Category Archives: Historical Fiction

Floating Islands and Local Plays By Local People!

.Floating Island dessert Mauritius 2019

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

That dessert in the photo is the Floating Island I mentioned in my last blog. Mum and I had these at Ponte Vecchio on our first full day at our resort in Mauritius. The usual Grand Port buffet restaurant needed to be closed for some reason, so they opened up the Italian restaurant for lunch, and Mum and I had a lovely meal there, especially this dessert. However, that meant we wanted this dessert again, but it wasn’t on their evening menu, and led to this, which would not be out of place as a Monty Python sketch…

Mum: We would like the Floating Island, please.

Waiter: I’m very sorry, that’s only on our lunch menu.

Mum: When are you open for lunch?

Waiter: We’re not.

See what I mean?! Don’t get me wrong, we did enjoy our accommodation for the most part, but there were some areas for improvement on their part! So, I still think, of all the jollies I’ve ever been on, the El Dorado Seaside Suites on the Riviera Maya in Mexico still tops the list. That’s where we went in 2013, as you may recall, as part of my 40th birthday celebrations that year. I certainly think, for free onsite activities, the Shandrani has plenty going for it. The setting is beautiful too. We were there in their winter, as it’s in the southern hemisphere, so there were some issues with finding one of the restaurants, Le Sirius, when some of the lamps had their timings wrong and were off when it was dark. As I said, I would tell them, if they ask, that we enjoyed it on the whole, but I would give some constructive criticism around areas which need improving.

I did like the Beachcomber travel wallet we got before we went on the holiday, though. That was a lovely touch when our documents came with about a fortnight to go before the hols. I will be using that for future holidays for tickets and stuff!

Let’s get on with some book stuff now, and we can return to jollies later. Sock, from the Object Lessons series, is still an ongoing concern. I get bits read when I’m on my lunch at work. They are only short books, though, so they don’t take too long to read. As the book talks about socks and other similar items of footwear and foot wrapping, it also mentions puttees, which, for me, was a reminder of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières. I was reading that back in the day, back in the 1990s, and got halfway through it, my bookmark is still in there between pages 206 and 207, but I don’t know what happened, perhaps I got distracted by other things and haven’t finished it off. I should do, but part of me wonders if I need to re-read up to that point to refresh myself of what happened, as it’s been a bloody long time!

As I recall, I was enjoying it at the time, although I had to look a lot of things up, especially Greek words! I have been to a couple of Greek islands since then, though, so that may help, although I’ve not been to Kefalonia, which is where this novel is actually set. I have been to Santorini, which is beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone, and also to Kos for the day when we were on holiday in Turkey. The novel was hugely popular back then, seemed like everyone was reading it at that time! It appealed to me on the music front.

As we’re on books I’ve had for ages, here we have one that I’ve had for quite some time, although not as long as Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Have any of you read this one?

English Passengers Matthew Kneale

We have English Passengers, by Matthew Kneale. Published in 2000, so it’s more recent, only 19 years old, lol, and I’m not sure I’ve had it a full 19 years. On the back of my copy is a price sticker for £1.00, so I got it from a charity shop when I bought it, I didn’t pay the full £8.99 that was the RRP when it came out and is stated on the back of the book. Obviously, something appealed to me at the time when I bought it, but it has been around amongst my TBR Library for some time and has not yet been read. OK, the same can be said of a lot of books, lmao, but for some reason, this one does keep catching my eye and sticks out as a Book I’ve Had For Donkey’s Years But Not Read Yet!

I’ve still not read any fiction this year, just been poetry and non-fiction, but I went back to the staff book club at work the other day, and our next book is actually a play, so we have drama on the cards here!

The last time I studied a play, I was at university, so it’s a pretty long time ago as I graduated 25 years ago! My final year dissertation was about plays, as it was on the theme of lies and liars in the plays of Henrik Ibsen. I know two of the three plays I based my thesis on were A Doll’s House and The Pillars of Society. I think the other one may have been The Wild Duck.

However, the book club reading matter is rather closer to home. In fact, I doubt it could be any more local than A Taste of Honey, by Shelagh Delaney! Delaney wrote this play when she was only 19 years old. She was from Salford, from the Broughton area, and the play is also set here. I know this might make me sound like those two weirdo shopkeepers from The League of Gentlemen, but A Taste of Honey really is a local play by a local person! I may even see if there’s any performances on YouTube as I think you really need to see a performance if you’re studying a play. It does help. You are reading something which is meant to be acted out.

Just pulled a book out of my purple Kipling bag. All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque. I had started reading that last year, given that 2018 was 100 years since the end of the First World War. I got myself a new handbag though, so changed over to that mostly. My current bag fits the Object Lessons books, but I would need to go back to bigger handbags, really to start having Handbag Books again, or take them with me in an extra bag. That has been known. Maybe I should start a Backpack Books list? I have a Hogwarts backpack that I bought myself not long ago for the trip up to North Shields with Salford Steel, so sometimes I take that with me to places as well as my handbag, and there are often books in my backpack! Sometimes I set off with them, sometimes I come home with them!

Just how bloody hot was it on Thursday?! It was crazy! I would love to know what temperatures it reached in Salford and Manchester on Thursday, because it was still bloody boiling even in the evening! After work, I went into town for an event organised by Cruse – UK readers may know of Cruse, they’re an organisation who provide bereavement support, and this was a group for adults who have lost a parent. The meet up was at Manchester Central Library, and by the time it was over, I came out of the library around quarter to eight in the evening and it was still absolutely boiling! Then I crossed the tram lines and went to Wagamama to eat. Came out of there around an hour later… still pretty damn warm! Quarter to nine at night and still ridiculous temperatures! If it weren’t for the familiar surroundings, I would have questioned if I was in Manchester! Perhaps it was a parallel Manchester, but with hot weather?! It certainly wasn’t the usual weather for my neck of the woods, lol!

When I had got to town from Swinton on the bus, I had time for a quick visit to Waterstone’s before heading to the event, and purchased a copy of A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole – the edition with the red cover and yellow hot dogs on it – I love that cover, and believe the book is meant to be very funny. If I am going to get back into fiction, I think I want something that’s going to give me a good laugh! Actually, when I looked it up on Amazon just now, there was a glowing review of it by Sir Billy Connolly, who said it was his favourite book of all time, and I think you all know I’ve been a big fan of the Big Yin for donkey’s years! My all-time favourite comedian.

I have actually got his Made in Scotland book, which I started a while ago, so I can continue with that, but that’s not fiction, so wouldn’t get me back into made up stuff.

On the List Challenges list for this blog, I now have 82 different books listed for the things I’ve mentioned so far this year on my blogs, which means we’re into our third page in terms of published lists. When a list is published, there are 40 items to a page. Given that I didn’t start blogging this year until April, that’s not too bad, really. This list is going to be shorter than usual, I suspect, but probably as random as ever! We have poetry, plays, books about the art of not giving a f**k, children’s books, historical fiction, science fiction, books about medical conditions and disabilities, autobiographies, object lessons, travel, and books about books! Bit of young adult, too. My lists have a lot of random stuff on them. I am a very random person. You might have noticed, lol!

You may recall from previous blogs, way back in 2012, after the London Olympics and Paralympics, that I put a photo up of me with a gold postbox. I think I did, anyway. Royal Mail painted postboxes gold up and down the UK in places of significance relating to athletes who won gold for Great Britain in those home Games, and we have one in Salford in honour of Dame Sarah Storey, the cyclist who won multiple golds in the Paralympics that summer. I think she won 4 golds if I remember rightly.

Anyway, Royal Mail have now painted some other postboxes white with cricket bats and stumps to celebrate England’s victories in the Cricket World Cups for our women’s team in 2017 and our men’s team this year, and as Old Trafford, Lancashire’s ground, was a host venue, there is a celebratory postbox in town. Possibly there isn’t a postbox near the cricket ground itself, maybe there is, but there is now a cricket-themed postbox in town and I saw it on Thursday night, so I thought you might like to see it. I’ve only read one book that’s cricket-related, but that was the hilarious Penguins Stopped Play, by Harry Thompson! I definitely recommend it. Even if you’re not into cricket, it is so funny! It is on my list of books which made me laugh my arse off while reading them!

Another funny book I can recommend, one that I read a couple of years ago now, is Round Ireland With a Fridge, by Tony Hawks. I remembered it again recently because of Mr Hawks’ previous claim to fame before he became a published writer… as a pop star, albeit a one hit wonder. He and a couple of mates teamed up in the late eighties and, under the name of Morris Minor and the Majors, reached number 4 in the UK singles charts in early 1988 with a comedy rap hit called Stutter Rap (No Sleep ‘Til Bedtime), a send-up of the likes of the Beastie Boys who were hugely popular back in 1987-88! As BBC4 shows old Top of the Pops on Friday nights, they’d got to the stage where it was late 1987 and early 1988, and this song was being performed on the show on some of the TOTPs that I had recorded and watched on my Sky+ box, and that reminded me that this was the first bit of fame enjoyed by Tony Hawks before his writing career!

Incidentally, BBC4 are now up to April 1988 in terms of Top of the Pops, and thus Heart by the Pet Shop Boys is number 1, so I was a very happy bunny watching it last night! The main reason I was particularly keen on watching the shows from December 1987 and into January 1988 was that Always On My Mind was number 1 for four weeks, so I was basically watching those shows because of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe! There were other good tunes as well, including Stutter Rap, which was quite witty for a daft novelty record, but I admit I was watching because I’m a PSB fan!

So, what other things have I bought recently on the book front? There’s Rivers of London, by Ben Aaronovitch, and the much talked-about Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens. Feels like every book group on Facebook mentions that novel! Perhaps I should see what it’s like? I’m not really one for much talked about books, but then a lot of those seem to be crime thrillers, so that’s not really my genre anyway. This seems a bit more general fiction even if there is crime and mystery in it.

Wonder what the Booker Prize nominations are for this year? I tend to find winners of such prizes off-putting. I did enjoy Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, but I’ve attempted one or two others that have won the Booker Prize, and didn’t get very far with them. Found myself plodding and wondering if the plot was going to get moving at all! It was The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, that I found hard-going, and I did swap my original copy at a pub restaurant some years ago in exchange for Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, which I loved! I did get another copy of The Luminaries, though, thinking I might try it again, as I was having a book slump at the time we attempted it for our book group.

Well, the list on List Challenges is now up to 89 books, lol! I think that’s about it for now! More about books, holidays and other waffle coming soon, but until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Sock – Kim Adrian
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernières
  • English Passengers – Matthew Kneale
  • A Doll’s House – Henrik Ibsen
  • The Pillars of Society – Henrik Ibsen
  • The Wild Duck – Henrik Ibsen
  • A Taste of Honey – Shelagh Delaney
  • All Quiet On the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
  • A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
  • Made in Scotland – Sir Billy Connolly
  • Penguins Stopped Play – Harry Thompson
  • Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch
  • Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  • The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
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Filed under Books, British Weather, Charity Shop Bargains, Facebook & Other Social Media, Foreign Languages, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Music, Non-Fiction, Object Lessons, Olympic Games, Ongoing Concerns, Plays, Sports, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel, Weather

Greetings from the Costa del Salford!

Costa del Salford 23rd July 2019

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

It’s a hot one alright! That was earlier on when I was on Swinton Precinct having an iced coffee in Costa after work. Hence Costa del Salford is a particularly apt pun! I need to try to catch up on stuff I’ve not blogged about yet, and I last blogged at the end of May, before I did one to Mauritius on my jollies! I will probably have to work things in over a number of blogs, but we might as well start now. I will still get book-related stuff mentioned, and I did get some reading done while I was on my hols, so we can start on that.

I finished Ole, by Ian MacLeay, while I was in Mauritius, and passed it over to Mum to read, so she’s on that one. I also started on Luggage, from the Object Lessons series, by Susan Harlan, while I was on holiday, as it seemed apt to read about luggage on one’s jollies! You will be hearing so much about these books, as I absolutely love them! There may be one or two which wouldn’t really be relevant to me, but a lot of them are of interest. I have found a large selection of them in the Popular Science section of the Deansgate branch of Waterstone’s, but there are so many of them, and I have also bought some online as they interested me but the Deansgate store didn’t have those particular books.

Since coming home from my jollies, I’ve polished off two more Object Lessons books, those being Personal Stereo, by Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow, and Bookshelf, by Lydia Pyne. I have now decided upon Sock, by Kim Adrian as my fifth OL book. Yeah, here we are in a heatwave, and I’m reading about socks, lol!

Holiday was absolutely awesome, although it did have its dodgy moments. Tip to any readers of this blog if you’re ever at the Shandrani Beachcomber Resort and Spa in Mauritius… If you have a ground floor room, and you’re near the beach, make sure you turn the light off for outside your room at night! You might find that, when you’ve come back from your evening meal, the staff who have come to turn down your bed covers may have turned the patio light on… Turn it OFF! You do NOT want uninvited knobheads, who may well have been beach sellers, having a party outside your room at stupid o’clock in the morning! We were woken up by these idiots at around 2:30am on the first Friday we were there, a few days into our jollies. Even though the windows were shut, the music was loud, and one of them was smoking and the smell did waft into the room, and I ABSOLUTELY HATE THAT SMELL!!! I’ve hated it pretty much all my life, can’t stand it, it makes me feel sick! I have actually been known to throw up because of people smoking near me, so I find it really revolting.

We had to call security twice before, eventually, someone came to tell them a complaint had been made. Even then, they hung around for another ten minutes before they buggered off. Just glad we didn’t have any excursions booked that day, as our sleep had been interrupted. We felt the hotel really could and should have done more to make up for this experience. Also, they need to up their game on the dining front. To be a truly top hotel, nothing should be too much for them to do, no customer request should be too difficult, especially something like making us a dessert from a different menu… We had an experience that would not have been out of place as a Monty Python sketch! I might actually save that for another blog, though. Let’s just say it was a bit of a farce!

They did have a bookshelf so people could borrow or swap books, but the thing was that there weren’t that many in English while I was there. I did consider a couple of books, but when I looked them up, both of them were about the third book in a particular series! If they’d been the first book in the series, I would definitely have considered them, but it’s a bit silly when it’s not. I really could have done with either a stand alone book, or the start of a series. The first of these third books, if you get my drift, was The Lords of the North, by Bernard Cornwell, and the other was Fire and Sword, by Simon Scarrow. Both would have been historical fiction, which I am partial to when I’m in the mood for fiction, although I’m more into factual stuff at the moment.

When we came home, we had Mum’s 70th birthday that weekend, and the following weekend we were on a stall at St Thomas’ church fair, and then I had my trip to Geordieland with Salford Steel as we went to the Steel Band Festival in North Shields, so it’s been all go really! Just had my niece’s birthday, too! Junior Bookworm is now 9 years old! Thus it’s all been a bit mad and I’ve been thinking “should I blog?” and then deciding against it, but I really do need to get some stuff typed up and photos put on from various events. Might get some time for that this weekend.

So, I’ve got Mauritius, I’ve got London and I’ve got North Shields to waffle on about and also mention some books, lol! Well, I’ve bought books, anyway, and I have read a few of them. If they’re non-fiction, that is. Non-fiction gets me out of slumps, and I’d been in one of those between November and April, as I’d mentioned in previous blogs. Well, it started as a book slump, but obviously then turned into bereavement after Dad died in January, so books were a bit of an afterthought for a while and I only started bothering again just before my birthday.

Ooh. A numpty! Sorry, just had notification from Farcebook that someone wants to join the United group of which I am one of the admins, and the daft nelly hasn’t answered the damn joining questions! Ever since FB started letting admins ask questions to potential members, the other admins agreed to my idea that we should have a mini quiz to see if they know their history of the club. It has been a really good way of filtering out unsuitable people! So many of them can’t even be arsed answering the questions, so we give them an hour or so, and then we block them from being able to try again. If they do answer the questions, most of them get them wrong, so, again, bye bye! I think, in the time since we’ve started asking questions, we’ve actually had to vet all of two profiles for member suitability! And one of those turned out to like other clubs in their likes, including some of our rivals, so that was him blocked as well! We have let in one new member since we started asking questions! Got the questions right, and their profile showed they were a proper Red with no other reasons not to admit.

We used to get lots of people asking sometimes, especially just before a really big match, right bunch of bandwagon-jumpers, and as we would go through their profiles quite thoroughly to see if they were a proper supporter or not, and if there were any other reasons why they might not be a good member (any discriminatory attitudes towards certain people – racism, sexism, homophobia, that sort of stuff…), so as you can imagine, it used to take us Admins quite a while if we had a lot of people to vet, and it was a bit of a chore. When the questions became possible, it made things much quicker. If you don’t do as we ask, that’s it! You’re not coming in! Do one!

We will post stuff, and so will others, when there’s relevant factual stuff to post… starting line-ups on match days, goals, half-time and full-time scores, transfer news during the windows, if there’s any official news of signings (we don’t do rumours or gossip), and mentions of famous results on this day in history or birthdays of former or current players or managers…. you get the idea. Occasionally, we have to show a yellow card to a spammer, sometimes a red one if they’re a repeat offender or they break a more serious rule, but most of the time it’s pretty calm, unlike a few years ago when all hell used to break loose far too often! Certain trouble causers were removed around 6 years ago now, and things have been much more on an even keel since then, thankfully!

buying books and reading them

Starting to feel that way myself! I also feel that my To Be Read list (TBR) can no longer be described as a list or a pile. It would be far more accurate to describe it as a TBR Library! I am cultivating a TBR Library, fellow Bookworms! Well, OK, I’ve not really got enough bookshelves, so you’ll have to imagine it as a library setting, but I’ve certainly got the books for it to be classed as a library!

I am also pondering which book I should consider for my first fiction book in ages. So far this year, I have read non-fiction and a bit of poetry, a couple of anthologies. Not actually read anything that resembles a story, though, so far in 2019. Daisy Jones & the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid appeals to me. Looking at some more of my recent fiction purchases, we have The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch, and Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor. I think both of those are young adult fantasy novels.

I could read Half a World Away, by Mike Gayle. You may recall that I read and loved The Man I Think I Know last year after it was featured on the Zoe Ball Book Club on ITV. When I bought the new Mike Gayle novel, I also bought the new book by Brian Bilston, Diary of a Somebody. You will recall that I’ve already read You Took the Last Bus Home a few months ago, and that I’ve been enjoying his poetry on Facebook and Instagram for quite a while, but this book is kinda combination between novel and poetry. It’s written in the style of a diary with poems in it. There’s also On the Bright Side, by Hendrik Groen, the diary-writing Dutch pensioner whose debut diary I enjoyed a couple of years ago.

I do also have the entire set of the Malory Towers series! Box set of them. Got it from the book club at work a while back and it’s been sitting in a locker at work for a while, but I needed to clear out that spare locker recently, so I brought the books home. I did read some of them donkey’s years ago, when I was a kid and I was at a sports centre for one of my sister’s trampoline competitions, but it’s been a long time since then, and I only read the first few. There’s actually 12 in the series! I don’t have any qualms about reading children’s books, happy to go back and read some Enid Blyton! I’ve read a bit more Roald Dahl in recent years, too! Esio Trot, and Fantastic Mr Fox came as recommendations from my niece!

Well, time has ticked on a bit since I started this blog. Just gone 11pm here. Still bloody hot here, though! Got a fan on just outside my room, first time since last summer’s heatwave. I have plenty more material for more blogs, obviously, with things I got up to on holiday, plus the trip to London for my mum’s birthday, and the other mad stuff that has kept me busy since June! I need to tell you about the floating island farce sometime soon, lol!

Until that time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Ole – Ian MacLeay
  • Luggage – Susan Harlan
  • Personal Stereo – Rebecca Tuhus Dubrow
  • Bookshelf – Lydia Pyne
  • Sock – Kim Adrian
  • The Lords of the North – Bernard Cornwell
  • Fire and Sword – Simon Scarrow
  • Daisy Jones & the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch
  • Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor
  • Half a World Away – Mike Gayle
  • The Man I Think I Know – Mike Gayle
  • Diary of a Somebody – Brian Bilston
  • You Took the Last Bus Home – Brian Bilston
  • On the Bright Side – Hendrik Groen
  • Malory Towers series – Enid Blyton
  • Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
  • Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl

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Filed under Books, British Weather, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Non-Fiction, Object Lessons, Poetry, The TBR Pile, Travel, Weather, YA Books, Zoe Ball Book Club on ITV

April, blog she will…

 

Birthday photo 23 04 2018

Me last year on my birthday – nearly that time again…

Hello, fellow bookworms!

Long time no blog, I know! Regulars will know this has happened before in the history of my blogs, but I’m here now. I see I have 82 people following this blog now, so thank you very much! Especially given that you’ve had bugger all to read from me since November! Got some catching up to do, fill you in on the missing months. I think you had sussed out, though, towards the end of last year, that the reading had kinda dried up a bit and that I’d gone into a book slump again. You probably won’t be terribly surprised to learn that I didn’t meet my Goodreads Challenge last year. I was two books short, having managed 28 books during the course of 2018, whereas I’d set the target at 30. I have not bothered this year.

The List Challenges lists that I promised have now, finally, been published, so if you want to go through what I read in 2018, or the Handbag Books list, or even the list of books I’ve mentioned on here during the course of last year, you can now do so. Very sorry for the delay.

So, as I said, I’d been having Reader’s Block since the end of last year. I had hoped, as we let in 2019, that my reading mojo would return but, it certainly didn’t do so in time for the new year. In fact, things got worse. When you’re already a bookworm going through a book slump, the last bloody thing you need is bereavement, but that’s what happened. On the evening of Saturday 12th January 2019, my sister came round to inform Mum and I that Dad had died. He was 71, same age as his dad had been when he died, back when I was a teenager. We knew he’d had his health issues, but didn’t think, at the time, that it was something that couldn’t be put right if he got some medical advice.

However, as I’ve probably said before on here about my dad, he was a pretty stubborn bloke, not the sort to take advice from other people, and definitely the sort who, if he did go and see a medical practitioner, would tell them a few tales and would not be honest with them about the fact that he was a couch potato and that he liked a drink or three… His second wife, Gill, had found him dead in their bathroom, she had been away. She had phoned one of Dad’s sisters, and she in turn had phoned Ellie. Then Ellie came round to tell us.

Obviously, one or two people reading this will already know, some who are friends on FB, but for the rest of you, I’m fairly sure it will explain why I’m only just blogging now for the first time in 2019. I’ve not been reading much, if anything, and finally had my first book finish of the year last night! We’re in April, a few days away from my 46th birthday, and I have actually got a finish under my belt for this year at last! Regulars won’t be terribly surprised to learn that it was a non-fiction book which did the trick! Factual stuff gets me out of slumps! I have Mark Manson to thank, as the book was The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and I really enjoyed it! You know my opinion of most so-called “self help” books, but occasionally something comes along in that genre which I actually find I can relate to, rather than finding it patronising and ableist like I do with so many others of that ilk!

You may recall that I read a similar book in 2017, that would have been Sarah Knight‘s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, so I would recommend both books to anyone who is not struck on the usual bog-standard self-help books and wants something a bit different, a book that does look at things in a different way to most books of that variety. Back to the Mark Manson book, however, and I certainly found that a lot of stuff was very relatable, particularly dealing with people who were very like that ex-friend of mine – you know the one, initials HLA. Reading Mark’s book made me feel vindicated that I’d kicked that toxic bitch out of my life.

I can’t even recall what was on my Ongoing Concerns back in November. All of that kinda fell by the wayside, and I don’t even know where my magnetic wipe board is at the moment, although probably in the garage. You did know about the loom knitting and Pixelhobby, though, as I’d started those activities before I went into the book slump, and had mentioned them in blogs in the autumn. I will give you a catch-up some time on the Pixelhobby projects. I don’t currently have a project on the go, although I’ve got something in mind. Recently completed a couple of 4 baseplate kits, my largest ones so far, and it would be another of that size that I have in mind and have got some of my pixels put aside so that I know what I’ve already got.

The one thing that has been good, though, came the week before Christmas, when the Bus Parking One was sacked after our 3-1 defeat away to Liverpool. Personally, I think he should have been sacked at the end of last season. I would have preferred it if he hadn’t been appointed in the first place, as I’ve never liked him and I have made that quite clear over the  years, but anyway, United finally had enough of his crap and booted him out on 18th December, replacing him, the following day, with the Treble-winning Legend that is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer! So, Ole’s been at the wheel since just before Christmas, and the immediate response at the time was for the lads to thrash Cardiff 5-1 away! Then, on Boxing Day, we had our first home game with Ole in charge, a 3-1 win against Huddersfield Town, and that was the last time I saw my dad. At least Dad got to see a match under Ole and know that United were playing the proper way again before he died.

Ole was made permanent at the end of last month, so it should be interesting to see who he buys in the summer. He has certainly got the best out of most of the lads he inherited from the Portuguese Pillock, though! That’s what the second half of this season has been about – believing in the current players, encouraging them to attack and score goals, and to be a good man-manager and keep the hairdryer treatment behind closed doors. Ole learned from Sir Alex, though, so this comes as standard. This is why we’re back to the United way. Even when results haven’t gone our way, you still see the effort, which is what you weren’t always seeing in the previous five and a half seasons, especially the two and a half under the Tax-Fiddling One!

It also brings me neatly onto one of my current Ongoing Concerns, which is the biography Ole, by Ian MacLeay, a book which first came out in 2007, apparently, which would have been when he retired as a player, but has now been updated this year to take in his return to United as our manager. While we’re on the subject of football-related books, I got Michael Carrick‘s autobiography, Between the Lines, for Christmas, so I’ve still got that to read yet. It’s Carrick, you know. Hard to believe it’s not Scholes, lol!

Sort of still footy related, although the book isn’t, my next mention is for a book which was mentioned by Juan Mata not long ago. I love reading Juan’s blogs, One Hour Behind, but this was actually an interview with Guillem Balague, and Juan mentioned that he’d been reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari. One of the many things I love and admire about Juan is that he’s not just a great player on the pitch, but a really lovely, and very interesting, bloke away from footy! The sort of person I’d love to have a cuppa and a chat with – a natter with Mata! I would definitely love to have a chat with Juan about books!

Sales of Notre Dame de Paris, by Victor Hugo have rocketed following the devastating fire which has destroyed the roof of the famous cathedral earlier this week. I purchased a copy from Waterstone’s at the Trafford Centre on Wednesday night, and it said, in the introduction, that the cathedral had been in disrepair before, particularly after the French Revolution, but that when Hugo’s novel was published, its popularity led to necessary repairs being made back then! Hopefully sales might help once again.

I already had one of Hugo’s works, but that’s Les Misérables, and I’ve not got round to reading that yet! I would probably end up singing songs from the musical if I did, lol!

Victor Hugo always reminds me of when I was at high school, learning French… whatever textbook you use, and we used French For Today at the time, there’s usually a unit about asking for and giving directions, and so there’ll be this map of some made-up French town with various buildings on it so you can practice asking «Pour aller à la bibliothèque, s’il vous plâit?» and other similar questions. You will note that I’ve used the example of asking how to get to the library – have to keep it book-related, lol! Anyway, when you get these pretend French towns and their maps, it doesn’t seem to matter which damn text book it’s in, you can guarantee at least two of the street names! I shit you not! There will always be an Avenue Charles de Gaulle, and there will always be a Rue Victor Hugo! I would be absolutely gobsmacked if there wasn’t!

Recently been in France, actually, as we were in Disneyland Paris at the start of April, but no Rue Victor Hugo there, even though Disney did do a film of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, so Quasimodo did become a Disney character some time ago. Not really a holiday where I could get much, if any, reading done, though. Not that sort of holiday, unlike the one Mum and I are going on in the summer. That will be a more relaxing, chilled-out holiday, and some lengthy flights, so I should get some reading done!

The blog title, by the way, is based on April Come She Will, by Simon and Garfunkel, as I saw Art Garfunkel at the Lowry Theatre last Sunday. Just in case you were wondering. Yes he sang a few of the old ones from when he and Paul Simon were a duo – I pretty much grew up with their music. Mum and Dad had the Bridge Over Troubled Water album, and also I performed a fair few of their songs in the orchestra and choir when I was at high school. He also sung Bright Eyes, which was a solo number 1 for him here in the UK 40 years ago in April 1979 when I was 6! It was used in the film Watership Down at the time, which was about rabbits. As my Dad used to say… You’ve read the book, you’ve seen the film, you’ve heard the song… now eat the pie!

He’s going on the piss with Georgie Best, my dad. That’s how I see it now. As in our terrace version of Spirit In the Sky… “Goin’ on up to the spirit in the sky. That’s where I’m gonna go when I die. When I die an’ they lay me to rest I’m gonna go on the piss with Georgie Best!”

Anyway, I think that’s about it for now. I’m back and I’ve mentioned a few books, so we’re up and running for this year. I’ve started the blog-related list on List Challenges. This is the one where I mention them whether I’ve read them or not, so there should be a decent amount of books there by the end of the year, I hope! Dunno which ones I will actually have read by the end of 2019, but hopefully a few! Trying to decide whether to try a nice big chunky bit of historical fiction, perhaps Paris by Edward Rutherfurd. I have been looking at my copy of The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Yeah, it is over 1000 pages long, but, as I’ve said before, if a book is readable, size shouldn’t be a turn-off! World Without End, which is the sequel, has been moved to a higher position on the Bass Amp Book Tower. Just in case, lol!

Adam Kay book signing

Oh, and before I go, some news re Adam Kay. You may remember the brilliant This is Going to Hurt, which I read in 2017, my favourite book that year, and indeed I met the author that autumn when he came to Waterstone’s on Deansgate (see photo above)… Anyway, he’s just announced that he’s got a new book, also about his time in the medical profession before he became a comedian, and it’s due to be published in October. So I will probably be looking to pre-order Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas.

I think that definitely is all there is for now! That’s all folks, as they used to say at the end of Looney Tunes cartoons! Until the next time I blog, take care, Happy Easter and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
  • Ole – Ian MacLeay
  • Between the Lines – Michael Carrick
  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari
  • Notre Dame de Paris – Victor Hugo
  • Les Misérables – Victor Hugo
  • French For Today – P J Downes & E A Griffith
  • Watership Down – Richard Adams
  • Paris – Edward Rutherfurd
  • The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  • World Without End – Ken Follett
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas – Adam Kay (due October 2019)

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October Review – All Quiet on the Reading Front

book-reader-1

Hello there, fellow Bookworms,

Probably going to be a short blog, this, as there’s not an awful lot to report this month. Not in terms of books, anyway. It’s not that nothing has been read, I have read some books, but I haven’t finished any off this month. I have read at lunchtimes at work, and in the car on the way home from matches sometimes, especially if we’ve been stuck in the car park at Old Trafford for bloody ages after the game – the home match against Juventus, for instance, but it’s not been all that good on the reading front.

I didn’t finish Snap, by Belinda Bauer, although I did start it, and got some of it read, and there were actually four of us at Waterstone’s on 16th October, I’m pleased to report! The book club has been revived, lol! I put my idea to the others about the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and perhaps reading something set during the First World War, but in the end, we decided not to. As with the Bauer novel, my colleagues are influenced by what’s on offer at Asda, and so our current book is Why Mummy Swears, by Gill Sims, which we’re reading for our next meeting on 16th November, which will be a Friday night on this occasion! I have to say that Why Mummy Swears is definitely far more my kind of book! I’m about a third of the way through it so far, and have laughed my arse off on a number of occasions! It’s actually the sequel to Why Mummy Drinks, which I also bought at Asda as it was on offer in the £4 each or two for £7 deal, so I thought I might as well get both, even if I’m reading them out of chronological order!

We head into November tomorrow, need to get a poppy soon. Maybe this weekend. Might still read something WWI related anyway.

Only thing is, that it’s been balls of wool that have caught my eye more than books of late. There has been a lot of loom-knitting going on! Bags, scarves and hats. There’s also been some Pixelhobby done, as I finished my Christmas Candle kit, plus made some magnets and some keyrings. I might start on my snowglobe kit shortly. Like the candle design, it’s just a one baseplate kit. The Sydney Harbour kit can wait until the seasonal stuff is done, as that’s not Christmassy.

The Eighties: One Day, One Decade, by Dylan Jones, is still being read on my Kindle, so that’s just under half-way by now, around 45 or 46% read, so I’ve got things on the go, and there has been some reading done, but just not the finishing off of anything. I have also taken the precaution of acquiring my own copy of What Does This Button Do? by Bruce Dickinson, so that I can give Sarah her copy back in December when we go to see Madness, even if I haven’t finished reading the book yet.

I’ve finished 27 books so far this year, so I do want to get to 30 before the end of the year. Only three to go, doesn’t seem a lot, but it does when you feel more in the mood for other stuff than you feel for reading. Juggling hobbies can be tricky! What I need to remember is, though, that this year, I’ve been in work all year. I have spent all of 2018 in full-time employment, whereas, in 2017, I started the job I am doing in the September, and before that, I had got a fair bit more reading done, so I was over my Goodreads target and seeing how much more I could fit in. This year, reading has always had to be something which I’ve had to fit in around working, eating, sleeping, and doing other stuff.

So, yes, this is probably a pretty short blog just to get something published in October, lol, but I hope to be back in a reading mood sooner rather than later and raving about some books that I come close to calling must-reads! And you know I don’t call anything a must-read, I’m not into forcing anything! I figure we all have more than enough stuff rammed down our throats by other people, you must do this, you must read that, you must eat this, blah, blah bloody blah! Inevitably, a lot of those recommendations end up being disappointments after other people have raved about them only for you to think they’re not all that great! The nearest I will come is that I might strongly recommend that as many people as possible would do well to read a certain book, like with The Angry Chef last year, but I’m not a fan of force, unless it’s in the Star Wars sense of using the Force, lol! May the Force be with you!

Some book news before I go – there is now a SEVENTH book in the Shardlake series by C.J. Sansom! Tombland was published recently, and it’s seriously chunky! As I’m only on for the second book in that series, it will be a while before I’m tackling that one! I have read Dissolution, so I’m on for Dark Fire.

This next one is probably a slimmer volume, but significant to me and other Petheads… 1st November sees the publication of One Hundred Lyrics and a Poem, by Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys. I actually thought it was already out the other week, and then found, to my disappointment, that it wasn’t out yet, which would explain why the hell I couldn’t find it when I was searching all the possible shelves at Waterstone’s in the Trafford Centre! This has happened to me too many times, lol! Seems like I’m forever thinking books are available before they are! There’s been plenty of times I’ve heard about a book and really fancied it, only to discover that it’s not published yet! Usually after I have scoured at least one branch of Waterstone’s looking in vain for the damn book!

With Neil Tennant‘s book, I was like… “Is it in poetry? Is it in music? Is it in autobiography? * looks it up on her phone * Bugger! It’s not even bloody published yet!”

Ah, the ups and downs of being a bookworm, eh?!

Well, that’s about it for now, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Snap – Belinda Bauer
  • Why Mummy Swears – Gill Sims
  • Why Mummy Drinks – Gill Sims
  • The Eighties: One Day, One Decade – Dylan Jones
  • What Does This Button Do? – Bruce Dickinson
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • Tombland – C. J. Sansom
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • One Hundred Lyrics and a Poem – Neil Tennant

 

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Instructions For a Heatwave

Recent purchases July 2018

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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June Review and Relevant Reading…

Novel approach

Hello, fellow Bookworms!

This might be short. June has not been a good month on the book front, as nothing has been finished off. However, some reading was done on my holidays, and I did acquire a book while I was in Boa Vista, Cape Verde Islands!

I took my new Kindle Paperwhite on my jollies, and certainly read some more of Twisting My Melon, Shaun Ryder‘s autobiography, while I was on the plane, on the way to my holiday destination, and got that up to 55%, so that is over the halfway mark. Probably the best result on the reading front last month, as we are now in July.

Oops, as we are now on 1st July, before I go any further, it’s time to wish my Canadian followers a very Happy Canada Day! Hope you’re enjoying your long weekend!

For my American followers, advanced wishes for a Happy Independence Day this coming Wednesday!

Right then, on with the books and the bit of reading that I have managed last month. I didn’t end up reading Spirals In Time, the book about seashells, but did find a book at the hotel, which I started and then brought home with me, Islander, by Patrick Barkham. This is a journey around the UK archipelago, visiting little islands around the British Isles, and I read around the first 15% of it, so it joins the Ongoing Concerns. Even it’s about my own set of islands, I was on an island from another set of islands when I started reading it, so it still seemed apt. Plus, it’s a holiday souvenir, lol, just like Attention All Shipping was when I brought it home from Mexico five years ago!

Dune on a dune June 2018

Relevant Reads – Dune on a dune!

So, as you can see above, I did it! I read Dune on a dune! Well, I did read a page or two of it. Only just started, so it can’t go on the OCs just yet, I would have to read more of it for it to go on that, but I got the Relevant Reads photo opportunity, so I want to see yours! Doesn’t have to be exotic! Have you ever read The Catcher in the Rye sitting in a field of rye? Kitchen Confidential in a kitchen? Alone in Berlin while alone in the German capital city?! I want your “relevant reads” stories and evidence! I’ve been writing these book blogs for nearly 8 years now, and I’d like to hear from those of you who have been kind enough to decide to follow my blogs!

Spain v Russia is in extra time… is it going to be won in extra time, or am I going to have to shuffle off and watch a penalty shoot-out? Come on, Spain!

Anyway, May’s lack of reading has continued into June. I had only finished off one book at the start of May, and that was the last one I added to my Goodreads Challenge list, Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction, by David Seed. I’ve done some cross-stitch, I’ve been on my jollies, come back, gone back to work, had family birthdays and some seriously boiling weather, and joined Slimming World, but there’s not really an awful lot to report on the book front!

The other thing is that the current heatwave makes me feel tired at times. I just want a siesta, lol! I don’t really feel like reading. I might nod off, especially if the book wasn’t really grabbing me! Even if I was enjoying it, I might still be too sleepy.

Spain and Russia is going to a penalty shoot out…

Russia won on penalties. Not what I wanted. Croatia v Denmark at the moment, which is still 1-1 after both teams scored very early! Right now, that looks like heading for extra time. I don’t really mind who wins. Slight preference for Denmark, as United have had a few Danish players in the past, (Jesper Olsen, Peter Schmeichel and Anders Lindegaard), but I wouldn’t be upset if Croatia won, especially after they stuffed Argentina 3-0 in that group game! I have harboured an immense dislike of the Argentinian national side since Mexico ’86! I was 13 when that World Cup was on, so it’s 32 years now!

Book club on Wednesday. I have read a little bit, and I mean a LITTLE bit of Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng, and I have liked what I have read, but I just haven’t been up for reading anything at the mo. So, I won’t discard the book. Even if I haven’t read much of it by Wednesday, which I won’t have, it may be something I return to at a later date. A few years ago, during a reading slump, there were books I read a bit of and liked, so I have not completely given up on those, I might return to The Sisters Brothers some day, amongst others. I do like the cover of that one, it’s very clever!

At least I will have another fortnight for what will be a re-read, as a book club has been started at work, and the first meeting is on 18th July, at lunchtime, and we’ll be reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer. As I have mentioned on here before, this book was a book club read some years ago for the Waterstone’s Deansgate book club, but it’s quite a while since I read it, so I don’t mind that my council colleagues have chosen something I’ve already read.

The other thing I need to mention is that there is now even a TV book club here in the UK, on Zoe Ball’s programme on Sunday mornings. I have set the series to record, which is a wise move as I was on holiday when the series started, and I am usually having a lie-in on a Sunday anyway, so I can catch up later. Well, I can when the footy’s over, but Denmark v Croatia has gone into extra time…

Adam Kay book signing

Not sure which books have been discussed since the first one, but Zoe started with the book which was my favourite read from last year, the excellent This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay! I think it has recently come out in paperback, but I bought the hardback last year and then got it signed when Adam came to Waterstone’s Deansgate in the autumn! I think as many people as possible should read it, although maybe doing so in public might not be a good idea as you’ll get some funny looks when you laugh your head off at certain bits! The photo above is from when Adam was signing my copy of his book.

Well, that’s about it for now, although the Danes and Croatians are still playing at the moment, so no result as yet. Still 1-1 from right at the start of the match. Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Twisting My Melon – Shaun Ryder
  • Spirals In Time – Helen Scales
  • Islander – Patrick Barkham
  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • Dune – Frank Herbert
  • The Catcher In the Rye – J. D. Salinger
  • Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain
  • Alone In Berlin – Hans Fallada
  • Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction – David Seed
  • Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
  • The Sisters Brothers – Patrick DeWitt
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

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March Review and Childhood Cookbooks

Word for World is Forest finished March 2018

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

Finished books 29 March 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Childhood cookbooks

My first recipe books!

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

SF purchases March 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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