Category Archives: Free Books

April Review

Cross stitched book girl in frame

Another good month on the book front…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to the monthly review for April 2017! A month in which I have managed to finish off 8 books and reach the 25/30 stage on my Goodreads Challenge for this year. A matter of an hour or so ago, I finished Diary of an Oxygen Thief, by Anonymous, which it only took me a day to read. Wasn’t a particularly long book, only 151 pages. There was no point putting it on the OC List, as I felt it would be a quick read, which it proved to be. Likeable in an odd sort of way, rather in the way I enjoyed Fight Club last year!

While I accept that two of the eight books I’ve polished off this month were the kids’ books I read in Waterstone’s the other day, six of my finished reads during the course of April have been grown-up reading matter, lol! I have got quite a few long-term ongoing concerns off the list! Some of that is thanks to being on jury service, although I finished I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović before Easter and passed it on to my sister.

I also finished the cross-stitch of the girl with the book before Easter, as seen in the photo at the start of this blog!

Skintown, by Ciaran McMenamin, was published on 6th April, so I was finally able to find a photo of the actual cover for the purposes of List Challenges! This was a book which I had got as a freebie in February at a book club meeting, because it was an uncorrected proof copy.

That was also the day I was at Cheshire Oaks, and acquired a few books at The Works while I was there. While I don’t need to list all of them here, a couple of them were added to the OC List this month, those being The People’s Songs, by Stuart Maconie, which I have since finished, and City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, the first of the Mortal Instruments box set of 6 books, which I am still reading at present.

12th April was my book club night, and our chosen book for our next meeting, to be held on 18th May, is The Tobacconist, by Robert Seethaler, so that is currently one of my ongoing concerns.

Four of the five missing books were found on 14th April in part of my wardrobe unit, Good Friday proving a very good day for locating stray paperbacks, lol! Of those books which I had listed as missing in previous blogs, the only book still AWOL is The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy. I still haven’t a Scooby where that one buggered off to, as it used to be in Computer Corner! It went walkabouts some time ago, though.

An Equal Music, by Vikram Seth, was the first of the books I finished while on jury service. Also coming off the list thanks to my time at Manchester Crown Court were The People’s Songs, The Saffron Trail, and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.  The Stuart Maconie book hadn’t been on the OC list for long, but the other three had, so some of the long term OCs are finally off that list!

The OC List, as things stand at the end of April, has eight books on it, and this is the present state of affairs…

Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath – 62%

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews – 34%

The Tobacconist  – Robert Seethaler – 32%

Nul Points – Tim Moore – 30%

Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella – 29%

City of Bones – Cassandra Clare – 21%

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You – Ally Carter – 15%

Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson – 13%

Nul Points is, as you can imagine, a book about the acts which have failed to register a single vote from any country at the Eurovision Song Contest. I added this book in April, along with the Ally Carter book, the first in the Gallagher Girls series of YA novels about girls at a school for spies, and Bill Bryson‘s tour of Europe. I also added the book about the Pet Shop Boys, which I had mentioned earlier this year. That was already half-read, so it’s just a matter of resuming it, which I have now done. As I have listed the current OCs above, they will not be listed again at the end, just the other books I’ve mentioned in this blog which are not currently ongoing concerns will be listed in my usual bullet points.

I am now a 44 year old bookworm, by the way, as I celebrated my birthday last Sunday, 23rd April. Have to admit that I had a day off from the reading. It was a day for eating, and also for celebrating a 2-0 away win at Burnley for my lads. I just wish more of the home performances were better, I feel short-changed! We’ve had far too many draws this season, especially at Old Trafford, and I am not impressed! Too many wasted opportunities. Anyway, less about the footy and back to the books…

On Saturday, I read Tidy, and The Day the Crayons Came Home, which accounts for the two children’s books added to the Goodreads Challenge this month, and on Sunday I polished off all 151 pages of Diary of an Oxygen Thief, as I mentioned at the start.

So, as we head into the merry month of May, there are more books to be read, more to be added to the OCs, and hopefully more to come off that list, too! I will probably add at least a book or two to the OC list to get it back up to ten. I just need to decide which books to choose! Got plenty of possibilities! Maybe The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli, just in case she actually lets us know how mermaids pee, lol! Maybe I might even find The God of Lost Books, er sorry, The God of Small Things?! Stranger things have happened, like Leicester City winning the league last season, but that book must be around somewhere! I’m pretty sure I didn’t give it away!

Oh well, I think that’s about all my book related waffle for now, so I’ll get this published so you can read my review of April’s book-related activity! Until my next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry (other than the current OCs)…

  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • Skintown – Ciaran McMenamin
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • Tidy – Emily Gravett
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home – Drew Daywalt
  • The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli

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Filed under Books, Cross-Stitch, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Free Books, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, List Challenges, Month in Review, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Assorted Book Bits…

Cross stitched book girl in frame

Girl With a Book – stitched and framed.

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Moonstone is back in the handbag. Mind you, that’s because it’s Book Club tomorrow night, so I’m getting ready. I’ll be at my placement prior to that, so I’ll have to head to town from there – well, go back into Eccles and get a tram, anyway. Thus, I have to take the book with me. The girl in the photo is taking her book with her, although we don’t know which book, lol! I finished stitching her on Monday night, and put her in the box frame which I bought from The Range. I felt the frame suited the design of the stitching and the material I used, which was a hessian square from a Docrafts “bare basics” pack.

Skintown cover

You may recall, a few months ago, that I picked up a freebie at book club, because it was an uncorrected proof copy of a book yet to be published at that time. As Skintown, by Ciaran McMenamin, was published on 6th April, and we are on 11th April today, I have now been able to get a proper photo for it on a Google image search and amend my list on List Challenges accordingly. It will now show the above cover, rather than a photo of the author, which had been used to hold the book’s place in the right order on my list of books I’ve mentioned on this blog during the course of this year!

The cover of my copy is not like that, but as I got it before it was actually published, it’s to be expected that things get changed before a book actually comes out properly compared to when advanced proofs get issued! Having said that, when I got The Chimes, by Anna Smaill, as an uncorrected proof freebie a year or two ago, that actually pretty much retained the same artwork on the cover when the book was published.

Maybe I should try to get Skintown as our next book club book when we meet tomorrow? I would really like it if, even just once, we could read something I’ve already got in so I wouldn’t have to fork out! Also, I think that proposed cull, and taking of books to charity shops, might well be happening. It will get a lot of stuff out of the way. At least some of the Duplicate Books might go, too. I doubt I’ll ever read them in tandem with someone else, so one set of them can leave the building!

Anyway, onto a discussion on Facebook earlier, concerning The Catcher In The Rye, as someone else had just read it. I read Salinger‘s novel a few years back now because of a debate going on on my book group – On Friday it will be 9 years since I started it! 14th April 2008 was the date I’d Spend All Day In Waterstone’s If I Could Get Away With It! was created, and my friend David Hunt was the first to comment on the group’s wall! I remember, during the Catcher In The Rye discussions, Lizzie Harvey had been one of the ones who wanted to punch Holden Caulfield, lol!

Thing is, that I came to see Caulfield as a typical teenage lad – I just thought he was like a lot of lads I knew when I was at high school and sixth-form college, particularly high school… the sort who can’t be arsed with school, either fail their exams or don’t do as well as they could if they’d made more effort, they’d bunk off from school, and they would definitely try to get in pubs and clubs and get served with booze while they were still under-age! I didn’t have a very high opinion of teenage lads when I was a teenage girl – most of them were stupid arseholes, and a lot of the others, even if they were alright, were still not the most mature of creatures! At 16, I knew I wanted to go to uni, I didn’t have time for dickheads!

Actually, my ambition to go to uni started when I was about 4 or 5, but at that age, I had no idea what I would want to study. I had no idea what I’d be good at, if anything at all. I did know I loved books, though, which was obviously going to be to my advantage, lol!

Current OCs April 2017

Zlatan Ibrahimović, he is our Swedish hero…

My current OCs with Mini Zlatan on top! The People’s Songs, by Stuart Maconie, has now moved up a place since that photo a few days ago. Zlatan‘s autobiography is now at 75% so getting nearer completion. Well, he did help his own cause further by scoring our opening goal against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Sunday afternoon in our 3-0 win over the Mackems! Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford scored the other two goals. I was at my placement at the time, but thankfully, my book towers were still intact when I got home – they hadn’t fallen over as they did when we beat Leicester City in February, lol! Clearly, Mkhi’s opening goal against the Foxes that day got my books all excited! To the extent that I’ve become a bit wary of my reading matter before matches, particularly away ones, and I’ll look at my book towers and ask them nicely not to fall over, even if anyone scores a particularly spectacular or important goal for United, lol!

My niece in her natural habitat – Waterstone’s!

You have my sister to thank for these! Junior Bookworm in her natural habitat! It’s school hols at the moment for Charlotte, so she was at the Trafford Centre the other day, in Waterstone’s, choosing some new books for herself, and one for Reuben, which she was going to read to her baby brother!

Charlotte choosing books April 2017b

Charlotte and her daddy having a good read!

That look of concentration as she focuses on her book! A true bookworm, and definitely taking after her auntie! Not biased, not at all, lol! Thanks, Ellie, for these photos, and Zlatan will be with you fairly soon now, as I’ve not got too much more of his autobiography to read, as I mentioned earlier!

Now, you’d think that, with book club tomorrow, I’d wait and see what the next book is for that before adding anything to my OC list, wouldn’t you? That would be the sensible option. However, bookworm tendencies can override common sense and can make you go ahead and start another new book anyway, even though you’ll be starting another newbie soon enough, and thus you’ll end up with 9 books on the OC list… Then again, with both An Equal Music, and I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović heading for the finishing line, why the hell shouldn’t I add new books to the list?  It’s my OC list, after all! City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, is being added. As I mentioned previously, it’s the first of the books in the Mortal Instruments series, the box set of 6 books I got at Cheshire Oaks last week.

Well, this has been an assortment of book-related bits and bobs, hasn’t it? After tomorrow evening, I’ll know my new book for our book club, so that will probably be one of the main items on my next blog, but for now, that’s about it, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in today’s blog entry…

  • Moonstone – Sjón
  • Skintown – Ciaran McMenamin
  • The Chimes – Anna Smaill
  • The Catcher In the Rye – J. D. Salinger
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Cross-Stitch, Duplicate Books List, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Free Books, Handbag Books, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, My Bookworm History, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

Put The Kettle On!

Tea and coffee books 1

Nothing quite like a brew and a good book, is there?!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

You may recall yesterday’s blog, and the rainbow tower of books, which contained two books by Vanessa Greene on the theme of tea, those being The Vintage Teacup Club, and The Seafront Tea Rooms. I mentioned, at the time, before I went downstairs for a brew, that I had had an idea for a themed blog. Well, here it is… I would definitely advise you to put your kettle on and make a hot leaf or bean-based beverage, because my theme for tonight is books about tea and coffee! I hope you enjoy this blog – I’ve been into part of my wardrobe unit to get some books and teas out for the photos, and I’m now having a mug of Maple Tea. As you can imagine, I purchased the tin of Maple Tea when I was in Canada, which was October 2009. The maple teabags were in a bag within the tin, though, and so they seemed OK!

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me” – C. S. Lewis

In recent blogs, I also mentioned a non-fiction book on the discovery and history of coffee, that being The Devil’s Cup, by Stewart Lee Allen, and, as I like both tea and coffee, I thought I’d do a blog about books on a theme of those drinks. One or two books are non-fiction, plus a few fictional works with mention of either beverage in the title.

Tea books 1

The Maple Tea is a souvenir of Canada, the other tin was in a set from a shop in Manchester’s Chinatown!

Obviously, we have the two Vanessa Greene novels, dealing with vintage teacups and with tea rooms in seaside resorts. I have yet to read these, and I have also yet to read The Tea Planter’s Wife, by Dinah Jefferies, but I expect I will get round to them. Ooh, that maple tea is nice! Anyway, sorry, where was I?! Ah, yes, unread novels about tea, lol! I have, however, read the non-fiction books about tea in this photo, those being A Taste of Tea, by Brian Glover, The Book of Tea, by Kakuzo Okakura, and Tea: The Drink That Changed The World, by John Griffiths. At the back of that book, in the sources list, as I’ve read this particular tome, is a bookmark from Niagara Falls, so I obviously acquired that in 2009 and must have been reading that book some time shortly after I came home from Canada. I doubt very much I was reading that book when I was in Toronto or Montreal on that particular holiday, as it is a chunky hardback and thus not really the most ideal reading matter for overseas travel!

On the first photo, at the top of this blog, you will also see the spine of The Story of Tea, by Mary Lou Heiss, another non-fiction guide to the history, preparation and world traditions surrounding tea. You can tell I like a cuppa, can’t you?!

So, that’s the tea sorted, now the coffee, lol! Obviously, my non-fiction book for this beverage is the Stewart Lee Allen book, The Devil’s Cup, a fascinating read about the discovery and history of coffee. It was discovered by Arabs who, being practising Muslims, found the plant’s berries and beans were great for keeping them awake and alert for their night-time prayers! Thus were the joys of caffeine discovered! I was actually reading Allen’s book when I was still working in town, so that shows you how long ago that was! That particular office closed in 2009, so it’s at least 8 years, probably more, since I read The Devil’s Cup! I was on some course or other in our meeting room, possibly a fire & bomb warden refresher session which I had to have every two or three years, and we were having a break from our training, so I was having a read while I could.

One of my younger colleagues didn’t seem to get why I loved reading. I find it hard to understand why people don’t love reading! Well, I can understand it if they have dyslexia, or some similar issue, but if you have no actual difficulties in reading, you just need to find a book you like! There’s plenty out there for everyone!

Along with the factual coffee book, I have put my hands on two fiction books with coffee in their titles, although how much either book focuses on the java remains to be seen as I have yet to read one of them, and have only read a very small percentage of the other. The one I have yet to read at all is The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, by Deborah Rodriguez, and the other book is Last Bus To Coffeeville, by J. Paul Henderson, of which I have read a smidgeon, but not really much. Can’t really call it an ongoing concern as yet. It was a free book I acquired last year at Chapter One in town, a giveaway for World Book Night.

Anyway, it’s a start. A selection of tea and coffee books, some factual, some fictional, and if you have any suggestions for books about either drink, feel free to mention them in the comments! I’m quite happy for people to comment, as long as I don’t get spammed! I don’t like spam! (Just don’t get me started on Monty Python sketches, or we’ll be here all bloody night, lol!)

“I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK! I sleep all night and I work all day!” – Oops! Sorry!

You’ll probably be ready for another cuppa now, so I suggest you put your kettle on, make yourself a brew, and until next time, Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Vintage Teacup Club – Vanessa Greene
  • The Seafront Tea Rooms – Vanessa Greene
  • The Devil’s Cup – Stewart Lee Allen
  • The Tea Planter’s Wife – Dinah Jefferies
  • A Taste of Tea – Brian Glover
  • The Book of Tea – Kakuzo Okakura
  • Tea: The Drink That Changed the World – John Griffiths
  • The Story of Tea – Mary Lou Heiss
  • The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul – Deborah Rodriguez
  • Last Bus To Coffeeville – J. Paul Henderson

P.S. Which one of you’s called Brian?!

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Filed under Books, Food & Drink, Free Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, Non-Fiction, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel, World Book Night

Jaffa Cakes And A Good Book

zlatan-and-pogba-efl-cup-2017* Manchester United – EFL Cup Winners 2017 *

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he is our Swedish hero… Oops, sorry! Still celebrating after yesterday’s trip to Wembley and our 3-2 victory over a very decent Southampton side. To be fair to the Saints, our lads were fannying about so much at the back, that you could hardly blame them for feeling encouraged to have a go, which they did, and they got it back to 2-2 after we’d gone into a 2-0 lead. Fortunately, just when it looked like extra time might be on the cards, we got our late winner and managed to hang on to the lead for the remaining few minutes plus stoppage time!

The other thing I am celebrating is how quickly we managed to get home despite supporting the winning side! Obviously, for those whose side has lost, they leave Wembley first and get back on their coaches and head home, but after we’d watched the lads lift the cup and do a bit of celebrating, we headed back to find our coach. Took a bit of locating, but we found it, and got back on board. Actually, we were fairly quick to set off, and it seemed we managed to get away from the industrial estate which surrounds Wembley Stadium in what must be world-record time, lol! Mum and I also managed to get out of the car-park quickly when we got back to Old Trafford, so we were home before half past midnight! As I said, a world record for getting home from Wembley after seeing United win!

But, anyway, you want to know about the reading matter, don’t you?! I did some reading going down to Wembley, and coming back to Old Trafford. Stuart Maconie‘s The Pie At Night was my book of choice for the journey down, accompanied by a Jaffa Cake or two. Or three… There’s nowt like a good book and some Jaffa Cakes when you’re on the way to a cup final! I was really enjoying Maconie’s book, and looking forward to continuing on the way home after the match…

However, I don’t know what the driver was up to, but during the journey, we couldn’t put the overhead reading lights on, so the coach was pretty dark! Not just tricky eating your food on a dark coach, but pretty much impossible to read a paperback or hardback! Therefore, I couldn’t even read I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic in celebration of our Swedish striker’s goals in the final!

This is where my Kindle came into its own. It is in a cover with a built-in light, so I was able to choose an e-book for the journey back to Old Trafford, and Andrew Hyslop‘s Premier League Years 1992/93 fit the bill nicely, as it was about footy! I must say it could really have done with some proof-reading, I noted quite a few typos and other errors, but it was a great trip down memory lane, back to that first Premier League season!

I had briefly toyed with the idea of reading either Dorothy Must Die, by Danielle Paige, or Ally Carter‘s I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You, the first of the Gallagher Girls books – I had started that one some time ago on my Kindle. However, the prospect of reliving our first ever Premier League title and reading about how we signed Eric Cantona for a bargain £1.2m in November 1992 was impossible to resist, so the footy won, as you suspected it always would!

I was at the start of December 1992 in the Hyslop e-book when we neared Old Trafford and I put my Kindle away, so I am 42% of the way through that book. I am 11% in to The Pie At Night, in case you were wondering. I feel as though I may as well get the Hyslop read – for me a quick read as I reminisce about the 1992-93 season and all the familiar names. The players, the managers, the transfer news… I have managed 9 books so far in 2017 on my Goodreads Challenge, and it would be great to have read ten within the first two months of this year! It would also be my second e-book on the list, having finished off Pear Shaped, by Adam Blain, right at the start of this calendar year to get the 2017 challenge up and running!

As I said, I’d turned my Kindle off, and put it away as we were nearly back at Old Trafford, but I had reached December 1992 in the book, and that would mean a look back at the first Manchester Derby I ever went to. 6th December 1992 at Old Trafford. Absolutely pissing down with rain, and I was in the Stretford End, which was being rebuilt at the time, so it didn’t have a roof at that stage of the season. Therefore, we were provided with pacamacs as we went through the turnstiles… As many people have said, we looked like we were wearing giant condoms, lol! Paul Ince and Mark Hughes scored for us in our 2-1 victory, with Niall Quinn getting a goal back for City, but we hung on for the 3 points. Eric Cantona came on for his United debut as a second half sub, replacing Bryan Robson. It would be the only derby he would play any part in without scoring at least one goal. Our neighbours would soon come to fear our Frenchman for a few seasons until they got relegated in 1996! (Bit of a drastic way to ensure he could no longer score against your team, though, lol!)

the-museum-of-you

Anyway, enough about that, and back to books, with a mystery book. Well, a bit of a mystery. No, it’s not a blind date with a book or anything, it’s not in brown paper, but it does have shrink-wrap around it. I bought it a while ago, probably some time last year, from Chapter One book shop and cafe on Lever Street in town. The book is The Museum of You, by Carys Bray. However, the blurb on the back of the book, as I have since realised, is about her previous novel, A Song For Issy Bradley, so I have no actual idea what this book is about! The only clue, therefore, is on the front…

This summer, Clover Quinn wants to find the missing pieces of her story.

So, that’s basically all we have to go off with this one! Unless we want to “cheat” and look it up on Goodreads or something… It’s a hardback, anyway, probably one for the Bass Amp Book Tower! I’ve opened it – removed the shrink wrap (that stuff is seriously annoying, isn’t it?!) and the book now rests on the Amp Tower for the time being as I head off to reminisce a bit more about 90s football and celebrate my club’s current team winning the League Cup, lol!

Until the next time I blog, which will probably be the February review, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Pie At Night – Stuart Maconie
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • The Premier League Years 1992/93 – Andrew Hyslop
  • Dorothy Must Die – Danielle Paige
  • I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You – Ally Carter
  • Pear Shaped – Adam Blain
  • The Museum of You – Carys Bray
  • A Song For Issy Bradley – Carys Bray

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Filed under Bass Amp Book Tower, Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Free Books, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Humour, Manc Stuff!, Non-Fiction, Travel

Take a Chill Pill, Doris!

storm-doris-weather-map

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…

books-in-progress-feb-2017

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

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

Up For The Cup!

coffee-in-arabic

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

I found the above photo on Bored Panda and messaged it to my friend Liz. The picture is actually the word for coffee in Arabic and this guy takes Arabic words and turns them into images of their meanings. As my friend is very much a coffee-drinker, I knew she’d like that one! I was also telling her about a book I read some years ago now, The Devil’s Cup, by Stewart Lee Allen, which is about the discovery and history of coffee. I was still working at Manchester DBC when I read that book, so it’s a long time ago now – that office closed in 2009, so it’s 8 years ago at the very least!

miffy-the-artist

Sadly, we have to say goodbye, and Rest in Peace, to Dick Bruna. The author and illustrator of the Miffy books passed away on Thursday in Utrecht, aged 89. In the Netherlands, she’s known at Nijntje, a contraction of konijntje, meaning “little rabbit” in Dutch. My sister and I read a lot of Miffy books when we were little, probably including Miffy The Artist, as shown above, often borrowing them from the children’s section at Eccles Library. Miffy is hugely popular worldwide, I remember seeing a lot of Miffy books and other items when I went to Tokyo in 2005 and they have plenty of cartoon characters of their own, such as Hello Kitty, but they do tend to like anything “kawai” (cute), so it figures that they’d take to Miffy in Japan!

Hendrik Magdalenus (Dick) Bruna – 23rd August 1927 – 16th February 2017.

Before we get back to books, mention of cups, as in the title, brings me on to matters of a footballing nature, and there has been quite a result this afternoon in the 5th round of the FA Cup, as non-league Lincoln City scored a late winner to beat Premier League Burnley at Turf Moor and become the first non-league team in 103 years to reach the 6th round of the FA Cup – quarter final stage! Burnley are a decent side, especially at home. They’re 12th in the Premier League at the moment, so mid-table security and not in danger of relegation, and, as I said, are pretty decent at home, so it makes Lincoln’s achievement this lunchtime all the more impressive! Congratulations to the Imps! My lads play tomorrow, we’re away to Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

I am over half-way now, into the second half, as it were, with I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, having read a bit more last night to celebrate the fact that he scored a hat-trick for us on Thursday night when we beat Saint Etienne 3-0 at Old Trafford in our Europa League tie. It’s the first knock-out round, and that was the first leg, so we have a very nice lead to take to the 2nd leg in France next week, with no away goals conceded. If we can get a goal over there, we can really put the tie to bed. St Etienne must be sick to death of Zlatan, lol! He’s now scored 17 goals against them – he was at Paris St-Germain, of course, before he joined United in the summer, and already had a pretty good record against St Etienne. I imagine there was a collective groan in their part of France when the draw was made and they were drawn against us – they thought they’d escaped Zlatan when he left the French league to come to England, but they were wrong, lol!

This season’s Europa League final will be held in Sweden, so it’s hardly surprising that Zlatan is on a mission to help us win this trophy! Also, it’s the one piece of European silverware United have not won yet. We’ve won the European Cup three times, and we won the old European Cup-Winners’ Cup back in 1991, but if we were to win the Europa League, the UEFA Cup as it used to be known for years, we would complete the set!

The two books I am returning to Sarah tomorrow are on the coffee table downstairs. As previously documented in several of my blogs, she lent me Faster Than Lightning, by Usain Bolt, and I Know This Much, by Gary Kemp. She has said she will lend me Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins, so I am looking forward to that one!

Zlatan is very likely to be in the Handbag for the trip down to Wembley next Sunday, and at the moment, it is possible Tony Hawks might still be in the Handbag, as I approach the halfway point in Round Ireland With a Fridge, which is VERY funny! If I haven’t finished it off before 26th February, it’ll join Mr Ibrahimovic in the purple Kipling bag and will be read on the way to Manchester United v Southampton in the League Cup Final.

I shall also try to ensure that my Kindle is fully-charged ready for the journey down, and that my phone booster is also charged. I have loads of ebooks on the Kindle, including Premier League Years 1992/93, by Andrew Hyslop, about the inaugural season, but there’s plenty of non-football stuff on there. Got one on there called Dorothy Must Die, by Danielle Paige, which I got for free some time ago now! Apparently, it’s a twist on the whole Wizard of Oz thing, where the Wicked Witch is actually the good one, or something like that!

Some books on my Kindle are only samples, but others are the full books, including The Tea Planter’s Wife, by Dinah Jefferies. I do actually own a paperback copy of that, as well, but if it is on my e-reader, it is convenient for travel! I’ve got a right load of mad stuff on my Kindle! Yeah, I know, I have had it since the end of 2011 – if you want to read about that particular saga, check out my blog archives! I won my Kindle, so it was free, but it was a while before I actually received it and a lot of chasing up needed doing.

I have 297 items on my Kindle! There’s all sorts of mad crap on there! Mad crap in the literary sense, anyway, lol! As I said before, there’s samples of stuff, but there’s also plenty of entire books. Some of which are electronic versions of books I also own in paperback or hardback, but some are purely on my Kindle. There’s a right load of Dickens on there, probably because you can get a load of classics for free for e-reading devices! Also because of that anniversary five years ago, when I planned to read another of Dickens’ novels, but didn’t get around to it! Should I wish to, I’ve got a fair few to choose from if I want to read any electronically!

Blimey! I’ve got Finn Family Moomintroll on here! I have had that in paperback, along with a few other Moomin books, since I was a kid! There was an animated series on Children’s ITV back in the 80s, which I loved, so that’s what got me into the Moomins!

(When I say Children’s ITV, I don’t mean a separate channel like they have these days – I mean programmes broadcast during that time between coming home from school in the afternoon up until the early evening news at 5:45, so for around 2 hours or so, when there were kids’ programmes on telly, on both BBC1 and ITV, providing us with after-school entertainment!)

Well, I really need to stop waffling on and get this published, so that’s about all for now! Until the next time I decide to inflict my waffle upon the internet, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Devil’s Cup – Stewart Lee Allen
  • Miffy The Artist – Dick Bruna
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • Faster Than Lightning – Usain Bolt
  • I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau – Gary Kemp
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • Premier League Years 1992/93 – Andrew Hyslop
  • Dorothy Must Die – Danielle Paige
  • The Tea Planter’s Wife – Dinah Jefferies
  • Finn Family Moomintroll – Tove Jansson

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Free Books, Handbag Books, Music, My Bookworm History, Television, Travel, YA Books

A Solid Bass…

bass-amp-and-books-feb-2017

Amping up my reading: books on top of my bass amp…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

I have been thinking that maybe I should do some themed blogs, and the idea behind this one is to take a particular pile of books and see what we have in that pile, and whether I have read them yet or not… My book piles are very random, although a lot of them which are resting on my bass amp are hardbacks. Even when I’m not attempting to play my bass, the amp serves as a useful surface for storing a tower of reading matter, lol, so let’s see what’s what…

Starting at the bottom, we have Accordion Crimes, by E. Annie Proulx. A charity shop book, I think it was from the Oxfam shop in town, not yet read, but bought on the grounds that it had a musical theme. Above that, we have another charity shop bargain in The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. A true bargain that one, a mere pound at the British Heart Foundation shop on Salford Precinct, if I remember rightly! Read a tiny bit of it, but really need to give it a good go sometime.

Above those two books, I have two partially-read autobiographies. Anger Is An Energy, by John Lydon, and Leading, by Sir Alex Ferguson, both of which I really need to get on with, lol!

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep, by Joanna Cannon, is above those two. I bought that one last year when I met her at a book event at Waterstone’s on Deansgate, so that’s a signed copy. Again, partially-read, and need to get on with it. Story of my life with a lot of my books, lmao!

Now we actually come to a couple of books which I HAVE read! Couple of autobiographies. When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi, which was the best non-fiction book I read last year. Fascinating and very moving. The other is The Rules of The Game, by Pierluigi Collina, the former referee, a fascinating insight into being a football official and how he got into reffing. One of the few referees I’ve ever liked! Of course, as I’m a die-hard Red, I remember him best for refereeing the European Cup Final at the Nou Camp on 26th May 1999 – the best night of my life!

Above Collina’s autobiography is The Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry. As yet unread. Really nice cover, though. Just above that book are two more unread novels, signed copies by Jessie Burton now, as I met her last year – did a few author events last year. I already had a hardback copy of The Miniaturist, her first novel, which I think I bagsied as a freebie at a previous book club meeting a few years ago, but last year she brought out her second book, The Muse, so I got a ticket and went to the event, bought that book, and had both books signed, as I’d brought The Miniaturist with me.

Faster Than Lightning, by Usain Bolt, is next up. This is one of two autobiographies which I will be returning to my friend Sarah very shortly. I read this one towards the end of last year. Really good read.

The White Queen, by Philippa Gregory, is next. I think I got that from a church fair for 50p if I’m not mistaken, so should be regarded in the same way as the charity shop bargains. Not read it yet. Nice cover, though. There are a couple more hardbacks to come, but we have a few paperbacks up next…

World Without End, by Ken Follett starts the paperback part of the stack. A nice chunky one upon which you can balance more books! Won’t be reading that for a while, as it’s the second of two books, and they’re both epics, even by historical fiction standards of chunkiness, so it’ll be some time before I get around to that!

A few half-read books up next, which I’d put on the bass amp pile to make them more noticeable to me. There’s Only Two David Beckhams, by John O’Farrell, A Street Cat Named Bob, by James Bowen, Catch 22, by Joseph Heller, and White Line Fever, by Lemmy, which is rather apt, really, as the late Motorhead frontman was a bassist as well as a singer.

Jamrach’s Menagerie, by Carol Birch, is up next, and I have recently finished that one, so that’s one book off the half-read books list!

Then we have Ghostwritten, by David Mitchell, and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, by Louis de Bernieres, which are still half-read books. Did try to continue with the Mitchell the other night, but it was a case of wrong book and/or wrong time, as it just wasn’t doing anything for me listening to the audiobook. Perhaps another time, I will pick it up again and it will be the right time for it.

And, finally, back to a couple of hardbacks, both autobiographies. Twin Ambitions, by the recently-knighted Sir Mo Farah, which was a charity shop bargain. It did set me back three quid, a bit pricey for a charity shop book, but for a hardback, that’s still fairly decent, and on the very top of the pile, just like his song “True” in 1983, is Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet fame, with his autobiography, I Know This Much, which is the other book Sarah lent me, so I am getting that one read and will be returning it to her very soon.

So, there you have it… a pile of 22 books, and quite a mixture amongst them. A mixture of fact and fiction, hardback and paperback, a mixture of genres, and of subject matters, and a mix of the read, partially-read and unread! Of the non-fiction, we have books from 3 musicians, two athletes, a former football manager, a former referee, a sadly-deceased former surgeon, and a homeless guy with a cat! Yeah, quite a collection, and pretty diverse, I would say! Even amongst the musicians we have heavy rock, punk and pop, and the athletes on the list cover the two extremes of distance, as we have Usain Bolt, the sprinter, and Sir Mo Farah, the long-distance runner! We have an ex-manager and an ex-referee representing football in that pile of books, plus John O’Farrell’s work of comic fiction which name-checks a former footballer in its title, although it implies there’s two of him.

So, I think that brings our list of books on the bass amp to a close. I’m just glad it wasn’t those books which saw fit to fall over at the weekend when Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored our opening goal at Leicester! That would have caused a large thud, as most of the Bass Amp Book Pile are hardbacks! Until my next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Accordion Crimes – E. Annie Proulx
  • The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  • Anger Is An Energy – John Lydon
  • Leading – Sir Alex Ferguson
  • The Trouble With Goats and Sheep – Joanna Cannon
  • When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
  • The Rules of The Game – Pierluigi Collina
  • The Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry
  • The Muse – Jessie Burton
  • The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
  • Faster Than Lightning – Usain Bolt
  • The White Queen – Philippa Gregory
  • World Without End – Ken Follett
  • There’s Only Two David Beckhams – John O’Farrell
  • A Street Cat Named Bob – James Bowen
  • Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
  • White Line Fever – Lemmy
  • Jamrach’s Menagerie – Carol Birch
  • Ghostwritten  – David Mitchell
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernieres
  • Twin Ambitions – Sir Mo Farah
  • I Know This Much: From Soho To Spandau – Gary Kemp

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Football, Free Books, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, Music, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Sports, The TBR Pile