Category Archives: Half-Finished Books

November Review and a bit of December too!

Flixton CBB Xmas Concert 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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 It takes the current number of books on my as-yet-unpublished List Challenges list for this blog to 528 different books!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

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

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

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

Flixton CBB Xmas Lights Urmston 24 Nov 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Jasmine Nights – Julia Gregson
  • We Are Not Ourselves – Matthew Thomas
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • The Green Mile – Stephen King
  • 11.22.63 – Stephen King
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Doughnut – Tom Holt
  • This Book Will Save Your Life – A. M. Homes
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Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Food & Drink, Football, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, Month in Review, Music, Non-Fiction, The TBR Pile

Gone for a Burton!

Life without books

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Back again for another blog! I know they’re not as frequent as previously, but having been back in work since the start of this month, that is to be expected. I will have been working for 3 weeks by the time I shut down my computer and log off from my phone tomorrow at 4:30pm UK time! I do try to get some reading in at lunchtime, although that is not always possible, so it has to be out of hours, mostly. However, I am a third of the way through Blitzed, by Norman Ohler, which is our book club book, and I have two weeks to go until our next book club, so I hope to get more of it read in the remaining fortnight.

Didn’t get my Kindle read last night, though. My reading plans had gone for a Burton, just like Burton Albion themselves, although our visitors had improved since their one and only previous visit to Old Trafford, which was in the FA Cup way back in 2006! Back then, a 0-0 draw in that cup earned them a replay up here, which was a huge windfall for them – they were able to pay for their new stadium at the time thanks to forcing that replay. We stuffed them 5-0 in the replay in 2006, and they were a non-league side then, in what used to be known as the Conference. They are actually a Championship side now, just a division below United, and we still stuffed them last night, but 4-1 was an improvement for the Brewers, lol!

The reason I didn’t get any post-match reading done on my Kindle is that Mum and I were out of the United car park fairly quickly. I should have expected it really, given that it’s the League Cup, and people opt out of it. The attendance was around 50,000, which is down on our usual 75,000 full houses, so with fewer people there, it doesn’t take as long for us to get home. I expect I will need my Kindle again at the end of this month, though, when we play Crystal Palace at home in the Premier League. One of the ebooks I have started lately is Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, by Balli Kaur Jaswal – it sounded amusing enough. I have read 11% of it so far, so it could class as an OC, although ebooks are being kept as a separate matter, they’re a football thing, lol!

While we’re still sort-of on footy, I’d just like to slap whichever killjoy arseholes are getting their knickers in a knot about the song some of our fans have come up with for our latest star centre forward, Romelu Lukaku. Since WHEN has it ever been offensive to imply that someone has a LARGE willy?! Give your heads a wobble! Fair enough, suggesting that someone is NOT well-endowed in the trouser department might be quite insulting, but a large cock is something your average bloke is quite proud of, from my understanding of the male of the species! Indeed, blokes themselves often exaggerate the size of their own, ahem, upstanding members, so singing that a footballer has a 24 inch willy is simply a bit of a laugh! NO-ONE has a two-foot cock, for crying out loud! Plus, you also have to remember that the average terrace song is invented by drunken blokes down the pub, usually on their way to an away match!

For the record, the ONLY song I know of in our fans’ repertoire which actually mentions someone’s colour is the song we had for Wayne Rooney, where we called him the White Pele! We do NOT discriminate! We have fans all around the bloody world, FFS! All colours, all faiths, all nationalities, so being a Red is NOT for narrow-minded, bigoted knobheads! I think that as long as Romelu himself doesn’t mind, and I’ve not heard any word to say he does, then there is no problem. If he did have a problem, and said so, we would stop, but I imagine there is more chance of snowballs being found in Hell…

Right, OK, back to the books. Trying to overhaul the OC list is not that easy. I did finish If I Stay for that book group on Facebook, but am not sure what to do next. They have chosen The Fault In Our Stars for this month, and I have already read that a year or two ago now. Forthcoming books are Emma, by Jane Austen, and Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, and so I might try to get a head start on one or both of those. Like a lot of classics, there are free editions of Emma available for e-readers, as a lot of classic books were written so long ago that they are out of copyright. So, I downloaded that one on my Kindle for free, and I already own a copy of Ready Player One. I like the sound of that one, there’s supposed to be a lot of 80s references in it.

Besides the e-book about Punjabi widows, the other book for match-day e-book consideration is Gold, by Chris Cleave. I’ve had that on my Kindle for a while, actually, and recently picked up the paperback in a charity shop. This is the author of The Other Hand (known as Little Bee in some countries), which I read and enjoyed some years ago now.

I may just have to knock the OCs on the head for now, and see how much I can get through. We may or may not resume this format at some point, but with work, and with book clubs, actual and virtual, the Ongoing Concerns are not really ongoing at present, lol! Apologies to all the books on the list but right now I’m probably going to have to cut things right down, maybe to just 2 or 3 books at a time. Some of the OCs weren’t getting read anyway, so my list wasn’t truly effective. I need an ebook for home matches, whichever book I’m reading for the Waterstone’s Deansgate book club, as long as I’m enjoying that book enough, plus maybe 2 or 3 others. And that might have to be it. Perhaps one of those books could be one which is part of a series, whether that’s resuming the Shardlake series by getting on with Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom, or reading one of several YA series I own…

The books on the list before I had an overhaul could have priority for when I want to start or resume a book, I guess, but I’m going to have to cut things right down and not take on too many books. I can read a few at a time, have been able to since my uni days, but I can’t really have a massive list of ongoing books, or most of them won’t actually be ongoing!

Well, perhaps I should get down to a spot of literary action. Those books aren’t going to read themselves, are they?! Well, not unless they’re wizarding books which have had a self-reading charm cast upon them, but I’m a muggle, not a Hogwarts student, so I haven’t got any of those kind of books, sadly! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

P.S. Happy Birthday to Stephen King! Perhaps I should start one of his books? Maybe On Writing would be the place to start? I do have a couple of his (non-horror) novels on my TBR list, too.

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
  • Emma – Jane Austen
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • Gold – Chris Cleave
  • The Other Hand (aka Little Bee) – Chris Cleave
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • On Writing – Stephen King

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Rants, YA Books

July Review

Hendrik Groen finished July 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Well, I forgot the tick on my wipeboard, but The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old has now been read, and I would love a sequel! Think of Adrian Mole, but imagine him as an elderly Dutch guy in an old folks’ home in Amsterdam with all his aches and pains, and various grumbles, plus a sense of adventure!

So, I have finished three entire books within the course of this past month, with Hendrik Groen’s completion following on from One Italian Summer and Dissolution which were both finished last week. During the course of 2017 so far, I have read, or at least finished off, 34 books, meaning I am 4 books over my Goodreads Challenge target of 30, which I met in May, and I feel July has been very productive on the book front!

I have read at least 50 pages of each of the six books I have read during the course of July, with Me and Earl and the Dying Girl needing more reading done on it. Only read 50 pages of that one, but with reading Dissolution, the first of the Shardlake series, that was 443 pages, so that was the most for any book I read this month. As I am listing these books here, they will not be listed at the end of the blog, although other books will be mentioned.

One Italian SummerKeris Stainton. 241 pages. (Read whole book)

DissolutionC. J. Sansom. 443 pages. (Read whole book)

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years OldHendrik Groen. 376 pages. (Read whole book)

Periodic TalesHugh Aldersey-Williams. 88 pages read in July.

Me and Earl and the Dying GirlJesse Andrews. 50 pages read in July.

Neither Here Nor ThereBill Bryson. 92 pages read in July.

Total number of pages read in July: 1,290

Nemanja Matic joins MUFC 31st July 2017

My current distraction from reading, but July has been a good month for books!

Wow! That’s a lot of pages! After June, which wasn’t all that productive, I feel July has been a great month on the book front! Probably because I felt I had to do something while waiting for United to sign players in the transfer window, lol! Therefore I got a lot of reading done between breaking news on Sky Sports News! We have signed Romelu Lukaku, of course, and now Nemanja Matic, but the fannying about from our chief exec, Ed Woodward (aka The Gnome), was getting a bit much at times, and doing my head in, so I had to escape into a few good books while I waited for him to get his arse in gear and get signings done and dusted!

(We did also sign Victor Lindelof, but that was in June, so I’m dealing more with July’s events in this blog!)

I think this is something like my 166th book blog, but I know some things for sure. I now have 61 followers, 60 on WordPress, plus 1 via email, so thanks very much to all of you who brave my waffle on a regular basis in the hope that I mention something to do with books! The vast majority of my blogs on here are about books, but there have been one or two occasions when only one or two books have been mentioned because something has happened for me to bring up a particular news event. I am pretty sure that’s not a common thing, though. I remember having a rant at the chavs responsible for the arson and looting in 2011, and I also posted my Manchester La La La blog entry in May this year after the bomb at the Arena. I still did get a couple of book references in each of those blogs, though, but I hope you understand these things had to be said and that you knew I would get back to matters of a literary nature!

(The blog covering the arson and looting rant was in September 2011, I think, and was called If They Steal Any Books, They Might Even Learn Something! It’s either August or September’s archive from 2011, anyway, should you wish to look up that blog and have a read of it.)

Cathedral book bench 4

This month also saw the Book Benches appear around town, and they are on display up to 10th September. For those wishing to see them, they are indoors at their various locations, such as Central Library, the Arndale Centre, Manchester Cathedral and the National Football Museum. There are also many others to find! Not just in the city centre, but also dotted around various suburbs of Manchester!

Charlotte bookmark 2017

My niece, the Junior Bookworm, celebrated her 7th birthday this month, so I stitched her a cross-stitched bookmark. It is currently keeping her place in one of her books.

So, let’s get on to the Ongoing Concerns as July comes to an end. Early this month, as you may recall, I decided it was time for the OC Overhaul, and booted a few books off the list. It was actually a matter of being fair to those books as they hadn’t been read for ages, and were being overlooked and overtaken. I had about 9 or 10 books on the list, but only 3 or 4 of those were being picked up and read, so I had a cull and decided I would have six books, two fiction, two non-fiction and two young adult.

The revised list of six books was Dissolution, One Italian Summer, Hendrik Groen, Periodic Tales, Me and Earl, and Neither Here Nor There. As you know now, the first three of those books have been read, so that leaves  us with three to be continued as we head into August…

Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews

Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson

OC list end of July 2017

The new OC List as we head into August…

Two of those are non-fiction, with Me and Earl being Young Adult, so we need two general fiction books and one young adult one to get the OC list back to the half dozen. One of the general fiction books I am adding is The Beach Hut, by Veronica Henry. As that one is already 34% read, it can go straight on the OC List. It is over 10% read. The other two books are Dark Fire, by C J Sansom, the second Shardlake novel, of which I will need to read 58 pages to get to 10%, and A Quiet Kind of Thunder, by Sara Barnard, 31 pages of which should see me reach 10% and I will thus be able to add it to my OC List. With those two, of course, it all depends on that first ten percent, and whether it grabs me enough to continue!

If, for any reason, I am not enjoying them, I will have to reconsider matters, but I feel confident that I will enjoy these books.

Lake District purchases July 2017

Before I finish, a couple of mentions for some books acquired recently. As I went to the Lake District last week, I picked up The Shepherd’s Life, by James Rebanks, which had been a bit of a word-of-mouth surprise best-seller a year or so ago if I recall rightly. It’s from a shepherd in the Lake District, so it’s local to that area. Yes, there were also magnets purchased, lol, and some necessary Kendal Mint Cake! Had to be done! Today, I was just out and about locally to me, though, and picked up a 20p bargain from one of the charity shops on Salford Precinct, the book in question being The Food of Love Cookery School, by Nicky Pellegrino. It’s set in Sicily, it’s about food, and it was a mere 20p, so I decided to risk it for a biscuit!

Well, that’s about it for this month on the book front, I think that’s all my news for July, so as we head into August, I shall finish this off and get it published, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry (other than the original 6 OCs)

  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom (Shardlake #2)
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • The Shepherd’s Life – James Rebanks
  • The Food of Love Cookery School – Nicky Pellegrino

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Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Month in Review, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Situations Vacant

July books read 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to yet another blog as you get to see the shortest OC List I think I have ever had, lol! We are down to just FOUR books on the Ongoing Concerns list at present, as the two books in the above photo have been finished this week and joined the ranks of the Goodreads Challenge for 2017! I have read, or at least finished off, 33 books this year, so that’s 33/30 as I met my challenge target in May.

I know we have the rest of today to go, still a few hours left as I type, and then another three days of July, but as we’re nearing the end of the month, I was doing some adding up earlier…

I have finished One Italian Summer, which I started and finished in July. That was 241 pages long.

I have just finished Dissolution earlier today, again a book I started and finished within this month, and that was 443 pages of reading matter…

I am just over halfway with The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old, and have thus read 190 pages of that so far, all of those pages in July.

Of my other three Ongoing Concerns, I have read at least 50 pages during this month to make some progress on each of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (50 pages), Periodic Tales (54 pages), and Neither Here Nor There (55 pages), bringing the number of pages I have read this month to 1,033 with still some more days to get a bit more done! Plus, as I have mentioned above, I have read two entire books as part of that, plus I have reached at least the halfway stage with another! After the rather lightweight performance on the book front in June, I feel that a lot of reading has been done in July.

I suppose I should thank Ed Woodward for that, useless lazy gnome that he is, because I decided to see how much of certain books I could get through while I waited for him to get his arse in gear in the transfer market! We did sign Romelu Lukaku, of course, although I still reckon that owes a lot more to the persuasive powers of Paul Pogba (how’s that for alliteration, folks?!) than it does to Woodward’s dealings in the transfer market! Agent Pogba – Mission Accomplished! By the way, Paul, if you have any more mates in the football world whom you could convince to join us at Old Trafford, that would be much appreciated, chuck!

Anyway, as I got a couple of books off the list, that means one thing… Time to place a “recruitment notice” for my books, a “want ad” as our friends in the States know them…

VACANCIES! Books Wanted!

Chief Bookworm is looking to add TWO books to her Ongoing Concerns list. Candidates must be either of the General Fiction or Young Adult genres of book, as Joanne has room for one of each on her list. The successful books will undergo a probationary period which involves Joanne reading the first 10% of the book to see if it’s her cup of tea, and then, if successful, they will be added to the Ongoing Concerns list for as long as it takes for Jo to read the rest of the book, after which they will join the other books already on the Goodreads Challenge for 2017!

Actually, I already know the general fiction title, as I am reading the Shardlake series by C. J. Sansom, of which Dissolution was the first book, so we simply move on to the second book in that series, Dark Fire. Thus, one position has now been filled, thank you. Other general fiction titles will have to wait until Hendrik Groen has been completed! As that is my book club book, the next meeting is on 9th August, and I am already halfway through it, the other general fiction books should not have too long to wait until a vacancy becomes available again.

YA shortlist for the OC List July 2017

So, I am just recruiting, now, for the Young Adult book which will join my Ongoing Concerns list, and like with any company taking people on, you have to draw up some sort of a shortlist from the applicants. I have rather a lot of YA books, as you all know, lol, some part-read, some unread, and I have just drawn up a shortlist of 6 for serious consideration… Five of these have already been mentioned during the course of this year’s blogs, but there is one relatively new title to add to the mix, that being Love & Gelato, by Jenna Evans Welch. I was attracted by the cover, plus the fact I’d just finished and loved One Italian Summer, so the idea of another YA book set in Italy appealed to me.

I am still thinking A Quiet Kind of Thunder might be my next one. I bought that at the same time as I bought One Italian Summer, and, as I mentioned previously, it features a deaf character as one of the protagonists and thus there is a lot of BSL throughout the book! A chance to brush up on some sign language!

The Upside of Unrequited is actually the only one of the six which has previously been on the OC List. As and when I decide to resume that one, it has already exceeded 10%, but the other five are unread. All The Bright Places and Dumplin’ have been around here for a while, on the notorious TBR List, waiting to be read, but When Dimple Met Rishi was a recent recommendation from a member of staff at Waterstone’s Deansgate, and I purchased that one the other day, along with Love & Gelato.

Anyway, I thought I would put things out to you, see if you had any recommendations, and which of the six books I have shown in the photo should be added to the OC List first. After all, I have 61 followers now, 60 of you lovely people on this blog, and one following by email apparently, so I want you to feel involved! As long as there’s no spam, I’m happy for people to comment on my blogs. It shows you’ve read it and you have some thoughts on the matters I have raised!

And sometimes I need some help when choosing books! Like right at the moment, lol! I am often spoilt for choice, I have so many books and I don’t always know which one to read next! So, if you want to assist me with my “recruitment process” for my next YA book to be added to the Ongoing Concerns, I would appreciate that very much! This is about all for now, but I shall be back again fairly soon. After all, I will have the July Review to do shortly! In the meantime, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • Love & Gelato – Jenna Evans Welch
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli
  • All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
  • Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
  • When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon

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Filed under Books, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

OC Overhaul, Book Benches and an Emergency Book!

OC Overhaul July 2017

Bullet journal documenting my Ongoing Concerns overhaul…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Yes, I have gone and done it! I have taken decisive action on the notorious Ongoing Concerns List, and trimmed it down! I decided it was unfair on certain books which were not being read, I hadn’t touched them for weeks, if not months, and I thought let’s just take them off the list, at least for now, and put them back on some time later if I CAN be arsed reading them instead of leaving them on there for decoration without them making any ounce of progress as far as Goodreads percentages are concerned.

Several YA books are therefore back in the TBR pile as partially-read books, with receipts or travel tickets in them as bookmarks so I know where I’m up to when I do decide to resume them at any time in the future. There are now two YA novels on the new OC list, those being Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, and One Italian Summer, by Keris Stainton. She actually liked one of my posts on Instagram the other day! I am a frequent Bookstagrammer on there, most of my posts on Instagram are about books! There are some which aren’t, but I’m very much into the whole Bookstagram thing.

One non-fiction book has been returned to the TBR list, but Periodic Tales, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams, and Neither Here Nor There, by Bill Bryson, remain on the OC List as our current representatives of factual reading matter! This coming week, on Thursday, I will be meeting one of my favourite non-fiction writers, Stuart Maconie, who is coming to Waterstone’s on Deansgate to promote his new book, Long Road From Jarrow, which will be published that day. That one will have to join the TBR pile though, as I’ve got two non-fictions on the list, and I said I was going to resume Manchester, England by Dave Haslam as my next non-fiction selection on the OC List once one of the current factual books has been read, and will be using my “and the bees still buzz” bookmark in it!

It’s all go on the book front in Manchester at the moment, and I shall return to the matter of Mancunian book-related events shortly, once I have covered the fiction section of my new trimmed-down OC List, lol!

OC Wipeboard July 2017

The OC Wipeboard – cleaned and tarted-up with the new list. The magnets have been on for a while, from Berlin, Chichen Itza, and Marrakech respectively. The blue thingy is a wipeboard eraser, and is magnetic. I might just plonk that on the top and put a few more magnets on, or sometimes change them around. I needed a new pen for it anyway, as the one it came with had gone funny. The board itself needed cleaning, too, but I sorted that out, so it looks pretty good now, and I have a few colours I can use on it. I’m sure non-permanent OHP pens would also work on it…

So, the fiction section… Obviously, this currently consists of Dissolution, by C. J. Sansom, the first book of his Shardlake series, and my current book club book, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old. I am now 12% through that so it has joined the list because I have read at least 10% of it. Thus the OC list is at six, with a nice balance of 2 fiction, 2 non-fiction and 2 young adult. If I find even that is too much and things are not being read, I will have to trim it down further, but it’s a lot better than it was!

Bookbench trail map

Bookbench Trail Map

I did promise you more book-related goings-on in Manchester, so this is what I was on about, the Bookbench Trail. A bit like when we had Cowparade in the noughties, but with sets of benches in the shape of books, decorated by various groups and schools, and dotted around Manchester, both in the city centre and out in various suburbs. This is on for 2 months from 10th July to 10th September, so it just started this Monday just gone.

The above photos are from some of the benches in the Arndale Centre in town. The crayons remind me of some of Charlotte’s books, actually, lol! I’m thinking about The Day the Crayons Quit, and The Day the Crayons Came Home, both by Drew Daywalt. If you haven’t read these books, you really should! They’re brilliant and very funny!

Anyway, one foolish thing I did yesterday was that I forgot to put any books in my handbag! Oops! I was going in to town for my volunteering, and also to give blood afterwards, although it turned out that my haemoglobin was low, so I couldn’t donate a pint of my O positive on this occasion. I realised in the morning, after leaving the house to get a bus to Eccles, that I had forgotten to bring any books with me. I was not best pleased, as you can imagine! Chief Bookworm had no Handbag Books! Oops!

Emergency Book July 2017

Emergency Book!

Bearing in mind I’d be volunteering in the morning, and that I’d be doing the sudoku in the newspapers while on the tram to town, I wasn’t so much bothered about not having a book for the outgoing journey, but I figured that, if I was going to be giving an armful to the vampires, I would need a book to pass the time during my donation, so just before I went to the donor centre, I nipped into Fopp, where they have a selection of cheap books as well as music and films, and picked up Life After Dark, by Dave Haslam, for £3 to take with me. Hence the bit in the title of this blog about the Emergency Book!

So, I took the Emergency Book with me to the donor centre, only for me to turn out to be a bit low on iron and unable to give blood! Oh well, never mind! The book is a history of British nightclubs and music venues, as you might expect from a DJ, and I read a little bit of it on the bus on the way home from town, although the rest of it will have to wait, at least until after I have finished with one of his other books, and that’s still not on the OC list yet, anyway!

Didn’t have a fellow bookworm on that bus, but the previous day, I had a fellow bookworm on the tram to Eccles when I was coming home from town. I was reading Dissolution, she was reading The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry, which she said she was enjoying. I said it was on my TBR List. She said she’d read and enjoyed Dissolution! My copy of The Essex Serpent is in the pile of books, mostly hardbacks, known as my Bass Amp Book Tower!

Well, I shall now go and get myself a brew, and do some reading perhaps. My lads have their first game of the pre-season tour later, at what is silly o’clock for us here in the UK, but that’s not too much trouble as I can always watch it in bed and I am a night owl, so I will probably be awake for most of it anyway!

Wonder when the Gnome will get his finger out of his arse and get some more players off Jose’s shopping list?! I don’t think the manager is very chuffed at the extremely lethargic “speed” at which Gnome is progressing with this task, and we fans certainly aren’t! We need more players, and we need to be buying them, not letting other players go in exchange! Especially not strikers, as we don’t have enough as it is! No, Inter Milan, you cannot have Anthony Martial! We don’t have enough forwards! We might possibly have some spare defenders or something, if you need anyone in those positions at the back, but we need all the strikers we can get!

We have practically exchanged Rooney for Lukaku, so we have Lukaku, Martial and Rashford. That in itself is not enough strikers. We need at least one more, because we cannot bank on Zlatan returning. If he comes back mid season and manages to bang in the goals despite his age and despite having had a serious knee injury, that should be considered a bonus!

Anyway, that is about all from me for now, you’ll be relieved to learn, lol! So, until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Long Road From Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • The Day the Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home – Drew Daywalt
  • Life After Dark – Dave Haslam
  • The Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry

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Filed under Authors, Bass Amp Book Tower, Books, Bookstagram, Childrens' Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, Junior Bookworms, Manc Stuff!, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Travel, Uncategorized, YA Books

The Not-So-Secret Blog of a Borassic Bookworm, Aged 44 1/4!

Hendrik Groen

And here’s one I bought earlier…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Epic Win at book club earlier! I have actually managed to persuade those present at book club to opt for a book of which I already own a copy! Yay! The paperback edition of The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old, is out, and available on a buy one get one half price deal at Waterstone’s. I’ve had the hardback for a while now, it’s been on my TBR pile, so I thought I’d put a copy of the paperback on the table and suggest it for our next book, my other choice being Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, which was a hardback, but on offer at half price, and it looked interesting, so I presented those choices.

There were only four of us there tonight, and the others didn’t have any book suggestions. They liked both of mine, but we went with the Dutch pensioner, rather than the office worker. I might eventually get that other book. In fact, I probably will, knowing me, at some point or other… It will end up in here, in hardback or paperback, and on my notorious TBR list! Trying to be good and resist the Call of the Book at the moment, but these items of reading matter will end up here sooner or later, no doubt!

Whether I will ever get around to reading them, though, is entirely another matter! I already have a TBR pile which would take years to read through even if I had all the time in the world for the rest of my life! In fact, I still wouldn’t get around to reading all of the books I own! Crafters tend to know this as SABLE – Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy, and the same can be said for bookworms and their book collections!

Onto the other books now, and some slight inaccuracies in the previous blog. Dissolution is on for 61% as far as Goodreads is concerned, and the entire Shardlake series would involve reading 3,626 pages of plot over the course of the 6 books. Anyway, Dissolution is now at the top of the OC List, having overtaken Me and Earl and the Dying Girl slightly. That’s on for 57% and Periodic Tales is on 56%, so it’s quite close at the top at the moment. What I could do with is a new wipe board, or at least a new marker pen for it. I will have to see if they have any more at The Range. I was on my work placement when I bought that one and I was often put on the arts & crafts and stationery section, so I got to see those magnetic wipe boards frequently and just had to buy one!

One Italian Summer has also shot up on the list, past the other YA novels apart from Me and Earl. If I can get both of those polished off, I can make a start on A Quiet Kind of Thunder, and maybe also sort out some of the other Young Adult books on the OC List. Maybe return to The Upside of Unrequited. After all, I’d still like to find out how mermaids pee, lol!

Might take some books off the OC list, return them to the general TBR pile as half-read books, and resume them some other time. I have clearly lost interest, progress has not been made for ages, so I can drop them off the list, they are hardly ongoing concerns when I’ve not really been arsed with them for ages, and we can have a very trimmed-down OC List. It doesn’t mean they’re doomed, though. After all, I resumed Jamrach’s Menagerie after several years of not being read, and the same goes for Pet Shop Boys, Literally!

From part-read books on to other literary issues now…

Recently, I blogged about how books which are said to change your life never seem to have that effect on me. See my June 2017 archive for that particular blog if you wish to revisit the issue. One of the other issues with literature, which has been raised on the book groups and pages of Facebook lately, is the matter of books which cause you to cry. I’m not talking about quiet crying or the shedding of a few tears, though. I’m talking about “ugly sobbing” over a book. Again, something which I don’t ever recall doing!

In all my years as a bookworm, which is most of my life as I was reading before I started school, I don’t think I have ever ugly cried over a book. Certainly, books have made me emotional. I have wanted to slap certain characters (hence I have a Literary Slap List), I’ve wanted to punch some of them, such as those who abused Jude in A Little Life, and I’ve wanted to transfigure Dolores Umbridge into something to suit what a nasty bitch she is! Actually, I’ve wanted to send her to Azkaban and let the Dementors sort her out! Don’t bloody start me on that awful woman! As a Potterhead, I dislike Umbridge so much that I even prefer Lord Voldemort to her! At least you know where you stand with Voldy! He’s always evil. He never pretends to be nice!

So, I have wanted to slap, punch, hug, and send some characters behind bars! I have also leaked some tears, there have been occasional waterworks, but only quiet ones! No ugly, messy sobbing here! No “it’s a good job I don’t wear mascara” moments! The ugly crying doesn’t happen for me any more than the “life-changing” books happen for me! I do bear in mind other peoples’ warnings, I do have tissues handy. However, so far, nothing has made me blub that much while reading a book that I’ve actually needed them. I think the closest I’ve come, and even that was just quiet tears, was when I was reading This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, by Tadeusz Borowski, a collection of short stories which I read some years ago thanks to a recommendation by David Hunt on Facebook.

I don’t know why this is the case. I don’t know why I don’t ugly cry any more than I know why life-changing books don’t change my life, lol, but there it is! I’ve been a bookworm for over 40 years, which is almost all my life given that I’m 44, lol, but books don’t change my life and they don’t make me ugly sob either! I love books. I find them moving at times, informative and educational at other times, but I guess I just don’t have those extreme reactions which make me bawl my eyes out or experience something life-changing after reading a certain book!

I think that’s probably about all for now, which is more than enough, lol, so until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli
  • Jamrach’s Menagerie – Carol Birch
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • This Way For the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen – Tadeusz Borowski

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

Dissolution and Distraction

Shardlake selfie 1

Shardlake Series Selfie: Already over 25% of Dissolution read…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

You’ve had Pride and Prejudice, you’ve had Sense and Sensibility… now meet Dissolution and Distraction, lol! Well, in so far as I’m reading Dissolution, while hoping that United will provide the distraction by signing players! It nearly worked, too! There was some actual interest in the transfer window! However, Everton are denying that they accepted a bid for Romelu Lukaku, from ourselves, and part of me is hoping that it might be a ploy to worry Real Madrid and get the price of Alvaro Morata lowered!

Personally, I’d like both players at Old Trafford! Not just because, as one guy tweeted, you could fit both names (Lukaku, Morata) in a terrace chant to the tune of Hakuna Matata from The Lion King, lol, but because we bloody well need at least a couple of centre-forwards! We’ve already released the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and it looks very likely that Wayne Rooney will be heading back to Everton after 13 seasons at United and more trophies than you can shake a stick at! Maybe not the numbers of trophies won by Giggs and Scholes, but Rooney will be up there on the list amongst the well-decorated players, and he also holds the club goalscoring record, of course, having overtaken Sir Bobby Charlton’s 249 goals this season just gone. Wazza scored 253 goals for us, so that looks like it will be the new total to beat, and that will take some doing! It took 44 years for anyone to beat Sir Bobby’s record!

So, back to Dissolution, for a moment, and it seems my book challenge had an effect! It’s like the days when I couldn’t read while in a vehicle which was in motion, which was the case back in my student days at uni, and I could only get a book out and read on the bus if the driver had stopped for a 5 minute break. They seemed to sense that someone who couldn’t read while in motion was reading, and they took that as a signal to get their arses, and their buses, back in gear, and get moving again! In a footballing sense, my Shardlake Series challenge seems to have had that sort of effect on The Gnome! Perhaps Ed Woodward can sense that a bored and pissed-off Stretford Ender has got fed up of the lack of activity and decided to read a particularly chunky series of historical fiction novels?! Thus he thinks “Oh shit! I’d better get a move on and sign someone!”

Dissolution has joined the Handbag Books list, and the Ongoing Concerns list, and is currently at 27% read as I type, so I’ve already got through a quarter of the novel since I started it yesterday evening after my previous blog!

Not got band practice this coming Saturday, so a potential reading opportunity presents itself… Still need to decide what I’m doing regarding The Power. Going to get on with Dissolution as I’ve started the Shardlake series as a challenge to the Gnome (see above) and I’m enjoying it, plus I’ve regained interest in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, so I can make some progress with that, get that one read and off the OC List. Maybe even look at some of the other YA books on there and get some of those read… Finding Audrey hasn’t been read for ages.

Talking of books that haven’t been read for ages, you will probably know by now that I have many half-read books lying around, some of which eventually come back onto my radar and join the OC list. One such book could possibly be The Beach Hut, by Veronica Henry, which has been lying around near Computer Corner for ages! The only reason it has come back into my mind is because of a forthcoming event for which a beach hut has been hired for a day. It was something Mum mentioned to me, and it reminded me that I had a book called The Beach Hut!

While we’re on forthcoming events…

STUART MACONIE IS COMING TO WATERSTONE’S DEANSGATE!!!

Sorry! Please excuse my excitement, but I am going to an event on 20th July at the Waterstone’s branch in town as one of my favourite non-fiction authors has a new book out! Woo-hoo! I hope he might also sign some of my other books of his if I were to take them along, such as The Pie at Night, and The People’s Songs, which I read earlier this year! I think Pies and Prejudice is in the book chest in the garage. Read that one some years ago now.

The forthcoming book from Mr Maconie is Long Road From Jarrow, and it is an account of his retracing of the route 80 years on from when 200 men from the Tyneside town of Jarrow marched down to London in 1936 to protest against the destruction of their towns and industries.

https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/1109317/long-road-from-jarrow/

I have included the link for any interested readers. The book is published on 20th July, which is actually the same night that I shall be seeing Mr Maconie launch this book at the Deansgate branch in town! He is one of my favourite non-fiction writers, along with Bill Bryson and also Nick Hornby‘s non-fiction stuff! Fever Pitch is on my list of all-time favourite books, so I couldn’t forget Hornby!

I was good, and didn’t buy any books today, but that’s not to say I didn’t spot some potential future reading material, including One Italian Summer, by Keris Stainton, which is a YA novel, and Around Britain By Cake: A Tour of Our Traditional Teatime Treats, by Caroline Taggart. Before you ask, yes, the latter of those DOES feature Eccles Cakes and contains a recipe for them! Sounds like the sort of book to read while enjoying a cuppa and a good big slice of cake! Actually, most books can be enjoyed with a cuppa and a cake. You might not want to eat if you were reading horror novels, they might become too gory and put you off your food, but as I don’t read horror, because I don’t want the living shit scared out of me, that’s not an issue in my bookworm life!

Anyway, it’s been warm again, and I’m not getting any cooler sitting at my laptop, so I shall get this published and then I can chill and return to my reading! Until the next helping of waffle, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • The Power – Naomi Alderman
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • Pies and Prejudice – Stuart Maconie
  • Long Road From Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • Around Britain By Cake – Caroline Taggart

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Computer Corner, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, School, College & Uni Reading, Television, The TBR Pile