Category Archives: Foreign Languages

Sit Down With a Good Book!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

One week of July left, folks! Latest updates on the OC front coming later, but I have been promising you some photos of the book benches in Manchester, haven’t I?! I think I posted the above ones before, and those are amongst the benches in the Arndale Centre. This event is running for two months, from 10th July to 10th September, so if you’re in Manchester at any time, get yourself a map and try to find as many book benches as you can! They all seem to be indoors, and there’s plenty yet for me to check out, as I’ve not been to Central Library yet. I have, however, been in Manchester Cathedral and the National Football Museum, and there are benches in both those locations.

These are the ones in the Cathedral ( see above). Yes, you can sit on them, but you should also explore the other side, as they are illustrated on the back as well as on the bench bits!

These ones are in the National Football Museum, so people can sit on a book bench rather than the subs’ bench, I guess, lol! There are four benches in the museum, two on the ground floor and two on the second floor.

I guess I thought, at first, it would be like when we had Cowparade, which was in 2004 if I remember rightly. Although one or two bovines were indoors, and could be found in hotel receptions and Piccadilly Station, most of the cows were outdoors, so I was a bit taken aback not to see any book benches around town, but it seems they’re all indoors. Certainly the ones I have tracked down so far! There are supposed to be some on Salford Quays, so I will have to investigate those – at the Lowry I believe, some at the theatre and some at the outlet mall. Also, if I were to take a trip back to Chorlton, where I worked for three years, I understand there’s a book bench at Chorlton Library.

Chorlton was very good for books, as anyone scrolling through my archives of this blog will discover! Not been for a while, but certainly when I was working in that part of town from 2009 to 2012, there was the Chorlton Bookshop, the Oxfam Bookshop, and several other charity shops with a decent selection of bargain books! I bought that Roald Dahl box set, which I gave Charlotte for Christmas last year, when I was working in Chorlton, and, although I’ve yet to read it, I acquired A Game of Thrones, by George R R Martin for just 79p at the PDSA shop! Despite the TV series being called Game of Thrones, the actual book series is called A Song of Ice and Fire, with A Game of Thrones simply being the first book in what is an ongoing series, with another couple of books expected in the coming years.

I think I shall have to watch the excellent Thug Notes video again before I do attempt the book – I don’t know if you’ve ever watched any of the Thug Notes videos on YouTube, and they’re definitely Not Safe For Work because of the language, lol, but they are a brilliant guide to literature! You know when you’re at school or college and you’re studying some work of literature for your English exams, and you have study guides for that particular book, like Letts’ revision guides or York Notes?! Well, Thug Notes is like a video-based guide to literature in a very colloquial way!

As you know, I’m all in favour of stuff which encourages people to read who possibly wouldn’t. I’m against book-snobbishness, and I am all for things like Thug Notes. Also, it doesn’t matter which format you read in! Hardback, paperback, e-books, audiobooks, large print, Braille… the main thing is to read for pleasure. Yes, audiobooks count, especially if they are the unabridged versions. After all, along with large print and Braille books, audiobooks are good for those with visual impairments, and are more readily available as a format than large print editions or Braille books. E-readers do enable you to enlarge the font size, so those can help, too.

Charlotte bookmark 2017

Now that my niece has had her birthday, turning 7 on Saturday, I am able to show you the bookmark I made for her. I couldn’t really post this any sooner! I need to get on and mention a few more actual books, though, don’t I? I’ve been on about book benches and a bookmark, but let’s get down to mentioning some actual reading matter!

I had One Italian Summer and Neither Here Nor There in my handbag today, and managed to get a bit of each read at lunchtime. I think Keris Stainton must be a fellow Potterhead, as there is a mention of Voldemort in her novel! With the Bill Bryson book, I was reading about his visit to Amsterdam, a city I have visited twice, although I really must go again, as I’ve yet to visit any of the museums! I am now on for a chapter about Hamburg, which I have not really visited, but I did pass through the city in 1991 when I was going to Denmark with the City of Salford Youth Concert Band. We sailed from Harwich to Hamburg on the ferry, and then our coaches drove up through Germany and into Denmark. Coming home, though, we sailed from Esbjerg in Denmark back to Harwich.

I do believe, though, that there are parts of Hamburg where the walls have been coated with hydrophobic paint. Once a surface has been treated with this stuff, it repels liquids, and it has been done to stop drunken revellers peeing against the walls! If they attempt to answer the call of nature and have a wee against the wall, the wee rebounds back on them, wetting their shoes! Ruthless German Efficiency, if you ask me! If you’re a bloke, you’re in Hamburg, and you’ve been caught short, please DO find a proper public loo! You will need Toiletten, and Herren if you have a choice of Damen und Herren. Hope that helps!

On the footy front, STILL waiting for the stupid bloody Gnome to get his arse in gear and sign a couple more players as per Jose’s shopping list! Hence the books I am getting through while waiting for pigs to fly, lol! We had another pre-season friendly last night, and it finished 1-1, thus it went to penalties and one of the most farcical shoot-outs I’ve seen in a long time! If it were a film, you could promote it thus…

Starring Manchester United and Real Madrid in…


We won the shoot-out 2-1, so Real were even more useless from the spot than we were, although some of that was due to Dave’s Saves! DDG saved a couple of theirs, and they missed the other two they failed with! Our two successful penalties were converted by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Daley Blind, so our Dutch defender essentially won it for us. I should have a stroopwafel, then, shouldn’t I?! Dutchman scoring a goal! Thing is, I have less need for stroops now, as the Dutch players we still have at United are both defenders – Daley Blind and Tim Fosu-Mensah. I needed more stroops when RvP was still with us, but as Mr van Persie went to Fenerbahce in 2015, my stroop requirements have decreased in the past two years. I may well need Belgian chocolates, though, as we have signed Romelu Lukaku from Everton this summer, and he is a striker.

A couple of charity shop bargains were acquired earlier, from the Age UK shop in Salford, where I picked up Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne, and Iris & Ruby, by Rosie Thomas, which looked interesting. Anyway, I shall get this published and then you can admire the book benches! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Around the World in 80 Days – Jules Verne
  • Iris & Ruby – Rosie Thomas



1 Comment

Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Cross-Stitch, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Foreign Languages, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Junior Bookworms, Manc Stuff!, My Bookworm History, Ongoing Concerns, Television, Travel, YA Books

Educational Porpoises

Books that make you happy

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Don’t you think that above photo contains some much-needed advice?! I have lost count of the times I’ve had to rant about the unnecessary issues which seem to crop up all too often in the otherwise wonderful world of books! Therefore, I’m going to offer bits of advice and some random waffle here…

Firstly, the ONLY age restriction,when it comes to books, is for erotic novels! Such “mucky books” should only be read by those of us 18 years old or over! That, for me, is the only age restriction I would ever place on any book! If the content is of a sexual nature, it’s adults only. Otherwise, anything goes! Read above your age, read below your age. You could be 77 and reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, or you could be 7 and reading Pride and Prejudice. Whatever floats your boat!

Read books written by men, and read books written by women. If you only read one of those sets, you are missing out on some great books in the other set! Stop restricting yourself unnecessarily! It’s pointless and stupid!

The “Dead White Men” couldn’t help being white. Or male. And at least some of them may have been dead before their works finally got published! Some of them wrote some great books – don’t snub them just because you’ve heard some “right-on” person slagging them off! They didn’t choose their works to go on some literary canon or other, it wasn’t their decision, so don’t take it out on them! Try a bit of Dickens – I can recommend A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations.

PROPER diversity is about including everything, therefore in book terms, that means reading books by all sorts of authors INCLUDING some dead white men, it does not mean reading books by all sorts of authors except the DWM!

Read books by people from all around the world! Books give you the chance to “travel” when you have to stay where you are! Sometimes they can remind you of where you’ve been, or give you ideas of where you might want to go. Well, books set in real locations can, anyway. You might have a spot of bother doing this with fantasy fiction, as I’ve not yet discovered how any of us can get to Hogwarts, Narnia, Middle Earth or the Discworld! Sorry! You should still read some fantasy, though, but travel to those places is still only in our imaginations as yet. (A pity, ’cause I’d love to go to Hogwarts!)

Don’t over-analyse books and read loads of extra meanings into them! Yes, OK, you might have learned this skill at school, college or uni, and might have to apply it to certain books you are studying, but I can assure you there is NO need to apply it to any other books you’re NOT studying! I had to do it in my student days, but it’s not something I’ve bothered with since graduating! As I’ve said before, if an author describes a room as blue, it simply means the room was decorated in that colour scheme, it does not necessarily mean the author was going through a bout of depression when he or she wrote that book!

If you’ve ever read, or even heard of, A Farewell To Arms, by Ernest Hemingway, and wondered if there was such a book as A Farewell To Legs, I’m pleased to be able to tell you that such a novel does exist! It’s by Jeffrey Cohen, and it’s the second book in the Aaron Tucker mystery series. So now you know!

There’s NO shame in reading Young Adult novels when you’re an older adult! There’s some damn good stuff out there which is seen as YA – don’t be afraid to read it! Yes, even on buses, trams or trains! I was already in my late 20s when I started reading the Harry Potter series, and it was recommended to me by one of my colleagues at work.

There’s also NO shame in reading younger kids’ books, either! There’s loads of good books out there for youngsters, and you can’t beat a bit of Roald Dahl! I’ve recently read Esio Trot, one of my niece’s books.

Join a library and borrow books for free! Not just physical books, but you can also borrow audiobooks, too. You may even be able to borrow e-books which would then go on your device for a limited time, just as you would borrow a physical book from a library for a number of weeks, but you’d have to check with your local library.

Check out charity shops for cheap books! There are plenty of bargains to be had! It is still on my notorious TBR pile, but I bought The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, from a charity shop, for a mere £1. AND it was the hardback edition! Epic Win! Also, if you do need to make space for new books, donate old ones you’ve read, or are probably not going to get around to reading, to charity shops so they can offer them as bargains to other bookworms!

As the penguin in the photo advised, read books which interest YOU! The raved-about books might not float your boat, and I myself have had issues with some of the books which have won prizes in recent years! Don’t get me started on Booker Prize Winners, lol! If you read the blurb, and the book appeals to you, read it. It doesn’t matter how popular it is, if it means something to you, that’s all you need to care about! No need to give a shit about what anyone else thinks!

If a book ISN’T grabbing you, give it around 70 to 100 pages, and if it still hasn’t done anything for you, put it down and find another book. There is NO point wasting time persisting with something you’re not enjoying, so unless you have to read it for educational purposes, or even educational porpoises, try another book. You can always try that book again later, see if it’s any better on a 2nd or even 3rd attempt, but you don’t have to finish it! Giving up is NOT a negative thing! It is a positive thing because it shows you’ve had the common sense to stop wasting your time with something you’re not enjoying, and you’ve decided to try something else instead! One day, I might try The Luminaries again, which was a book I didn’t make much progress with the first time I tried a few years ago. I swapped my original copy for a copy of Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier, which I loved, but I have since bought another copy of the Eleanor Catton novel at a charity shop, so it might end up being given a second chance.

Educational porpoises

Are there such things as educational porpoises? Who knows?!

Read fiction and non-fiction. Find factual stuff which interests you, and read about that, as well as reading stories. As I’ve said in other blogs, when I’ve been off on a rant, the ONLY distinction we ever need to make when it comes to any book is whether it is fact or fiction we are reading! We do NOT need to worry nor care whether an author is male or female! There is absolutely NO need to budget for any flying f**ks on that front, as they do not need to be given!

If you’re learning another language, try finding a translation of a book you already know in your own language. When I was studying GCSE Spanish at evening classes in the late 90s, I bought myself a copy of Charlie y la fábrica de chocolate – I’m pretty sure you can work out which Roald Dahl book that is…

Poetry anthologies can be dipped in to. Even with a “favourite poet” you’ll like some poems more than others. I don’t think we are meant to “get” every single poem, we are to find the ones which resonate with us. So, even if you’ve only read one or two poems by that particular poet, I’d still tick off the anthology if it turns up on List Challenges! A couple of my faves are quite long poems – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Goblin Market, by Christina Rossetti. The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe, is pretty good too.

There’s no such thing as too many books! The most common problem amongst bookworms is having insufficient bookshelves! I definitely experience this problem, lol! I think it’s time I brought this entry to a close, as I think I have covered most issues! As long as it’s not spam, do feel free to comment on these blogs. I appreciate that a lot of people seem to enjoy them, some entries more than others, but if there’s anything you want to ask or say, please do! As I said, as long as no-one’s spamming, and people are asking relevant stuff, I don’t mind!

So, until I publish another long waffly post onto this blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books and poems mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  • Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  • A Farewell To Arms – Ernest Hemingway
  • A Farewell To Legs – Jeffrey Cohen
  • The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
  • Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
  • The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  • The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • Charlie y la Fábrica de Chocolate – Roald Dahl
  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – Samuel Taylor Coleridge (poem)
  • Goblin Market – Christina Rossetti (poem)
  • The Raven – Edgar Allan Poe (poem)


Leave a comment

Filed under Adult Fiction, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Foreign Languages, Handbag Books, Humour, Literary Issues, Rants, YA Books

Take a Chill Pill, Doris!


I’d put your Big Coat on if I were you…

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

You’ll be pleased to learn that I am still here! Well, you should be pleased to learn that, lol, given that I had to put my Big Coat on and venture out to Eccles earlier today, braving all that Storm Doris could throw at me! Thankfully, she didn’t actually throw anything at me personally, but it was pretty damn windy and I saw at least one small tree which had been blown down. That Doris is bloody wild, and she needs to take a chill pill and sit down with a cuppa and a good book!

Actually, I’m the one sitting down with a mug of tea and a good book or two! Well, I’ve got my brew, and I’m at my computer, and I’m about to blog about books once I finish ranting about our “lovely” British weather! I know it’s February, but there really is NO need for it to be that bad! I imagine the Shipping Forecast is a bit wild today – I bet Charlie Connelly would be glad he’s not writing Attention All Shipping now and having to brave any waters around the UK, particularly here in the north-west! I predict the Irish Sea will be as rough as a badger’s arse – it is pretty damn rough at the best of times, I’ve had some infamous ferry crossings in my younger days, which I am in no hurry to repeat!

Something I WILL be repeating later this year is going to see the Pet Shop Boys! Not only did Sarah and I enjoy a fantastic gig at the Manchester Arena on Sunday night, but her birthday pressie to me (for my forthcoming 44th birthday in April) is a ticket to see Neil & Chris again on 21st June in Blackpool! She is still reading Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins, but will pass it on to me later this year once she has read it. Going back to Messrs Tennant and Lowe, I kinda gradually became a Pethead during the course of 1987, so by the end of this year, I will have been a PSB fan for 30 years! No, I can’t believe it, either! I can’t believe 1987 is so long ago!

Around the mid 80s, when I was 12 or 13, I really couldn’t give a toss who sung any particular record. I didn’t have a favourite band or singer, I just liked a lot of stuff in the charts and didn’t care who it was by. In the autumn of 1986, I absolutely adored “Suburbia”, but kept forgetting to tape it off the charts when I listened to the Top 40 on a Sunday evening, and I’d probably had to spend my pocket money on a birthday pressie for my dad, whose birthday is in September, so I guess I was skint, as per usual, lol, and thus couldn’t afford to pop to Play Inn, the record shop in Eccles, and buy the song on 7″ single.

The following summer, when “It’s A Sin” was number 1, my sister bought that record, and it was then that I discovered that it was that same duo who’d been responsible for “Suburbia” the previous year, so that’s probably when I started to become a fan, and so started the process which led to me being a Pethead, which I have now been for three decades!

Anyroad, back to the reading matter…


Most of those are ongoing concerns, with the exception of The President’s Hat, by Antoine Laurain, which was a former book club choice from a few years ago, which actually came with its own detachable bookmark! It is a partially-read book which had been in one of my containers for a while, but I thought I would dig it out again and perhaps continue with it, maybe once I’d finished with Mr Hawks and his travels around the Emerald Isle with a domestic appliance in tow… I have fewer than 100 pages to go now in Round Ireland With a Fridge, so it may well be read before I head to Wembley on Sunday for the League Cup Final between Manchester United and Southampton. I’m on page 150 of 248, so, yes, not all that much more to read. Pretty decent bet that this will be the next book I finish this year, my 9th on the Goodreads Challenge for 2017!

As detailed the other day, I’m on page 44 of Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella, but I only acquired that one on Tuesday when I was visiting my dad in hospital. He’s had his double bypass operation today, by the way, and will be in intensive care for a few days, probably brought out of controlled coma over the weekend. Page 44 out of 280 is 16% of the book, though, so it’s a decent start!

I’m on page 177, the start of chapter 14, in I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 53% of the way through, so in footballing terms, we’d be talking early minutes of the second half, lol! Zlatan is coming to Wembley with me, as you’d imagine. I’m also hoping the man himself is going to score at Wembley during the course of the match!

Now we come on to our chunkier books in my list of ongoing concerns… An Equal Music, and The Saffron Trail. I am on page 222 of An Equal Music, part-way through part 4 of the Vikram Seth novel, 46% of that read, so probably time I got that to at least the halfway point! I’m on page 295 of The Saffron Trail, start of chapter 29, which is apparently 55% of the way through Rosanna Ley’s novel.

I keep thinking perhaps I should start The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, or perhaps The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton, but both are big hardbacks, so neither of them would ever be a Handbag Book! No way would either of them come to Wembley with me, for instance! The Night Circus was a charity shop bargain, as I think I said before, a mere quid from the British Heart Foundation shop in Salford, and The Miniaturist was a freebie from book club a few years ago, and is now signed by Jessie Burton, as I met her last year at Waterstone’s on Deansgate when she came to talk about The Muse, thus I bought that and had it signed, too, but her debut novel had been a freebie in my case!

I’m off to weigh up my options for what to read next, particularly once I’ve finished with Mr Hawks and his progress around Ireland with his fridge, lol, so until the next time I blog, take care, don’t get blown away by Doris, and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • The President’s Hat – Antoine Laurain
  • Round Ireland With A Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  • The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
  • The Muse – Jessie Burton

1 Comment

Filed under Books, British Weather, Charity Shop Bargains, European Literature, Football, Foreign Languages, Free Books, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Music, Travel, Weather

The History Book On The Shelf…


“The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself…” – Waterloo.

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Or, should that be… God eftermiddag, andra bokmalar!

Had to look that one up, mind! I’ve studied French, German and Spanish in my time, plus I know a fair bit of Italian (a lot of musical terms are in Italian), bits and bobs of other languages, and a bit of British Sign Language, but I’m not all that familiar with Swedish!

Anyway, it seems that the Cheeto-faced, ferret-wearing shitgibbon thinks there was some sort of incident in Sweden the other day, and pretty much the whole of Sweden has tweeted to say this is nonsense, and that absolutely nowt has happened! I think the real reason that Washington Wiggy thinks something has happened in Sweden is because his tiny little brain, or what passes for one, cannot handle the fact that Swedes believe in treating EVERYONE decently, not just rich white (or should that be orange) blokes!

Anyway, as they have been on the receiving end of some of President Fart’s bullshit, it’s time to show our support for our Swedish chums by getting some Abba on and reading books by Swedes! Well, I’m halfway through I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, so that certainly counts! I also have The Very Best of Abba, as shown above. As it’s a book of sheet music, it counts on this blog!


A few of my Swede reads, and sheet music for Abba.

I wish I knew where the hell A Man Called Ove has got to! I know I have that bloody book, somewhere, but I can’t seem to find it right now! Anyway, if we’re going to read the Swedes, Fredrik Backman is just one author we can call upon.

If it’s crime you’re after, which is not really what I’m usually after, but if this is your cup of tea, there’s the Millennium Trilogy by the late Stieg Larsson, comprising of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest. There’s also Camilla Lackberg if it’s crime fiction you’re after, although I can’t name any of her books offhand. Crime’s not my genre, so I know of the author, but not of her books. Doesn’t stop any of you from doing your research and checking some out, though! Apparently, her first novel was The Ice Princess, first published in 2003 in Swedish, translated into English in 2008. So, there’s one of her books for you!

As I tend more towards humour, and I can’t put my hands on A Man Called Ove right now, I do have a few others in which I could consider on the Swede Reads front, including a couple by Jonas Jonasson, who does seem to go in for quite long titles, particularly with his debut novel, The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. I also have Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All, by the same author. I don’t have The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden, but that’s another of his.

In a similar vein to Jonasson’s debut novel about pensioners behaving badly, lol, I also have The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules, by Catharina Ingleman-Sundberg. Apparently, there’s a sequel, The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again!


I know! We’re just as baffled as you are, mate…

So, that’s quite a bit of Swedish fiction for you to be getting on with while we wait for the Mango Mussolini’s next gaffe when he spouts some more “alternative facts” (or “utter bollocks”, as a bunch of big fat fibs is usually known round here) about some other country where people have the nerve to treat their fellow human beings in a decent manner! I mean, fancy that! People treating each other decently, no matter what, and not just if they’re some rich white fella… no wonder the Tango-tinted tosser can’t get his badly-bewigged head around that concept!

Then again, with a bit of luck, he might be impeached soon enough. Or sectioned under the mental health act, or whatever the equivalent is on the other side of the Atlantic… Let’s face it, he is certainly not in touch with reality! Not entirely sure that Mr Fart and the real world have ever been formally introduced!

Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that he is stopped before he either insults, or at least baffles, some other unfortunate nation! In the meantime, we stand with our Swedish friends, and we’re digging the Dancing Queen, lol!

I’m off to watch highlights of Zlatan, our Swedish hero, scoring our winner against Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup 5th round yesterday! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Trevlig läsning! (Happy reading in Swedish)

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • The Very Best of Abba – Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaeus (sheet music)
  • A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
  • The Girl Who Played With Fire – Stieg Larsson
  • The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest – Stieg Larsson
  • The Ice Princess – Camilla Lackberg
  • The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson
  • Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All – Jonas Jonasson
  • The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden – Jonas Jonasson
  • The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules – Catharina Ingleman-Sundberg
  • The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again! – Catharina Ingleman-Sundberg

Leave a comment

Filed under Arsehole Politicians, Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, European Literature, Football, Foreign Languages, Music

Where I’m Reading From…


Good evening, fellow Bookworms, and here is the news…

I finished reading I Know This Much, Gary Kemp‘s autobiography, this evening, so I will be able to return both that book and Faster Than Lightning, by Usain Bolt, to my friend Sarah when she comes here next Sunday for the Pet Shop Boys gig at the Arena in town. Absolutely loved both books, so ta very much, Sarah, and I’m looking forward to reading Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins!

(As I mentioned in a recent blog, I have seen that one a few times on display at Waterstone’s and really fancied it, so I was very excited when she said she’d lend me that one next!)

Finishing Kemp’s book means I now have 8 books on my Goodreads Challenge for 2017. 22 to go to my initial total of 30. Doing alright so far, but then again I could say the same about last year’s challenge until I read A Little Life, lol! It all went a bit Pete Tong after that! Certainly as far as fiction was concerned, anyway, even if I did get a few items of non-fiction read after I’d finished Hanya Yanagihara‘s epic novel!

I’ve started dipping in to If I Could Tell You Just One Thing, compiled by Richard Reed, and it is the sort of book to dip in and out of, as it’s just full of bits of advice from countless people, some of whom I’ve certainly heard about, although there are a few I don’t have a clue about! OK, I’m hardly far into it, but I do like Stephen Fry’s advice about ignoring all life-coach advice as it’s all snake oil without exception! I’ve often felt that way myself. Self-help books might help a lot of other people, but I find them to be a crock of ableist shite! I am certain that the writers of those books ASSume that all their readers are 100% perfectly fit and able-bodied, because they do NOT take any sort of disability into account, either visible or invisible!

I think someone with a hidden condition would have to write something, then perhaps many of us could relate to the experience, especially if the writer expresses how frustrating and tiresome the whole experience is! If he or she wrote about how pissed-off they were with the over-high expectations others have of you because you look “normal”, and the accusations they hurl at you – accusations of making things up, not trying hard enough, not wanting to do whatever it is they were suggesting – and the way they make you feel as though it might be a good idea to get a copy of your medical records and highlight the parts which mention your disability and the effects it has on you and giving out copies to the disbelieving arseholes to shut them up! You shouldn’t have to feel like you need to present proof, but what else can you do when arseholes won’t believe you? Sick to death of not being believed! Especially about this matter.

I am not remotely sorry for this rant. I am beyond pissed-off with this sort of crap! Not my bloody fault my stupid body considers a lot of physical activities to be “unreasonable requests” is it?! Do you think I chose to be like this? To have a gland that doesn’t bloody work? I would LOVE to be able to do the same stuff as many other people, but no matter how hard I tried, and I DID bloody try throughout my childhood, MY STUPID BODY DID NOT WANT TO KNOW! Got that?! So the likes of Helen Adams, and all the other thoughtless, insensitive, tactless arseholes I’ve had to put up with in my life, can take their accusations and they can shove them up their f***in’ arses. Sideways!

Perhaps they should keep their gobs shut and their thoughts to themselves from now on? Before I end this rant, just a quick thought for these idiots to ponder on… the thyroid gland can stop working at any time in a person’s life, so there’s always the possibility that others could end up with at least a taste of some of the crap I’ve had to put up with in my life just because one tiny gland in my neck has never seen fit to work since I was a baby…

* ends rant and returns to books *

List Challenges have done it again, damn them! I was looking at someone’s list and checking books off, and I came across one called Don’t Know Much About History, which is a non-fiction book about the history of the USA by Kenneth C Davis, and I started singing “Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke!

Don’t know much about history, don’t know much biology…

Don’t know much about a science book, don’t know much about the French I took…

But I do know that I love you, and I know that if you love me too

What a wonderful world this would be!

Stop it, List Challenges, you keep giving me book titles which remind me of songs! You’ll regret this, lol! I’ve already had “True” by Spandau Ballet on my brain for the past few weeks. Anyway, I do know a fair bit about history, as half my degree was in the subject, the other half was in literature as I’ve probably mentioned in previous blogs, and I know some of the French I took, as I did study it to A Level! OK, I went right off French at A Level, having loved it when I was doing my GCSEs, but I did appreciate French once again in November 1992 when United signed a certain bushy-eyebrowed French centre-forward from Leeds for a bargain £1.2m! Ooh aah…

I wasn’t that fussed about the biology, or any science, really, though! Well, I liked certain aspects of it, like making lightbulbs light up in physics, but I was only ever average at science subjects and didn’t really want to have to take any for my exams, didn’t see the point as I wasn’t going to use physics, chemistry or biology after I’d left school. Dad was the scientist in our family, and worked for a chemical firm until his retirement in 2010.

You may recall, a blog entry or two ago, the mention of a book promoted on Facebook by the Premier League Years page – well, the other day, they were promoting it again as the Kindle version was on offer for free! Yep! Premier League Years 1992/93: The Story of the Inaugural Premier League Season, by Andrew Hyslop, was available for absolutely nowt! So, you won’t be surprised to learn that I have downloaded it on my Kindle, and that it is in serious consideration for being read on my way to Wembley when I go to the League Cup Final later this month!

The ongoing concerns are still I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, An Equal Music, and The Saffron Trail, but now I’ve finished Kemp’s book, my thoughts turn to either starting a new book or returning to another partially-read one. There are always several books on the go, which dates back to my student days when this was necessary for my literature modules. Pretty sure that, before I went to uni, I read one book at a time, but that has not happened since the early 90s, lol! Probably 1991, before I started university that autumn! If I read anything else at the same time as books, it would probably only have been magazines back then, most likely Smash Hits during my teens, or copies of Literally, the regular publication of the Pet Shop Boys’ fan club, which was sent out 3 times a year, I think.

After a bit of thought on the title front, I’ve settled for Where I’m Reading From for the title of today’s blog, but it is also a book by Tim Parks, which is hanging around somewhere in this room, and I could always start that one. I do like books about books, as you may have noticed, lol! He also wrote the excellent A Season With Verona, which I read some years ago now and loved. Then again, it was about football, and also a travel book about Italy at the same time, so that’s probably why I loved it so much!

Well, I shall go and have a look at the Tim Parks book, and perhaps a few other options, and I shall finish this for now. Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this book blog…

  • I Know This Much – Gary Kemp
  • Faster Than Lightning – Usain Bolt
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • If I Could Tell You Just One Thing – Richard Reed
  • Don’t Know Much About History – Kenneth C. Davis
  • Premier League Years 1992/93 – Andrew Hyslop
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Where I’m Reading From – Tim Parks
  • A Season With Verona – Tim Parks

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Foreign Languages, Goodreads, List Challenges, Music, Rants

A Bookworm’s Dream

Natural Born Bookworm!

I Read Therefore I Am!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

I have a dream, my friends! Yeah, alright, that’s hardly original, is it? Martin Luther King came out with that one long before I was even born! He had a dream that people would be judged on the content of their character, rather than the colour of their skin. A damn good dream to have, if you ask me.

My bookworm dream is not all that dissimilar, though. I have a dream that, one day, books will be judged and recommended, on the content of their pages, and NOT the colour, gender, age, nationality, sexuality, religion, or any other factor about the author!

We are now in February 2017. There must be millions of books out there. Hundreds of thousands, at least. All over the world, written by all sorts of people. All kinds of genres of fiction, all kinds of subject matters when it comes to non-fiction. Billions of words in print, which we should be focusing on, rather than the appearance of the people who wrote or edited these items of reading matter!

If it’s fiction, is it a good plot? A good page-turner which will have the reader gripped? Will they stay up all night, past a sensible hour, to find out what happens next, even at the risk of falling asleep at their desk at work or school the next day?! One notable time that happened to me was when I was reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire! I shit you not! I could not put it down. This was around 2000 or 2001, I think. My colleague had got me into the Harry Potter books, and I loved them! The Triwizard Tournament, Hagrid, the Blast-Ended Skrewts, all of this stuff had me completely hooked… And then I happened to look up at the clock on my bedroom wall… Half past two in the morning! Oh shit! And I had work to get up for later… Oops!

That’s what we want from fiction writers. From those who write or edit factual books, we need to know that they’re accurate, they know their stuff, and they have the most up-to-date information possible.

In the nicest possible way, I couldn’t really give a shit about the authors. If they write something I enjoy reading, I’ll read it. If not, I won’t. Gender, colour, or any other fact about the writer is not going to sway me one way or the other!

Yet, even in 2017, people in the publishing world seem to think that readers are only going to want to read books by people who are the same as them! Anyone that shallow and narrow-minded probably isn’t much of a reader at all, anyway! Probably a deliberately-ignorant numpty, like Kanye West, or the Mango Mussolini who’s out of his depth as president… you know who I mean, that Wotsit-faced numpty whose surname is another word for fart!

Much as I like Book Riot and a lot of the things they post on Facebook, I do take issue with them when they get all preachy about diversity. I hate anyone getting preachy about ANYTHING! It’s fine to have beliefs, fine to even discuss them in a calm manner with others if you’re all willing to listen to one another, but it is NOT fine to ram them down anyone’s throat!

I think it’s dangerous ground to make too much of a big deal about diversity, as it can be seen as implying that your audience are not diverse and are unwilling to become so! It is as though you are levelling an accusation against them! I personally find it very offensive. How dare anyone try to suggest that I am not reading widely, especially when they don’t bloody know me?! Especially as that accusation would be completely untrue in my case!

Pop over the Atlantic, Book Riot, and come and meet me! Watch me checking off books I’ve read on List Challenges, come with me to Waterstone’s as I go through saying “read that” to a whole range of books. Anything from The Very Hungry Caterpillar and A Colour of His Own to Faster Than Lightning and Jamrach’s Menagerie, and everything I’ve read in between those times, all the stuff I read or at least skim-read at university…

I am 43 going on 44, a very 3-dimensional person with varied interests, and I am a seriously random reader! My non-fiction reads have included a mad list of subjects, such as volcanoes, music, sports, food & drink, and even a book about a journey around the Shipping Forecast! If you haven’t read Attention All Shipping, by Charlie Connelly, you really should! It’s brilliant, and really funny! Especially the bit about the Faroese puffins!

The important thing about books is what’s printed on the pages it contains!

I know there are a few authors of whose works I have read more than one item, but I generally don’t tend to give a toss about authors. In a nice way, that is. I mean I am not going to let anything sway me one way or the other.

If I like the sound of the plot, or if I like the subject matter, I will give the book a go. Zero f**ks will be given as to what the author looks like! He or she could be pink with yellow spots like Mr Blobby, for crying out loud, but if I like the sound of what they’ve written, I’ll read their book! Even if the author supported a rival footy team to mine, they might still write a damn good book! So I’d say it’s a pity they have no taste in football, lol, but they’re still a bloody good author! On the other hand, someone could be a fellow Red, but not really write the sort of books I’m interested in reading! They might write about economics, for instance, which sounds like a cure for insomnia as far as I’m concerned, so I wouldn’t be inclined to read what they’d written, but I’d admire their taste in football!

So, I have a dream that, one day, those who publish and promote books will wise up and realise that readers deserve much more credit than we’re getting at present! We DO read widely, we DO read about people who are not like us, and places that are different to ours, worlds that are different to ours in some cases, particularly if you read fantasy or science fiction novels! I might be some white 40-something bird from Eccles, Greater Manchester, but I’m not arsed what the author’s like…

Male or female, young or old, whatever faith, whatever nationality, gay or straight, or even if they happen to support the likes of City, Chelsea or Liverpool, lol… If they’ve written something I’d want to read, I shall read it! One of the funniest books I’ve ever enjoyed was Fever Pitch, by Nick Hornby, and he’s a Gooner! In fact I’ve read a couple of his books about books, the blogs he did for a literary publication, and he gets in as many mentions of Arsenal as he thinks he can get away with, lol, but despite our support for rival teams, I appreciate him sneaking those mentions into his writing – it actually makes me feel I’m not alone in what I do in these blogs, except that I am getting in mentions of Manchester United instead! If you want to read Hornby’s blogs, try The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, and Stuff I’ve Been Reading. You’ll see what I mean about the sneaky mentions of Arsene Wenger, lol!

It’s what you write about which should be the important thing!

On that note, I have written plenty of waffle for you to be getting on with, so I shall bring this blog to a conclusion and hope you somehow manage to enjoy it! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
  • A Colour of His Own – Leo Lionni
  • Faster Than Lightning – Usain Bolt
  • Jamrach’s Menagerie – Carol Birch
  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby
  • The Complete Polysyllabic Spree – Nick Hornby
  • Stuff I’ve Been Reading – Nick Hornby

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Foreign Languages, Historical Fiction, Humour, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Music, Non-Fiction, Rants, Sports, Travel, YA Books

Come Blow Your Horn!

charity shop books 23 feb 2016

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Another day, another blog, another shedload of books from the charity shops of Eccles! The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, by John Boyne, joins the ever-growing list of books in the “I’m Pretty Sure I Already Have This, But Haven’t A Scooby Where It Is” list! I DO know that I have the Lord of The Rings trilogy, and I am pretty certain I know where it is lurking. However, my copy of Tolkein’s fantasy classic is an all-in-one version, so it is one huge book! Beautifully illustrated, but not something I’d want to be lugging about, even if I retrieved it from where I believe it to be! Therefore, it made some sense, to me, to have individual books of the three parts.

The Young Hornblower Omnibus, by C.S. Forester is actually three books in one. Technically, I’m a hornblower – I play tenor horn in a brass band, and actually need to lug my horn in to Forsyth’s to have the pearly inset put back in the third valve – damn thing came out on Saturday at band practice! It is a decorative thing on the top of the valve, where you put your finger, so the fact that it came off did not mean the horn was broken or unplayable, but I’ve only had that horn around a month, and they should therefore put the piece back on the valve for me. Back to the book, though, and the whole series has 12 books. I think this is the first three in one book. My previous experience of this author was in my 3rd year at high school, and I have to admit I didn’t really get into The Gun. Maybe, if I found a copy now, in my 40s, I might gain more from it than I felt I did back at high school. I enjoyed most of the stuff I had to read at school, but there was the occasional book which didn’t fizz on me. Elidor, by Alan Garner, was another at the time. Might try that again some time.

Actually, I’ve just found this Wikipedia entry about Hornblower omnibus editions…

The first three novels written, The Happy Return, A Ship of the Line, and Flying Colours were collected as Captain Horatio Hornblower (1939) by Little Brown in the US. Both a single-volume edition and a three-volume edition (in a slip case) were published.

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, Lieutenant Hornblower, and Hornblower and the Atropos were compiled in one book, variously titled Hornblower’s Early Years, Horatio Hornblower Goes to Sea, or The Young Hornblower. Hornblower and the Atropos was replaced by Hornblower and the Hotspur in later UK editions of The Young Hornblower.

Hornblower and the Atropos, The Happy Return, and A Ship of the Line were compiled into one omnibus edition, called Captain Hornblower.

Flying Colours, The Commodore, Lord Hornblower, and Hornblower in the West Indies were presented as a third omnibus edition called Admiral Hornblower to fill out the series.

Commodore Hornblower, Lord Hornblower, and Hornblower in the West Indies were also compiled into one book, called The Indomitable Hornblower.

Four “Cadet Editions” were released by Little Brown and later by Michael Joseph, each collecting two Hornblower novels and edited for younger readers: Hornblower Goes to Sea(1953, 1954), from Mr. Midshipman Hornblower and Lieutenant Hornblower; Hornblower Takes Command (1953, 1954), from Hornblower and The Atropos and Beat To Quarters; Hornblower in Captivity (1939, 1955), from A Ship of the Line and Flying Colours; and Hornblower’s Triumph (1946, 1955), from Commodore Hornblower and Lord Hornblower.

The short stories The Hand of Destiny, Hornblower’s Charitable Offering, Hornblower and His Majesty plus other Hornblower material not previously published in book-form was collected in Hornblower One More Time (Jul 4, 1976) though only 350 copies were printed.[11]

So, it would appear that I have a later UK edition of The Young Hornblower, which comprises Mr Midshipman Hornblower, Lieutenant Hornblower, and Hornblower and the “Hotspur”. Indeed, the front of the book boasts about it being a major new ITV series, Hornblower, and this edition came out in 1998, the film and TV tie-in edition. I don’t actually have the first three books in the series, just three from the series, or so it seems.

I actually went in the charity shops of Eccles and Salford to see if any had a copy of The Name of The Rose, by Umberto Eco, but I didn’t find a copy. I’m in town later, so I might try the charity shops in Manchester. I know there’s an Oxfam shop on Oldham Street, and I’m pretty sure there’s some charity shop or other along Deansgate. I know it’s not a charity shop, but I’m wondering if there’s a branch of The Works in the Arndale? They have cheap books! Usually cheap copies of the classics – stuff like Dickens, Austen, the Bronte sisters, etc…

What I might also be looking for, although this will be in Waterstone’s, will be kids’ books about learning French. The junior bookworm, my niece, Charlotte, is learning French at her primary school, in after-school classes! I didn’t learn French until I was at high school, but I had learned German at Charlotte’s age because I’d lived in Switzerland for 6 months, thanks to my dad’s job, and I picked it up over there! I was too young for school when I lived in Basel, but you pick it up soon enough when all the signs and the packaging are in other languages! When I was learning French, as well as the textbook I had from school, I also had The First Thousand Words In French (Amery, Folliot and Cartwright), an Usborne book with plenty of vocabulary, and a hidden duck on each double page! The textbook we had at school, certainly in my first 3 years at high school, was French For Today by P. J. Downes and E. A. Griffith. Anyway, that’s enough about French, unless you actually WANT me to start wittering on about Eric Cantona! Any mention of anything remotely French generally leads to mention of King Eric in our house, lol!

That’s quite enough for now, anyway, even though I’ve not mentioned that many books. I don’t always have a long list. There have been occasional blog entries, since I started writing these things in 2010, which only name one or two books, but most of my blogs mention an eclectic selection of reading matter! The fact that I’ve even mentioned French textbooks from my school days should come as no surprise to regular readers. If a book has been published that I have had cause to read, it is quite likely to crop up on here, along with the half-read books, the books I want to read, and a few others I’ve heard about as well! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne
  • The Lord of The Rings trilogy – J. R. R. Tolkein
  • The Young Hornblower Omnibus – C. S. Forester
  • The Gun – C. S. Forester
  • Elidor – Alan Garner
  • The Name of The Rose – Umberto Eco
  • The First Thousand Words In French – Amery, Folliot & Cartwright
  • French For Today – P. J. Downes & E. A. Griffith

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Duplicate Books List, Foreign Languages, Music, My Bookworm History