Category Archives: E-Books & Audiobooks

Outside of a Dog…

Year of the Dog 2018

Year of the Dog. Photo courtesy of my friend Charity on Facebook. 🙂

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Kung Hei Fat Choi! Wishing all my followers happiness, prosperity and plenty of good books in the Year of the Dog, which has started today! As I had mentioned earlier this month, this is the Dog Blog to celebrate Chinese New Year, so I will be mentioning some books with prominent canines, and also a few others on a generally Chinese theme. There’ll also be some of the usual stuff, such as updates on the Ongoing Concerns, and mention of the Winter Olympics, where Team GB are now on the medal table in PyeongChang, I’m pleased to say!

Can’t say the Year of the Dog has got off to the best of starts for me, though, I seem to have another cold, a bit “ruff” you might say, and I’ve not seen one of my best online friends on FB yet today, so I hope she’s OK and whatever is causing her not to be online is resolved as soon as possible. I hope she’s not ill, and perhaps it’s a power cut or an internet problem.

So, then… On with the dog books, before you all go barking mad, lol…

By the way, the title of this blog, as you may have guessed, comes from quite possibly my all-time favourite quote, which is a classic from Groucho Marx…

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.

Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read!

K9 from Doctor Who

K9 on Doctor Who (early 80s, at a guess)

So, there you have it! And let’s take a look at some books with notable four-legged friends of the canine variety, or even K9 if you’re a robot dog, like the one on Doctor Who years ago when I was a kid, lol! One of the obvious dog books is Marley & Me, by John Grogan, about a pooch who requires a fair bit of training. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London, however, sees a dog become a sledge dog up in the frozen north! The dog in White Fang, also by Jack London, is part wolf, but we won’t let that stand in the way of his canine credentials on this blog!

The editions of those Jack London books which I found on List Challenges are Puffin Classics, so that indicates they are children’s books, which brings me very neatly on to a dog-filled book for younger bookworms, one my niece recommended to me a few years ago, that being Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, by Lynley Dodd! I loved this one, so thank you, Charlotte! Harry the Dirty Dog, by Gene Zion, also needs a mention while we’re on children’s books, and I’m sure I read that one when I was younger.

If we’re going to mention classic dog-filled books for younger readers, we have to mention The Hundred and One Dalmatians, by Dodie Smith. Probably best known as the Disney film, but it was a book originally! The Incredible Journey, by Sheila Burnford, sees two dogs, and also a cat, make their way across Canada to be reunited with the family who own them. I admit, I’ve not read those two, but I have most definitely read, and loved, this next one – in fact, it helped get me out of a reading slump back in late 2015…

The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, is a wonderful book, in which the dog has a huge part to play! It is on the list of books I often recommend. Oh, and, if you recall a blog or two ago, when I was mentioning science-fiction purchases, and I said I was going to save one book to mention in the Dog Blog, well that book is Sirius, by Olaf Stapledon, about a canine with human capabilities.

I also can’t do a dog blog without mentions of There Is No Dog, by Meg Rosoff, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, Don’t Let’s Go To the Dogs Tonight, by Alexandra Fuller, and Even the Dogs, by John McGregor. I think I’ve given you plenty of dog books and dog-titled books to be getting on with!

As far as Chinese-themed books go, there are plenty around, but after the long list of dog books, I’ll just settle for a few I know well enough to mention. One I enjoyed some years ago now is Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, by Dai Sijie. There’s The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, centred around Chinese families in the USA, which I half-read at uni years ago. I still have a copy, so I might yet read it properly, rather than having to skim it as I did in the early 90s during my degree course. I also have Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See, which I have yet to read. I actually have the audiobook on my computer for that one, so I could listen to it. There is also Sweet Mandarin, by Helen Tse, a true account of a family who move from China to Hong Kong, and then to the UK, and Helen was born here in Manchester. That one is about food and the restaurant business, so ties in nicely with going out for a meal to celebrate Chinese New Year!

So, after all the dogs, and the Chinese-themed reading material, how are the Ongoing Concerns getting on? Quite well, as it turns out! Russian Winters, by Andrei Kanchelskis, is at 72%, Mort, by Sir Terry Pratchett, is rapidly catching up and is now on 66% as I have been reading that one on my lunch at work and feel I will soon get it finished. Hawksmoor, by Peter Ackroyd, is on 39%, and my book club book, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, is on 30% already. Really enjoying it, and am amused by the references to Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë – I’ll not spoil things for you, but let’s say that if you are familiar with Jane Eyre, you’ll find some characters’ names familiar if you read Eleanor Oliphant! I read Jane Eyre twice – firstly in my third year at high school (which is now known as year 9), and then again at university, so I was laughing when I got to one particular bit of my book club book and thinking “I know where you got THOSE names from!”

I’m looking to finish Russian Winters and Mort fairly soon, before this month is out, preferably, and also to get on with Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. If I get my book club book read before 7th March, I might read a bit more of Hawksmoor, move it on another chapter. I am enjoying it, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not a quick book to read, and it’s not high up on my reading priorities, really.

Oh, and Not Dead Yet was given back to Sarah yesterday, as I went to Preston to meet up with her and go to the Guild Hall to see Paul Young, supported by China Crisis. Yes, very 80s, which is how we like it, lol! A great night, but a shame about the journey home – damn roadworks on the motorway closing off some of our regular exits, thus we ended up coming off near Prestwich, and thus having to go through Prestwich, into Salford, and eventually chez moi, but it took us about an hour to do so, double the time it usually takes if Sarah’s bringing me home from Preston! It also took her a while longer to get back home, too.

There seemed very little warning, too. Did not expect to be snarled up in traffic so late at night! Not like it was rush hour, or anything! It reminded us of one time when we went to see the Pet Shop Boys at the Apollo, here in Manchester, possibly 2002 or some time around then, and without any warning, the Mancunian Way was shut when the time came to be picked up after the gig! No warning at all that night, either!

dom-parsons-bronze-skeleton 2018

Didn’t they do well?! The men’s skeleton medallists with their cuddly toys!

And, before I love you and leave you for now, on to the Winter Olympics, and although I’m not sure if he’s actually received his medal yet, Dom Parsons has put Great Britain on the medal table in PyeongChang by winning bronze in the men’s skeleton! That’s him on the right with the red had and blue coat, proudly holding his cuddly toy tiger with the other medal-winners. The gold-medallist is from South Korea, and that was his local track they were sliding down, so he definitely made home advantage count! I think the guy who got the silver was one of the Olympic Athletes from Russia, in other words a Russian who has been confirmed as drug-free, thus not a cheat, and allowed to take part.

I hope we can get a medal or two in the women’s skeleton. We’re halfway through that as I write. They’ve had 2 runs, and Lizzie Yarnold, the reigning champion from Sochi 2014, is in 3rd, with Laura Deas in 4th, and fractions of a second separating the top 4, so there is a chance for both to improve and both to end up on the podium if they perk up and slide well later!

So, that’s about it for now, as I head off to have another read and a rest, and watch some more action from the Winter Olympics when it starts up again in an hour or so for another day of mad stuff on snow and ice, lol!  I love the snowboard cross – as Christopher Dean described it on the Beeb the other day, it’s a bit like short-track speed skating but on snowboards! If you’ve never seen it, you’re missing a treat! 6 snowboarders go off together on this course, and they often crash into one another! Look it up on YouTube! One of the best events to be added to the Winter Olympics in recent times!

Talking of Christopher Dean, Valentine’s Day was the 34th anniversary of him and Jayne Torvill winning gold for us at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, one of my all-time favourite sporting moments! I still can’t hear Ravel’s Bolero, even the full 17 minute version, without thinking of those two in their purple costumes, on the ice in Sarajevo. That’s what got me into the Olympics! I was 10 going on 11 and I became an Olympic nut thanks to Torvill & Dean in February 1984!

Right, that’s definitely all for now, before I just waffle on about the Olympics, lol! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Marley & Me – John Grogan
  • The Call of the Wild – Jack London
  • White Fang – Jack London
  • Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy – Lynley Dodd
  • Harry the Dirty Dog – Gene Zion
  • The Hundred and One Dalmatians – Dodie Smith
  • The Incredible Journey – Sheila Burnford
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein
  • Sirius – Olaf Stapledon
  • There Is No Dog – Meg Rosoff
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon
  • Don’t Let’s Go To the Dogs Tonight – Alexandra Fuller
  • Even the Dogs – John McGregor
  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress – Dai Sijie
  • The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – Lisa See
  • Sweet Mandarin – Helen Tse
  • Russian Winters – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
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Filed under Books, Childrens' Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Fantasy Fiction, Food & Drink, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, Olympic Games, Ongoing Concerns, School, College & Uni Reading, Science Fiction, Sports, Television, Travel

Andrei Kanchelskis vs the Martians…

Me and the Manc Bee - Central Library Feb 2018

Manchester will be buzzin’ this summer! Look out for giant bees!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome back to the crazy world of my book blogs! I had considered “Andrei and the Martians” as the title, but that sounds like a band name, really, doesn’t it? Like Adam and the Ants, or Florence and the Machine! Prior to book club this evening, Andrei was ahead in the early hours due to getting a fair bit of Russian Winters read yesterday, but I think the Martians overtook him again when I had a read of The War of the Worlds at lunchtime while I was at work! Thing is, the Martians would actually have had a hard job catching Andrei if it was the younger version of him – back in his footballing days he was bloody fast! He was at United from 1991 to 1995 and tied opposition defenders in knots! After we beat Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup semi-final replay at Maine Road in April 1994, the Oldham back four must have had knotted blood!

It was just Stephanie and I at book club again. Some of us have to keep it going! We both enjoyed The Red House Mystery, by A. A. Milne and I had brought a pile of books to the table for whoever else turned up to have a look at. As it turned out, it was just Steph. I’d arrived early and wandered round Waterstone’s looking for anything which took my fancy and which might interest any others. Steph saw Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, and said she fancied reading that. I did too, I already had the hardback edition at home – got it half price in the January sales at W H Smith’s last month, lol, so we decided on that one and set the next date for 7th March, which is 4 weeks’ time.

book purchases 7th Feb 2018

As I said, I already had our new book club book, but the books either side of it were bought tonight at Waterstone’s and I also picked up a free bookmark with Moomins on it! Yay! Perhaps something else I should re-read, having re-read Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood a few weeks ago, maybe Finn Family Moomintroll, by Tove Jansson, should be read again, lol! Another book I got when I was in the juniors at primary school, although possibly a bit older than when I read the Mrs Pepperpot book. The Moomins were being shown on Children’s ITV after school at the time, back in the 80s when I was a kid, and I loved it, so when Finn Family Moomintroll ended up as a choice in the book club brochure, I was able to read the stories the animated series was based on. I actually have five Moomin books, so four others besides the one I’ve just mentioned. I got them all when I was a kid, so I’ve had them since I was about 10 or so!

Anyway, getting back to the books I bought tonight, having been distracted by the Moomins, lol, I have had my eye on the Becky Chambers book for a while. I already have The Long Way To a Small Angry Planet, and I am under the impression that A Closed and Common Orbit is the sequel, although it could be a stand-alone. The other purchase tonight was The Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula K. Le Guin. I’ve used a lathe, a couple of years ago now, when I was doing wood turning at Start in Salford. Here we go, I’ll find photos for you…

lathe and wood 2016

This is a lathe, for those who don’t know – That round-looking chunk of wood would become a bowl eventually…

Woodwork and wood-turning 2016

That bowl in dark brown wood was what was on the lathe in the previous photo! The barrel tub, trees and the snowman were also made on the lathe.

So, you get science fiction books and woodwork photos, lol! I did warn you that you might see some seriously weird and random stuff on this blog! Mind you, over 70 of you are following the blog these days, so there must be a market for waffly random blogs after all!

As for crafting, I might not have done anything with wood since early 2016, but I am still making cross-stitched bookmarks on occasions, and there are a couple on the go at the moment, including the Penguin one, which just needs finishing touches, really – a bit of backstitching and perhaps a tassle of some sort. I hope to have at least that one finished soon and then I will have a bookmark to show you for the first time in a while. I think the last one was possibly the Manchester bees bookmark, although I also stitched the League Cup Winning Years one, and a few other patterned ones with 2017 on them. There will be a patterned one with 2018 on it fairly soon. Bookmarks thus bring us neatly back to books again.

Prior to book club, I had been trying to get three books read as much as I could. As you may recall, I had finished The Red House Mystery with just over a week to spare before book club, so I was focusing on Russian Winters, by Andrei Kanchelskis, The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells, and Hawksmoor, by Peter Ackroyd. The latter of those, Hawksmoor, has reached the 39% stage, so we are over a third of the way through it, but as I had suspected, the main battle has been between the other two books, and both of those are over halfway now, with Russian Winters at 53% and The War of the Worlds just ahead on 56% – I am pretty chuffed with that. Two books over the halfway mark. Hawksmoor might take a bit of a back seat now, as I start on Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, my new book club book, but I am still aiming to get Andrei and the Martians finished off this month! I think that is doable!

If you cast your minds back to last month’s blogs and the mention of books for Holocaust remembrance day in late January, I mentioned a book called The Librarian of Auschwitz, by Antonio Iturbe. I made some enquiries about this at Waterstone’s, but it was unavailable. However, I did manage to get it on my Kindle, so I do have it as an ebook, and therefore it is a possibility for a match day book on my way home from Old Trafford! I also looked on my Kindle for another book which I had tried to find last year, but couldn’t manage to find, that being The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler, but for some odd reason, the only ebook version I could find was in German! Well, OK, I can read SOME German, but I am not about to go downloading an ebook in the language! I want the book in English, at least first of all!

Sometimes, you just have to go online, as I did when I bought Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, by Jordan Sonnenblick! I prefer browsing in actual bookshops, but there are times when, like Bono, you still haven’t found what you’re looking for! I was also looking for Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan, a week or so ago, as I had seen it on List Challenges lists and on book-related items on Facebook, and couldn’t find that one while browsing, so I may have to look online for that. Drives me nuts when a book is only available somewhere else! Or when you prefer another country’s cover to that of your own country’s edition of a certain book, but don’t start me on that – it was a big complaint of mine the other year, lol!

That actually takes the list of different books mentioned this year up to 100 already! We’re only in early February, and we are in three figures! On that note, I think we’d better call it a day and get this published, so I can have a read, lol! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Russian Winters – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • The Red House Mystery – A. A. Milne
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood – Alf Prøysen
  • Finn Family Moomintroll – Tove Jansson
  • The Long Way To a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers
  • A Closed and Common Orbit – Becky Chambers
  • The Lathe of Heaven – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • The Librarian of Auschwitz – Antonio Iturbe
  • The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things – Carolyn Mackler
  • Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie – Jordan Sonnenblick
  • Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan

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Your Book Club Needs YOU!

Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Book and a G&T – and I needed that after book club!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

My nephew, Reuben, is one year old today (8th October)! Hence we’ve been busy with birthday celebrations this weekend, but it’s now time for me to come over to Computer Corner and tap away at my laptop for a bit to bring you yet another dose of waffly blog which might just mention a book or two, lol! Actually, it WILL mention books, and some rather worrying developments. Basically, the Waterstone’s Deansgate book club is in a critical condition!

When I say that “we” met up on Thursday evening, I mean just me and Anne again! It is bloody ridiculous! I ended up going to speak to Alice, the current store manager, to ask for more publicity for the book club! We need it! You can’t have a book club with only 2 members, you need around half a dozen or so to make it a good club. That way you get some decent debate and discussion, a better mix of opinions, and more ideas for recommendations when it comes to deciding the next book!

So, like the Lord Kitchener posters in World War I, I am putting out this appeal if you’re a bookworm in the Greater Manchester area…

YOUR BOOK CLUB NEEDS YOU!

If you are able to make it to Waterstone’s Deansgate on Thursday 9th November 2017 at 6pm, get yourself a copy of Do Not Say We Have Nothing, by Madeleine Thien, published by Granta, RRP £8.99 (although it’s a former shortlisted book for the Booker Prize, so you may find a much cheaper copy in a charity shop if money’s too tight to mention like Simply Red once sang), get reading as much as you can of it, and get your bookworm backside to the coffee shop on the top floor of Waterstone’s on 9th November and join in the fun! Please! Pretty please with a cherry on top! WE NEED BOOKWORMS URGENTLY!!!

I’m not saying the book club is dead, it’s not yet an ex-book club, but let’s just say it’s in intensive care and desperate for a fresh injection of book lovers to bring it back to good health and keep it going into 2018. I have emailed those who have been in the past, let them know the club is still going, what we are reading next and for when, so I hope some of them will be persuaded to return, but I am also trying to get some new bookworms, including some of my council colleagues! We have an in-house social media thing called “Yammer” so I have mentioned the book club on there to try and get some new members.

Alice did say she’d try to get some publicity on Facebook and Instagram, but I might also try to raise awareness. Certainly with a bookstagram post on Instagram… get some new bookworms that way…

Anyway, I had finished Blitzed in time for book club, and the other day, I finished This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay and I was sad to finish it because I bloody loved it! I won’t spoil it for you, but I will advise that there are some parts you really shouldn’t read in public unless you want some funny looks when you’re laughing your arse off! Adam is coming to Waterstone’s Deansgate on 27th October to talk about his book, so I got myself a ticket for that event, and I shall bring my copy with me for him to sign. This also gives you lucky blog followers another book event to read about later this month, lol! Don’t say I never give you ‘owt!

Current reads October 2017

Well, we’ve dealt with the book club book, and you know about my e-book – that one’s for match days and our next home games are not until the end of this month, so there won’t be further progress on Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows until the Spurs match, and then the Champions League home game vs Benfica on Halloween.

On the grounds that I am exactly halfway through it, the Bill Bryson tour of Europe that is Neither Here Nor There makes my photo arrangement. While I’d scrapped the Ongoing Concerns list, essentially, it seemed unfair to Bryson to forget about that one given the significant progress made with it. Also, On Writing by Stephen King will be continued. Manchester England makes the list on the grounds that I am 17% of the way through it and I DID say I was going to resume it this year due to what happened here in May at the Arena. I will be using my “And the bees still buzz” bookmark in that one, as I said in previous blogs this summer.

So, that leaves Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, which I have had for some time now and I must have bought in the first place due to the promising blurb on the back of it which mentioned that there are a lot of 80s references in it, so I thought I should give it a go. The author himself is only a year older than I am, a 1972 baby as opposed to 1973, and thus the creator of the OASIS virtual reality world which is the basis of this novel is also a 1972 baby. It definitely feels like a book for my era based on the start I have made on it. I’m more a pop music nerd than computer game geek, but I do remember some video games and stuff like that from when I was a kid – when Atari systems first came out, with games like Asteroids and Space Invaders!

By the way, when it comes to the end of this year, and I’m publishing the List Challenges list of all the books I have mentioned on these blogs during the course of 2017, it will be a pretty long list, lol! Do Not Say We Have Nothing was the 500th different book I have mentioned! If you’re like me, you prefer the longer lists on List Challenges and feel a bit short-changed if a list only has a few books on it! There will be at least 13 pages for Joanne’s Bookshelf Blogs – Books Mentioned 2017, so something to look forward to in a few months’ time!

Jane Austen tenner 2017

Just before I call it a night, I thought you might want to see one of the new £10 notes which came into circulation here last month. I know many of my followers are not on the same side of the Atlantic as myself, so you probably won’t be in possession of our new tenners with Jane Austen on them, thus I thought you might want to see one! The quote on the banknote reads “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” – I couldn’t have put it better myself, Jane!

With that in mind, I’ll get this published, and you can enjoy this helping of literary waffle! Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien
  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows – Balli Singh Jaswal
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • Manchester England – Dave Haslam
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

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September Review, Four – Nil Again!

Books bought 1st October 2017

OK, just bought these today 1st October, but I will review last month as well, lol!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Time for the monthly review, and September has been very busy as I started my new job on the 4th, and I’ve been adjusting not just to being back in work, but also to the fact that it’s full-time. A lot of learning, a lot of information to take in, so this could well be why my OC List has gone completely to shit! Well, that might have something to do with it, anyway, as well as the fact that books on the list just weren’t being read. It’s one thing to have a selection of books on that list, and quite a good variety too, but I never seemed to be in the mood for any of them, so the OC thing has effectively stopped for now, certainly in the form that it had taken.

I have realised there is NO point fussing about having a balance if it’s totally fake and you’re just not in the mood for certain kinds of books! I came to realise that if I simply wanted to read all non-fiction, or all fiction, or all young adult, then I should just do that and sod balancing things out. I don’t owe it to anyone to maintain balance! It’s about what I feel like reading. I’m not doing it for anyone else, this blog of mine is personal, it’s not a situation like Nick Hornby‘s where he was blogging for a book reviewing publication, the results of which you can read in The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, and I would recommend it!

Anyway, before we bring you up to date with the first of October’s book-related activity, let’s get September sorted on the review front. Two books were finished this month, those being The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, which had been a book club book, and If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, which I read for an online book club of sorts on Facebook. The sequel, Where She Went, is still to hand, and perhaps I should read it while the first book is still relatively fresh in my mind.

Book club is this coming Thursday, 5th October. Thankfully, the politicians will have buggered off back to London after their conference, so it shouldn’t be a problem. I don’t even want ANY party coming to Manchester, even if it had been a left-wing one, because it’s a bloody nuisance and inconvenience to us, but I really didn’t want who we’ve got! ALL parties should have their conferences in London, as I’ve probably said in blogs before now, because it’s the only damn place most politicians give a shit about! They’re about as welcome around here as a fart in a wetsuit, as Sir Billy Connolly would put it!

The book club book is Blitzed, by Norman Ohler, and I am at 60% read on that one. This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay, his diaries from his days as a doctor, is at 40% read, and On Writing, by Stephen King, at 23% so clearly I am in a non-fiction mood of late. It’s not unusual, to quote the Sir Tom Jones song! My current e-book read on my Kindle, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, by Balli Kaur Jaswal, is now at 20% having read some more of it yesterday evening while in the car park at Old Trafford, and in traffic in Trafford Park, following our 4-0 win over Crystal Palace. Yes, yet another 4-0! If last season was the 1-1 draw season, which it certainly seemed to be in the league at home, then we’ve started this campaign with quite a few nice 4-0 wins!

On this occasion, a quick opening goal from Juan Mata, two goals from Marouane Fellaini, and one from Romelu Lukaku near the end gave us the win. Poor Palace can’t defend and they still can’t score! They are yet to score a goal in the Premier League this season! You won’t be terribly surprised to learn that they have lost all 7 of their fixtures thus far and are at the bottom of the league, completely pointless.

On Friday, after work, I headed into town to enjoy the Manchester Food and Drink Festival. I had a drink and a read of This is Going to Hurt while I was in a coffee shop, as I recharged my phone! Then I went over to sample the grub, having some pasta with pesto sauce, some churros and chocolate, and then a rhubarb gin and ginger ale, all of which I can recommend! I will visit again, at least on Thursday, as I can eat at the festival after book club! Epic Win!

Maybe some more people will join us on Thursday? There were three of us last time.

Also coming up shortly, next Sunday in fact, is my nephew’s 1st birthday! Reuben, the Chunky Monkey, will be a year old! Doesn’t time fly?! Charlotte is 7 and now in the juniors at primary school, and Reuben is almost one! I shall report back on the birthday after the event, but that’s coming up on 8th October.

Charlotte is definitely taking after her auntie, and on the music front as well as the books! She started learning the violin in the previous school year, and now she’s in the juniors, she’s joined the school choir!

Right, onto the books I acquired earlier… The footy one is one which is published every year, and is full of stats for the previous season. I haven’t always bought it every year, but given that my lads did win both the EFL Cup and the Europa League last season, I definitely thought it was worth getting on this occasion! It’s probably not going on List Challenges, but the other two are, as they’re fiction, and they caught my eye, even if it does seem a bit daft having a title which seems like a spoiler, lol! John Dies at the End, by David Wong, is the book in question, although I’ve also heard of a book, published a few years ago now, called Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray, and you’d think the author wouldn’t really want to give the game away like that, wouldn’t you?! The thing which always gets me with that one is that the Skippy in question is a human – even though the TV show was a little before my time, I am so used to thinking that Skippy was a kangaroo, lol!

I have to admit that if an author goes and calls his novel Doughnut and puts a photo of said item of bakery on the front cover, that is VERY likely to attract my attention! You know by now what a foodie I am, and that I’ve always had a sweet tooth, and I am VERY fond of doughnuts, so it was rather inevitable that this book by Tom Holt caught my eye. It is NOT the only book I own with doughnuts on the cover, either, as I also have This Book Will Save Your Life, by A. M. Homes on my notorious TBR pile! I picked that one up some time ago from a charity shop, probably in Salford, and it’s a wonder I hadn’t already mentioned it in a blog, but seemingly I haven’t as it wasn’t previously on my List Challenges list – if it had been, I’d have got a message saying “item already exists” but I didn’t get that error message!

So, a couple of doughnut books! Just right for reading if you’re enjoying the said items at Krispy Kreme, lol. Perhaps, also, at Timmie’s, if the Manchester branch or branches of Tim Horton’s have opened up yet? I enjoyed coffee, doughnuts and Timbits when I was in Canada in 2009, so I was delighted at the news earlier this year that they were opening up in the UK. I shall have to look up as to where Timmie’s is in town.

Mmmmmm…. Doughnuts!

Anyway, never mind my Homer Simpson moment, lol, back to the matter in hand. The badge you can see in the photo was from Waterstone’s and says “I believe in tea & books”, thus just right for me! Sometimes tea, books and music as well, although it depends what I’m reading. If I feel the need to concentrate on the book, I am better off without the music and have to pause it, but on other occasions I can happily have some tunes on while I read, or have a music channel on, such as Vintage TV.

Anyway, I think that’s we’re we’ve got to for now. The book situation is up to date, and into October we go! I may yet return to stuff which used to be on the Ongoing Concerns of old, but for now I’m reading what I’m reading and it’s mostly factual! Some of it is pretty funny, especially the Adam Kay book! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

And, yes, before you ask, I probably will feel the need for a doughnut in the next day or so! I blame Tom Holt and A. M. Homes, lol!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Complete Polysyllabic Spree – Nick Hornby
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • Where She Went – Gayle Forman
  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
  • John Dies at the End – David Wong
  • Skippy Dies – Paul Murray
  • Doughnut – Tom Holt
  • This Book Will Save Your Life – A. M. Homes

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Bad Medicine

this is going to hurt book

Warning: Reading this book may cause your sides to split.

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Open wide and say aah, lol! Bit of a medical theme tonight, really, on the book front. Hence the Bon Jovi song as blog title, although I could just as easily have opted for Doctor Doctor, a hit for the Thompson Twins back in the 80s. But, Bad Medicine it is! So, I’m prescribing this mad, waffly blog for you!

I doubt there’ll be any new books mentioned I’ve not already mentioned this year, though.

Not only am I still reading about the Nazi druggies in Blitzed, just over half way read now, book club a week away, but I am loving the book in the above photo This is Going to Hurt. Adam Kay is a former doctor, and these are incidents from his time in the medical profession before he became a comedian, and if you read it, you can see why he became a comedian! You may end up as a patient whose rectum has become detached from the rest of your body. In less than medical terms, you might laugh your arse off!

A look through my List Challenges list of all the books I’ve mentioned thus far this year throws up quite a few dealing with matters of life, death, health, illness and disability, some fiction, some non fiction, so instead of the one usual list at the end, there will be two for this one. One factual, one fictional, with lists of books and their medically-related themes. Some might just be vaguely on the subject, others might focus very much on the matters of life and death and all which comes in between. One or two books will be mentioned in the coming paragraphs, then there will be the two lists at the end of this blog.

APOLOGIES IN ADVANCE, BUT THERE’S PROBABLY GOING TO BE A FAIR FEW SPOILERS COMING UP HERE FOR SEVERAL BOOKS! SCROLL DOWN QUICKLY IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW!

Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig. Author of The Radleys and The Humans, amongst other books, but this is his own personal tale of battling against severe mental health issues and the suicidal thoughts he was having at one point.

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak. Set in Nazi Germany just before and during World War II, so Death, the narrator, is exceptionally busy! One of my favourite books, I gave out copies for World Book Night in 2012.

Blitzed – Norman Ohler. My current book club book. Drug addiction on a grand scale, especially drug addiction dressed up as being respectable and in the national interest during the war effort!

The Novel Cure – Ella Berthoud. This book deals with Bibliotherapy, the concept of prescribing certain novels to help patients with a range of illnesses and other issues. This is the book which said Shantaram was a cure for constipation! I don’t know if it’s true or not, lol, as I’ve yet to attempt that epic novel, although I do own a copy and it’s hanging out right here by Computer Corner!

When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi. My favourite non-fiction book from last year! Paul was a surgeon who, himself, got cancer. He was helping other patients with cancer while having to deal with the fact he also had the disease.

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara. My epic novel from last year, the one which caused a major Book Hangover, lol! 720 pages long, but well worth it. It’s a big pull emotionally, though, and issues of illness, disability, abuse and death run through it, hence it has to be mentioned on the Bad Medicine book blog!

A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard. Young adult novel, in which one of the main protagonists suffers from selective mutism, and the other main protagonist is deaf. British Sign Language plays a big part in this novel.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews. More YA fiction, this time with a couple of nerdy amateur film makers and a classmate with cancer…

The Fault In Our Stars – John Green. I know, this one’s pretty obvious to those who are well-up on their YA. Two teens meet and fall in love at a cancer support group, get to go over to Amsterdam due to a charity which grants terminally-ill youngsters a wish.

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen. At the other end of the age scale, life in an old people’s care home in Amsterdam. Elderly care, dementia and death are the issues raised here. Fiction, I think, although probably based on a real Dutch OAP in an old folk’s home…

The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner. A recent read, obviously, but with all his advice on food and on diets, I think it should be included in our medically-themed blog!

One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton. YA novel, in which the main characters are sisters suffering bereavement after their dad had died suddenly, so this novel looks at themes of grief and coping with loss, especially when faced with a lot of reminders of the person you’ve lost.

Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom. Mitch returns to one of his former favourite teachers, finds him in seriously ill-health but still able to impart valuable lessons. Again, terminal illness, deterioration and death are prominent.

If I Stay – Gayle Forman. YA novel in which a promising cellist suffers multiple serious injuries and multiple loss. I really should stop giving out spoilers, though. As there’s a sequel, though, you already know she lives, albeit a very different kind of life from the one she’d had before the family car was ploughed into.

Pear Shaped – Adam Blain. Not sure if this is available in hard copy, but I read it a while ago on my Kindle and finished it earlier this year. The true tale of Adam’s brain cancer.

The Ten (Food) Commandments – Jay Rayner. One of them is about not mistaking food for pharmaceuticals, so it touches on some similar ground to Anthony Warner’s book. Indeed, there’s praise from Jay Rayner on the cover of Warner’s book.

Mind Your Head – Juno Dawson. Non-fiction young adult guide to mental health issues and where to get support.

I think that’s enough to be getting on with. They’ll be listed soon enough, along with a few others, plus the odd one or two non-medical mentions right at the end. Anyway, talking of medical, and of mental health, I really do think the men in white coats should hurry along to the White House! As if we didn’t already know that the Mango Mussolini was several sandwiches short of a full picnic basket, he really has gone and done it this time with perhaps the barmiest and most pointless decision ever…

You remember that travel ban of his? Where people from certain countries couldn’t go to the US of A? Well, look which country the dozy Dotard has added now…

North Korea.

Yep. North Koreans cannot visit the United States of America.

Hello! Earth calling Donald! Got some news for you, sunshine, and it sure as hell ain’t fake! Get this little fact into your stupid orange head, dipshit…

NORTH KOREANS AREN’T EVEN ALLOWED OUT OF NORTH KOREA!!!

I think this therefore constitutes The Most Pointless Ban Ever! It has to! In the long history of things being banned in various countries at various times for various dubious reasons, this has got to be the most ridiculous ban ever! Fancy banning people from something they already couldn’t do anyway?! I was trying to think of a more pointless ban, but I don’t think I am able to! The nearest I could get would be to ban someone from doing something they wouldn’t want to do anyway, for instance banning die-hard Stretford Enders, like myself, from ever swapping clubs and supporting Liverpool! That would be a pointless ban ’cause die-hard United fans wouldn’t dream of supporting that lot!

But if citizens can’t even leave their own country, no other country needs to worry about admitting them, therefore Donald’s ban is even more pointless than a pointless answer on the TV quiz show Pointless!

I would have said that Dodgy Donald had lost the plot, but that would imply that the Tango-tinted Twat had a plot to lose in the bloody first place! For the good of the whole planet, PLEASE get Donald under psychiatric care PDQ!!!

Well, that’s about enough about President Fart’s mental health, so I think we should get this finished off and those lists made! Until next time, which will probably be the September Review, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Some non-fiction books on a medical/health theme…

  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler (drug addiction)
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay (life as a doctor)
  • Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig (mental health)
  • The Novel Cure – Ella Berthoud (bibliotherapy)
  • When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi (surgery, cancer)
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner (diets, food fads, health scares)
  • Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom (terminal illness, death)
  • Pear Shaped – Adam Blain (brain cancer)
  • The Ten (Food) Commandments – Jay Rayner (food is not medicine)
  • Mind Your Head – Juno Dawson (mental health, esp for teens)
  • This Is Your Brain On Music – Daniel Levitin (music and health, psychology)
  • Fragile Lives – Stephen Westaby (heart surgery)

Some fiction books with medical/health themes in them…

  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak (death)
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara (disability, mental health, drugs, abuse, death)
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard (mutism, deafness)
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews (cancer)
  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green (cancer, cancer support)
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen (old age, mobility, dementia, death)
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton (bereavement, grief)
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman (serious injury, loss, disability)
  • Me Before You – Jojo Moyes (severe disability, mental health)
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje (injury, deformity, disability)
  • Wonder – R. J. Palacio (facial disfigurement)
  • All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr (blindness)
  • Veronika Decides to Die – Paulo Coelho (mental health)

And a few which were mentioned even though they’re not on a medical theme…

  • The Radleys – Matt Haig
  • The Humans – Matt Haig
  • Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts

 

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Necessary Adjustments

can't buy happiness can buy books

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to another helping of utter waffle! You can’t say you’re not used to it by now, lol! We’re almost at the end of September, I’m on for week 4 of my new job, and I am enjoying it very much, even if it does take a lot out of me at times. There have been times when I have come home and needed naps! I think it’s the amount of information I’m taking on board at times. Office jobs might not be physically demanding, but they can be taxing on the ol’ grey matter! Eventually, although there’ll still be things to learn, it will probably plateau out on that front and my brain cells might not feel quite so overloaded by the time I log out and shut down my computer!

For now, though, while I’m still very new, there will be necessary adjustments, and that affects the book-reading and the blogging. This blog might not be all that long, and it might be started one day and continued another. It probably won’t be the only blog where this happens, either.

I’m up to 45% of Blitzed, by Norman Ohler. Need to get on with it, book club is next Thursday, 5th October. As with certain other non-fiction books, I am enjoying it, but I feel the information can’t be rushed. I was going to say that the Nazis were a right bunch of Ben Johnsons, and make the comparison with the cheating sprinter from the 1988 Olympics, but Ben Johnson actually won on drugs before he was found out. I need another example of people cheating and still not managing to win, so I can compare the Third Reich’s pill-poppers with other cheating losers!

They took drugs, and the RAF still sorted them out! Ha! Serves them right!

As I was saying earlier, when I was telling my mum about this book, the Pervitin, which the Germans were practically wolfing down like sweets, is essentially the exact same substance we know these days as crystal meth! Sure, it kept them awake for ages at a time, but one of the other side effects of such substances is to give the user extreme confidence to the point where it becomes arrogance, and that, therefore, probably brought about their downfall. Early successes in France at the start of WWII just added to this cockiness. Some officers were expressing concerns, but those who did were often outnumbered, and just laughed-off by others who could only see the perks of Pervitin.

Anyway, enough about High Hitler and his narcotic-addled officers, there are other books to be mentioned. We are nearing the end of the month, meaning the September Review will probably be occurring this coming weekend. Probably Sunday, as United are at home to Crystal Palace on the Saturday afternoon. In all likeliness, with a full house expected, we will be back to the traffic problems in Trafford Park, and I will get some reading done on my Kindle on the way home from the match. Time to continue with Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows on my way home from Old Trafford. I had read 11% of that one last time I checked.

One of the recent acquisitions, which was bought at Waterstone’s after my last book club meeting, has been started, and I must say how much I am enjoying On Writing, by Stephen King! 23% of that has been read of that so far, so almost a quarter of the book already! It’s actually pretty funny in parts, particularly when he recalls some amusing incidents from his childhood! King might be most famous for writing horror novels, but he also has the capacity to be amusing! He’s also pretty nifty at trolling the Tango-Tinted Tosser on Twitter! Well he was until Fart sulked, stamped his little foot, and blocked the author! Donald’s maturity level wouldn’t even earn him a Happy Meal.

King wasn’t the only one turning 70 recently, though. In fact, my dad beat him to it by a few days, as his birthday was the previous weekend, turning 70 on 17th September. United won 4-0 against Everton to mark the occasion, and I gave him the biography of John Le Carré, by Adam Sisman. You may recall I’d found it and bought it a few months ago. Dad’s always enjoyed spy thrillers, particularly by John Le Carré and also by Len Deighton. Back to the Everton match for a moment… Antonio Valencia’s opening goal after 4 minutes… pure class! A volley Paul Scholes would’ve been proud to score!

I just had to post that. Goals that good deserve repeat viewings!

Anyway, I have read two full books this month. The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, and If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, so despite the new job and the naps, some reading has been done, lol! I might start Where She Went soon, while the first book is still fairly fresh in my mind. But I think I must be on a non-fiction fix at the moment, what with the Norman Ohler book about the Nazi druggies, and Stephen King’s book about writing books!

I think that’s about it for now. Apologies that this is quite a short one, but I think I’ve mentioned all the books I’ve focused on lately! Bit of non-book news to round off the blog… The Manchester Food & Drink Festival starts this coming Thursday! Yay! Might have to pay one or two visits to town after work… Still waiting for the dental appointments for the x-ray and extraction, though. I hope the letter comes soon, at least for the damn x-ray! So that’s my news for now. Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • John Le Carré: The Biography – Adam Sisman
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • Where She Went – Gayle Forman

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Gone for a Burton!

Life without books

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Back again for another blog! I know they’re not as frequent as previously, but having been back in work since the start of this month, that is to be expected. I will have been working for 3 weeks by the time I shut down my computer and log off from my phone tomorrow at 4:30pm UK time! I do try to get some reading in at lunchtime, although that is not always possible, so it has to be out of hours, mostly. However, I am a third of the way through Blitzed, by Norman Ohler, which is our book club book, and I have two weeks to go until our next book club, so I hope to get more of it read in the remaining fortnight.

Didn’t get my Kindle read last night, though. My reading plans had gone for a Burton, just like Burton Albion themselves, although our visitors had improved since their one and only previous visit to Old Trafford, which was in the FA Cup way back in 2006! Back then, a 0-0 draw in that cup earned them a replay up here, which was a huge windfall for them – they were able to pay for their new stadium at the time thanks to forcing that replay. We stuffed them 5-0 in the replay in 2006, and they were a non-league side then, in what used to be known as the Conference. They are actually a Championship side now, just a division below United, and we still stuffed them last night, but 4-1 was an improvement for the Brewers, lol!

The reason I didn’t get any post-match reading done on my Kindle is that Mum and I were out of the United car park fairly quickly. I should have expected it really, given that it’s the League Cup, and people opt out of it. The attendance was around 50,000, which is down on our usual 75,000 full houses, so with fewer people there, it doesn’t take as long for us to get home. I expect I will need my Kindle again at the end of this month, though, when we play Crystal Palace at home in the Premier League. One of the ebooks I have started lately is Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, by Balli Kaur Jaswal – it sounded amusing enough. I have read 11% of it so far, so it could class as an OC, although ebooks are being kept as a separate matter, they’re a football thing, lol!

While we’re still sort-of on footy, I’d just like to slap whichever killjoy arseholes are getting their knickers in a knot about the song some of our fans have come up with for our latest star centre forward, Romelu Lukaku. Since WHEN has it ever been offensive to imply that someone has a LARGE willy?! Give your heads a wobble! Fair enough, suggesting that someone is NOT well-endowed in the trouser department might be quite insulting, but a large cock is something your average bloke is quite proud of, from my understanding of the male of the species! Indeed, blokes themselves often exaggerate the size of their own, ahem, upstanding members, so singing that a footballer has a 24 inch willy is simply a bit of a laugh! NO-ONE has a two-foot cock, for crying out loud! Plus, you also have to remember that the average terrace song is invented by drunken blokes down the pub, usually on their way to an away match!

For the record, the ONLY song I know of in our fans’ repertoire which actually mentions someone’s colour is the song we had for Wayne Rooney, where we called him the White Pele! We do NOT discriminate! We have fans all around the bloody world, FFS! All colours, all faiths, all nationalities, so being a Red is NOT for narrow-minded, bigoted knobheads! I think that as long as Romelu himself doesn’t mind, and I’ve not heard any word to say he does, then there is no problem. If he did have a problem, and said so, we would stop, but I imagine there is more chance of snowballs being found in Hell…

Right, OK, back to the books. Trying to overhaul the OC list is not that easy. I did finish If I Stay for that book group on Facebook, but am not sure what to do next. They have chosen The Fault In Our Stars for this month, and I have already read that a year or two ago now. Forthcoming books are Emma, by Jane Austen, and Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, and so I might try to get a head start on one or both of those. Like a lot of classics, there are free editions of Emma available for e-readers, as a lot of classic books were written so long ago that they are out of copyright. So, I downloaded that one on my Kindle for free, and I already own a copy of Ready Player One. I like the sound of that one, there’s supposed to be a lot of 80s references in it.

Besides the e-book about Punjabi widows, the other book for match-day e-book consideration is Gold, by Chris Cleave. I’ve had that on my Kindle for a while, actually, and recently picked up the paperback in a charity shop. This is the author of The Other Hand (known as Little Bee in some countries), which I read and enjoyed some years ago now.

I may just have to knock the OCs on the head for now, and see how much I can get through. We may or may not resume this format at some point, but with work, and with book clubs, actual and virtual, the Ongoing Concerns are not really ongoing at present, lol! Apologies to all the books on the list but right now I’m probably going to have to cut things right down, maybe to just 2 or 3 books at a time. Some of the OCs weren’t getting read anyway, so my list wasn’t truly effective. I need an ebook for home matches, whichever book I’m reading for the Waterstone’s Deansgate book club, as long as I’m enjoying that book enough, plus maybe 2 or 3 others. And that might have to be it. Perhaps one of those books could be one which is part of a series, whether that’s resuming the Shardlake series by getting on with Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom, or reading one of several YA series I own…

The books on the list before I had an overhaul could have priority for when I want to start or resume a book, I guess, but I’m going to have to cut things right down and not take on too many books. I can read a few at a time, have been able to since my uni days, but I can’t really have a massive list of ongoing books, or most of them won’t actually be ongoing!

Well, perhaps I should get down to a spot of literary action. Those books aren’t going to read themselves, are they?! Well, not unless they’re wizarding books which have had a self-reading charm cast upon them, but I’m a muggle, not a Hogwarts student, so I haven’t got any of those kind of books, sadly! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

P.S. Happy Birthday to Stephen King! Perhaps I should start one of his books? Maybe On Writing would be the place to start? I do have a couple of his (non-horror) novels on my TBR list, too.

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
  • Emma – Jane Austen
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • Gold – Chris Cleave
  • The Other Hand (aka Little Bee) – Chris Cleave
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • On Writing – Stephen King

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