Category Archives: Humour

Me and Earl and the Blogging Girl…

Me and Earl finished August 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to yet another blog, and news of yet another book off the OC List! Yep, I have now finished Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, and can recommend it, especially for anyone who likes humour in their reading matter! As I said a few blogs ago, when I was part-way through this book, I like Greg Gaines, the main character, because he is such a nerd! It’s the same reason I liked Colin Singleton in An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green. Loved that book! So funny! I know everyone blathers on about The Fault In Our Stars, and that is a good book, don’t get me wrong, but I seriously think An Abundance of Katherines is very underrated and ought to receive more attention!

Anyway, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old, is back in my purple Kipling bag ready for Book Club. I hope the others enjoyed it. I certainly did! I shall see if I can find anything at Waterstone’s which I can suggest to the group, although I definitely already have one in mind – The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, which I mentioned in my previous blog. I am pretty sure we’ve not done any non-fiction for a while, so I thought I might put it to them, and it is fairly topical. I aim to get there early enough to have a good mooch around the shop and see one or two things which caught my eye. The thing about Hendrik Groen, though, was that I already had it in hardback at home, and I noticed that the paperback had come out and was included in the buy one get one half price offers that Waterstone’s frequently have on, so I picked up a paperback edition and another book, and suggested them at book club, and we ended up going with Hendrik Groen.

I probably could do with us reading a Young Adult book, though, as far as my Ongoing Concerns list is concerned, or I may well end  up having a seventh book on the list. I have just finished Me and Earl, so there is a space on the OC List for another Young Adult novel, but I’ve got 2 general fiction books and 2 non-fiction books on the OC list at the moment. Oh well, what the hell?! I’ll still go for The Angry Chef, I think. We have read young adult books in our book club, and even one or two which are possibly even pre-teen books, such as The Girl of Ink and Stars, by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, which we read last year. We’ve also read Tamar, by Mal Peet, and The Foreshadowing, by Marcus Sedgwick, in recent years, and those are also young adult books.

Before I go any further, I have some news for you all – not got my start date yet, but I shall be back in work soon! Had an interview on Monday morning for an Admin Officer post, and they phoned me back at lunchtime that day to offer me the job! Woo hoo! I’ve emailed them my references, so I guess the HR department has to sort that out, but I hope to have a start date soon. It will be full time, and it’s fixed term, for the time being, until mid-March 2018. I am sure I can still get some reading done out of hours, though, and get some blogging done, too. It’s in one of the departments of my local council, and involves data input, production of letters, and taking minutes at meetings, amongst other general office duties.

The other thing is, it’s Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm, and thus my weekends are free for my brass band practice and for going to matches – the new Premier League season starts this weekend, and we’re at home to West Ham United on Sunday! Giving some thought as to shirts… I quite like the black away one this season, and it’s also a matter of deciding whose name and number to have on the back of it. Right now, I’m thinking it’ll be either Henrikh Mkhitaryan, or Juan Mata. Yeah, I’ve got a thing for attacking midfielders with surnames beginning with M, lol!

Names and squad numbers on the backs of shirts first started in the Premier League during its second season, 1993-94, and in the 90s, I had two home shirts with CANTONA and 7 on the back, both signed by the King! Then King Eric retired. After that, I didn’t have anyone’s name or number on the back for absolutely ages, until 2012-13, when Robin van Persie was leading us to our 20th league title! So, in recent years, I’ve had v. PERSIE 20, SCHWEINSTEIGER 31, and IBRAHIMOVIĆ 9, on the back of my shirts. I also have a Dutch home shirt with v. PERSIE 9 on the back of it. My next decision is probably going to be between MKHITARYAN 22 or MATA 8. An Armenian or a Spaniard will join the roll of honour alongside the existing Frenchman, Dutchman, German and Swede!

Charity shop bargains to report now, and I picked up the fourth Percy Jackson book the other day, Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth, by Rick Riordan, so I now have all four books in that series. I could possibly consider Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief for the YA vacancy on the OC List, but we’ll have to see. I shall have to have a good thunk, lol!Also picked up Unconventional, by Maggie Harcourt, so another YA book for the TBR list and possibly the OC List!

So, with Me and Earl finished, Periodic Tales returns to the top of the OC List. 72% read, I should perhaps get on with that. I’m enjoying it, but, because it’s non-fiction, and about chemistry, it’s not the fastest of reads for me. However, I’m not exactly that far from the end now. Neither Here Nor There is at the halfway stage exactly, and The Beach Hut is just over a third of the way in, at 35%. A Quiet Kind of Thunder is at 16%, but I have only recently started that, as I have with Dark Fire, but really need to get on with that to get it to the 10% and get it on the OC List officially. What I feel I should do is have some intense reading sessions with Periodic Tales (to get that even closer to completion), and both A Quiet Kind of Thunder and Dark Fire to get those further along the way. Then we can look at the Bill Bryson and Veronica Henry books, plus whichever other reading matter we’re adding to the list…

I want to get Periodic Tales OFF the OC List – it has been on for a long time, lol!

Anyway, we shall see what Book Club brings and what I end up reading! If nowt else, it’ll be material for another blog, lol! Until that next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • The Girl of Ink and Stars – Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • Tamar – Mal Peet
  • The Foreshadowing – Marcus Sedgwick
  • Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth – Rick Riordan
  • Unconventional – Maggie Harcourt
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom

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Filed under Books, Bookstagram, Charity Shop Bargains, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Handbag Books, Humour, List Challenges, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

OC Overhaul, Book Benches and an Emergency Book!

OC Overhaul July 2017

Bullet journal documenting my Ongoing Concerns overhaul…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

OC Wipeboard July 2017

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

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

Bookbench trail map

Bookbench Trail Map

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

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

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

Emergency Book July 2017

Emergency Book!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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

Sticky Weather!

Sticky Weather June 2017

Avoid sunburn – Stay indoors and read!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

It’s sticky weather, as Peter Kay would put it! I do have to venture out tomorrow, as I’m volunteering at Start in Salford, as I currently do on Monday mornings, but I shall be taking precautions against this abnormally hot and sunny weather which my country is currently experiencing! Hopefully, though, there will be SOME chance to sit and read and avoid getting sunburned!

The weather’s reminding me of one of the newly-knighted Sir Billy Connolly’s stand-up routines, about holidays and sun cream…

“I’m a kind of pale blue. It takes me a week of sunbathing to get white! I go into a chemist’s… “I’ll have a bottle of suntan lotion, please! Factor 57.” They gave me an asbestos suit and a welder’s helmet!”

This might not be the longest of blogs, but you ought to know the news that Pet Shop Boys, Literally, is now finished! Yep! One more off the OC List. It’s been a bit quiet on the book front this month, I have only finished off one book so far in June, but perhaps it will pick up again later. As I go to see Neil & Chris in concert this coming Wednesday, it is a timely finish for the book about their first-ever tour back in 1989. I didn’t see them on that tour, but I did see them two years later, funnily enough in Blackpool, on the Performance Tour of 1991!

PSB Literally finished

I will be back at the Winter Gardens in midweek with my friend Sarah. She was there that night, too, but although we were penpals at the time, she and I didn’t meet up until the following year. My sister, Ellie, went with me the first time I saw the Pet Shop Boys, and also the first time I saw Erasure, in 1992 at the Manchester Apollo, but all the subsequent concerts where I’ve seen either of my two favourite synth duos have been with Sarah, and all the Erasure gigs I’ve seen with her have been at the Guild Hall in Preston. The PSB gigs have been at either the Arena or the Apollo, including the one in February this year at the Arena.

Obviously, after the bomb last month, the Arena is still out of use at the moment, being repaired, although it is hoped it will re-open soon. Although I was disappointed about the Maccy D’s closing, as it used to be very handy for a post-gig drink to cool us down, I still think it’s the best concert venue, certainly in terms of location. It is so handy for going into town and having something to eat first, then making your way over for the gig.

I will have to make a start on The Power, by Naomi Alderman, my book club book, but it’s not on the OC List as yet, so the list is down to 8 books at the moment. I’m still thinking that I should add a “chunky monkey” to that list, and due to a response from one of my friends on Instagram, my former colleague Jill, it’ll probably be The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett.

Goodreads challenge surpassed

You see, I’ve met my Goodreads Challenge, and I’ve learned from last year! I am NOT going to alter my challenge, I’m going to see how many more books I read beyond the 30 I’ve finished off thus far! So, I will not panic if I have a book hangover after a particularly epic novel, as I did last year when I finished A Little Life. I will probably stick to non-fiction until I feel ready to read a story again. 2016’s challenge was very handy in imparting some useful book-reading lessons!

  1. DON’T increase your target number of books! Just see how many books you read beyond that number when you hit your target.
  2. DON’T panic if you have a Book Hangover! Just read books which are different to the one which gave you the hangover.

I was having a Book Reshuffle earlier. That’s a bit like a Cabinet Reshuffle, except that it’s useful, lol! Actually, that means it’s nothing like a Cabinet Reshuffle, lol! Anyway, I was putting some books in the Book Chest in the garage and taking some out. I think there’s going to be another mini-clearout, might take a few and divvy them out between local charity shops.

I was mostly going into the Book Chest because one of the books I picked up at the church fair last week was Heartstone, by C. J. Sansom which is the 5th book in his Shardlake series of historical fiction, and I knew I had a few other books of his in my book chest, so I was essentially going for a shufty to re-familiarise myself with what the hell I had in there. I discovered that I have Dissolution and Dark Fire, which are the first two books of that series. Sovereign and Revelation are the third and fourth books, but I don’t have those, nor the 6th book, Lamentation. This is not a cause for concern, though. There’s time yet. I will list them in reading order on the List Challenges list, and at the end of this blog. I like series to be in the right order.

Other books I took out of the book chest to have close to hand were Humble Pie, Gordon Ramsay‘s autobiography, which sounds good, and Robbing The Bees, by Holley Bishop, which is described as a biography of honey. I have read books about tea, coffee and chocolate, so don’t be too surprised! Besides which, bees are very much in the news of late, as they’re a symbol of Manchester, so I thought I might add that to Manchester, England, by Dave Haslam in my Manc Reading theme. There are beehives in town, by the way… on the roof of Manchester Cathedral, and also on the roof of The Printworks.

This one’s not from my book chest, but from one of the tubs in my room… Fathomless Riches, by the Revd Richard Coles. Those of you who are my age and into 80s music will probably remember the UK’s best-selling single of 1986, which was “Don’t Leave Me This Way” by The Communards, a song which is still guaranteed to get me on the dance floor at a disco, even though I’m no dancer and will probably just dance around my handbag, lol! Well, Richard Coles was one half of The Communards, along with the rather more well-known Jimmy Somerville. Coles is a vicar now, has been for some time, and his book is about how he went from pop to pulpit!

Well, I need to go from blogging to freshening up, which is pretty tricky in sticky weather, so that’s about all there is for this entry. Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • The Power – Naomi Alderman
  • The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • Sovereign – C. J. Sansom
  • Revelation – C. J. Sansom
  • Heartstone – C. J. Sansom
  • Lamentation – C. J. Sansom
  • Humble Pie – Gordon Ramsay
  • Robbing the Bees – Holley Bishop
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • Fathomless Riches – The Revd Richard Coles

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, British Weather, Food & Drink, Goodreads, Humour, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Reader's Block, The TBR Pile, Weather

It’s The Wrong Book, Gromit!

Wallace-and-Gromit-10

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

First of all, congratulations to J. K. Rowling on being made a member of the Order of the Companion of Honour in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List! She has been recognised for her work in literature and philanthropy. Not only am I a biased bookworm, but I am also a Potterhead, as many of you know, lol, so I’m very chuffed Harry Potter‘s creator has been given a gong. Also very chuffed that the Big Yin, Billy Connolly, has been knighted, been a huge fan of his for years, since I was a little girl, and seen him a few times, November last year being the most recent. Arise Sir Billy!

Anyway, I’m blogging because, earlier today (we’re still on Friday here, just about, as I type) I did my first stint at St Denys’ Bookshop at the Manchester Cathedral Visitors’ Centre, which mostly involved familiarising myself with the shop and its stock, but I did get to help Jed with unpacking a box or two of books and checking we’d been sent the correct reading matter!

As you can imagine, this is a church bookshop, so our orders are going to be stuff such as Bibles, hymn books, prayer books and other reading matter of a religious or at least spiritual nature… Jed and I are checking off what we’ve been sent from one publishing house, both the titles of the books and the quantities of each book we should have been sent. All going well so far… Six copies of The Shack, by William P. Young, as ordered, 4 copies of this Bible, 2 copies of that one, et cetera, et cetera, and then we have a problem… Not only are we a book short in one of the titles we’d ordered (one copy received instead of two), but we find a copy of The Guest List, by Melissa Hill!

Oops! The Guest List is NOT on our inventory! OK, the plot is about a wedding, but that’s as close to religion as it gets, really! I think one would class this novel as “chick lit”. It’s certainly romantic fiction if nowt else! We’ve had to put the book on one side, and the publisher’s will have to be contacted to report the error. I expect the book will be returned and a second copy of the book we only had one of needs to be sent. It did get me wondering, though, if some other poor bookshop’s staff were a copy short of The Guest List, and had instead received some non-fiction book in the religious category?!

Hence my “wrong book” blog title and a nod to Wallace and Gromit as a tribute to the late Peter Sallis, the voice of Wallace, who passed away recently, aged 96. He was also famous as Cleggy in the BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine.

Years ago, and I DO mean years ago as in back in the 1980s when I was a teenager and my paternal grandparents were both very much with us and had popped over from Dublin, we visited the village where Last of the Summer Wine was set! We even had cuppas and sticky buns in the cafe! As it was over in West Yorkshire, it was on the way to Bridlington where we were actually heading to take Nana and Grandad to Grandad’s RAF reunion do. We did a fair bit of visiting TV show locations in the late 80s, lol, particularly as Granada Studios Tour was open back in those days so you could walk on the set of Coronation Street, and that was just in town so very convenient for us! We also went back across the Pennines, though, in 1989, to visit the Emmerdale Farm set as my mum was still very much a fan of that soap back then.

Anyway, never mind British TV Series of the 1980s, let’s get back to the books, shall we?!

Pet Shop Boys, Literally, is now up to 85% as I made more progress with it earlier. I plan to get that one read as I go to see Neil and Chris this coming Wednesday at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, Chris Lowe’s home town. It is my own copy of the book, though, so it’s not one I’ve borrowed from my friend Sarah, unlike the Gary Kemp autobiography I was reading earlier this year before the previous PSB gig at the Manchester Arena in February. Gary Kemp is, of course, the guitarist of Spandau Ballet, but as I Know This Much was my friend’s book and I was going to the gig with her, I was getting it read so I could give it back to her, along with Faster Than Lightning by Usain Bolt, which she’d already lent me in 2016.

So, my aim is to get the Chris Heath book finished off, get another off the OC List, but I also need to make a start on The Power, by Naomi Alderman, which is our current book club book. I need to give it at least a try up to the 10% mark, whichever page that happens to be, and see if I’m enjoying it enough to add it to the OC List. If I get the PSB book polished off, I can just class The Power as the general fiction replacement in my quest to balance my OC List in terms of general fiction, non-fiction and young adult. Otherwise it might just go down on the list as a temporary 10th book.

Other books to be getting on with are Periodic Tales, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Then we can take a look at some of the others on the OC List, particularly some of the YA books which have not been read for a while and focus on those. Finding Audrey, for instance.

We’re now in Saturday morning, as I type, but most of this blog has been typed on the Friday, lol! I won’t go into the transfer idiocy too much, except to say that the little benny Cristiano Ronaldo is currently throwing will eventually calm down and he’ll stay at Real Madrid, as he always has done after each of his previous bennies since 2009! It’s not even an issue with them, anyway, it’s about being accused of fiddling his taxes, so this is about the Spanish equivalent of the Inland Revenue, it’s not one of his “Real Madrid are having a blip so I’m going to have a bit of a mope” sessions, which is what normally happens, lol!

He’s 32 now, anyway, so there’s no way he’d come back to us at the amount of money he would cost. Far too much to shell out for someone the wrong side of 30. If he were on a free transfer, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic was last summer, it would be a different matter, and probably very likely he’d come back if he truly had had enough in Spain, but I think things will get smoothed over anyway, and he’ll stay. All it is, as far as I can see, is like when any of us gets some particularly bad or worrying news – we have a bit of a panic and throw a wobbler before we chill out and look at things a bit more rationally! That’s all that’s happening with Ronny right now. He’s at the initial stage of that process.

There’s no more actual proper official news at the moment, anyway. We’ve signed Victor Lindelof from Benfica, and we’re still waiting on further progress on other players we’d like to get, but no more deals have been done yet. I think the aim is to get 4 in, as it was last summer, and I’m sure a few will be leaving, but none have done so as yet. Some interesting news I have seen on BBC Sport, though, is that Robin van Persie might actually be heading back to Rotterdam to rejoin Feyenoord after a couple of seasons in Turkey at Fenerbahce. I think that sounds like a pretty sensible move, really, especially as he’s now 33 nearly 34, so he’ll go back to his hometown club to play for a season or two before he retires.

Ah, I miss Robin! I have very fond memories of his time with us, particularly the 2012-13 season when he helped us win our 20th league title! Especially as we were declared champions the night before my Big 40 with his hat-trick at home to Aston Villa! Boy was I on the stroopwafels that night!

Anyway, before I start waffling on about my appreciation of Mr van Persie, lol, I’d better get this blog finished and published so you can have a good read about my first day volunteering at the cathedral bookshop! Until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
  • The Shack – William P. Young
  • The Guest List – Melissa Hill
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • I Know This Much – Gary Kemp
  • Faster Than Lightning – Usain Bolt
  • The Power – Naomi Alderman
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella

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Filed under Books, Football, Humour, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Television, Travel, YA Books

I Spy

Le Carre bargain book

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with B…

B for bargain, obviously! Regular blog readers might know that I have tried to get my dad to get his arse back on Facebook, but that pulling his finger out and doing something about anything is not really his strong point, lol! He had been on FB, briefly, but his place of work weren’t happy about their staff being on it. However, he has been retired since April 2010, so I really don’t see why he can’t get his arse back online, and there are plenty of things I could share with him if he did.

Then again, there is ONE advantage to him NOT being on Farcebook… It does mean that if I get anything which is supposed to be a surprise for him, I can share it with others on FB knowing he won’t see it! Hence the book in the photo, John Le Carre: The Biography, by Adam Sisman. Not a charity shop book, but an epic bargain nevertheless. Mum and I had gone to Blackpool for the afternoon, and happened to pop into a branch of The Works.. and there it was. Full price would have been £25, but it cost me all of £3! Dad has always been a fan of spy thrillers, I grew up seeing him read books by John Le Carre and Len Deighton, as I may well have mentioned in my previous blogs about my family’s tastes in books, so I thought this would be the ideal birthday pressie for him for his 70th birthday in September!

I doubt very much he reads blogs, and he’s not on Facebook, as I said, so I’m hoping I am safe in letting you lot know that I’ve got him this for his birthday. If you DO know Kevin Dixon-Jackson, not a word to him about this, please! It’s a surprise!

Right, what else is there on the book front? Apparently, according to a new study, bookworms are nicer, kinder, and more empathetic people. Yay! However, I would argue there is a proviso to this… We are nice people except when you interrupt our reading! Just don’t even think about doing that to us, and we’ll be nice, lol!

Still reading Nul Points, by Tim Moore, as one of my OCs, and the Eurovision Song Contest is coming up this Saturday! Woo! I actually braved listening to a couple of entries which Tim had mentioned in his book. And I mean “braved” listening to them. Having exposed my eyes and ears to YouTube clips from the 1983 Eurovision Song Contest of the Turkish and Spanish entries for that year, I have to say that I can understand perfectly well why those entrants went home from Germany without a single point to their names! Particularly the Spanish entry. I’m very sorry, my Iberian chums, but that is 3 minutes I will never get back! It’s not just the wailing attempt at a “song”, in which she asked umpteen times as to who was steering her boat, but it was what she was wearing! A blue, white and grey stripy shower curtain would have been an approximation to her “dress” that night! Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…

Makes me wary of trying to look up some of the other nul point entries, but I guess I’ll end up doing so, even if it’s purely out of morbid curiosity, to see if they are any worse than the two I’ve already endured, lmao!

While we are on the subject of Eurovision, it seems that my family were ahead of their time! Many people these days hold Eurovision parties and make a big event of watching the contest. Nothing new for us – I can recall Eurovision nights in the late 70s and early to mid 80s where Mum, Dad, me and Ellie would be round at Grandma and Grandad’s and the six of us would be watching the Eurovision Song Contest in their living room, with my dad “translating” the non-English songs! For some reason, known only to Dad, most of these foreign warblings seemed to be about nuns with bicycles stuck up their arses! Especially the French entries! Those were ALWAYS about nuns with bikes stuck up their bums, according to my dad! Google Translate?! Pah! Who needed that in the early 80s when you could have my dad telling you what the songs were about?!

We used to go round to Grandma and Grandad’s on a frequent basis, anyway, when my sister and I were little, particularly for tea on a Saturday evening, so it wasn’t that surprising that we would be watching Eurovision round there. One point that I’ve not mentioned about those Turkish and Spanish entries who ended up with nul points in 1983, was that the contest that year took place on 23rd April, thus these poor pointless creatures were going away from Eurovision with the proverbial wooden spoon on my 10th birthday! So maybe, that year, I might have been watching Eurovision at home while stuffing my face with birthday cake!

Maybe the Turkish guy could have got a point or two, but… sorry, Spain, but that woman did you no favours in 1983! I’ve seen it on YouTube, as I said earlier, and it is bad. I mean BAD! We’re talking bad singing AND a terrible outfit! Just asking for nul points, quite frankly! Oh well, with singing that bad, just as well she was over in Germany, and not at our house singing happy birthday to me on the day I reached double figures, lol! Thankfully, I don’t recall much if anything about that year’s Eurovision, so clearly her bad singing didn’t spoil the day I completed an entire decade on the planet!

Without Tim Moore’s book, about the only thing I probably would have been able to figure out was that it would have been in Germany as Nicole had won in 1982, so the ESC is in the country of the previous year’s winning entry. I remember 1981 ’cause that’s when Bucks Fizz won with Making Your Mind Up, and I remember 1982 as the UK hosted it and Nicole won for Germany (West Germany as it was then) with Ein Bisschen Frieden, but I have a bit of a blank for a year or two until 1985 which I remember because there was a massive shock when Norway, who’d previously become infamous for getting nul points, actually won the Eurovision Song Contest that year!

Norway, however, were relatively lucky, compared to other multiple nul-point countries such as Finland and Turkey! Norway won the Eurovision Song Contest as early as 1985, and have since won it twice more, in 1995, and in 2009. Their ignominious failures of the early days have actually been outweighed by their ESC successes in more recent times. Turkey and Finland both had to wait much longer to be making headlines for the right reasons, with Turkey finally winning in 2003, and Finland three years later in 2006. To date, those have been the sole successes for the countries in question.

This is probably going to be one of those blogs where few books are mentioned. It happens from time to time. I am sure, though, that I’ll return to the usual long list of reading matter in coming blogs, so it’s nothing to worry about if I have only mentioned a couple of books in this one!

Update on the nul point recipients I have watched. I have now seen Jahn Teigen’s performance from 1978 which earned Norway one of its big fat zeroes. I can see why. What the hell was he wearing, and what the hell did he think he was doing with those on-stage antics? The pulling of his braces! That jump! WTF?! I am thinking the song itself wasn’t too bad, I’ve heard much worse, but if anyone was thinking of awarding him any points, his cringeworthy antics on stage probably cost him a few votes!

Video unavailable for Finn Kalvik, another nul-pointer from Norway, from 1981, sparing his blushes at least for now, but maybe I will find that somewhere else on the internet?

Onto Finland’s Kojo in 1982 and Nuku Pommiin. Oh dear! Not the greatest of songs, and what was with that red leather suit? It’s admirable enough to sing a song protesting about nuclear missiles, but there are probably better ways of going about it, chuck! Look at Nicole. That same year, she sat on a stool with her big guitar and sung about wanting a little peace. She won!

I’ve already dwelt upon Turkey and Spain and their pointless performances in 1983. We move on to 1987, then. and, sorry, Turkey, but it’s you guys again! The 1987 contest gave us an Israeli entry whose title translated as Lazy Bums, but their own country were a bit more upset about that than the others as it did receive at least some votes! Cetin Alp would no longer be the only Turk to have come away from Eurovision pointless after this contest… Not actually a bad song in 1987, although maybe too much hyperactive jigging about on stage was considered offputting? Maybe it got zilch because other songs were just much better, or it got forgotten about as more memorable acts caught the imagination and won the votes?

Clearly the late 80s were a rich source of nul-pointers. Consecutive ESCs in 1987, 1988 and 1989 each saw an act go home without a single vote. As mentioned above, Turkey got the wooden spoon in 1987, with Austria receiving it in 1988 and Iceland in 1989. Wilfried Scheutz for Austria… Lisa, Mona Lisa…  Nein. Nicht gut! Keine Punkte, mein Herr! You need something a bit more cheerful for Eurovision, matey! Something a bit upbeat and boppy! Or at least not so bloody gloomy-sounding! Daniel made a pretty similar mistake the following year as Iceland got the cold shoulder from the other countries’ juries.

Well, I’d better call it a day. Otherwise I’ll end up getting nul points for this blog! Or nul likes, more to the point! More utter waffle will probably follow in my next blog, but for the time being, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • John Le Carre: The Biography – Adam Sisman
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Humour, Music, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns

Good Morning, Judge!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

The joys of jury service, eh?! Last week, I wasn’t on a case, this week I am, but there’s still a lot of hanging around in the jurors’ lounge and thus plenty of reading time to keep bookworms happy, lol! Especially if a point of law needs to be raised and the judge doesn’t need us jurors for that… Thus, long lunches and plenty of book time! Therefore the OC List might be unrecognisable soon with some long-standing books coming off the list at last! You’ll remember that I finished off An Equal Music last week, along with The People’s Songs, and now another couple which have been on the list for some time, along with the Vikram Seth novel, have also been finished and joined the ranks of the Goodreads Challenge instead!

By the way, tonight’s court-themed blog title comes courtesy of a hit by 10CC back in the 70s! I’m not expecting the case to go on too long, which is a good thing because I’m not sure how many more legally-themed songs I can think of! We’ve had Love In The First Degree, All Rise and now Good Morning Judge! Talking of Love In The First Degree, it’s quite a co-incidence that I should use a Bananarama song title for a blog title last week and then we hear the news that Bananarama are making a comeback! I’m sure that’s just a fluke and we’ll not be hearing similar news for Blue and 10CC!

If I hadn’t been going through legally-themed titles, I might have gone with A Little Respect for today’s blog, as it’s the birthday of Andy Bell from Erasure, and I have loved them since my teens, back in the late 80s – second only to the Pet Shop Boys as far as my musical favourites go, and I’ve seen Andy and Vince in concert several times, almost as many times as I’ve seen Neil and Chris!

Right, anyway, so, where were we?! Ah, yes, finishing off books and getting them off the OC list because I’ve had a lot of time to kill on jury service, lol! So, yesterday I finished off The Saffron Trail at last, a really great book with a really good plot twist near the end! I’d actually got that book in October last year because I wanted something set in Morocco, or at least partially set in Morocco, to take on my jollies with me to Marrakech, and a Google search of “books set in Morocco” threw up that one along with a few others, the blurb looked good, and I managed to get a copy of Rosanna Ley‘s book from W H Smith’s in the Trafford Centre. Waterstone’s had some novels by the same author, but not that particular one, but WH Smith had a copy, so I was in luck. I got a bit read before and during my jollies, but I have read most of it since then, and it has reminded me of my time in Morocco in November.

I still want to slap Ted Robinson from The Saffron Trail, though! Well, actually, punch his lights out for being a total arsehole, or asshole as they’d say in the States, as he’s one of the American characters in the plot. He’s on the Literary Slap List, that’s for certain!

That one had been on 55% for a while, along with Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, but I finished that one off today, before making further progress with City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, the first of the Mortal Instruments series, which is now up to 21% according to Goodreads.

Before we come on to the usual “what the hell should I read next?” dilemma, lol, I saw an interesting book-related question on Facebook earlier, concerning books which you may have originally hated, or at least not liked very much, first time around, but then you read them again later and really enjoyed them. Not sure I’ve experienced that as such, yet, but there is one book I remember having to read when I was at high school, round about 30 or 31 years ago now, the academic year of 1986-87, anyway, when I was in my third year at high school (year 9 as it’s known these days).

It was one of those instances where the whole class reads the same book. The book was The Gun, by C S Forester, and it didn’t really float my boat as a 13 or 14 year old. However, this is now 2017, I am now 44 years old, and if I were to get hold of a copy, I might try it and see if it grabs me this time round. I think they picked the book at the time in the hope it would appeal to the lads. I was a teenage girl and the thought of reading about some huge-arse cannon used in some silly battle or other didn’t seem like the sort of reading matter which would be up my street.

As I said before, though, we’ve moved on 30 years or so, I’m an adult, and a very random reader with pretty broad tastes! I read quite widely, I like to think, although there’s some stuff which really doesn’t appeal to me – such as horror or books by known right-wingers, as I have no wish to read something that’s either going to scare the living crap out of me or annoy me and get my blood pressure up! I’m not too thrilled about crime fiction, either, although I’ll give it a go as long as the plot isn’t too gory or scary!

I think I need a brew. On second thoughts, no. I KNOW I need a brew! I shall be back shortly with a cuppa… cannot possibly decide what to add to the OC List next unless there’s some tea inside me…

Right, back again with a brew and the remainder of my birthday cake. Oh, and a special thank you to all of you who follow my blog! 50 of you now! Not bad at all for something I just started up in 2010 in order to amuse myself and see if anyone else was undeterred by my waffle! I do go on a bit! You may have noticed, lol!

So… let’s not put it off any longer… Having just finished another couple of books in the past couple of days, we go back to that age-old question of what the hell to read next! The eternal bookworm dilemma…

Let’s look at what I’ve just finished. We have The Saffron Trail, which is general fiction, and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which is YA. So, if I were to replace like with like, we’re looking at one general fiction and one young adult to come off the sub’s bench, so to speak! But I could just disregard that and pick two completely different books to those which have come off the list. I could go with some fantasy and resume my Discworld progress with Mort, by Sir Terry Pratchett. It would give me a good laugh and be a really good size for my handbag. I’ve got I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov, here by Computer Corner, and that’s around the same size, physically, as Mort, so if I wished to attempt a bit of science fiction, there’s always that. Out on the landing, on one of the bookshelves, I have Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, which is supposed to have an 80s setting to it, or at least a lot of 80s references in it.

Then again, there’s some of the “Prodigal Books” – those which once were lost, but had been found, lol! You may recall that four out of five of my “missing books” turned up. Just don’t start me on The God of Small Things, as I haven’t the foggiest when that disappeared, let alone where the hell it is! If you wish to revisit the sorry tale of my books going walkies, go back in the archives, you’ll probably need either February or March of this year, and blogs entitled Missing Words, and All The Books We Cannot See. However, there was a happy ending in Four Out of Five Ain’t Bad!

Of the Prodigal Books, most had been at least started, other than All The Light We Cannot See, plus the still-missing novel by Arundhati Roy (see above) but there’s three partially-started books – The English Patient, Thirteen Reasons Why, and A Man Called Ove. It occurred to me that if I were to resume Thirteen Reasons Why, plus either the Ondaatje or Backman, it would be a like for like substitution for the general fiction and YA I’ve just finished. However, for the general fiction, there’s the temptation to go with All The Light We Cannot See on the grounds that I could make serious inroads with this fairly chunky one while I’m still on jury service! Shorter reads can wait their bloody turn, lol!

Anyway, I’d probably better give some thought as to what to put in my bag for tomorrow. Perhaps I should take some which need getting on with… The Tobacconist, as it’s my current book club book, probably should be one of them, but we’ll see… I’m off to sort my books out, so if you wish to know which books I end up adding to the OC List, you’ll have to keep your eye out for email notification of my next blog, lol! Until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
  • The Gun – C. S. Forester
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  • Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  • A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler

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Filed under Books, Computer Corner, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, List Challenges, Literary Slap List, Music, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

Pick of the Books!

OC list 22nd April 2017.jpg

Alright, pop pickers?! Not ‘alf! We’ve reached the top ten…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Last blog as a 43 year old, lol! So, this is the before-birthday book briefing, as it were. Just to bring you up to date with the OC List, which is now looking like a chart top ten, except that books don’t really go down after they get to the top, I just finish reading them and they come off the list! Anyway, if you can imagine the theme music for Pick of the Pops on BBC Radio 2 on a Saturday afternoon, this is a sort of Pick of the Books…

Pick of the Pops theme

At number ten, slipping down a couple of places, we have City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, the first book in the Mortal Instruments series. That’s at 12% according to my Goodreads account…

Number nine sees a new entry for the legendary travel writer, Bill Bryson, whose Neither Here Nor There, an account of his travels around Europe, enters our OC List with 13% of it read thus far!

Number eight is our highest new entry! The first book in Ally Carter‘s Gallagher Girls series, I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You, enters our OC list in 8th place, with 15% of it read! Certainly wins the award for longest book title currently on my OC List, and probably the longest title of anything I’ll be reading this year, lol!

At number 7, my current book club book, The Tobacconist, by Robert Seethaler, is at 21% on Goodreads and currently one of several non-movers on the charts.

Just above it, and hanging on in there despite very little movement, is Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella, at number 6 on 29% and hoping it’s not got stuck in a rut.

Nul Points, by Tim Moore, a look at the biggest failures in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest, lol, is at number 5 and at the 30% read stage according to Goodreads. Eurovision is coming up once again fairly soon, so this was a recent new entry and it is establishing itself on the OC list!

At number 4 is Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, with me having read just over a third of this YA novel so far – 34% read according to Goodreads!

We actually have something chart-related at number 3, pop pickers, as Chris Heath is at that position with Pet Shop Boys, Literally, an account of their first tour, back in 1989. I am exactly halfway through this hardback at 50% read!

And, with The People’s Songs, by Stuart Maconie, having been finished recently and come off the list, we actually have a joint number one! Two books are tied for the top spot, each being 55% read at present!

We have Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan sharing first place with The Saffron Trail, by Rosanna Ley!

Well, that’s the Ongoing Concerns top ten for now, pop pickers! I expect some movement on the charts in the coming week, particularly as I’m definitely required in court on Monday as my second week of jury service gets under way! This is only a short blog, no long waffly one tonight, so until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
  • Neither here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You, Ally Carter
  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley

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Filed under Books, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Humour, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Travel, YA Books