Category Archives: Fantasy Fiction

Good Morning, Judge!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, I’d probably better give some thought as to what to put in my bag for tomorrow. Perhaps I should take some which need getting on with… The Tobacconist, as it’s my current book club book, probably should be one of them, but we’ll see… I’m off to sort my books out, so if you wish to know which books I end up adding to the OC List, you’ll have to keep your eye out for email notification of my next blog, lol! Until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
  • The Gun – C. S. Forester
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  • Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  • A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler

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

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

Final Reckoning…

5-book-shortlist-feb-2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Been to see my dad earlier, physios are getting him walking already, they took him for a walk around the ward while we were there. I’ve lent him Round Ireland With a Fridge, although I have advised him that maybe he should leave it for a while – it is very funny, but he is very sore after his bypass, especially his ribs, so it might hurt too much if he’s laughing his head off at Tony Hawks hitch -hiking his way around Ireland, domestic appliance in tow! Plus, he has the absolutely massive Max Hastings book to be getting on with, which my sister’s partner has lent him – The Secret War. As I said the other day, seems history books are seriously chunky whether fact or fiction!

Anyway, on to the matter in hand, and that is the list of books I gave you yesterday, a selection of 15 books, pretty broad spread of reading matter across those books, and enlisted your help here on my blog, and on Facebook, so I would like to thank the following people who have made comments, either on here, on the Waterstone’s group, or on my timeline… Liz Craig, Sharon Ledger, Samantha Lidster, Darren Perks, Cornelia Jolitz, Lynda Cosgrove, Ellie Dixon-Jackson, Karen E MacKenzie, Liz Murphy, and Steve Hoar.

Between all those helpers, five different books from my list of 15 were named at least once, which means I was able to whittle things down to a shortlist of five books, those being…

  • The Pie At Night – Stuart Maconie
  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Land of the Midnight Sun – Alexander Armstrong
  • Fishbowl – Bradley Somer

I think that’s given me a pretty decent and mixed shortlist, and one where I’d work my way through all five books, but I have to start with one of them, there has to be a winner which comes in my handbag and travels to Wembley with me tomorrow.

The only vote on this blog was for The Lady and the Unicorn.

On my Facebook timeline, the two friends who expressed a preference opted for The Pie At Night.

So, on to my group, I’d Spend All Day In Waterstone’s If I Could Get Away With It… who said what on there? There was one mention for Fishbowl, courtesy of my sister, and two mentions each for Mort, The Pie At Night, The Lady and the Unicorn, and Land of the Midnight Sun. Overall, across social media, that means that Fishbowl received one vote, Mort and Land of the Midnight Sun received two votes each, The Lady and the Unicorn received three, but the overall winner, with four different nominees, was The Pie At Night, by Stuart Maconie. There you go – the pies have it, lol!

Oops! There was also a mention, on the Waterstone’s group, for Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn, but as that only received a single vote, I will get around to it later, as I will with Fishbowl.

So, Stuart Maconie’s exploration of what the north does for fun will become a Handbag Book, and will travel down to Wembley with me tomorrow for the League Cup Final. Tracy Chevalier’s novel will become an ongoing concern the next time I finish any of my current books, and then the others I’ve mentioned on here tonight will come in to the equation sooner or later, lol!

I’m off to do a bit of reading and a bit of sorting ahead of tomorrow, so, until next time I get in touch with another blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this book blog other than the shortlisted ones…

  • Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • The Secret War – Max Hastings
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – David Levithan & Rachel Cohn

 

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Filed under Books, European Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, Non-Fiction, The TBR Pile, Travel

Decisions, Decisions!

15-books-feb-2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

I need help! Yeah, alright, you knew that already, didn’t you?! lol! What I really meant was that I need some help from fellow bookworms to assist me in deciding what to read next! I have just finished the utterly brilliant Round Ireland With A Fridge, by Tony Hawks, and therefore there is space amongst the ongoing concerns to add a new book to my literary in tray, so to speak!

Therefore, I have spread out a selection of my books and photographed them, and I thought I would consult my fellow bookworms to see what they recommend. Therefore, I would appreciate some comments on this blog entry. Helpful ones, please! Book suggestions, that sort of thing. NO spam, please! This is not a Monty Python sketch!

Apologies that the top row of the books looks a bit blurred, must have nudged my iPad when I took the photo. Sorry! Anyway, I am about to list the books, so you know what they are… I think it’s a pretty broad and random mix of books, lol! Fiction and non-fiction, bit of YA, bit of fantasy fiction…

The books are as follows…

  • A Very Special Year – Thomas Montasser
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M Pirsig
  • Skyfaring – Mark Vanhoenecker
  • Fishbowl – Bradley Somer
  • The President’s Hat – Antoine Laurain
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – David Levithan & Rachel Cohn
  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • French Revolutions – Tim Moore
  • All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
  • The Pie At Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Land of the Midnight Sun – Alexander Armstrong
  • When God Was a Rabbit – Sarah Winman
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman

If you have enjoyed any of those and would recommend them, please mention it in the comments! I’ve already enlisted the help of my book group on Facebook, but every little helps, as Tesco would say, lol, and I have 35 lovely blog readers at the last count, so I wanted to include you in this!

Many thanks in advance for helping me out in this matter! Back to my usual long, waffly blogs again soon, I assure you, but for now I’m standing by for any comments! Take care and Happy Recommending!

Joanne x x x

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Filed under Books, Books About Books, European Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Handbag Books, Non-Fiction, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Back In Time For A Good Book!

1985-fa-cup-winners

Nine men and Norman, we won with nine men and Norman...

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Fancy a bit of time travel? I hope so, as I have an idea for a blog, inspired by something I saw on Facebook this morning, on one of the book groups I belong to. The idea is thus: If you could take 12 books and go back in time to meet your 12 year old self, which books would you give to him or her?

So, for me to go back to the 12 year old version of Joanne Dixon-Jackson, we need to set the co-ordinates on our literary time machine to go back 32 years…

Year: 1985, Date: From 23rd April onwards…

So, the summer of 1985 will do nicely. The 1985 version of Joanne is 12 years old and lives in a semi-detached house in Monton, with her parents and younger sister, Ellie, who’s 9. She’s coming to the end of her first year at high school (Year 7 as it is known these days), and only has to walk round the corner to go to school as the lower building is right nearby!

1985-number-one-singles

UK number one singles in 1985

“Frankie” by Sister Sledge is number one, which Ellie has bought on 7″ single. Live Aid has just taken place at Wembley Stadium and in Philadelphia. M****e T******r is Prime Minister here in the UK, Ronald Reagan is President of the USA. 12 year old Joanne is still a year away from her first perm, lol, has Dangermouse wallpaper in her bedroom, has had a telly in her room since her 11th birthday in 1984 and loves staying up late, watching it. She is especially fond of Spitting Image on ITV on Sunday nights.

Everton are league champions (these are still the days of League Division One, before the Premier League, which doesn’t start until 1992), and Manchester United are FA Cup Winners, beating Everton in the final, 1-0 in extra time thanks to Norman Whiteside. This was achieved despite the fact United were reduced to ten men in normal time when Kevin Moran became the first player to be sent off in an FA Cup Final. Barry McGuigan is world champion at his weight in boxing and will be the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 1985, and Dennis Taylor is World Snooker Champion, having beaten Steve Davis in an absolutely legendary final!

The 12 year old Joanne is very much a bookworm, and has been since before she even started school, so at the age of 12 she is pretty much reading teenager’s books and her favourites back then would be the first two Adrian Mole books by Sue Townsend, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4, and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole. So, when we go back to 1985, we might find Joanne watching Live Aid, or reading about Adrian being profoundly in love with Pandora, lol!

So, which 12 books does the current version of Joanne, aged 43 going on 44, take to her 12 year old self in her time machine as she heads back to 1985?

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling. I could, of course, take all the Harry Potter books, but that would take up seven of my twelve books, and I don’t even know if 12 year old Joanne is much into witches and wizards. Going back to my high school days, I remember our class reading Elidor, by Alan Garner, and at that time, I wasn’t really into it, so I think I am going to have to persuade my 12 year old self by emphasising the character of Hermione Granger and highlighting what a bookworm she is! That would probably convince my younger version to give it a go!

The Colour of Magic – Sir Terry Pratchett. OK, another book with wizards in it, but I’m going to stress how funny this series is to my 12 year old self. I’m going to tell the 1985 version of Joanne that she’ll like this series because she liked The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. (She will also like Red Dwarf on telly, although I don’t think that starts until 1988, so there’s another 3 years to go before she discovers the delights of that particular comedy!) Yes, there are definitely elements of humour in the Harry Potter series, but the Discworld series is full of comedy, and she’d love it!

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak. Right, 12 year old Joanne, you’re going to love this one! Definitely suitable for a 12 year old, and it’s a book featuring books. It’s set in Germany, just before and during the Second World War, and it is brilliant. It is quite sad, but there are some funny bits with reference to Jesse Owens, so that should appeal to your love of the Olympics! In years to come you will get to go to Berlin and visit the stadium where Jesse won his four golds and inspired Rudy in The Book Thief to do what he does…

Under The Frog – Tibor Fischer. You will love this and laugh your head off! It’s set in Hungary during the Cold War era. OK, for you, it’s still the Cold War era, of course, as it’s 1985, and the Berlin Wall is still very much up. But that’s going to come down in another 4 years! No, I shit you not, Joanne! The whole Iron Curtain thing has only got a few more years to run! The Berlin Wall will come down in 1989, East Germany and West Germany will become just Germany again in 1990, and will be “Western” like us, despite what Dad thought when you asked him years ago, and the USSR will cease to exist at the end of 1991! For real! I’m from your future, remember?! I know what happens, at least up to February 2017, which is where I’ve come from in time!

In years to come, you’ll be able to get to know lots of other people via computer. It will be called the internet, and there’ll be a site on it called Facebook. You’ll make lots of friends, and some of your friends will recommend books to you. One of your friends will recommend Under The Frog, plus a fair bit of other literature from, or at least set in, what you now know as Iron Curtain countries. A guy called David Hunt will recommend that one to you. It’s a way off now, I know. You’ll be in your 30s and working in an office in town by then!

Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson. This is from an American guy who’d been living here in the UK for years and, before he takes himself and his family back to the States, he goes off on a tour round this country, marvelling at what makes us tick. It’s VERY funny! As you’re in 1985, it’s not even going to be published for another ten years! Accurate at the time, but a year after the book is first published, the Arndale Centre will have to be rebuilt and will finally lose those awful yellow tiles! (Pity it will be because of a bomb going off in town in June 1996, but the silver lining will be the regeneration of Manchester afterwards and the redesign of the Arndale in particular.)

Odd Man Out – Brian McClair. A football autobiography, and one of the best, and funniest, ever written! You won’t know Choccy yet, but you will come to know and appreciate him when you start going to Old Trafford in 1991! Yep, I know… in another 6 years’ time, you’ll become a match-going Red and will end up as a Stretford Ender, singing your heart out for the lads at home games, and also cup finals…

My Story – Eric Cantona. Another football autobiography, this one purely because it’s Eric Cantona. Watch out for this guy! You won’t know him now, of course, any more than you’d know Brian McClair. Right now, you only really know Bryan Robson and Norman Whiteside, lol, but this French bloke is going to play for United from 1992 to 1997, and he will become your all-time favourite player, and you will still love him to bits years after he’s retired!

The Good Soldier Svejk – Jaroslav Hasek. Another of those Iron Curtain Country reads, although this was set long before then, during the First World War in fact, but it is VERY funny, goes off at a tangent at times, and has some great illustrations! Another book which was recommended to me on Facebook by David Hunt, and you will love it! It isn’t actually finished, really – Hasek died without bringing it to an obvious conclusion. He was a bit of a pisshead, actually. Yeah, rather like certain people I could mention! This one’s set in Czechoslovakia as you’d know it. That country splits up in 1993, quite peacefully, into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but there’s another 8 years to go yet before you see that happen on the news!

Penguins Stopped Play – Harry Thompson. Yeah, I know, you’re going to wonder why the hell I’m bringing you a book about cricket! Going to be years before you finally get your head around one of our national sports! But it’s not really about the cricket, it’s about the travelling and the mishaps which befall the team, that’s what makes this book so hilarious! Travel is funny. Very funny. You will see some seriously daft shit on your travels, such as a wall with eyes on it, which looks like it has a face!

Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby. And back to football again. No, he’s not a Red, he’s a Gooner – an Arsenal fan, and it’s about him growing up supporting Arsenal and waiting for them to win the league again after a pretty long wait. They’d won in 1971, but then he had to wait until 1989 before his team were champions again. Your older self first read this book in 1994, on a day when she wasn’t at uni herself, so she was going round Sunderland Uni with Mum, Dad and Ellie, as it would be Ellie’s turn to go to open days.

I picked this one because I was at university at the time, in my final year, so you now know that you get to fulfil your childhood ambition of wearing a cap and gown – you will graduate in the summer of 1994. Also, you will have seen United win the league by the time you read this book, and United will end an even longer wait for a league title  than Arsenal do in this book, when they win in 1993, a 26 year wait will be over when the Reds are crowned inaugural Premier League Champions in May 1993. 8 more years to go for you, yet…

The Story of Music – Howard Goodall. Yeah, I know, you do have that copy of Introducing Music, by Otto Karolyi, which Dad gave you, and that will certainly help you work out the pitch ranges for various instruments when you have to compose music for your exams in later years at high school. By the way, it won’t be O Levels, it’ll be these things called GCSEs, which will replace O Levels and CSEs a couple of years before you sit your exams and end your compulsory education. Oh, and Winton High School will be merged with Ellesmere in 1987, and become Wentworth High School, so there’s a change of school name and uniform in two years’ time! However, in years to come, the school’s name will revert back to Ellesmere Park High School, but not for a bloody long time, lol!

You’re going to get an A, anyway – along with foreign languages, music is one of your best subjects, but I’m bringing you a copy of this from the future as I know it will be of interest and of use to you, both as a musician and a music fan. You currently play the recorder and are attempting the oboe. Those double reeds are a pain in the arse, though, aren’t they?! Never mind, though, as you’ll be better off with single reeds, as you’ll find out in a year or so when you try the clarinet instead and have rather more luck with that one! It’s hard to curl your lips around two reeds, one reed is much more manageable!

Prepare to play quite a few different instruments during the course of your life! Music will play a big role in your spare time over the years. You’ll do a bit of singing, too, but mostly playing musical instruments.

And finally, book number 12…

Attention All Shipping -Charlie Connelly. I’ve brought you quite a few books to make you laugh, and this is one of them! You know when you’ve stayed up late at night to discover how television channels and radio stations close down for the night? I know it’s not your usual choice of station, as you’re definitely a Radio 1 girl, and will be for some time to come yet, but you know how Radio 4 has that Shipping Forecast late at night just before the national anthem and close down? Well, this guy goes on a tour of all the places mentioned in the Shipping Forecast and it is VERY funny! Especially a bit near the end about Faroese puffins!

Not only is this book very funny and informative, but it is a souvenir of what will be your 40th birthday holiday in Mexico! I know you’ve lived in Switzerland, and that you went to the USA for the first time last year, but you’re going to do a lot more travelling when you’re older! By the end of the 80s, Ellie’s trampolining will cause us to go to France and Switzerland for competitions, but from 1991 onwards, once you turn 18, you are really going to go to a lot more places on a far regular basis, and you will love it!

Oh, and in about 25 years from now, 2010, the fact that computers will let you make contact with other people around the world electronically will prompt you to start writing regularly on the internet about books, and some people will start to read and even enjoy what you write about those books! I know! Mad, isn’t it?! Madder than a box of frogs!

So, these are my 12 books I am bringing you from the future, Joanne! Happy Reading!

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling
  2. The Colour of Magic – Sir Terry Pratchett
  3. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  4. Under The Frog – Tibor Fischer
  5. Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
  6. Odd Man Out – Brian McClair
  7. My Story – Eric Cantona
  8. The Good Soldier Svejk – Jaroslav Hasek
  9. Penguins Stopped Play – Harry Thompson
  10. Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby
  11. The Story of Music – Howard Goodall
  12. Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly

Other books mentioned during this blog…

  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole – Sue Townsend
  • Elidor – Alan Garner
  • The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  • Introducing Music – Otto Karolyi

smash-hits-live-aid-1985

* Joanne gets back in the time machine and heads back to February 2017… *

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Missing Years and Laughing Gear

feb-2017-for-a-laugh

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

I hope I’m not overdoing it on the blog front. Trust me, though, regular readers will know that sometimes I blog every day, and then other times I don’t blog for bloody months! In fact, there was a time I didn’t blog for the best part of THREE YEARS!

If you look at the archives, you’ll notice I was blogging in 2012, mentioning the fact I was about to be a Book Giver for World Book Night that year, and then the next time you hear from me on Joanne’s Bookshelf, we’re in 2015 and I’m wanting to slap Elizabeth (Not Very) Smart for having written one of the most whiney-arsed books I’d ever had the misfortune to read! A pity party in writing if ever there was one! The book in question wasn’t even very long, but it was still too long to be moaning on and on as she did about the fact the bloke she loved was spoken for and that everyone else (understandably) disapproved of the fact that she was trying to get in his pants anyway.

Maybe we should have a look at the missing years, trying to see if I can remember anything worth blogging about in that time. Pretty sure I was blogging on the football front, I certainly was during 2012-13 as my lads won their 20th league title that season. Maybe that was part of the reason why I didn’t blog about books… I was too distracted by United as Robin van Persie’s goals led us to the Premier League title and a winning margin of 11 points over City by the end of that season! If I was reading anything at that time, it was probably Robin van Persie: The Biography, by Andy Lloyd-Williams, which I downloaded on my Kindle some time during 2012-13, to get some background on the Dutch striker we’d signed from Arsenal that summer. The book only goes up to his time with the Gunners, but it was a great read and I think it only set me back 99p! Bargain! 🙂

It was also during 2013 that a lady named Hannah Kent came to our book club meeting, as she had just become a newly-published author. Her debut novel, Burial Rites, was out in hardback, and as she was in the area and promoting the book around bookshops, she and a lady from the publishing house, joined us for our book group meeting that summer. Hannah’s an Aussie, from Queensland if I’m not mistaken, but she’d spent a year in Iceland on an exchange programme, and that had inspired her novel, a work of historical fiction based on the true story of the last woman to be executed in Iceland. We bought copies of her book, and she signed them for us, so we decided we’d have that as our book club choice for that month. This is a rarity for our book club, but we all loved it!

It might not have been a book we’d even considered, but she’d come to our meeting, and she was lovely. Also, I have been to Iceland, as I mentioned the other day, and although I only went to Reykjavik, the capital city, I know much of the rest of the country is still very rural and I could picture it as I read the novel. If I was doing some “around the world in books” project, Burial Rites would definitely be on the list as a book set in Iceland.

Another book which I read and loved during the non-blogging days was Where’d You Go, Bernadette? This book was published in August 2012, and I had blogged that month, but did not mention this novel. I probably had book club after I’d blogged! Perhaps we met up in the September and chose Maria Semple‘s novel, in which case it was after what would turn out to be my final blog entry of 2012, which was mostly wittering on about the Olympics, lol! In fact, I only mentioned two books in that blog, and neither of them were by Maria Semple! But I loved Where’d You Go, Bernadette? Very funny book!

This leads me on to the photo at the top of this blog, and a couple of items of reading matter which I am adding to my current concerns. I have decided that, in the current climate, I need stuff which is going to make me laugh, or at least attempts to achieve this!

For some reason, it seems sales of dystopian fiction are on the rise since the Mangled Apricot Hellbeast became President of the USA, but I won’t be purchasing anything of that nature! Read some Orwell donkey’s years ago, and enjoyed it enough at the time, but there’s no way I’m re-reading it now! I don’t see the attraction. I don’t want to read about fictional arsehole politicians treating their country’s people like shit when there’s far too much of that happening in real life! I need to ESCAPE from that shite! I need something that’s going to help me forget about it and save me from a bout of depression!

So, added to the current ongoing concerns on the book front, are Mort, by Sir Terry Pratchett, and Round Ireland With a Fridge, by Tony Hawks. One fiction, one non-fiction, but both promising to be extremely funny, which is exactly what I need! It was about time I read another Discworld book, so I’m now on for my fourth of those, and I’ve had the Hawks book for ages, and it really was time I actually read it, lol! I bought it absolutely donkey’s years ago, or so it seems, and bought it because the very idea of it seemed ridiculous, therefore just my kind of book!

Let’s not forget that one of my favourite reads, and one which I found free of charge on holiday in Mexico, was Attention All Shipping, by Charlie Connelly, in which Mr Connelly journeys around all the places mentioned on the Shipping Forecast on BBC Radio 4! Incidentally, that’d be another reason why I wouldn’t have blogged in 2013 – was busy celebrating my Big 40! I turned forty the day after Robin van Persie’s hat-trick against Aston Villa had meant Manchester United were league champions for the 20th time in their history, so those two days of celebration rather merged into one, lol! And then there was my holiday, six months later, when Mum and I headed off to the total and utter luxury of the El Dorado Seaside Suites on the Riviera Maya in Mexico, and it was while we were on this holiday that I found that book on one of the bookshelves dotted around our resort, and loved it so much that I brought it home with me as I hadn’t quite finished it when our fortnight of luxury and cocktails came to an end and we had to fly home to Manchester.

Mum and I also read I Am The Secret Footballer while we were in Mexico. Still can’t work out who the guy is! Thus, it’s not that I didn’t read any books between 2012 and 2015, I certainly did, but maybe not loads compared to other years, and other events in my life must have distracted me from blogging about my reading! Sometimes I have spells of blogging about football, which I do on one of my other blogs, In Off My Chest! Certainly during 2012-13 there was a lot to blog about for good reasons. The less said about the following season, though, the better!

I can’t even remember a lot of things I read in either 2014 or 2015! I clearly only partially-read stuff and never got into anything until the end of that year, really! There must have been a few books for book club which didn’t float my boat and I ended up giving them away some time last year when I was having a bit of a clear out and giving books to charity shops to make room for other books, lol!

I had blogged in August of 2012, then not until May and June 2015, and then there was another gap until February 2016! Been quite prolific in the past year, as far as book blogs are concerned, but I am trying to piece together what the hell happened in the missing times! We can account for 2013, really. I was 40 and United won the league, so I was too busy celebrating to blog about books! So, some of the other times I wasn’t blogging must have been bouts of Reader’s Block, or simply times when the book club books weren’t really my cup of tea.

During my non-blogging time, I did manage to find some reading matter to enjoy, including The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green, and The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin, and, thanks to a book swapping opportunity offered up at that time by a pub in Worsley, I managed to offload one of the book club reads I’d not got into, and exchanged it for the brilliant Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier. Ironically, the book I exchanged, which was The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, is a book I once again own, as I picked up a copy at a charity shop last year thinking perhaps I should give it another go some time and that the reason I’d not got into it was because I was having Reader’s Block, so it might not have been the book’s fault! Maybe I’ll try again and I’ll love it, or maybe I will realise why I didn’t get far with it first time round. Who knows?!

Anyway, I’d better get my progress with the Tony Hawks book charted on Goodreads, so that’s about all for now! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Robin van Persie: The Biography – Andy Lloyd-Williams
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • I Am The Secret Footballer – The Secret Footballer
  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
  • The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton

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101 Book Mentions

101-dalmatian-puppies

101 dogs for 101 blogs!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Last night, when I clicked to publish my blog, I received a notification shortly afterwards from WordPress, that I had published 100 blogs on Joanne’s Bookshelf! Wow! I knew I’d published a lot of book blogs, but some time ago, they seemed to stop letting me know blog by blog, so I lost count, although I knew I’d written a lot of these things! Anyway, last night, I reached my century, so this is my 101st blog, hence a photo from the film version of The Hundred and One Dalmatians! Well, it had to be done, lol!

Over the previous hundred book blogs, there have been many more than 101 books mentioned, lol! In fact, when I came to list them on List Challenges, my list came to 500 books! Would have been more if I’d listed every single Discworld book, I know, but I did list a few individually, and there’s one entry to represent the series. It’s just that the late great Sir Terry Pratchett wrote so many that it’d take ages to list! With some of the other fantasy series, there are not quite so many books. The Lord of the Rings is a trilogy, both Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia comprise of seven books each, and A Song of Ice and Fire has five books at present, and there are two more to come, I believe, as George R. R. Martin has not yet finished writing the series.

dalmatian-family

In one hundred blogs, we’ve covered one hell of a lot of issues! Some literary, some otherwise. Travel, music, sports, sports books, food, duplicate books, Young Adult novels and why they’re not just for teens, how much I hate book snobs, the content of books being more important than the authors’ appearances, tributes to poets, musicians and authors who’d passed away, especially last year when the Grim Reaper was overdoing it on the bumping-off front! I still think Phil Collins was taking a massive risk calling his autobiography Not Dead Yet, lol, given the number of celebrities lost in 2016! Looking forward to reading that book, though, when Sarah lends it to me.

We’ve even had cross-stitched bookmarks, Handbag Books, the chunkiness of historical fiction novels, the concept of the Book Hangover and bouts of Reader’s Block, the occasional rant, and of course a few mentions of the Junior Bookworm, my niece Charlotte. She now has a baby brother, of course, my nephew, Reuben, who was born in October, and she is clearly passing on her love of reading to the new arrival!

charlotte-reads-to-reuben

Charlotte reading to Reuben.

Looks like my nephew is enjoying having Eva and the New Owl read to him! It’s a book from the Owl Diaries series, by Rebecca Elliott, aimed at newly-independent readers such as my niece. I’m sure she still likes having books read to her, but she’s now very good at reading them on her own, and, as we can see, reading them to her baby brother!

You might be interested to know that my piles of books were still intact this evening when I returned home from Old Trafford after watching Manchester United beat Watford 2-0 in the Premier League, so neither the Juan Mata goal, nor the Anthony Martial goal, caused my books to topple over as they did last weekend when Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored our opener away to Leicester City! Must have just been a one-off! Let’s hope so! I want my side scoring lots of goals, but I don’t want my books falling over! As I reach 100 blogs, United reach 2,000 Premier League points, which they achieved this afternoon with the three points gained in our 2-0 win. Indeed, our next league victory will be our 600th in the Premier League, another milestone we’ll be the first club to achieve! However, this can’t happen until March, as we now have Europa League and FA Cup ties to contest, plus the League Cup Final against Southampton, before we have another Premier League fixture, which will be a home game against Bournemouth.

With Premier League Years 1992/93 downloaded onto my Kindle, I have at least one suitably United-related read amongst my ebooks for my trip to Wembley on 26th February. That particular date is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s birthday, too, so more reason to hope we win the cup – it would be appropriate to do so on a Legend’s birthday. Ole will be 44, he’s a couple of months older than me. He’s one of the main reasons why Norway is on my to-do list as far as travel is concerned, although I want to see more of Scandinavia anyway!

I have been to Denmark, a very long time ago now, way back in 1991 when I was 18, but we didn’t go to Copenhagen, so I have yet to visit the capital city. I have been to and performed at Legoland though! The original Legoland in Billund. The reason I was in Denmark in 1991 was because I was playing in the City of Salford Youth Concert Band, and every two years the band went abroad and gave a few concerts as well as having a bit of a holiday.Denmark was my first tour with the band, I also went to the Netherlands, France and Spain as part of the CSYCB. I was actually helping the band out by playing baritone sax at the time we went to Denmark, although my main instrument back then was the clarinet, “main instrument” meaning that I had my own, a pressie for my 16th birthday in 1989 just before I sat my GCSEs and left high school. The baritone sax was the music centre’s instrument, as was the bass clarinet I played a few years later in the band. These days, I’m in the Flixton Community Brass Band, in which I play tenor horn.

Anyway, I was on about Scandinavia, wasn’t I?! While Denmark was a long time ago, when I had just become an adult, I have had a more recent Scandinavian visit, when Mum and I went to Reykjavik, Iceland, in 2010. I totally recommend Iceland, especially as it’s an island full of bookworms! Icelandic people are major book lovers, they even have the “Christmas Book Flood” where they all buy each other new books, which they give each other on Christmas Eve, unwrap them, and then spend that night happily reading their new books! What a brilliant way to spend Christmas! I went there before I started writing these book blogs, which commenced later that year, but you won’t be surprised to learn I came home from Reykjavik with a few books, including The Sagas of Icelanders – that one kinda had to be purchased, really! I think it’s in the Book Chest in the garage. It’s a big, chunky book, anyway, as you might expect! Obviously, they were written by various Icelandic people, but the book I own has been put together by Jane Smiley. It’s not ALL the sagas, that would require an even chunkier book, I’m sure, but it’s a substantial introduction to Icelandic history, culture and folklore, and I hope to get around to reading it some time!

Well, we’ve started off with 101 dalmations to mark our 101st book blog, and we have ended up with mention of the bookworms of Iceland! You never know what’s going to turn up in this blog… mainly because I don’t know, either, lol! I just type this stuff as I go along, and sometimes one thing leads to another! Anyway, that’s about it for now, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Hundred and One Dalmatians – Dodie Smith
  • The Discworld Series – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling
  • The Chronicles of Narnia – C. S. Lewis
  • A Song of Ice and Fire (series) – George R. R. Martin
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • The Owl Diaries: Eva and the New Owl – Rebecca Elliott
  • Premier League Years 1992/93 – Andrew Hyslop
  • The Sagas of Icelanders – Various (prefaced by Jane Smiley)

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