Category Archives: Food & Drink

August Review – Books, Bees, and a Bag

Bookstore Conwy Wales 29 August 2018

Me in Hinton’s of Conwy, when I was in Wales on Wednesday.

Hello again, fellow Bookworms! Or should that be Book Dragons, given that I was in Wales a couple of days ago?!

Have had a very nice week off work to finish August. Monday was a bank holiday here, and then I have been using up annual leave for the rest of the week as I can only carry 5 days or fewer over into my new leave year which starts in September. Hence I have been out and about this week and the weather has been great! You can have some really good days out here in the UK if the weather’s not too shite (which is a technical term, as you know by now)! We’ve actually been having a decent summer this year, helped by that heatwave in July! Usually we have to go abroad for that sort of weather! Actually needing sun lotion and after-sun in this country is something of a novelty, hence many of us still go on about the Summer of 1976!

Anyway, never mind me waffling on about the weather, another month has come to an end, and therefore it’s time for the monthly review blog, and the most successful month so far this year for finishing books off, as I have finished SIX books in August! Yay! I’ve also finished off a couple of items I’ve been making on my knitting looms, so I can show you those as well! Right, all aboard for August’s Review of the Month blog… Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for books, bees, bara brith, a bag and a baby hat…

Well, August’s first two finishes were both early in the month and they were two I loved and gave 5 stars to, although they were both very different to one another. The first was Notes On a Nervous Planet, by Matt Haig, and that was followed very closely by The Man I Think I Know, by Mike Gayle, both of them finished off within the space of 24 hours! I had discovered the Mike Gayle novel thanks to the Zoe Ball Book Club on her Sunday morning show on ITV, and gave it a go on the strength of that, so thank you, Zoe, for choosing that one as one of your ten books!

Back in the 90s, I used to think she was a bit annoying, actually, probably as she’d jumped on the football bandwagon without knowing her stuff and thus not helping the cause of female supporters, especially the likes of myself who want to be seen and respected as clued-up knowledgeable fans just as much as male supporters, but in recent times, with running this book club on telly, I’ve seen a different side of her. She’s a couple of years older than me, so I guess it’s that difference between being some annoying mid 20s bimbo back in the 90s, and now being middle aged, as I am myself, and obviously matured a lot!

Anyway, enough waffling on about Zoe Ball, and back to the books. Book club at Waterstone’s seems to be either dead or in intensive care, lol, although I do have one at work, despite missing the most recent meeting because I’ve been on leave all this week, but I did eventually finish Wigs On the Green, by Nancy Mitford, which I’d been up to around 75% of the way through when it was supposed to be the meeting night, only to end up sitting in the coffee shop area of Waterstone’s Deansgate for around 45 minutes on my own like Billy No-Mates, and then realising that no bugger else was going to turn up, so I might as well have a shufty, buy some books to cheer myself off, because I was a bit pissed-off to say the least, and then go for a Cheeky Nando’s before getting a tram home! As one does!

For a quick read, and I mean quick, my next finish was probably the shortest adult-orientated book I’ll have read all year, the 100 page Alan Bennett quickie, The Lady In the Van. OK, so Fantastic Mr Fox, by Roald Dahl, is probably the shortest book I’ve read this year, but that is a children’s book, so this is the shortest I’ve read which is aimed at an adult readership, and is a biography of the cantankerous old bat who lived in her clapped-out van in Alan’s front yard for quite a number of years! I guess he was a bit too kind to her in the first place and she took advantage of that and spent the rest of her life there.

Little bag finished August 2018

It was also around this time that I finished my bag. Having acquired some actual knitting looms from Abakhan Fabrics in town, I set about making some stuff, and this was my first creation. The bag itself is made on that long rectangular loom, and the handle was made by using the “knitting fork” or lucet, which you also see in the photo – that two-pronged wooden thing with the hole in it. The variegated purple bits give a bit of a contrast to the sparkly white main bit of the bag.

Me with a bee Manchester 31st August 2018

Bee In the City – Manchester, 23rd July to 23rd September 2018

I’d gone into town to do a bit of bee-spotting, because, as I have mentioned before, Bee In the City is on in Manchester, and the surrounding area, at the moment, and runs up until 23rd September, I think, so there’s still around 3 weeks left to go bee hunting, and I’ve been doing a lot of that today, and will be doing more of it over the weekend. Certainly tomorrow. I have the app on my phone, so as well as taking photos of the bees, I’m also entering the codes on my mobile to unlock the bees and count how many I’ve seen. In terms of book-related stuff, there are bees in some of the libraries in town, certainly in Central Library, and I think there’s a bee in the John Rylands Library on Deansgate, so I will have to investigate that!

French Revolutions finished August 2018

On Sunday, just before my Big Week Off, lol, I finished off the utterly brilliant French Revolutions, by Tim Moore, which has now been added to the roll of honour featuring books which have made me laugh my arse off over the years! If you like travel writing, sports writing, and/or you are in need of a damn good laugh, you should definitely read French Revolutions! It’s up there with Penguins Stopped Play, by Harry Thompson! I read that one some years ago now, and that was hilarious! You don’t even have to be into cricket to enjoy Penguins Stopped Play! Just read it!

Bara Brith and Coffee in Conwy 29th August 2018

Bara brith and a cup of coffee, Conwy, North Wales

That’s in case you were wondering what the hell bara brith is when I listed it with all the B words at the start of the blog, lol! It’s a kind of tea loaf from Wales, and Mum and I had a slice each when we were in Conwy on Wednesday. I am well aware that many of my followers are not from the UK, so I guess you would’t have known about certain items of food and drink from these shores! If I’ve got any Welsh book dragons following this blog, they’ve probably known for donkey’s years, but I know that quite a few of you are more far-flung, including the USA and Canada. The last time I recall knowing my follower count, I had either 77 or 78 followers, I think, so thank you for deciding to follow this mad blog and I hope you’re enjoying this entry!

By the way, the book I am holding in the photo at the top of the blog is not one that I actually bought, but I did purchase The Pebbles On the Beach, by Clarence Ellis, when I was in Hinton’s of Conwy.

Twisting My Melon finished 30 August 2018

I was in the Lake District yesterday, but was spending time in the holiday park with my sister, her partner and my niece and nephew, including sitting in a hot tub, which was lovely, and I definitely want to do that again! Therefore, I didn’t get out and about near the Lakes and didn’t get to go in any shops, so no books were purchased. However, I did get to finish off one of my ebooks during the journey there and back! Twisting My Melon, by Shaun Ryder, became my sixth finish for August, and my 25th finish for 2018 so far, thus meaning I have 5 more books to go to meet my Goodreads Challenge for this year! Woohoo!

Little hat finished 31st August 2018

Bringing you right up to date, as this blog draws to its close, this is the little hat I finished earlier, although it would only be big enough for a new baby. It will probably go on the stall at the church Christmas fair later this year. The size of the circle determines the size of the hat. I bought a set of four, and the biggest one would be too big, and would probably make a snood, but the next biggest one would probably make a good adult-sized hat. The third one might make a kid’s hat or at least an older baby or toddler, but that small one would be for a newborn, probably.

I’ve also been taking some books to charity shops in Monton and Eccles while I’ve been off. Occasionally, I need to do this to make way for newer purchases. Sometimes I just have to figure out “Am I going to read this?” or “Am I going to finish this?” If not, then I might as well give it away, especially if I’m likely to get a cheap copy from a charity shop in the future should I ever decide I do wish to read it! Some books crop up in charity shops all the time, so there’s a good shout that I’d get hold of it again if I do want to read it, but I’ve given away my previous copy.

Well, that’s about it for now, so I’d better get this published while we’re still just about in August, lol! Until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Notes On a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig
  • The Man I Think I Know – Mike Gayle
  • Wigs On the Green – Nancy Mitford
  • The Lady In the Van – Alan Bennett
  • Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl
  • French Revolutions – Tim Moore
  • Penguins Stopped Play – Harry Thompson
  • The Pebbles On the Beach – Clarence Ellis
  • Twisting My Melon – Shaun Ryder
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Filed under Books, Bookstagram, British Weather, E-Books & Audiobooks, Food & Drink, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Humour, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Month in Review, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Sports, The TBR Pile, Travel, Weather, Zoe Ball Book Club on ITV

Instructions For a Heatwave

Recent purchases July 2018

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Ooh, it’s sticky weather, as Peter Kay would say! It’s just gone 10pm here, as I start this blog entry, and it is still boiling. Hence the blog title, Instructions For a Heatwave, which is actually a novel by Maggie O’Farrell. I think that book is set 42 years ago, back in 1976, which is what this year is being compared with, lol! Talking of reads set in the Long Hot Summer of ’76, there’s also The Trouble With Goats and Sheep, by Joanna Cannon, and Summer of ’76 by Isabel Ashdown. So, grab a cold drink, possibly an ice cream or a lolly, and chill out with a good book! Get some 70s music on, too! Bit of Abba should do the trick, lol!

Right, so… World Cup’s over, won by France, and what a brilliant final they and Croatia served up, eh?! Best World Cup Final for bloody years, unlike some of the boring ones of recent times which had just one goal and went to extra time before that happened… It wasn’t coming home, though, for England, sadly, but under Gareth Southgate (and his M&S waistcoat), the Three Lions equalled their best World Cup finish in my lifetime, and the joint-second-best of all-time, finishing 4th, as they had done way back in the summer of 1990! The previous time we’d got to the semis in the World Cup, it was taking place in Italy, I was old enough to learn to drive, but not quite old enough to drink or vote until the following April! I was at Eccles College and coming towards the end of my first year there, so halfway through my Bastard A-Levels! For anyone who doesn’t know, A-Levels are awful! They certainly were back in the early 90s when I was doing mine. My degree was easier!

They are also a very good example of why getting out of your comfort zone is NOT always a good idea! I know I went off French at A Level, but I look back at the other subjects I did at college, which were totally new to me in the autumn of 1989 when I started there, and I think I should have stuck to what I knew. If you do stray from that comfort zone, don’t go far. Imagine the comfort zone to be a house and a back garden. At the bottom of the path alongside the lawn, there is a fence and a little gate. Even if you undo the latch and open the gate to step outside, you are still in familiar territory. Do new stuff, but stuff which isn’t too dissimilar from things you already know how to do! Out of your comfort zone, but not out of your depth.

Take, for example, me learning another new musical instrument. I would have to learn the notes and the techniques for playing the new instrument. However, as I can already read music, and have had plenty of experience of playing in ensembles before, it would not be a completely new thing for me, and I would think, with my track record of learning instruments, that I would be able to reach a decent standard of proficiency.

Right, anyway, after the mini slump since early May, you’ll be pleased to learn that I have recently finished another book! Ego Is the Enemy, by Ryan Holiday, was finished off last Saturday, making it book number 19 for this year. Funny how non-fiction seems to help me get out of book slumps! Three years ago, towards the end of 2015, when I finally got out of quite a lengthy book slump, it was a book called Why the Dutch Are Different, by Ben Coates, which got me in the mood for reading again. Back to the book about ego, though, and I think there are a lot of people who really could do with reading this and taking on board the message. I’m thinking particularly of an orange-faced bloke with a bad wig and childish demeanour, a bus-parking Portuguese football manager, and a certain female ex-friend of mine who failed to take the hint even after I blocked her arrogant arse on all social media platforms two years ago!

As I’ve just mentioned a bit of footy again, I should mention that my season ticket came on Wednesday! Yay! I do wish we’d get a manager who plays attractive, attack-minded, entertaining football, though! And who doesn’t criticise his players in public. Surely there must be a new Fergie out there?! Someone who would go back to having the lads play the United way instead of all that tedious bus-parking shite?! (By the way, in case you’d forgotten, shite is a technical term!)

Let’s have a look at the other books on that photo at the top of this blog… The Mermaid, by Christina Henry, is a reworking of a fairy tale, The Fire Court, by Andrew Taylor, is historical fiction, and the sequel to The Ashes of London, which I read and enjoyed last year, and Notes On a Nervous Planet, by Matt Haig, is non-fiction and deals with mental health issues and the increase in stress and anxiety levels worldwide. The thing with Matt Haig is that he writes both fiction and non-fiction!

The Nancy Mitford novella, Wigs On the Green, is my current book club book and I am 34% of the way through it with a couple of weeks to go before my next meeting at Waterstone’s Deansgate, which will be on 15th August. The red bookmark is one that I have made using my afro comb as a knitting loom, lol! Think it has come out quite well! Wigs On the Green sends up fascists, hence the reason Stephanie and I chose it. Anything taking the piss out of the far-right is fine by me!

Earlier this month, it was my friend Sarah’s birthday, so I popped up to Preston with her pressies and card. Her main pressie is that we’re going to see Madness in December at the Manchester Arena, and I can tell you all now because she knows! Anyway, she was able to lend me What Does This Button Do? by Bruce Dickinson, the Iron Maiden frontman and qualified pilot, so I have started that and I want to have read it in time to return it to her when she comes for the Madness gig. I know December’s a bit of a way off, but if I don’t get started, it’ll be upon us all too quickly. Only just started that one, though so it’s not technically an OC yet until it reaches 10%. Islander by Patrick Barkham, as I may have mentioned previously, was picked up on my jollies in the Cape Verde Islands last month. That’s up to 14%, but it has now been overtaken by The Man I Think I Know, by Mike Gayle, which I discovered thanks to the Zoe Ball Book Club on telly. I am already on 17% and I only got it on Wednesday night when I was at the Trafford Centre. Really enjoying it already!

On my Kindle, there are a couple of ongoing concerns, those being Twisting My Melon, by Shaun Ryder, currently on 55%, and Fire Woman, by Josephine Reynolds, on 25% – that one being her true account of how she became Britain’s first female firefighter. I read an article not long ago, and ended up downloading the book for my Kindle Paperwhite.

I would continue, I do have more recent books to mention, lol, but sitting here at my laptop is doing NOTHING to cool me down at all! Therefore, I shall have to do another blog and mention some more recent purchases, but at least I have got a second blog published for this month and I have finished at least one book, so a considerable improvement on June, lol! Until the next time, try to keep cool and hydrated, and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Instructions For a Heatwave – Maggie O’Farrell
  • The Trouble With Goats and Sheep – Joanna Cannon
  • Summer of ’76 – Isabel Ashdown
  • Ego Is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday
  • Why the Dutch Are Different – Ben Coates
  • The Mermaid – Christina Henry
  • The Fire Court – Andrew Taylor
  • The Ashes of London – Andrew Taylor
  • Notes On a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig
  • Wigs On the Green – Nancy Mitford
  • What Does This Button Do? – Bruce Dickinson
  • Islander – Patrick Barkham
  • The Man I Think I Know – Mike Gayle
  • Twisting My Melon – Shaun Ryder
  • Fire Woman – Josephine Reynolds

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Overdue May Review, and New Device

May 2018 book and bookmarks

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Sorry for the delay, but the first part of this blog needs to be the May Review, although it will be pretty short as I didn’t exactly read much! What you see above, two bookmarks and a book, is the grand sum of what got finished last month! It was while I was cross-stitching the bookmarks that I felt myself getting more into my stitching again, so that has kinda taken over, although it will have to take a back seat after Sunday as I won’t be doing any more with needles and floss until I get back off my jollies, about which more later!

So, I finished Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction, by David Seed, and made a couple of bookmarks. I did get to around a quarter of The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, which will be resumed, even if it wasn’t read in time for my book club. Our next meeting for that is 4th July, and we’ll be reading Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng for our next meeting.

Before I go any further, I was saddened to learn today that chef and author, Anthony Bourdain, has died. As I have mentioned on this blog plenty of times, I read the Bourdain Omnibus a good while ago now, when I was still working at Albert Bridge House, so we’re talking before 2009, and absolutely LOVED it! I would definitely say it’s amongst my favourites! Not being from the US, I didn’t get to see his TV shows in recent years, but I have read a couple of his books – that omnibus is two books in one – Kitchen Confidential and A Cook’s Tour. Rest in Peace, Anthony.

(All 3 books listed in case you’ve read the omnibus, or read the books separately.)

Right then, back to the books. I think, in one of my March or April blogs, shortly after Earth Hour, I put a photo on here of my Sony E-reader and my Kindle. Not entirely sure when I actually got my Sony device, but I got my Kindle, which is a 4th generation one, apparently, back at the end of 2011 – feel free to peruse the archives from around August or September 2011 to November, and you can read about the whole Kindle Saga from back in the day, lol!

Anyway, I’ll have had that Kindle 7 years by the end of this year, and I think I might have mentioned that I feel the battery goes down quite quickly considering it’s switched off a lot of the time, and I am pretty sure I mentioned a month or two ago that I was considering getting myself a new one some time soon… This is where Yammer comes in… Yammer is a social media platform for council staff, and because I’m on it, I get notifications in my inbox at work… so I get one earlier this week that one of my colleagues is selling a Kindle Paperwhite for a mere £60! So, I like the post and express my interest.

Not only had it not been sold yet, but the lady selling it works not too far from where I work! Basically, just down the road a bit! I thought it might have gone at that price, but I was in luck! They’re about £110-120 to buy absolutely brand new, so this was almost new and £60 and also came with a case for it! Plus a charger, of course.

E-readers June 2018

Left to my own devices!

The one in the leopard-print cover is my new Paperwhite, and the ones lying down are the Sony Reader and my other Kindle! I have simply added my new Kindle to my devices. I still have my books on my original one, plus I also have the Kindle app on my iPad, so can read books on that too – actually, if I want to see anything in colour, the iPad would be the one to use! My other two Kindles are black and white. Not really that arsed, though. Most of the stuff I read doesn’t need to be in colour unless there are perhaps some diagrams or photos.

I was doing some reading on my new Kindle yesterday, once I’d got it set up – resuming Twisting My Melon, by Shaun Ryder, which is now up to 41% read. I will probably continue that one as I head off on my hols very shortly! That’s going to be what I need to sort out over the weekend. Well, on Sunday, anyway, when I’m doing my packing. Tomorrow is the church summer fair at St Paul’s so I’ll be helping Mum out on the stall there, but Sunday will be the time to get the suitcase and hand luggage out and sort out the vast majority of what’s coming with me. The odd thing might need to go in right at the end, in the early hours of Monday morning, but most packing will be done the previous day.

I have already said, of my physical books, that Dune, by Frank Herbert, is definitely coming to Cape Verde with me so I can read Dune on a dune, lol! I have also decided on a definite non-fiction choice of Spirals In Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells, by Helen Scales. As this will be a beach holiday, the book about seashells seemed apt. I was also thinking about Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green, given that we might even see some turtles nesting, but that particular work of YA fiction is a hardback, and I’m already taking Dune! Perhaps I should pack Skyfaring: A Journey With a Pilot, by Mark Vanhoenacker? I’ve had that one a while. Should get it read, especially as my paternal grandad was a pilot! No wonder I like flying!

Congratulations to Casey Stoney, who has been appointed the Head Coach of Manchester United’s women’s team! As long as she gets our lasses playing the United way, with attack-minded, entertaining football, that will be the main thing! The less said about that bus-parking numpty in charge of our men, though, the better! Don’t get me started on him, other than that he needs to take the brake off on that damn bus or he needs to do one! I have a good mind to start instigating the waving of white hankies in the coming season, which is what the fans do in Spain when they’re fed up with the manager and want him out! Jose’s managed in Spain, so he should know what it would mean if the Red Army started getting the white hankies out at Old Trafford!

World Cup starts next week, while we’re on the subject of footy! No doubt I’ll probably watch a game or two on a screen in the hotel bar or something as I’ll still be on my jollies when things get going in Russia! Sadly, I don’t really rate the chances of my national team making much progress. England are a bit too shite these days (technical term, obviously, lol!) so they’ll either go out at the group stage and be home from Russia before the proverbial postcards, or they will somehow scrape into the knockout stages and then lose in a penalty shoot-out, which is just a very normal way for England to exit a tournament! Seen it all too often over the years, and that’s included times when England have been half-decent!

No idea what bloody time games are going to be on in Cape Verde, though! I mean, there’s a difference of 3 hours between Moscow and the UK, with the Russians ahead of us, and then the time in the Cape Verde Islands is 2 hours behind the UK, so that’s a good 5 hours’ time difference, and some parts of Russia, where games might be taking place, might be even further ahead! Bloody big place, Russia, unlike either my native home or my imminent holiday (vacation) destination! If matches are on at stupid times, I can always console myself by reading Football in Sun and Shadow, by Eduardo Galeano, a book I bought recently, at the same time as the one about seashells.

Helliconia, by Brian Aldiss, is definitely NOT coming with me! It’s far too chunky! Besides which, I’ve already chosen Dune for some chunky science-fiction, lol!

Oh, perhaps I should just get this finished and published so I can have a damn good look at the book situation and decide on my holiday reading matter?! Take care, and until next time, Happy Reading! If you’re also off on your holidays (vacation), take care and have a safe journey there and back!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction – David Seed
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
  • The Bourdain Omnibus – Anthony Bourdain
  • Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain
  • A Cook’s Tour – Anthony Bourdain
  • Twisting My Melon – Shaun Ryder
  • Dune – Frank Herbert
  • Spirals In Time – Helen Scales
  • Turtles All the Way Down – John Green
  • Skyfaring – Mark Vanhoenacker
  • Football in Sun and Shadow – Eduardo Galeano
  • Helliconia – Brian Aldiss

 

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April Review – Birthday and other news

Birthday photo 23 04 2018

Me on my birthday at Patisserie Valerie in town

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Here we are at the end of April, and it’s been pretty busy, hence the low number of blogs and low number of books finished off this month! After three months on the trot where I finished off 5 books and published 6 blogs, we’re down to two books and three blogs, but that’s how these things go. I might get a month where I get loads of books finished off, so there’s time yet to meet, and then exceed, my 30 book target on Goodreads.

I finished off The Vile Victorians, from the Horrible Histories series by Terry Deary, which was a quick read at the start of April, and the other book I read this month was Six Little Miracles, by Janet Walton, about her sextuplets, who are now in their thirties! My sister is now reading this book.

6 Little Miracles finished

Shortly after Easter, I was taking advantage of a guest pass which my mum had for her gym, where I could go for up to 14 days, so I was going to David Lloyd in Trafford Park quite a bit in early to mid April, and either going for a work out on the exercise bikes and treadmill, or going for a swim, which may also contribute to the lower book tally this month. I do need to look at joining a gym, to burn off at least some of the stuff I eat at work, lol, although it will probably be the council-run leisure centres who get my membership, especially as I would get staff discount on the monthly cost, and wouldn’t have to pay a joining fee – perks of where I work!

Talking of work, I am there until at least the end of July, although there are certainly hints of continuing beyond then, as my manager said if I wanted to book any time off in August, I should get my requests in. We are awaiting the outcome of a review, which is why they can’t make anyone permanent at the moment, but it might be possible once we have that review. As long as they still want me, which they seem to do, that’s the main thing!

Therefore, once I knew I was going to be working until at least the end of July, I decided that it was time jollies were booked! Mum and I last went away at the end of 2016, going to Marrakech, Morocco, in October-November 2016, which we really enjoyed. This time, we’ll be chilling out in the Cape Verde Islands and it’ll be rather sooner than the autumn. After the footy season’s over, though!

I can’t bloody believe we’re nearly at the end of yet another season! Where the hell do they all go?! Yesterday, when we beat Arsenal 2-1 at Old Trafford, that was our penultimate home game for 2017-18! We have two away games, against Brighton and Hove Albion, and against West Ham United, and then we end the Premier League season at home to Watford! Of course, we do have the FA Cup Final to look forward to, as well, when we will play Chelsea at Wembley on 19th May, but my last fixture of this season will be that Watford game. Not going to Wembley this time, too near my jollies, really, and it’s not as though I’ve not been in recent times! So, there won’t be the blog about which books I should take down to Wembley, but there may well be a blog about which books I should pack in my suitcase!

It was also the last time Arsene Wenger would be the visiting Arsenal manager at Old Trafford, having recently announced that he was stepping down at the end of this season after 22 seasons in charge of the Gunners! It won’t be the same without him telling the media that he didn’t see the incident, lol! He got a commemorative silver vase, which was presented to him by Sir Alex Ferguson before the kick-off yesterday, a move which Arsene has described as “classy”. Truly the end of an era. I hope that the Gooners can end the Wenger era on a high note by winning the Europa League so that Arsene bows out with silverware! I know they’ve got to win away after a 1-1 draw in the home leg against Atletico Madrid, but they can do it!

We definitely need to score far more goals next season, though, especially if we have any serious ambition to bring the Premier League trophy back to Old Trafford! (It’s high time we did! 2013 is getting to be a bit too long ago now!) Parking the bus does NOT win the league over here! That might work in a defensively-minded league such as Serie A in Italy, but English football is about an attack-minded game and entertainment! Parking the bus should be restricted to a temporary tactic for the first 15 minutes of a European away game, where it is a good idea to keep the home team quiet and thus shut their fans up, lol, but other than that, it should be attack, attack, attack!

I know some Reds moaned that LvG’s style of play was boring and there was a lot of going sideways rather than forward, as though our players were crabs in a past life, but the same can easily be said about these past two seasons under Jose Mourinho. I have failed to notice any significant difference in the level of entertainment! There have been some more comebacks from losing positions, which is promising, and a reminder of the Fergie days, but that needs to happen ANY time we are not winning – there needs to be that urgency in all matches – you can’t just pick and choose which games you make an effort in!

Some more of my match-day ebook was read yesterday on the way home from our late win over the Gooners, and I have now reached 30% of Twisting My Melon, by Shaun Ryder, putting it level with The Cellist of Sarajevo on the Ongoing Concerns list. Hawksmoor, at 58% read, has now been overtaken by Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction, by David Seed, which is at 61%. I’ve got 30 days until my next book club meeting, as that is on 30th May, but I have now started The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, and have reached the 10% mark, so we’re up and running! It’s the first YA book for a while, and it’s a current Handbag Book.

Birthday pressies from work 2018

Birthday pressies from my colleagues! 🙂

Obviously, as well as all the Easter eggs, gymming, footy and occasional bits of reading, lol, April means Chief Bookworm’s Birthday, and I am now the grand old age of 45! You’ll be pleased to learn that there were some Waterstone’s gift cards amongst my pressies, one from my colleagues on the admin team at work, and one from our friends the Wisemans, so more books will be acquired. OK, books will be acquired anyway, but especially when there’s gift cards…

Ah, now I remember something else from the last time I’d blogged… I’d just got a new mobile phone, I’d upgraded after almost four years of my Sony Xperia Z2, and got myself the Sony Xperia XZ1, which is a lovely phone. However, at the time of blogging, I had a slight problem – the sim card was too big for my new phone! Hence one more night of the old one. The following day, I went to the O2 shop after work and got my new mobile sorted out and all up and running – have I ever said on here how much I love O2 Gurus?! They’re bloody brilliant! One of them helped me out online that first night and explained that I would need a smaller sim for my new phone and what I needed to do, and then another Guru helped me out in the shop when I was at the Trafford Centre the next night!

Before I wrap this up and finish the monthly review, I shall mention a few books I have acquired of late. Because Patisserie Valerie on Deansgate is right next to Waterstone’s, there was no way I could be in town on my birthday without at least a browse in my natural habitat, lol! I ended up coming away with Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler, a bit of science-fiction of the time travel variety, and The Senility of Vladimir P, by Michael Honig, which seemed like it might be a good laugh! That one actually brings us up to 200 books mentioned on this year’s blog list on List Challenges! Of course, you won’t see that until the very end of this year or the start of next year, but we’re up to 200 different books mentioned already!

Also should mention that I have an Arndale Centre gift card. Not technically a birthday pressie, although I did pick it up on my birthday, but it was from the Volition course at the Manchester Cathedral visitors’ centre – if you recall, I was on a course there last summer prior to starting my current job in the September, and it was to do with getting in a job and still being in one earlier this year when they got in touch with me. I have got a lot left on the card, but I did treat myself to a couple of books, as there is a Waterstone’s in the Arndale! I think the only places in the Arndale which don’t accept the card are the key-cutting kiosk and some of the pound shops, but everywhere else accepts it.

I bought myself Dune, by Frank Herbert, and The City and the Stars, by Arthur C. Clarke. Dune is a bit of a chunky monkey of a book, but I am still quite tempted to take it on my jollies with me, if only to say I’ve read Dune on a sand dune, lol! I could start a theme here – Relevant Reads! So, if you’ve ever read War Horse while sitting on a horse, or The Beach while sunning yourself on a beach, do let me know! If you’ve got photographic evidence, even better!

Anyway, that is about it for now! Let’s see what May brings, particularly on the book front, but until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Vile Victorians (Horrible Histories) – Terry Deary
  • Six Little Miracles – Janet Walton
  • Twisting My Melon – Shaun Ryder
  • The Cellist of Sarajevo – Steven Galloway
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • Science Fiction: a Very Short Introduction – David Seed
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • Kindred – Octavia E. Butler
  • The Senility of Vladimir P – Michael Honig
  • Dune – Frank Herbert
  • The City and the Stars – Arthur C. Clarke
  • War Horse – Sir Michael Morpurgo
  • The Beach – Alex Garland

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Twisting My Melon, Man!

Vile Victorians finished April 2018

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

April is here, 3 weeks to go until Chief Bookworm reaches the grand old age of 45, lol, and we already have a book finished this month, as I decided to plump for another book in the brilliant Horrible Histories series! Bit of a jump in time from The Slimy Stuarts, which I read last month, but I thought we’d get April under way with The Vile Victorians! So that is my 16th finish of the year, with more books to come. The Horrible Histories series is written by Terry Deary, by the way. I actually went to a Horrible Histories event some time ago now, at the Imperial War Museum North on Salford Quays – as I recall, it was the Frightful First World War event. Possibly around 10 years ago in 2008 to mark 90 years since the end of World War I, but don’t quote me on that. I do know there’s a photo album of mine on Facebook from that event, and I have a tin hat on in one of the photos!

Right then, enough about the Horrible Histories for now, although I’m pretty sure there’ll be more about that series in future blogs! Saturday saw me at Old Trafford for United v Swansea in the Premier League, which we won 2-0 thanks to goals from Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, and as I had finished my previous match day ebook, The Man in the Middle, by Howard Webb, I needed to find something else suitable on my Kindle for the journey home, and I found it in Twisting My Melon, the autobiography of Shaun Ryder of Happy Mondays fame! He’s from round this way, he’s a fellow Red, and I had already started this book a while ago, so I decided I would resume matters and this is now my main ebook, particularly for home matches, although I might read it even when I’m not off to watch the lads.

Weirdly enough, I was in town last week, having gone to get my bus and tram pass sorted, and having done that, and done a bit of retail therapy, I was eating at Wagamama and they played “Step On” by the Happy Mondays, which includes that bit “You talk so hip, man, you’re twistin’ my melon, man!” and was in the charts back in the summer of 1990 when I was 17 and at Eccles College, halfway through my two year A Level courses! Took me right back to all that Madchester rave on stuff in my late teens! Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, James, Inspiral Carpets… all that malarkey… and, of course, New Order teaming up with the England squad for “World In Motion”, one of that year’s number ones and one of the best footy records ever!

Actually, when England came 4th at that summer’s World Cup in Italy, that was the best they’ve ever done in my lifetime! It’s still the best they’ve ever done in my lifetime, and I can’t really expect them to do ‘owt  in this year’s World Cup because they’re a bit too shite these days (shite being a technical term, of course) and I suspect they’ll be home before the postcards, as the saying goes!

Bookmarks 2018 so far

Right at the end of last month, although I hadn’t quite managed it in time for that final blog in March, I finished the red bookmark in the middle of the above photo. I then got the Space Invaders one stitched before we were into April. I just decided to look up patterns for space invaders on Pinterest, and then used my iPad to refer to the charts as I stitched a few and ended up making it look like a little game in progress! I stitched my initials and the year to look like a high score. My geek is showing, yes I know! Then again, I have read a few science fiction books already this year and plan to read a few more. I might even resume Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, which is here by Computer Corner. I think it’s actually a film now – most books get made into films these days. I’ve not been to the cinema for donkey’s years, though! I can’t even remember which was the last film I went to the flicks to see!

It’s not that I don’t like films. I do, and sometimes I see a trailer on telly or Facebook for a film, and think “That sounds really good”, but then I never get around to going to see it! Even with TV dramatisations, it’s the same – I recorded The Miniaturist on my Sky+ box at Christmas and it’s still there, not yet watched! That’s the Jessie Burton novel, in case you were wondering. As I mentioned in the last blog, The City & The City, by China Miéville, is being broadcast as a TV series starting this coming week, I think, so I might record that. Whether I will get around to watching it is another matter, though, lol! About the only thing I’ve been watching lately is Masterchef!

That must have been going donkey’s years by now! Originally, it used to be presented by Lloyd Grossman, who had a seriously annoying voice! A good one for ripping the piss out of in comedy sketches, though! He also used to present Through The Keyhole. Not sure how long Masterchef has been going in its current format and with current presenters but a good few years now, I reckon, as I’ve been watching it now for around 4 years or so, I think. I like Greg Wallace and John Torode, the current presenters. You know you’ve been watching it a few years when you remember previous winners and finalists when they come back in for the current contestants to cook for!

Enough about cookery shows, or I’ll just make myself hungry!

 

Junior Bookworm then and now

You won’t be terribly surprised to learn that I bought my niece and nephew a couple of books each for Easter. They both love books, and Charlotte has been known to read to Reuben. She loves books so much she can barely wait until she gets out of the bookshop to start reading her latest purchases! Definitely taking after her auntie!

Charlotte outside Waterstone's March 2018

Charlotte just outside her natural habitat… This was a few days ago. Good Friday, I think. Charlotte needed an eye test, so Ellie took her and Reuben off to the Trafford Centre, and as well as the optician’s, there was a visit to Waterstone’s, and Charlotte was so keen to get started on her latest purchases that she sat down and started reading as soon as she’d got out of the shop!

Anyway, just over a week to go to book club, but as you already know, North and South has been put on hold. I may resume it some time in the future. On the other hand, I might not. We can, however, safely say that it is nowhere near finished, barely started in fact, and thus I’m just going to have to admit it’s not my thing come next Wednesday, and hope that our next choice of book is more appealing.

At least I DID make some progress with Hawksmoor! The Peter Ackroyd novel is now 58% read, so we are over halfway with that now. I might as well make some more progress with that before book club, as well as continuing Six Little Miracles, about the Walton Sextuplets. My sister has asked to borrow that one once I’ve read it. That one’s at 22% and Twisting My Melon is currently at 25% – not done too badly over Easter with the books and bookmarks! Been quite a productive long weekend!

That’s about it for now, then. I think we’ve had all the news on the book front. So, I shall now get this finished off and published, and you can have a good read of where I’ve got up to over Easter when I’ve not been scoffing chocolate or hot cross buns, lol! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Slimy Stuarts – Terry Deary
  • The Vile Victorians – Terry Deary
  • The Frightful First World War – Terry Deary
  • The Man In the Middle – Howard Webb
  • Twisting My Melon – Shaun Ryder
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
  • The City & The City – China Miéville
  • North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • Six Little Miracles – Janet Walton

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March Review and Childhood Cookbooks

Word for World is Forest finished March 2018

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Another month, another 5 books finished! I can’t guarantee I will be this consistent all year, but so far in 2018 I have finished 5 books and published 6 blogs each month! This means I am now on at 15/30 on my Goodreads Challenge – half way to my target and we’ve only had three months so far. Also, a third of the way to matching the total of 45 books which I managed to finish off in 2017!

There’s another bookmark on the way. Might just about get it finished before the month is over, but not in time for this blog. It is nearly done though. Only needs the back-stitching finishing and a tassel of some sort adding.

So, anyway, we’re at the end of March 2018, I have 77 followers now, so thanks to all of you for putting up with my random waffle, and welcome to some of the new followers who have discovered this blog of late. These blogs go right back to August 2010, so feel free to mosey around in the archives. I have published over 200 book blogs, and have been pretty prolific in the last year or so. Before that, it was rather inconsistent.

Time to move on to the actual books now, lol, and let’s look at what I’ve finished off in March. My first finish for the month, and it seems like ages ago now, was The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier, which was a brilliant read. A couple of quick-to-finish children’s books came next, Fantastic Mr Fox, by Roald Dahl, and The Slimy Stuarts, by Terry Deary, the latter being a book from the Horrible Histories series. I had picked up a few Horrible Histories books at a charity shop in Swinton after work one night!

Towards the end of this month, in the past week or so, two more books have taken my monthly total up to five. First up was my ebook, The Man In the Middle, by Howard Webb, which had started off as my match day book as I had been reading it to pass the time in the car while stuck in the car park at Old Trafford, or in Trafford Park, on the way home from one of our home games, but I ended up reading it on days when I wasn’t heading to the Hallowed Ground, and finished it off at home one night last week!

Finished books 29 March 2018

Bringing my monthly total to a consistent five, I finished off The Word for World is Forest, by Ursula K. Le Guin, last night, thus adding another science-fiction book to my read list, and Don Davidson to my Literary Shovel List! Whilst I didn’t find him quite as anger-inducing as the bigoted nutjob Joseph Strorm, Davidson certainly needs a good thwack on the head with The Shovel, and he has to be added to Humans In Science Fiction Novels Who Are An Embarrassment To The Species! As with my feelings of sympathy towards the mutants in The Chrysalids, I quickly took the side of the “Creechies” in Le Guin’s novella. I think, once I’d have given Davidson the Shovel treatment, I would then grab him warmly by the throat and yell “Stop showing us all up, you arrogant knobhead!”

At least, for now, the interplanetary embarrassment is only in works of fiction. Bad enough that, in real life, there are too many dicks here on Earth who embarrass the species as a whole, and their part of the planet in particular, without going to new planets and behaving in that manner! The novella was written in the late 60s and early 70s, being first published in 1972, the year before I came into this world. It’s easy to see it as a damning criticism of some of the worst atrocities committed during the war in Vietnam, but it’s still pretty relevant now, especially with the concept of male privilege – you could see some of the “yumans” in the plot, Davidson in particular, exhibiting what might be called Earthling Privilege, lording it over the poor Creechies whose planet they’d invaded and buggered up ecologically! Having screwed their own planet up in the first place, they’ve buggered off to mess some other planet up as well and piss off the inhabitants.

Don Davidson definitely joins the Shovel List. By contrast, I liked Raj Lyubov, who was one of the few who made an effort to treat the Creechies with respect and learn about their way of life.

Will I continue with The Chrysalids? Maybe, but it is on hold for now. I might even make some attempt at North and South, a final go to see if it does grab me, but if it doesn’t, no point plodding on with it. I will just have to accept it is one of those which hasn’t fizzed on me. Won’t be the first, and I doubt very much it will be the last. I do not persist with books I’m not enjoying. As you already know, I don’t agree with all that bullshit about not giving up. Sometimes, giving up is the wisest thing you can do. If you’re making no progress at something, and not enjoying it, time to pack it in! You might have to try a bit harder if you need to read a book for the purposes of your academic or professional attainment, but if you don’t have to read it for education or employment, and you’re not enjoying it, time to put it down and find a different book!

Hawksmoor‘s still hanging around, and I plan to get some of that read this weekend, another chapter at least, get it past the halfway stage. It’s been on 49% for a while, so time we took it beyond 50, especially if I just accept that North and South isn’t doing it for me. The other book whose title you can see on the wipeboard on the top photo of this blog is Six Little Miracles, by Janet Walton. I found it at a charity shop in Swinton the other day. For those of us who were around in the UK in the 1980s, you may recall the birth of the Walton Sextuplets, the six girls born in 1983 – well, this is their mum’s autobiography, the memoir of growing up, meeting her husband, and trying for a baby – then ending up with half a dozen of them at once!

Childhood cookbooks

My first recipe books!

Talking of growing up, Veronica Henry, author of The Beach Hut and How To Find Love In a Book Shop, amongst other novels, posted a photo on Instagram the other day which had me going back to my childhood, as it featured a book I’d received when I was a kid, either a birthday or Christmas present – a recipe book called My Learn To Cook Book – funnily enough, I still have it, alongside The Mr Men Cookbook! Both of those have some damn good recipes in them! The former is by Ursula Sedgwick, and the latter by Roger Hargreaves. Mr Topsy-Turvy’s Upside Down Pudding is particularly good!

SF purchases March 2018

Onto recent purchases now, and then we can think about What To Read Next, that great bookworm dilemma, lol! I was in town yesterday, essentially to get my bus and tram pass sorted for another month, but any old excuse to do a spot of retail therapy while there, eh?! The books you see in that photo are Ammonite, by Nicola Griffith, Neuromancer, by William Gibson, and the one at the top of the pile there, Resistance is Futile, by Jenny T. Colgan. That comment by Matt Haig on the cover amused me enormously! “A riotous cocktail of geeks” – there’s a recommendation if ever there was one!

I’ve read a couple of his books, actually, both very different, but both great – The Radleys, and Reasons To Stay Alive. The former is fiction, and very funny, and the latter is autobiographical and a good read, especially if you’re looking for books relating to mental health issues. Also, I have How To Stop Time, and The Humans, right here by Computer Corner, on my science fiction row between the robot bookends!

I could always read one of the new purchases. After all, I’ve finished the Le Guin, so there’s room for some more science fiction on the OC List. Non-fiction is accounted for, of course, with the Walton sextuplets book I mentioned earlier. I will also need a new choice of book on one of my e-readers for match day, so I will have to have a shufty on my Kindle and my Sony Reader to see if there’s anything I really fancy reading or resuming!

I could read The City and The City, by China Miéville, which is about to be dramatised in a 6 part series on the BBC starting just after Easter. That’s a paperback, though, not on my e-readers. I also had my eye on The Cellist of Sarajevo earlier today. I’d previously had two copies, it was one of my notorious Duplicate Books, lol, so I took one in to work with some other books, so that my colleagues can borrow and swap them, but I was giving some thought to reading my remaining copy of the Steven Galloway novel.

Well, I think that’s about it for now. Easter Long Weekend starts here! I will be back again with another blog before too long, lol, but until next time, have a lovely Easter, hope you get plenty of eggs and maybe some books, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl
  • The Slimy Stuarts (Horrible Histories) – Terry Deary
  • The Man In the Middle – Howard Webb
  • The Word for World is Forest – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
  • North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • Six Little Miracles – Janet Walton
  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • How To Find Love In a Book Shop – Veronica Henry
  • My Learn To Cook Book – Ursula Sedgwick
  • The Mr Men Cookbook – Roger Hargreaves
  • Ammonite – Nicola Griffith
  • Neuromancer – William Gibson
  • Resistance is Futile – Jenny T. Colgan
  • The Radleys – Matt Haig
  • Reasons To Stay Alive – Matt Haig
  • How To Stop Time – Matt Haig
  • The Humans – Matt Haig
  • The City and The City – China Miéville
  • The Cellist of Sarajevo – Steven Galloway

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Slaps, Shovels and a Slice of Pi…

book-selfie-march-2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Back again, and talking of back, mine is starting to recover from Sunday’s exertions! The Great Book Sort-Out left me with some discomfort in my lower back. Ended up getting heat patches from Boots on Monday, and also going to the gym with my mum after work so I could have a soak in the jacuzzi! I don’t normally miss having a bathtub – when we had our bathroom done a few years ago now, we did away with an actual bathtub and just had a shower cubicle, but I felt I could have done with a good soak in a bath on Sunday night!

Well, anyway, I did promise a blog about the Slap List and the Shovel List, so I think it’s time we got around to doing it! I have had a Literary Slap List for some years now – Characters from novels are put on this list if they are irritating or mildly annoying and I feel they would benefit from a good slap! However, some characters are just downright bloody awful! Characters who disgust me. Nasty pieces of work. Characters with serious attitude problems, characters who discriminate against other characters… For these, a slap is nowhere near enough, as I realised when I was reading The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham, one lunchtime at work, and I was finding myself absolutely appalled by Joseph Strorm’s attitude. He made me seriously angry and it dawned on me that a mere slap just wouldn’t suffice! Some characters need a heftier punishment! Like being whacked over the head with a particularly large and heavy shovel, for instance!

So, we now have the Slap List and the Shovel List, but which characters are on which list? Let’s go with a few novels I can think of and some of the characters who have made either of my rolls of shame, lol! WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS AHEAD!

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Ooh, there’s a few from Pride and Prejudice who annoyed me! I had to study this novel at high school for GCSE English Literature, as I have mentioned in previous blogs over the years, and there are several characters who annoyed me! Funnily enough, though, NOT Mr Darcy! Weirdly, he has never gone on my lists. I see him as quite a misunderstood character anyway, but let’s move on to the irritating people, which has to include three members of the Bennet family! For those who need a reminder, Mr & Mrs Bennet have 5 daughters, all old enough to marry, and Mrs B is fixated with trying to get them fixed up with blokes, married off, and out of the house as soon as she can.

Kitty and Lydia, the two youngest daughters, are two of the slappable characters here. Both of them are what we, in this day and age, would probably call airhead bimbos! All they ever do is ogle over soldiers from the local regiment! They are just vacuous airheads who are after getting off with fit squaddies, basically! If they weren’t slappable enough, their damn mother actually encourages this ogling! Therefore Mrs Bennet joins her two youngest girls on the slap list for being an overgrown bimbo!

Mr Collins, the vicar, or parson, or whatever – member of the clergy, anyroad, is the other one on the slap list. Can we say obsequious little toad? Ah yes, thought we could! He basically just sucks up to Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and is such an arse-licker that he definitely has to go on the Slap List! One of my fave bits when I was studying this novel at school was when Mr Bennet wittily says to Elizabeth;

“From now on, Elizabeth, you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never speak to you again if you do not marry Mr Collins, and I will never speak to you again if you do!”

I did mention Lady Catherine de Bourgh before, when I was saying how much Mr Collins licked her arse, and she used to be on the Slap List, but that’s because I didn’t previously have a Shovel List! However, I think she needs to change list and needs the Shovel as she is just a disagreeable old bag if ever there was one, and she has such double standards! She expects all other young ladies to have a list of accomplishments as long as their arms, but she makes excuse after excuse for her own offspring, claiming she’s too weak to do any of these activities. She’s not, she just simply lacks the talent at some of them, or hasn’t had the chance to try! So, it’s a whack on the head with the shovel for Lady C, and 4 characters getting a good slapping!

The Catcher In the Rye – J. D. Salinger

Yep, our old mate, Holden Caulfield! The archetypal teenage lad who really can’t be arsed with school, fails most of his subjects, having been turfed out of several other schools previously, and bunks off to New York to try to get served in a bar, although he’s clearly under-age… Holden remains on the Slap List. He reminds me of a lot of teenage lads when I was a teenage girl! All the stupid ones who arsed around and didn’t impress me at all! However, a shovel would be too harsh, so a slap it is!

The Chrysalids – John Wyndham

OK, so I am actually only around a quarter of the way through this one, but this is the reason I needed to invent the Shovel List… Joseph Strorm. Narrow-minded bigot, and clearly a hot-headed one who flew off the handle at his own son just because the lad expressed a thought that many of us have thought from time to time… if only we had an extra pair of hands! And then this arsehole flies into another rage at his lad simply because he has befriended a girl who has six toes!

As I have already said many times, I cannot stand people like Strorm. They just disgust me immensely, so Joseph Strorm is most definitely on the receiving end of a damn good whack on the head with The Shovel!

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

Basically, there are a whole host of characters whose mistreatment of Jude is deserving of a damn good walloping with the Shovel! Not sure re JB – he certainly deserves a slap, but perhaps he should get the shovel – after all, he mocked Jude, who was supposedly a friend, taking the piss out of his limping, and this essentially split the friends up quite badly – only Malcolm remains friends with JB after that incident. Jude won’t forgive JB, and nor will Willem. But if JB deserves the shovel, then there’s a whole host of other characters who need to be flattened into the ground with repeated blows from the shovel!

Jude’s own so-called parents, for starters. I mean, we don’t even know who they are! We discover that Jude was discovered by a monk. I got the impression that Jude was abandoned either as a baby or a very young child, and a monk found him and took him back to the monastery, which is where he was raised. However, Brother Luke, and several other monks, abused him, physically and sexually, so they deserve the shovel, too.

Then, when he is rescued by the cops, he is abused again while in state care, so yet more characters in need of the shovel, and then there’s Caleb. He meets Jude at a dinner party, but basically abuses Jude for being disabled (which has come as a result of all the previous abuse he’s been subjected to, poor bloke) so there’s a whole host of total arseholes who have treated Jude like shite throughout his life, and every single damn one of them needs a shovel to be brought down on their heads with great force!

So, those are a few recipients of either slaps or shovels from a selection of novels. More will be added if I can remember any, and if you have any suggestions for characters from books who need a good slap, or a whack over the head with a shovel, please feel free to let me know! Now we should move on, I think…

pi background

Happy Pi Day! OK, it’s not the way round we do the date here in the UK, as we do it dd/mm/yyyy, but in the US, they do it mm/dd so today is 3/14 to them, and 3.14 is the start of Pi, that never-ending number! The only book I can think of which mentions Pi in the title is the obvious one – Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, so, for a bit of fun, we shall look at books with PIE in the title! This may make you hungry, so perhaps you might want to eat a pie, lol!

I might be a bit biased here, as a northerner and a big fan of Stuart Maconie and his writing, but this pie-themed part of our blog does give me a chance to mention TWO of his books – Pies and Prejudice, and The Pie at Night, the latter of which I was probably finishing off this time last year! I’d started reading it on the coach when I went down to Wembley in late February for the EFL Cup Final against Southampton, so I must have finished it off in early or mid March, I reckon. It’s what I’m reading in the photo at the top, and I got my copy signed by Stuart last year when he came to Waterstone’s.

Another book I read and enjoyed, although this one is historical fiction, is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This is set in Guernsey during World War II, the Channel Islands being the only part of the British Isles which were actually occupied by the Germans. It was first published in 2008, and I read it for our book club some time ago now, so possibly around 2009 or 2010. It has been made into a film now. Mary Ann Shaffer died in early 2008, and when her health was deteriorating she asked her niece, Annie Barrows, to finish the rewriting and editing, hence both ladies are credited as authors.

pies

There’s also Gordon Ramsay‘s autobiography, Humble Pie, which I mean to get around to sometime soon, and a couple more with pie in the title which I have yet to read, those being Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie, a YA novel by Jordan Sonnenblick, and The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley, a mystery novel.

Also, not quite pie-titled, but Jay Rayner was on Masterchef the other day when I was catching up with episodes of the latest culinary contest, and he’d set a brief for the contestants to make him a pie! Sweet or savoury, he didn’t mind! I read his book, The Ten (Food) Commandments towards the end of 2016 when I could only read non-fiction books for the rest of that year because I had an epic Book Hangover on the fiction front after finishing A Little Life!

So, now we’ve had a few Pie Titles for Pi Day, a mention of pies on Masterchef, and I shall also get in the fact that I had a pie for lunch, lol, I think it’s time we had a brief progress report on the Ongoing Concerns, and then I shall bring this to a close for now. Two books have made progress, my ebook The Man in the Middle, by Howard Webb, which is now up to 26% having read it on the way home from the match last night and continued reading it once I got home – needed cheering up after that shite performance, and Webb’s book is VERY funny! He’s actually only a couple of years older than me, so 46 or 47 now – I’m heading rapidly towards 45, lol! The speed in RPM of a 7 inch single, as those of us who remember records and record players will know! Actually, they’re coming back now, and my mum bought a turntable not long ago, so I could dig out my record collection, lol!

Anyway, The Word for World is Forest, by Ursula K. Le Guin reached the 25% mark earlier this evening, so that’s another one reaching the first quarter!

I have taken North and South off the list for now. I have attempted to start it, as I said in a recent blog, but it’s not doing anything for me. Maybe I am totally out of the habit of reading classics, but I’m sure others have grabbed me more in the past. Maybe, though, a lot of those were the ones I read years ago at school or uni, the ones where I had a teacher or lecturer who was able to point out relevant bits to our class? I think that does help when it comes to the classic novels. Mind you, I read Great Expectations as an adult, long after my formal education ended, and enjoyed that without needing an educational professional to give me a hand! So it could just be that North and South is a bit slow-going for me? I shall give it more of a try, but if I find myself thinking I’m just plodding through this, I may have to give up on it and admit that at book club. If I find myself thinking “I’d rather be reading something else” when I’m reading it, it’s time to call it a day and put it to one side.

It’s also time I called it a day with this blog entry! Wow! Look how long it is! I’d better finish things off and blow the final whistle on it as it seems like it’s gone into extra time and a penalty shoot-out, lol! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  • Pies and Prejudice – Stuart Maconie
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  • Humble Pie – Gordon Ramsay
  • Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie – Jordan Sonnenblick
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Alan Bradley
  • The Ten (Food) Commandments – Jay Rayner
  • The Man in the Middle – Howard Webb
  • The Word for World is Forest – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

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