Category Archives: Food & Drink

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

Books, Timbits and the Winter Olympics

War of the Worlds finished Feb 2018

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

STOP FUSSING! LET THEM EAT SOIL!

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

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

Rainbow Book Tower Feb 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in tonight’s blog entry…

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

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Bookworm’s Progress and All Manner of Reading Matters…

Not Dead Yet finished Jan 2018

Phil Collins and also H G Wells finished this week!

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Chief Bookworm pops downstairs for a drink *

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

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

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

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

Mrs Pepperpot book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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December and 2017 Review

Books 44 and 45 of 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

With a few days of 2017 left, the ol’ Badger’s Arse Syndrome has struck again, and I have a cold, which I need to shift by the weekend as United are at home again on Saturday, against Southampton, and then Sunday is New Year’s Eve, so I’m out for a meal with Mum to let in 2018! This cold can, quite frankly, do one! Bugger off, cold! I really don’t need this crap! I already had a cold in October and needed time off work, so just sod off and leave me the hell alone! Take your stinking germs and piss off!

I have been productive on the book front in recent days, though, getting a couple more finished off, hence I have reached 45 for the year. I think that’s fair enough really, especially as my Goodreads Challenge was originally 30, so I have exceeded it by another 15! Not sure about the coming year. I will probably only set a low target, as I am working full time certainly up to and including March, and I hope that they will want me to stay on after that. Work provides the money to buy books, but it does mean that you have to fit the actual reading around your working life! Thus I will not be setting a big target for 2018. Possibly 25 or 30.

Anyway, let’s get on with what I have read this year, and to round off the reading, I finished off Mr Dickens and His Carol, by Samantha Silva, and The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, by Sarah Knight. This has taken me, as I said, to 45 books for the year. I could probably publish my list of books read this year on List Challenges now. I can’t see myself finishing a 46th book before we let in 2018! I guess, if I hadn’t come down with a cold, I might have felt I could manage another one and make it 46, but realistically, even if I’d not been germ-ridden, I could start a book, but it probably wouldn’t be finished until some time in January at the earliest.

I can get on with Hot Milk, by Deborah Levy, I guess, if I am feeling up to it, and get going with that. It’s only a fairly short book, but book club is on 10th January, so I should get cracking, really!

Perhaps I should make a start on Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins – Sarah lent it to me in the summer when we went to see the Pet Shop Boys in Blackpool, and I have got another gig on the horizon thanks to my friend – my main Christmas present from Sarah was a ticket to see Paul Young at the Preston Guild Hall on 15th February! I have already booked a half day off work for that day, so I can finish at lunchtime, go home and get ready to go to Preston later. China Crisis are the support act, so all very 1980s, which is how I like it, lol!

I bought a few books for members of my family for Christmas, and I got a Waterstone’s gift card, so I can go out and get more books, lol, but that’s fair enough – Those who know me well know that I have rather a lot of books (a slight understatement, lol), so it’s best to get me a gift card rather than buy me a book I might already own. One of the books I bought was Only Fools and Stories, by Sir David Jason, for my mum. I couldn’t exactly mention that in any pre-Christmas blogs, but I can mention it now! My sister certainly reads my blogs when I share them onto Facebook. At times, especially when Reuben was very little and she was up at silly o’clock feeding him, she would read my blogs then! I got him a couple of Christmasssy books from the Usborne “That’s Not My…” series, namely That’s Not My Santa, and That’s Not My Elf.

So, what were my favourite reads of 2017 from the 45 books I managed to read, or at least finish off during the course of the year? Here are some stats for the year and some favourite books…

Goodreads Challenge Set: 30

Books Read in 2017: 45

Authors Met in 2017: 2, Stuart Maconie and Adam Kay

Favourite Non-Fiction: This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

Favourite Fiction: The Good People – Hannah Kent

Favourite Young Adult: One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton

Favourite Children’s: Esio Trot – Roald Dahl

Reminder of a Holiday: The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley. Reminded me of my holiday in Marrakech, Morocco, in November 2016.

Wembley Books: The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie, and Premier League Years 1992/93 – Andrew Hyslop, read on the coach going to and coming back from the EFL Cup Final in February, which United won 3-2 vs Southampton. Two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimović and one from Jesse Lingard. Zlatan’s second goal, three minutes from time, was the decider, as we had gone 2-0 up only for the Saints to take advantage of our decidedly dodgy defending by getting back to 2-2.

Having looked back on 2017, we need to look ahead. I know I have already mentioned two books, one for my book club, and one my friend lent me in the summer, but what else do I think I might read in 2018? There will, of course, be other book club books, and there is no accounting for what those might be, lol, but of the stacks of stuff I have here, what should I read? Perhaps some relatively short books, such as The Outsiders, by S. E. Hinton, which I did make a start on this year, and possibly some H.G. Wells – I have both The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds lurking here near Computer Corner, lol!

At the other end of the size scale, there are a few chunky monkeys I could attempt, and I could always return to the Shardlake Series by C. J. Sansom, having read Dissolution earlier this year, and get on with the second in that series, Dark Fire. Maybe some classics, maybe some modern classics, perhaps 2018 will be the year I finally read some books which have been hanging around for years waiting for me to read them?! Maybe I will read I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb – probably while thinking of the Spandau Ballet song “True” as I think of it every time I even SEE my copy of that book, so I will probably think of it all the time if I am actually reading it!

As I’ve said many times, I’m an 80s nut, so it’s to be expected, really! Actually, talking of Spandau Ballet, I’ve got Martin Kemp‘s autobiography, True, lurking in my room, so I could read that as well. I read Gary Kemp‘s autobiography, I Know This Much, earlier this year, which Sarah had lent me, so I could always read his brother’s book in the coming year! As I said earlier, though, I think the Phil Collins autobiography would have to be a priority.  One book I like the sound of, but have yet to purchase, is the Bruce Dickinson autobiography, What Does This Button Do? I have a feeling that my friend might have that one, so I could always end up borrowing it from her some time in the not too distant future!

Anyway, I have just looked at my list of books mentioned on this blog during the course of 2017, and the Bruce Dickinson autobiography takes us up to a whopping 541 different books mentioned this year! So, when I publish this list, as I will be doing shortly, there should be a nice long list on List Challenges for you to get stuck into! A huge, very random list of books with probably something for everyone! Fiction, non-fiction, autobiographies, biographies, young adult, children’s books, science fiction, classics, comedy, football, music…  I will be starting a new list in the new year for everything I mention on here in 2018, so until I blog again, as it is very unlikely to be before January, lol, I wish you all a Happy and book-filled New Year! Take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Mr Dickens and His Carol – Samantha Silva
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • Only Fools and Stories – Sir David Jason
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Premier League Years 1992/93 – Andrew Hyslop
  • The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • I Know This Much Is True – Wally Lamb
  • True – Martin Kemp
  • I Know This Much – Gary Kemp
  • What Does This Button Do? – Bruce Dickinson

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Book Review of the Year…

Hello there, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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Mystic Mince Pies, Hot Milk, and Traffic Jams…

Hot Milk and Mr Dickens

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the books are so delightful! Yep, we’ve had some snow today at Bookworm Central, lol! Some actual snow, as opposed to the usual attempt to snow in the UK. We have a kind of weather which I would describe as “Trying To Snow” which is when there’s a very minor flurry but nowt else, lol! However, at several times during the course of the day so far, it has been snowing. There has been some rain in between times so that has washed it away, but we have had snow. Not enough to build a snowman, not round here, unless you make a mini snowman on a garden wall or something.

Been a busy old week, and not over yet considering it is scheduled to be the Manchester Derby tomorrow at Old Trafford – snow permitting, of course! Anyway, I was at the match on Tuesday as United played CSKA Moscow in our final group game. Prior to the game, Dad came round for tea as we were going in his car, as has happened frequently this season. After our chilli con carne, we had some mince pies and squirty cream, and when Dad squirted cream on his pies, it looked like a 2 on one pie, and a 1 on the other, so he said that would be the score that night…

Not best pleased at half-time when we were trailing to a blatantly offside “goal” which should never have stood. Thankfully, in the second half, we turned things around in the space of three minutes midway through the half, with Romelu Lukaku equalising before Marcus Rashford put us ahead… and that reminded me of the pies and squirty cream, lol! 2-1 it remained, so when I got back in the car with Mum & Dad, the talk was of the Mystic Mince Pies, lol! Never mind your “Paul the Octopus” predicting winning sides in the World Cup, we had Mystic Mince Pies predicting the scoreline in United’s Champions League match!

So, we have won our group and we are through to the knockout stages, which start in mid-February. European football has a winter break, although we will find out on Monday who we have got in the first knockout round. As we have won our group, we will be away in the first leg, and at home in the second. It’s better that way, because if you don’t get a particularly good result in the first leg, you know you’ve got home advantage which can really help to turn things around in the second leg! Having said that, when we did the Treble in 1999, our quarter final and semi final ties against Inter Milan and Juventus saw United have the home leg first, and away leg second, and we still ended up winning the trophy!

Right, that’s the footy done, on to the books, lol!

Didn’t get any more of my book read in time for book club the next night, but I did get 70% read, so was mostly able to participate in the discussions, and I will finish it off – after all, I have just under a third left to read of The Good People. After our discussion, for which there were five of us, with Stephanie rejoining the fold as well as the four of us from last month – myself, Michelle, Nick and Diane, we discussed the next book and whether we should read something Christmassy, or deliberately un-Christmassy, and I said perhaps we should make it something reasonably short as we might not get a lot of time to get some reading in over the festive season! So, with a couple of us already owning a copy, we went for something fairly short and set in the summer, Hot Milk, by Deborah Levy. Our next meeting is on 10th January to give us a bit more time to read after Christmas and New Year!

Prior to the start of the book club, I met up with three of my colleagues from my days at Manchester DBC – June Padley, Anne Emmott, and Martin Biddles! It was great to be able to have a chat with them again and catch up a bit, also to be able to let them know I am working again at the moment. It was Martin’s birthday, so I guess that’s why they had met up. I said I’d seen one colleague fairly recently, Janice, as she volunteers at one of the charity shops here in Monton, and I am still in touch with quite a few people from my decade at Albert Bridge House on Facebook, and one or two on Instagram.

Right, anyway, I already had Hot Milk, as I said above, but I did buy myself something rather festive on the book front while I was at Waterstone’s, that being Mr Dickens and His Carol, by Samantha Silva. Something suitably seasonal, especially if our stupid weather insists on giving us the white stuff this year!

Chocs and books 2017

Thursday night, after work, Mum and I went off to the Lowry Centre on Salford Quays, as we had a voucher for Pizza Express, so we went in the shops first before we dined, and I stocked up on chocolate from the Cadbury’s shop, as you can see, lol, and a couple of cheap books from The Works, picking up The Snow Globe, by Sheila Roberts, and Hygge and Kisses, by Clara Christensen. Maybe not quite Christmassy as such, but certainly a plot which suggests cosiness, and that’s what many of us want at this time of year!

Then we come to yesterday, and the reason I ended up having to get a bus into Eccles today after my hairdo – I had to get my bus and tram pass, which was what I intended to do after work yesterday, and I got on a bus in decent enough time in Swinton, and headed on into town… except that when the bus actually got into Manchester, it was just bloody crawling along Bridge Street and taking an eternity! I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make it across town to the travel shop in Piccadilly Gardens before it closed at 6pm, so I was a bit pissed off to say the least! But, I was in town, so I thought I might as well do the other stuff, in other words get myself something to eat from the Christmas markets, and as I was on that side of town, and the shop was open for a while yet, I went in Waterstone’s.

Traffic jam compensation books December 2017

Yes, I know. But I was so damn annoyed at the traffic jam that I felt I needed some retail therapy, so off I went into my natural habitat, lol, and came out with three books – Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, by Sarah Knight, and Warcross, by Marie Lu. I have mentioned the “not giving a f**k” book before, I think. I already like to think that I give fewer “flying ones” than I used to, but I felt this book would be good anyway! It would be a vindication of my general reduction of f**k-giving, so to speak!

Most of the stuff on telly these days is hardly worth giving a f**k about, especially reality TV shows! Unless they’re about food. I like Masterchef, although I probably shouldn’t watch stuff like that. Cookery programmes make me hungry, lol! I remember watching Ken Hom’s Chinese Cookery late at night on BBC2 when I was a teenager in the late 80s, and that used to make me ridiculously hungry! I absolutely LOVE Chinese food! Always have done since I was very little!

I have half a mind to read Warcross and Ready Player One back-to-back as I feel the premise of both books is pretty similar, and Furiously Happy is a book I have seen on a lot of lists on List Challenges, and people have said, in reviews, that it’s very funny.

I was going to add that, if you want “very funny”, you should definitely read This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay, but I’ve been saying that already for a few blogs now, lol! Been saying it since about September or October! Another book I would recommend if you want a good laugh is Cheer Up Love: Adventures in Depression with the Crab of Hate, by Susan Calman. I came upon that one by chance – I just happened to notice it a year or so ago when it was out in hardback and was being promoted in the Arndale Centre branch of Waterstone’s…

One of those times when you start reading a book in a bookshop, and you just know you’re going to have to take it to the counter and buy it because it’s too good not to buy! I didn’t even know who the author was at the time, turns out she’s a Scottish comedienne, but the fact that it was at least a bit about depression interested me – I’ve had a few bouts of that over the years, so I have experience of how shite it is when you’re going through it, and the “Crab of Hate” part of the title amused me, so I picked a copy off the shelf and started reading… and started laughing! It is on my list of books which have made me laugh my arse off, so if you want a good giggle, give it a try!

(Shite is a technical term, by the way!)

I think that’s about it, although I did pick up a couple of cheap books at the Rotary Club shop in Eccles this afternoon as I was waiting for the travel shop to re-open after their lunch break, lol! I picked up Unholy Night, by Seth Grahame-Smith, and The Spy Who Came For Christmas, by David Morrell. Both sounded suitably seasonal. Seth Grahame-Smith is the same guy who did the Austen-reworking, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, lol! Anyway, until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
  • Mr Dickens and His Carol – Samantha Silva
  • The Snow Globe – Sheila Roberts
  • Hygge and Kisses – Clara Christensen
  • Furiously Happy – Jenny Lawson
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
  • Warcross – Marie Lu
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Cheer Up Love: Adventures in Depression With the Crab of Hate – Susan Calman
  • Unholy Night – Seth Grahame-Smith
  • The Spy Who Came For Christmas – David Morrell

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November Review and a bit of December too!

Flixton CBB Xmas Concert 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

December is upon us, so, time to wrap up last month’s events as much as I can remember, lol, and a tiny bit of this month so far. Well, OK, yesterday and today, buoyed by the fact that my lads beat Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates earlier this evening! Woo hoo! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way! Oh what fun it is to see United win away! Only blot on the landscape was Pogba’s red card, meaning we’re gonna miss him for a few fixtures. Grrr! Not happy about that! He’ll be able to play on Tuesday, though, as that’s a European fixture, and the red card only affects domestic games.

Right, anyway, as we know, I didn’t make much progress with Do Not Say We Have Nothing, by Madeleine Thien, but we did manage to enjoy a good book club meeting in November as there were four of us there, which made for a decent discussion! I’m hoping for a decent turn-out this coming Wednesday, 6th December, when we meet up again to discuss The Good People, by Hannah Kent. I am now up to 63% with this novel. Good progress was made in the last few days, firstly to get halfway and then I had a good read last night, during the first half of the concert at St Clement’s Church in Urmston.

Also, while I was at the church, I noticed they had a few books which could either be borrowed, swapped, or bought for a donation, so I made a donation and picked up a couple of interesting books to bring home with me. Those were Jasmine Nights, by Julia Gregson, and We Are Not Ourselves, by Matthew Thomas. More to add to the TBR pile, lol! It takes the current number of books on my as-yet-unpublished List Challenges list for this blog to 528 different books! Joanne’s Bookshelf Blogs – Books Mentioned 2017 will be published in what is now a matter of weeks! Eek! Where’s 2017 gone?! Either I will publish the list on 31st December, or early in January 2018.

I am working between Christmas and New Year, but only one day, only the Wednesday. I am off the rest of the time! Time to read, and time to blog, I hope. Plus the inevitable lie-ins which I can have if I don’t have any reason to get up early!

I did finish a book in November, that being the excellent On Writing by Stephen King. As I have said in plenty of previous blogs, I’m not really big on horror, but he does write other stuff besides horror, and I have The Green Mile and 11.22.63 on my TBR list, so I hope to get round to at least one of those eventually, perhaps in 2018?

The main thing about November, however, was the fact that I got my dental surgery over and done with! I went for the x-ray appointment at the hospital on Monday 20th, and after I had had that, and went back to the reception to book the surgery, I was expecting to be given a date some time in the future, I was expecting January, to be honest with you! Thus I got quite a surprise when the receptionist said “We can fit you in this Wednesday afternoon at 3pm!” – I went for it, though, and booked it in. Yes, it was short notice, but I figured work would be pleased that I would be getting it out of the way as soon as possible! Work were fine about it, and thus I was off on the Wednesday and Thursday that week. Didn’t entirely feel like reading on the Wednesday, but on the Thursday I was reading and blogging again! I was a bit sore when the anaesthetic wore off, but, as I said at the time, not as “badger’s arse” as I thought I was going to be!

Flixton CBB Xmas Lights Urmston 24 Nov 2017

I was certainly up to playing my horn, as I found out on the Thursday evening, which was just as well, as I was playing at the switching on of the Urmston Christmas tree lights on the Friday evening and, as was documented, we didn’t get as wet as usual! There was actually a dry spell for a while, so not the usual non-stop rain, lol!

You know how I’ve mentioned, plenty of times, that my niece, Charlotte, is taking after me on the book front – she is the Junior Bookworm… Well, she also seems to be taking after her Auntie Jo on the music front, too! Not sure if I’ve told you this or not, although I probably have, but she’s been learning the violin for a few months now! I hope she will be entertaining us with some carols and other festive tunes this Christmas!

Well, not a lot of book related action in November, really, other than finishing the Stephen King book and starting the Hannah Kent novel, and still laughing my arse off over This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay, which is my book of the year for sure! I know we’ve got most of December left before 2017 gives way to 2018, we’re only on day 2 of our Advent calendars as I type, lol, but I doubt very much I am going to read anything which is even more hilarious than Adam Kay’s book about his time as a junior doctor! I dare you to read that book in public!

I went shopping on Monday, ended up loaded up at the Trafford Centre and, yes, it certainly did involve books, and visits to both Waterstone’s and W H Smith’s. However, I must stress that most of this shopping spree was for the purposes (or even porpoises, lol) of Christmas shopping. I purchased one book for my own future reading pleasure, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, but anything else I bought can’t be mentioned on here for a few weeks yet, I’m afraid!

Not until a bloke in red and white has been… and I don’t mean a United player in this instance, lol!

Away from books, and I am getting ridiculously excited at the prospect of a branch of Tim Horton’s opening not too far away from me in the very near future! I don’t know the opening date just yet, or whereabouts on this particularly long road the branch will be located, but Bury New Road will be getting a Timmie’s! Woo hoo! Any Canadian bookworms, and any other bookworms who’ve ever been to Canada, will know what I’m on about here! Perhaps, when the branch opens, I should go there for coffee and doughnuts, or a box of Timbits, and read Doughnut, by Tom Holt?! Or, perhaps even This Book Will Save Your Life, by A. M. Homes, as that has several doughnuts on the cover!

So, that’s about it for November and early December. I think that’s all the news for now. Book club this coming Wednesday. Even if I don’t finish The Good People in time, I will have got a lot of it read by then, although I hope I will have finished it! I have also put it on my Kindle, as well as owning the paperback, so I should be able to get some read on the way home from Old Trafford on Tuesday night after our Champions League home game against CSKA Moscow. Until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Jasmine Nights – Julia Gregson
  • We Are Not Ourselves – Matthew Thomas
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • The Green Mile – Stephen King
  • 11.22.63 – Stephen King
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Doughnut – Tom Holt
  • This Book Will Save Your Life – A. M. Homes

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