Category Archives: Historical Fiction

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

Beach Huts, Angry Chefs, and Bargain Books!

Coffee cake and books August 2017

Coffee, cream cake, and bargain books…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to another blog entry as August is  upon us which means I’ve been blogging for seven years now! As I think I mentioned recently, I started this blog in August 2010, shortly after I had become an auntie! The other anniversary which will be coming up very soon, this coming week in fact, will be my 10th anniversary of joining Facebook!

Not that I use it much now, but I joined Twitter in early 2009, and I think I joined Instagram some time in either 2011 or 2012. I was certainly still working in Chorlton when I first joined Instagram, so it was definitely before the summer of 2012. I post photos of various things on there, but a lot of them are book-related, I am a regular Bookstagrammer, so if any of you wish to follow me, you can do so. I’m joannedj1973 on Instagram.

Before we go any further, congratulations to Sir Mo Farah, 10k World Champion 2017!

* does celebratory Mobot *

He seemed to do it the hard way, though. Mind you, I’m more than used to seeing United do that, lol! We still need another player, a fourth signing, before the transfer window closes on 31st August, so perhaps it’s time to do some more Gnome vs Book challenges to encourage Mr Woodward to get his arse in gear once again?!

I finished the beach hut bookmark on 2nd August, but the above two photos are from when I was in the process of stitching it. I got ideas from a mixture of charts and motifs. Did consider putting something between the writing and the waves, perhaps a small shell or a crab, or something, but decided not to in the end. I was particularly pleased with the waves. I adapted them from part of a design I found. The row of waves on the chart was slightly longer than what I needed, but I could fit 3 on my design, and they make a nice border at the bottom!

The hut itself was improvised, adding the life ring and panels in the door, plus seagulls above the hut. I chose my own colour scheme, too. Usually, when I “hit the hut”, I am off for a pizza, lol, but I had actually been to a beach hut, hence the theme of the bookmark and my decision to resume Veronica Henry‘s novel.

Hit the Hut 3

This photo featuring the finished bookmark and the corresponding novel, The Beach Hut, in which I am now using the bookmark, was put on Instagram, and has been liked by the author herself, Veronica Henry even commenting to say she liked the bookmark! Yay! I have also had likes and responses on Instagram from Keris Stainton, author of One Italian Summer, which I read and enjoyed recently. Authors liking my Bookstagram posts! Woo-hoo! Our Ellie has put in a request for The Beach Hut when I’ve finished reading it, although she’s still reading I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović at the moment. My mum has recently finished reading Red, Gary Neville‘s autobiography, which she had been borrowing from me, and had read outdoors in our garden during some recent nice weather!

The Beach Hut has now been resumed, with a current slight increase to 35%. I have started A Quiet Kind of Thunder, by Sara Barnard, which is at 16%, and has thus been added to the Ongoing Concerns list. I have also started Dark Fire, the second book in the Shardlake series by C. J. Sansom, but as I’ve yet to reach the 10% stage on that one, it will have to wait a little longer to join the list. It will be our book club meeting this coming Wednesday, 9th August, so if I like what we end up reading, that could become a temporary 7th OC, but this list is not going to get out of hand like it used to do.

I also have to remember not to neglect existing OCs. I still need to make progress with Periodic Tales, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Neither Here Nor There! I feel there is a particular need to get on with Me and Earl. Perhaps a major YA session is called for, with me focussing on the Jesse Andrews novel, along with making more progress with A Quiet Kind of Thunder.

With Book Club looming, I managed not to buy anything from Waterstone’s earlier, but I certainly made notes for future purchases! 5 YA novels and one non-fiction book caught my eye, the factual book being The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, which is about how so much “information” about foods and diets on the internet is a load of male bovine excrement! Some of the things which online quacks claim are good for us are either harmful or, at best, not doing us anywhere near as much good as their supporters make out! There is a review on the front of the book from Jay Rayner, whose book, The Ten (Food) Commandments, I read towards the end of last year when I could only manage non-fiction books after my epic Book Hangover which I suffered once I’d finished A Little Life! I might see if the rest of the book club can be convinced to give The Angry Chef a go – I’m pretty sure it’s been a while since we did some non-fiction.

I still intend to get around to resuming Manchester, England, by Dave Haslam, though. It is definitely on the agenda once a non-fiction book comes off the OC List! That has not changed.

Charity shop bargains August 2017

However, just because I didn’t buy anything at Waterstone’s does NOT mean I did not purchase any reading matter! On the contrary, I picked up these two bargains for 20p each from the bargain basket of the Salvation Army charity shop in Eccles! At only 20p, I thought I’d give The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, by Joël Dicker, a chance to join my TBR list at the very least, lol! The other book, Cross My Heart & Hope To Spy, by Ally Carter, is the second in the Gallagher Girls series about the spy school, so I was particularly chuffed to pick that one up for only 20p! Epic Win!

Well, I am off to attend to my reading matter, so that’s about all for now! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • Red – Gary Neville
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • The Ten (Food) Commandments – Jay Rayner
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair – Joël Dicker
  • Cross My Heart & Hope To Spy – Ally Carter

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Bookstagram, British Weather, Charity Shop Bargains, Cross-Stitch, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Historical Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Sports, The TBR Pile, 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

A Truth Universally Acknowledged

Jane Austen ten pound note 2017

The forthcoming plastic £10 note featuring Jane Austen

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person in possession of one of the new £10 notes will find a picture of Jane Austen on it! This week marked the 200th year since Austen passed away, so it does make it rather appropriate that when the new plastic tenners come out this autumn, she will be on them. At least the Bank of England have got things right this time, actually bringing a note out featuring a certain famous person in an appropriate anniversary year, as opposed to a few years ago when they actually phased out the £20 notes with Sir Edward Elgar on them a year or two before a significant anniversary regarding one of our most famous composers! I expect, after the strident complaints received from disgruntled classical music buffs over their Elgar error, they have learned from their mistake and chose 2017 to actually launch the Jane Austen ten pound notes. And, as you can probably tell from the title and the opening sentence of this blog, yes I did study Pride and Prejudice when I was at school!

The OC Overhaul is working well, getting the list down to six was one of my better ideas, lol! Today I have been making progress with our latest book club book, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old, and am presently up to 37% of the way through the book. If you can imagine Adrian Mole, but elderly and Dutch and in a nursing home in Amsterdam, you can probably get a fair idea! The diary is set in 2013, and I am up to the end of April, or early May, I think, so I’ve just gone past a significant time for me – not that Hendrik mentions it, he doesn’t, but April 2013 for me was about United’s 20th league title and my 40th birthday! As many of you know, our 20th title was clinched the night before my Big 40, thanks to Robin van Persie’s hat-trick at home to Aston Villa, the second goal of which was an absolute beauty and definitely one of the best goals I have ever seen!

Talking of goals, it was good to see Romelu Lukaku get off the mark with his first goal for us the other night as we came from behind to beat Real Salt Lake 2-1 in our second game of our pre-season tour in the USA. I know we have got Lindelof and Lukaku, but we still need more players this summer! The Gnome is being very tardy, and Jose has had to mention it a few times in press conferences – you can tell Mr Mourinho isn’t happy about it! He gave Ed the “shopping list” in May at the end of the season we’ve just had, and we have got two players, but Jose has said we need four! I would say we need at least four! I am not best pleased that Morata’s going to Chelsea, I thought we should have gone for him as well as Lukaku! We need all the strikers we can get after not scoring anywhere near enough goals last season, especially in the league!

So, some of the progress I have been making in recent days with both Dissolution and the Hendrik Groen book has been as part of a challenge to see how much I can get read while I wait for that useless Gnome to get his finger out of his arse and make some more signings! Dissolution is up to 75% read now! Serious progress, and I am really enjoying it, so I hope the other books in the Shardlake series are as good! Of course, when I finish Dissolution, Dark Fire will be next.

Charlotte's summer reading challenge 2017

My niece’s summer reading challenge – I’m sure she’ll complete this!

My sister posted that photo on my timeline on Facebook earlier. It’s Charlotte’s summer reading challenge from her primary school. As she takes after me on the bookworm front, I’m sure she will excel at this! The Junior Bookworm will be 7 this weekend – yes, I know! Time flies, doesn’t it?! Seven years since I became an auntie! I had been an “honourary auntie” to friends’ kids prior to 2010, but I became an actual auntie that summer, and I remember having to phone in to work and speak to my boss to get that day off – my niece was born at a silly time in the morning, and I hadn’t had much sleep when I woke up to phone work – thankfully my boss, Dawn, could tell I sounded utterly knackered, congratulated me on becoming an auntie, and gave the go ahead for my leave. I then went back to sleep, as you can imagine!

Actually, next month will be my 7th blogging anniversary! I have been doing this Joanne’s Bookshelf blog since August 2010. August will also mark my 10th anniversary on Facebook! I joined on either 9th or 10th August 2007, not quite sure which date, but I am sure FB will let me know next month with my “10th Faceversary” video, lol! One of my long-time FB friends, Robert Rush, recently celebrated his 10th FB anniversary, although I think it was probably around the September of 2007 when I became friends with him thanks to a group called A Cup of Tea Solves Everything!

Of the charity shop bargains lately, there have been a couple of chunky monkeys by Charles Dickens which have ended up chez moi – The Pickwick Papers set me back a mere 50p on Monday when I was in Salford, and Nicholas Nickleby wasn’t much more expensive when I acquired it in Eccles earlier today for 99p. You can get some of the classics really cheaply, I have noticed! I once got Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, for a mere 20p! It was when I was volunteering at The Mustard Tree in Eccles, I think. And that’s a real chunky monkey of a book! It weighs in at 785 pages in the edition I own! 785 pages of novel for a mere 20p?! A snip, as they used to say in the legendary pop magazine Smash Hits back in the day!

Well, I shall be at Waterstone’s tomorrow evening… the book event with Stuart Maconie has soon come around, hasn’t it?! Hence I will be meeting one of my favourite non-fiction authors. I think I will take either The Pie at Night or The People’s Songs with me just in case, but I intend to buy Long Road From Jarrow anyway, so I can certainly get him to sign that. I must remember that if there are any drinks, as there often are at these things, I can’t have any of the vino, unfortunately! I’ve got a dental infection and I’m on the “uncle-biotics”, lol, so no booze for me for a few days! Will have to stick to juice.

Talking of which, I must remember to have my third and final one for today, three a day for five days, so I shall get this blog finished and published, and then I can attend to my medication. I will be back again soon enough with another blog, lol! Hopefully a photo or two from the Stuart Maconie event! Until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • Dark Fire – C. J Sansom
  • The Pickwick Papers – Charles Dickens
  • Nicholas Nickleby  – Charles Dickens
  • Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • Long Road From Jarrow – Stuart Maconie

 

 

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Filed under Authors, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Chunky Monkeys, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Junior Bookworms, Manc Stuff!, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, School, College & Uni Reading, The TBR Pile

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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Chunky Monkeys

Penguin book van

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

No, I’m not actually expecting a massive delivery, but I did like that photo when I saw it on Facebook the other night, lol, so I thought I’d use it for my blog! With progress being made on Dissolution, which is currently 62% read at time of typing, lol, you can expect a bit of blogging on historical fiction and other chunky works of literature! We are talking chunky monkeys of the literary variety here, of course, as opposed to THE Chunky Monkey, who is my nephew, Reuben!

We now have Romelu Lukaku at United, but we have Paul Pogba to thank for that, rather than the Gnome (Ed Woodward), as it seems Pog is up for recruiting some of his mates, lol! We have had something of a striker swap, as Lukaku has joined us from Everton, with Wayne Rooney returning to Goodison Park after 13 goal-filled years at Old Trafford, in which he won pretty much everything! I still maintain we need more than one striker, as we let Zlatan go, too, so we’ve only got one forward in, having lost two of them. Gnome needs to pull his finger out, he can’t just expect “Agent P” to do his job for him! I personally still want us to sign Alvaro Morata. I am NOT happy that our interest in him seems to have ended. United are being stupid if that is the case!

Oh, and Michael Carrick has been named as the new United captain, as Wazza has left us. I expect this means he’ll be club captain, and will also be team captain when he plays, but, as he is almost 36 now, it certainly won’t be every game, and I guess someone like Ander Herrera might often get to wear the armband as deputy, if that is who is named as Carrick’s understudy.

Oops, before we get back to the books from the footy, I set a question a few blog entries ago, I think it was on the blog “A Red Letter Day”, and I asked about the significance of Jenny Jones winning a bronze medal for Great Britain at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The significance was that she was the first British Olympian to win a medal on snow! Her bronze came in the slopestyle snowboarding event, whereas all Britain’s previous medals at the Winter Olympics, including the others we won in Sochi, were won on the ice! So, if anyone was waiting for the answer to that little quiz, you have the answer now, and I apologise if it’s been bugging you for a few weeks!

Right then… BOOKS!!!

I Like Big Books And I Cannot Lie…

Book club tomorrow night. No, I’ve not read The Power, well, I have but not very much of it, lol, so we’ll just have to deal with that! Not saying I won’t keep it and read it in the future, that is a possibility, but I felt the need to try to tackle the OCs, plus I got distracted by footy and my challenge to Ed Woodward, which has caused me to start the Shardlake series by C J Sansom, hence my progress on Dissolution! Enjoying it very much, by the way, but historical fiction is a genre I do tend to enjoy! As I’ve said many times, I am a very random reader, lol, but I’ve read a fair bit of historical fiction in my time, and most books in that genre tend to be quite substantial, page-wise! There are the occasional exceptions, Girl With A Pearl Earring being one of those, as that’s pretty slim, but most historical fiction novels are serious door-stoppers, lol!

Another book added to the OC list, alongside Dissolution, is One Italian Summer, by Keris Stainton, which is a YA novel. Yes, yet another work of young adult fiction on the OC list! To be fair, though, YA books are great, and I have been making progress of late when it comes to Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. I had seen the Stainton novel in the YA section at Waterstone’s, and returned to it on Friday, started reading a bit and decided I had to have it.

I also bought A Quiet Kind of Thunder, by Sara Barnard, which interested me because one of the main characters is deaf, and there are bits of British Sign Language throughout the book, including the inside covers! I look forward to reading it and brushing up on my BSL – I actually have the CACDP Stage 1 qualification from way back in 1998 when I did the course at Eccles College – they were offering it as one of their evening classes back then. My BSL is a bit rusty as I’ve not really had sufficient dealings with deaf or hearing-impaired people since 1998 to keep it active and in my mind, but I can still remember a bit of it, including the finger-spelling alphabet.

It’s funny that I should have dug out a Veronica Henry novel from one of my book piles the other day, with a view to resuming The Beach Hut, as I actually found another of her books for 99p yesterday at a charity shop in Salford Precinct, the Age UK shop if I recall rightly, and thus How To Find Love In a Book Shop came home with me after my various activities in Salford yesterday! Having flicked through it, there are lists of recommended reading at various points in the book, so it may well give me more ideas, lol! It is a novel, it is fiction, but clearly some actual books are name-dropped in the plot!

Anyway, I got the calculator out earlier, well, I summoned up the calculator app on my iPad, and worked out that if I read the complete Shardlake series by C J Sansom, of which I am currently over half-way through the first book, Dissolution, I will have read 3,631 pages by the time I finish the sixth book, Lamentation! Wow! It’d be interesting to know how many pages I read when I read the Harry Potter series back in the noughties, but the first three books of that series are not very long, you only start getting the “chunky monkeys” when you get to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but you would still have read probably around two thousand or so pages at least, if you read all seven books!

So, time for me to put The Power back in my bag, even though I’ve not read much of it, lol, and have a read of some of my current OCs! I shall be finding out, tomorrow night, what’s next as far as book club reads go, but until my next blog, that’s about it for now except to say that I was over a quarter of the way through Dissolution by the time Lukaku was having his medical, and I had reached the halfway stage by the time he officially signed, so let’s see how much further I get with this series while I wait for the Gnome to make further signings! Probably best leaving that to Pogba, he seems to be doing a better job of it than Woodward, lol! I may well have started Dark Fire by the time we get news of another signing!

Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • The Power – Naomi Alderman
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • How To Find Love In a Book Shop – Veronica Henry
  • Lamentation – C. J. Sansom
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom

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