Saves me looking that sort of shit up on Google, lol! You wouldn’t believe how often I’ve had to look up the reading order of various series when I’ve blogged about them on here! Thing is, I think the only series I’ve actually read, certainly the only series I’ve ever read in full, is the Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling, so I could rattle off the correct order for those seven books off the top of my head – Philosopher’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows. I’ve also read a couple of the short ones she brought out for Comic Relief some years ago – that’s when Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and Quidditch Through the Ages originally came out!

They were “quick reads” in aid of Comic Relief, originally! I love them, especially Harry and Ron’s comments in Fantastic Beasts. For instance, when it comes to the classification of how dangerous various magical creatures are, the top 5 star rating includes all dragons, plus several other rather nasty beasties which even the most experienced wizards would find hard to handle. A comment has been added, probably by Ron Weasley, to say “or anything Hagrid likes”!

(For my readers on the other side of the Atlantic, I know it’s the Sorcerer’s Stone over in the USA, and what we call a biscuit is what you call a cookie, in case you were wondering about the “risk it for a biscuit” thing – just a little expression some of us have over here when taking some sort of minor risk or chance with something, lol!)

Other than the Cassandra Clare box set and the chocolate, the other books are non-fiction. Three about music, one about sport, the sporting one being Greg Rutherford‘s autobiography, Unexpected. Greg, as you may recall, is a long-jumper, and won gold for Great Britain on “Super Saturday” at the 2012 London Olympics. I had no idea he even had an autobiography out, but he does and I now own a copy!

He won bronze last year in Rio, but I have heard he’s been doing some winter sports, chiefly skeleton, with a view to competing for Great Britain at the Winter Olympics! If he does, and manages to win a medal of any colour, I think he’d be the first sportsperson from our country to win medals in both summer and winter Games. That would be brilliant, so I think he should go for it! I don’t think many people from other countries have had medals at both versions of the Olympics, possibly the odd one or two, but I expect it’s still a pretty rare achievement and Greg would join a pretty short roll of honour if he could end up on the podium at the Winter Olympics!

The other hardback is The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones, by Rich Cohen, which is about being on tour with the band. Ziggyology, by Simon Goddard, and The People’s Songs, by Stuart Maconie, are the paperbacks. The Maconie book is “The story of modern Britain in 50 songs” – sounds good to me, and you know I have already enjoyed two of Maconie‘s books, those being Pies and Prejudice, which I read some years ago, and its follow-up of sorts, The Pie at Night, which was my Handbag Book for Wembley, and a recent Ongoing Concern, of course, until I finished it last month!

I’d seen the Ziggyology book quite prominently last year, especially early in 2016 just after Bowie had died, but at the time, I’d plumped for Starman, by Paul Trynka. I could add Ziggyology to my rainbow book pile – it’d be quite high up on that, given the orange spine, lol! It’d look good right between The City and the City, by China Miéville, and Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood! Anyway, I could read one after the other, as I’ve not read Starman yet, so I could read both Bowie books back to back if I so wished!

Well, as I’ve got a few books to sort out, I think I’d better get away from Computer Corner and find places for my reading matter until such a time as I call upon any of these books to become Ongoing Concerns! Until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
  • City of Ashes – Cassandra Clare
  • City of Glass – Cassandra Clare
  • City of Fallen Angels – Cassandra Clare
  • City of Lost Souls – Cassandra Clare
  • City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them – J. K. Rowling
  • Quidditch Through the Ages – J. K. Rowling
  • Unexpected – Greg Rutherford
  • The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones – Rich Cohen
  • Ziggyology – Simon Goddard
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • Pies and Prejudice – Stuart Maconie
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Starman: David Bowie – Paul Trynka
  • The City and the City – China Miéville
  • Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Cross-Stitch, Football, Humour, Music, Non-Fiction, Olympic Games, Ongoing Concerns, Sports, YA Books

March Review

ongoing concerns and possibilities 31 March 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

What a productive month March has been on the book front, ladies and gentlemen! At the end of February, I had 11 books on the Goodreads Challenge, and I’d also posted my 100th blog on here earlier that month. February ended with United winning the EFL Cup at Wembley, 3-2 vs Southampton, and with me starting The Pie at Night as a result of your votes when I asked which book from a choice of about 15 I should take down to Wembley with me!

Anyway, March has seen me reach and pass the 200 total likes milestone for my book blogs, and I also have over 40 followers! So chuffed! Thank you for reading my utter waffle! My Goodreads Challenge, as of today, 31st March, stands at 17 books, so 6 have been read this month, 3 quick reads and 3 which had been on my Ongoing Concerns list! I also have an almost-finished League Cup Winning Years bookmark, although I still need to add a couple of little finishing touches to it. The actual cross-stitching and backstitched border have been completed, though!

The quick reads, which I read in a day, or over 2 days max, were Esio Trot, The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark, and Headhunter. They didn’t even go on the OC list for rather obvious reasons – they were so short that I could finish them pretty quickly, there was no point in adding them to the list!

The books which are no longer Ongoing Concerns are The Pie at Night, Moonstone (my book club book), and Tuesdays With Morrie. Those have come off the OC List, taking the list down from 8 to 5, although I have since added Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, so I’ve got 6 OCs right now. The YA novel I have just mentioned is now at 34%, by the way. Making quick work of that one, and I reiterate what I said the other day about Greg Gaines – I am enjoying his nerdiness!

Couple of problem areas… 1) I’d like to know whereabouts I put my EFL Cup Final ticket. I know it’s in my room somewhere, but not sure where it’s disappeared to, and 2) I now have 19 books on the notorious Duplicate Books List, an increase of 2 books on the 17 I realised I had this time last year! Yes, one of them was intentional due to the book being on the Missing Books List, but the other is accidental – I have discovered that I somehow own two copies of Shakespeare, by Bill Bryson, and it’s not the only Bryson on the Duplicates list, either!

An Equal Music tops the OC list at present, and is on 78%, but I’m making short work of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, now at 34% and I only started it the other day! Either of those could be finished next, I feel. However, Finding Audrey is still stuck at 29%, I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović at 53% and The Saffron Trail at 55%, so those could do with a kick start. Personally, in the case of Finding Audrey, I shall blame her mum for reading the Daily Fail, lol!

In The Saffron Trail‘s case, I blame Greg’s dad, Ted, for being a right-wing arsehole. In fact, he can join Audrey’s mum, and the others, on the Literary Slap List next time I revise that! I try not to post spoilers for any book, but the plot kinda moves between certain characters, locations and periods in time, and part of it is set at the time of the Vietnam war. Much of the novel is set either in the UK or Morocco, though, and I bought it just before my holiday in Marrakech because of the whole Moroccan theme – quite a bit of the book is set in Marrakech, although some of it is set in Essaouira.

Zlatan is currently serving a domestic ban, although I think he misses his final game of it tomorrow at home to West Brom, so he should be back soon. I was going to read a bit more of his autobiography had he scored in our most recent European game, at home to FC Rostov, but it was Juan Mata who scored the only goal of that match in our 1-0 win, so Zlatan didn’t get read! Maybe after this weekend, then…

I have checked. This is the final game of his 3 match ban, so he’s back after we play the Baggies at Old Trafford tomorrow. Can you believe we actually kick off on a Saturday afternoon at 3pm?! A proper traditional kick off for Manchester United! Wow! You may need to sit down with a stiff drink on reading that, lol!

Eric the Seagull

Today is 22 years since King Eric came out with his legendary speech…

“When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you.” – Eric Cantona. 31st March 1995.

Good excuse to post the photo of Eric the Seagull, lol! Anyway, back to the books! Let’s get this month’s review sorted and then I can chill and watch Masterchef in a bit! Not that I’ve anything against John Torode, but I really do love Greg Wallace! He makes me lol, and he loves his desserts! I have a majorly sweet tooth, as everyone who knows me will probably tell you, so I have an affinity with Greg, even though I do envy him ’cause he gets to eat that yummy food and I don’t! Mind you, I don’t envy him or John when one of the contestants has had an absolute ‘mare in the kitchen and their cooking has been an absolute disaster and is either burnt or raw! Greg also presents the brilliant Inside The Factory series on BBC2, which I also really love!

So, as we head into April, there are 6 books on my OC list at present, of which 3 are YA novels, plus two “chunky” general fiction novels and an autobiography. My book club book for my next meeting, Moonstone, has already been read. The meeting is on 12th April. I have jury service at the end of April, so I am hoping I will get a lot of reading done when I’m on that! I am off to put the kettle on and make another brew and then watch Masterchef, so until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
  • The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark – Jill Tomlinson
  • Headhunter – Jade Jones
  • Moonstone – Sjón
  • Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Shakespeare – Bill Bryson
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Cross-Stitch, Duplicate Books List, Food & Drink, Football, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Literary Slap List, Month in Review, Ongoing Concerns, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books