Category Archives: Junior Bookworms

May Review

bee bookmark a

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

We’re on Wednesday 31st May 2017, and thus it’s time for this month’s look back at books and other stuff that’s gone on this month! A fair bit of cross-stitch has occurred, as you can see from the photos of the bee bookmark, which is still in progress. There have also been some patterned bookmarks made this month, but some books have also been read, and the total of 30 books, which I set for this year’s Goodreads Challenge, has been met.

I am going to leave things as they are and see how many more books I can read this  year. I’d really love to add some of my niece’s creations – Charlotte, the Junior Bookworm, has been busy writing a few stories of her own, and illustrating them herself! She even understands about putting some blurb on the back! In years to come, if you ever see any children’s books by a Charlotte Williams, don’t be too surprised! She also writes and spells really well. The occasional mistake, but she puts a lot of adults to shame! She’s even had a go at science fiction with a story about aliens!

Her books don’t, as yet, have ISBN numbers, so it would be tricky to put them on Goodreads, sadly, but I can say I’ve been treated to advanced readings of them!

When April came to an end, I’d just finished Diary of an Oxygen Thief, and had reached the 25/30 mark on the Goodreads Challenge, so let’s go through the five books I’ve completed in May to bring the total to 30…

Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson, was the first of the five to be finished off. It had been almost-finished for some time, and I only had about 9 pages left to read, so I got that done! A bit of a departure from his usual books, as he is mostly known for travel writing, but this is a book about the history and development of the English language, another matter which is of interest to me.

The next book was Oi Frog! by Kes Gray and Jim Field, and was brought round by my niece for me to read! As I’ve said before, Charlotte has some brilliant books!

The Tobacconist, by Robert Seethaler, wasn’t quite finished in time for my book club, but I did finish it shortly afterwards, and I had read the vast majority of it by the time we met up at Waterstone’s, so it wasn’t as though I couldn’t discuss it! At the book club, our next choice was another short book, a novella entitled The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman, by Denis Thériault. This book was such a quick read that I didn’t bother adding it to the Ongoing Concerns list, as there was no point! It was an overnight read. Started one day, finished the next. A really good book, actually, although the postman’s colleague Robert, deserves to go on the Literary Slap List.

May is the time of the year, these days, when the people of our continent gather for the annual festival of dodgy singing, bad costumes and biased voting. Otherwise known as the Eurovision Song Contest! Congratulations to Portugal, who won for the first time ever, and also thanks and congratulations to Tim Moore for writing Nul Points, a book about all those acts since the mid 1970s up to the early noughties, who’d come away from Eurovision without a single vote to their names!

bee bookmark b

Still deciding what to do about my bookmark. I could actually fit another bee on it at the other side, facing the other way. It certainly needs a border no matter what else I add. The bee chart is diagonally symmetrical so I could turn it on one side and the bee would be a mirror image of the one I’ve already stitched.

I also need to work out a design on graph paper for stitching. When I started stitching in 1997, I did United’s honours list in cross stitch, but it’s only last week that we won the Europa League, a trophy best known to us older footy fans as the UEFA Cup. Thus I never designed a version of that for my honours list or other footy-related stitching, but I need to do so now! I intend to stitch myself a bookmark with the European Cup, European Cup-Winners’ Cup and UEFA Cup now that United have completed the set with their 2-0 victory over Ajax in Stockholm last Wednesday.

With The Tobacconist and Nul Points off the OC List, and with no new ones added as yet, we are currently running an OC List of 9 books, of which 4 are non-fiction and 5 are young adult. My next plan is to replace the next non-fiction book I finish, and the next two YA books I finish, with general fiction books, possibly including one of my “chunky monkeys” for added challenge, and then I would have 3 non-fiction, 3 general fiction and 3 young adult. This balance amongst my Ongoing Concerns is something I have mentioned in previous blog entries.

chunky books 2017

Some of my “chunky monkeys” for consideration…

Obviously, I’m not going to start ALL of these, lol, but I’m certainly giving serious thought to starting on one of them soon! Technically, given my 10% rule, and given that these books are so long – we’re talking around the 900-1000 page range here, I’d have to read around 90 to 100 pages to even get it to the 10% mark, so I could start on one for when the OC List gets another taken off it, but on the other hand, the one I start could grip me so much…

The books most likely to come off my OC List first are both non-fiction, with Pet Shop Boys, Literally, in the lead, and Periodic Tales second, and now up to 47% although I’ve had a bit of a to do on Goodreads because someone had altered the number of pages and it made it look as though I’d actually gone backwards percentage-wise! Grrrr!

Yes, I KNOW the book has more than 398 pages, but after page 398 all you have are notes, bibliography, acknowledgements and the index! Are you seriously telling me that people actually read those bits?! They’re just there for reference, for crying out loud! The main body of writing ends on page 398, so that is when I consider the book to end. When I get to that page, I will have finished Periodic Tales. I have just given someone a piece of my mind on Goodreads as I change the number of pages back again! And if Amazon says there’s 448 pages, they’re wrong anyway, as there’s only 428 even if you do include the index and suchlike at the back! I will calculate my percentages based on 398 pages, thank you very much!

Some fiction books can be like that, too. Not with indexes, of course, those are for non-fiction books, but occasionally you get additional things from the author, even extracts from some of their other novels, so the end of the book, for me, is wherever the main story ends. Sometimes you get a few pages at the back which suggest questions which can be considered if the book has been chosen as a book club book. All very well and good, but it gives a misleading impression about the length of the main book if you ask me, and might lead to similar arguments on Goodreads as the one I’ve been having regarding a non-fiction book – see above!

Anyway, what do you reckon with regard to my chunky monkeys? Which of these pretty lengthy books should I attempt? There are 6 possibilities. The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb, Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts, Paris, by Edward Rutherfurd, Magician, by Raymond E. Feist, and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. If you have any recommendations, I’d be happy to hear them, or rather read them in the comments, lol!

Another thought for when the time comes to get more general fiction on the OC List is that I should start on some of those hardbacks which are still resting in a tall pile on top of my bass amp! Possibly The Night Circus, or The Miniaturist, the latter of which is a signed copy since last summer when I met Jessie Burton at Waterstone’s in town.

Anyway, that’s about it for now, time to have another look at my bee bookmark and decide what to add to it… Until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Various books written and illustrated by Charlotte Elizabeth Williams, aged 6
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson
  • Oi Frog! – Kes Gray & Jim Field
  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler
  • The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman – Denis Thériault
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  • I Know This Much Is True – Wally Lamb
  • Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
  • Paris – Edward Rutherfurd
  • Magician – Raymond E. Feist
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke

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Filed under Books, British Weather, Cross-Stitch, Football, Goodreads, Junior Bookworms, Literary Slap List, Manc Stuff!, Month in Review, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns

Swede Dreams Are Made of This


Swede Dreams: United are going to Stockholm!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Apologies for an omission from my previous blog. My niece was round here on Tuesday with some of her favourite reading matter, which Charlotte and I were reading together. I have mentioned these two books before, both by Drew Daywalt, but they are The Day the Crayons Quit, and The Day the Crayons Came Home. Both brilliant and very funny books, and expertly read by my niece! She is such a fluent reader, and puts inflection into her reading. I think she’s bringing Oi, Frog! by Kes Gray and Jim Field, round with her next time. She has some great books!

Obviously, my last blog entry was written before our game against Celta Vigo, so this is my first opportunity on this blog to mention that we’re through to the Europa League Final in Stockholm on 24th May! Woohoo! Sadly, for several reasons, I won’t be there, and will have to settle for watching it on telly, but we got through. It was 1-1 on Thursday night, but we had won the away leg 1-0, so we won 2-1 on aggregate. One consolation is that our final opponents, Ajax, weren’t convincing either. They had won their first leg 4-1, but lost the second 3-1 in Lyon, so they squeaked through 5-4 on aggregate. They will also be missing a player through suspension, they had a guy sent off, so the fact that Eric Bailly was dismissed along with Celta Vigo’s goalscorer, can be offset slightly!

So, if you were wondering about the title and the photo of books by Swedish authors, it’s ’cause United are going to Stockholm! Of course, I have also found my copy of A Man Called Ove since then – it was missing at the time, as you might recall. One of the notorious missing books, although Ove and three of the others were later found in my wardrobe unit. Still haven’t got the foggiest where The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy, has disappeared to, though! That is a mystery yet to be solved, lol!

On the Goodreads Challenge, I’m currently at the stage of having read 26 books so far this year. My target for 2017 is 30 books. Something tells me I might have to update at some point, lol! Diary of an Oxygen Thief, by an anonymous author, was book number 25 on the list, and finishing off the last 9 pages of Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson, took me up to my current total.

As for the books hoping to get on to the Goodreads Challenge list, otherwise known as the Ongoing Concerns, Pet Shop Boys, Literally, by Chris Heath still tops the list, but I’ve been reading quite a bit of Nul Points lately, so Tim Moore‘s book has crept up to 2nd on the list. The PSB book is at 62%, with Tim Moore’s book about Eurovision Song Contest losers on 55%. The Tobacconist, by Robert Seethaler, is at 51% so it’s just over halfway, but I need to get on with that one, really, as my book club is this coming Thursday! Oops!

Just below The Tobacconist, is Periodic Tales, so non-fiction is taking up 3 of the top 4 places on the OC List at the moment.

* My my! At Waterloo, Napoleon did surrender… *

Oops! Sorry! Just getting in the mood for Eurovision, lol! I felt we needed a bit of Abba. Well, they are the most successful act to have become famous because of the Eurovision Song Contest, so we might as well appreciate the Swedish superstars. Actually, Frida (Anni-Frid) is Norwegian, but the other three are Swedes. When Pick of the Pops was on Radio 2 earlier, the first of the two years was 1976, and Abba were number one this time 41 years ago with Fernando. They had 9 UK number ones, 7 in the 70s and 2 in the early 80s, from Waterloo in 1974, which started it all, to Super Trouper in 1980, the last of their songs to top the British charts.

I apologise that this blog entry is a bit on the short side, but let’s not forget that my previous one was rather waffly, lol! I’ve mentioned more books than I did last time, though! I will be back again sooner rather than later with another blog, but, until then, take care, Happy Reading, and enjoy Eurovision if you’re also watching it tonight!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Day the Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home – Drew Daywalt
  • Oi, Frog! – Kes Gray & Jim Field
  • A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams

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Filed under Books, Childrens' Books, European Literature, Football, Goodreads, Junior Bookworms, Music, Ongoing Concerns

Mermaid Mystery

Books bought 29th April 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

“I’m on the toilet at the 9:30 Club, and I’m wondering how mermaids pee.”

Isn’t that a brilliant opening line?! People get drawn to books because of their covers (we know we shouldn’t judge books by their covers, but we still do, lol), and often because of the blurb, but a good opening line can do it for you as well! It’s what attracted me to The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli, when I was in Waterstone’s yesterday! She is also the author of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which is on my notorious TBR list. Indeed, it’s in the rainbow tower of books!

The other book in the photo, Anna and the Swallow Man, by Gavriel Savit, is set in Poland in 1939, so a WWII setting, with a child separated from her parents, certainly from her father, early on, so not unlike The Book Thief in that respect. Anyway, as you can see here, from this photo, Savit’s novel came with a freebie…

Book and bookmarks 29th April 2017

Actually, my copy had TWO free matching bookmarks in it, and I also picked up the free postcard while I was in Waterstone’s, although that’s for a completely different book, Checkmate, by Malorie Blackman. Must admit I’ve yet to read any of her books, but I’ve certainly heard of them, Noughts & Crosses for definite. The postcard will no doubt end up being used as a bookmark anyway, lol! Offering free matching bookmarks is a pretty common promotional method, usually for the book shop to put one in each copy or put a pile on the table alongside the book they are promoting, although occasionally a book might actually have a detachable bookmark, such as the time I bought The President’s Hat, by Antoine Laurain, a book club book a few years ago. (That was a novel about the former French president, François Mitterrand, by the way, NOT about Washington Wiggy!)

I got another couple of books read while I was in Waterstone’s, so I am up to 24/30 on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I admit these were kids’ books, as seen above, but I read widely anyway, from children’s books to epic novels, and I’ve recently got a few long term ones off my notorious Ongoing Concerns list, so why not read a couple of quickies in Waterstone’s?! They were Tidy, by Emily Gravett, and The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt, which is the follow-up to the brilliant The Day the Crayons Quit, which I have also read, probably last year! I’ve mentioned it on my blog this year, though.

Charlotte is now moving on, though, more towards books which take more than a day to read, books with chapters. As mentioned recently, they’re reading The Wind in the Willows, or certainly parts of it, at her school. I don’t think I’ve ever read it, but I certainly remember the animated TV adaptation in the 80s, as I’m pretty sure Mr Toad was voiced by the legendary Sir David Jason. Then again, in a year or so, it’ll be Reuben’s turn for some of those books from which Charlotte is moving on. Reuben’s on the board books, he’s 6 months old at present. He has his mum, dad and big sister reading to him, so hopefully my little nephew will also love books as much as my niece does.

Obviously, in the next day or two, I’m going to have to do the April Review on here, so I’m not really focusing on the OCs right now as that’ll be a big part of the monthly summary of bookworm activity, but I’ve been making some progress with Pet Shop Boys, Literally in recent days, Chris Heath‘s account of the duo’s first tour in 1989. At the last count, I was on for page 212, and had thus read 62% of the book. I mentioned in a previous blog, earlier this year, that 2017 marks 30 years since I became a Pethead during the course of 1987, so it’s part of the anniversary celebrations of 3 decades of yours truly appreciating the musical talents and output of Neil Francis Tennant and Christopher Sean Lowe!

The OC list is still currently standing at 8 books, as I have still not decided on the books to replace The Saffron Trail and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. I did think, though, about honouring a couple of authors, one who’d passed away recently, and one who would have celebrated his 69th birthday on 28th April, but who passed away in 2015. We have recently lost Robert M. Pirsig on 24th April, the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, while the late great Sir Terry Pratchett would have turned 69 on Friday, so I was giving some thought to Mort, the fourth book of the Discworld series.

I’ve still got Diary of an Oxygen Thief, an anonymous novella, on my TBR pile, but I shall have to check again how long it is, or rather, how short, as it could be a one-day read which would not need to join the OC list any more than those children’s books I read at Waterstone’s! The Ongoing Concerns are books which are going to take me at least a while to read, they’re not going to be one-day or even overnight reads.

I might just read that one I bought earlier, though, the Becky Albertalli book… It would be my YA replacement for Nick & Norah and, after all, I’d also like to know how mermaids pee! Until the next time I blog, which won’t be very long in coming, lol, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli
  • Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
  • Anna and the Swallow Man – Gavriel Savit
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • Checkmate – Malorie Blackman
  • Noughts & Crosses – Malorie Blackman
  • The President’s Hat – Antoine Laurain
  • Tidy – Emily Gravett
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home – Drew Daywalt
  • The Day the Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt
  • The Wind In the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M. Pirsig
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, Junior Bookworms, Music, Ongoing Concerns, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Love In The First Degree

An Equal Music finished 18 April 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

First day of jury service done and dusted, and very successful on the book front as I wasn’t called to serve on any of the four juries for which they were selecting people today. I have phoned up, and I am not needed tomorrow, so I just need to phone again after 6pm tomorrow to see if I am needed on Thursday. Otherwise, I have a day off. I still plan on reading, though! I am seeing this whole jury service thing as a major opportunity to get through a lot of books!

An Equal Music is now finished! Yep, the orchestra has played the final chord on that one, and it was a mostly-enjoyable read, although some bits puzzled me, as in wondering if they led to anything or if I needed to remember that little detail, was it really significant to the plot? Having finished a work of fiction with a musical theme, I then decided to make further progress with a non-fiction book on music – Stuart Maconie‘s The People’s Songs. That’s now up to 59% in Goodreads terms.

As I said in the previous blog, I feel a pull towards more non-fiction on my Ongoing Concerns list, and I am thinking of adding Tim Moore‘s Nul Points to the collection. It’s a partially-read non-fiction book about acts which have failed on an epic scale at the Eurovision Song Contest! Acts which did not receive a single vote from a single country! It goes up to 2005, so, yes, it’s a bit old now, but should be a good read and it is coming up to the Eurovision time of year anyway, so good timing, I think! I was up to page 98 the last time I read it and that is out of 378, so we’d be talking over 25% when I check Goodreads and then put it on my OC Board and in my handbag to take around with me.

* marks the book as currently reading and that she is on page 98 of 378, and Goodreads has informed her that she has read 26% of the book thus far… *

The other books mentioned the other day, on the non-fiction front, are still possibilities for the OC list in the very near future, but we shall go with Nul Points with Eurovision on the horizon.

Wind in the Willows 8 Editions

After we had been informed, this afternoon, that we were no longer required to stay, I left the courts and headed for Waterstone’s. Yeah, I know… you’re so gobsmacked about that, aren’t you?! NOT! Rather a good job I was in my natural habitat as I got a message from my mum asking me if I owned a copy of The Wind In the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. Unfortunately, not something I have actually ever read, although I recall the animated TV adaptations on Children’s ITV in the 80s, with Mr Toad being voiced by the legend that is Sir David Jason. However, at the time of being messaged, I was in the children’s and young adults’ section at Waterstone’s so I offered to get a copy… and that is when I found out that the Deansgate branch boasted no fewer than EIGHT different editions of the classic children’s novel! I shit you not! EIGHT different editions of The Wind In the Willows! Weighing in at a range of prices from £5.99 to a whopping £16.99! See the above photo for the eight editions lined up!

I challenge any of you to find me ANY instance where ANY branch of ANY book shop, worldwide, has MORE than eight different editions of the same book! I think you’d be hard-pushed to beat eight different editions of Kenneth Grahame‘s novel at Waterstone’s Deansgate in Manchester!

Wind in the Willows 2

I bought the Oxford Children’s Classics edition on the right in this photo.

There are still seven different editions left at that branch, although I did buy a copy. It’s for the Junior Bookworm, Charlotte. Looks like they’ll be reading it at school. I expect schools still do have multiple copies of certain books, but I know my niece and what she’s like with books. I know she’ll want one of her own! I also saw another interesting book while I was in the children’s department, The Bookshop Girl, by Sylvia Bishop, which might also appeal to my niece.

On the YA front, I admit I am still after Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and have not seen a copy in store yet. I might just have to bite the bullet and get it ordered some time. but I saw yet another book whose title made me think of a song (I’m often finding books which do that for me, lol!) – The Bombs That Brought Us Together, by Brian Conaghan. I am pretty convinced the title is inspired by lyrics from “Ask” by The Smiths, although slightly paraphrased from the original words of Morrissey…

So ask me, ask me, ask me!

Ask me, ask me, ask me

Because if it’s not love, then it’s the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb the bomb…

The bomb that will bring us together.

See? Definitely inspired by Smiths lyrics if you ask me! (See what I did there?!) The title of this blog, however, is from a Bananarama song, lol! I just wanted the title of a song on a “legal” theme given that I’m on jury service! I know I’m not needed tomorrow (well, actually today as it’s just gone midnight here as I type), but I have to phone up later and see if my presence is required on Thursday. In the meantime, the reading marathon will continue!

Well, I think I’d better either get on with some reading or catch up on Pointless! Perhaps I should delete some or I’ll never get round to watching them. I think they’re repeats anyway – pretty sure I’ve seen some of the contestants before! It’s very hard, with quiz shows, to know if they’re running a current series, or just old ones, especially when they’re on every weekday, and with Pointless Celebrities on Saturdays! (I can think of a lot of “celebs” these days whom I would regard as pointless, lol!) In Pointless, of course, the whole aim of the game is to score 0 points, which is the exact opposite of the Eurovision Song Contest! And with that, I shall get this published and return to Nul Points! Until the next blog, 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
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • The Wind In the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  • The Bookshop Girl – Sylvia Bishop
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • The Bombs That Brought Us Together – Brian Conaghan

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Filed under Books, Childrens' Books, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Humour, Junior Bookworms, Music, My Bookworm History, Ongoing Concerns, Television, YA Books

Assorted Book Bits…

Cross stitched book girl in frame

Girl With a Book – stitched and framed.

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

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

Skintown cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

Current OCs April 2017

Zlatan Ibrahimović, he is our Swedish hero…

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

My niece in her natural habitat – Waterstone’s!

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

Charlotte choosing books April 2017b

Charlotte and her daddy having a good read!

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in today’s blog entry…

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

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Tuesday Night’s Alright (For Reading)

Tuesdays with Morrie finished March 2017

My Tuesdays with Morrie are complete…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Sir Elton John, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Saturday just gone, opined in song that Saturday night was alright for fighting. I would argue that any night is alright for reading, but as I’ve been reading Mitch Albom‘s book for the past four Tuesdays, it’s as good a day as any for the title of this blog! Tuesdays With Morrie has now been read, and is yet another book off the OC list this month! Moonstone, my book club book, was finished off the other day. When I come to the March Review in a few days’ time, I will be able to look back on a VERY productive month on the book front, with several OCs finished off, a few quicker reads also read, ones which were that short they didn’t even need to go on the OC list at all, lol, and a bookmark almost completed, too!

EFL Cup bookmark so far

It’s not quite finished – I could still do with adding some sort of tassel to it, plus putting red, white and black threads through it as ribbons on the handles of the cup, but most of it was completed last night pending those final flourishes. The book behind it is a 2017 diary, and I’m keeping track of my reading in it, using it as a book diary for the year. I got that idea earlier this month, wish I’d thought of it in January, rather than March, but never mind! The bit at the back of the cup is the other handle – for some weird reason, the League Cup has three handles! Absolutely no idea why – guess it’s just one of football’s great mysteries, lol!

Anyhow, back to the books – after all, I’m going to be putting my newly-stitched League Cup winning years bookmark into service fairly shortly, and adding another book or two to the OCs, as the list is now looking a bit short! I’ve only got five books on it now, lol! Five books! I had eight books on that list only a week ago, lol, but since then The Pie at Night, Moonstone, and Tuesdays With Morrie have all been completed and added to the Goodreads Challenge 2017, thus they are no longer Ongoing Concerns! Moonstone was a bit of an odd read at times, lol, but I enjoyed it, and particularly when I discovered that the main protagonist’s birthday was the same day as mine! Obviously, this novel was set in 1918-19, so the character would be a damn sight older than me, indeed he’d be in his hundreds! There’s a bit in 1919 where he points out to the elderly lady with whom he lives that he had turned 16 on April 23rd, so he would have been born in 1903 and therefore would be exactly 70 years older than yours truly! He’d be approaching his 114th birthday shortly, as I approach my 44th birthday!

I was originally expecting to blog that I’d had to shift some of the notorious book towers, but I’ve not had to do that. I’ve been able to make other arrangements in case the gas man needs to check the heater in my room, arrangements which leave the book towers intact, unless they decide to take a tumble again, but the only time they’ve done that, thus far, was due to a Henrikh Mkhitaryan goal for Manchester United away to Leicester City in February, and United don’t play again until Saturday when we have a proper, traditional Saturday afternoon 3pm kick-off against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford, so I’m not expecting any falling books prior to that, lol!

Yes, you read that right. We have a proper Saturday afternoon 3pm kick-off! You may need to sit down with a stiff drink upon reading that shock news, lol!

Back again. Sorry. You won’t realise it when reading this, but I’d been watching telly, the documentary Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad on BBC1. Such a brave guy, and a class act, and it was an honour to have had him as one of our players at United from 2002 to 2014. I met him before a match in 2012 and he signed my United drawstring bag. I recall him once saying that he had initially thought he’d be with us for 3 or 4 years but he ended up staying for 12!

Back to the books, though, and we need to sort out some potentials to add to the OC list. My next book club meeting is due on 12th April, so we’re a week or two away from that just yet, and I’ve read Moonstone already, as I mentioned, so there’s no book club representation on the OCs at present. I think I’m probably going to opt for Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, that is looking highly likely to join the Ongoing Concerns list in the very near future! I also quite like the idea of  working through the Rainbow Tower of Books, which would make Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli the first port of call on that book cruise, so to speak! Of course, both Dumplin’ and Stargirl are YA novels, and the number of shits I give about the fact that I am almost 44 years old and I read YA books is likely to be overestimated by many people! Next bit is NSFW due to un-asterisked expletive, but I know at least some of you will appreciate the humour in this…

added a f I didn't give

I saw that one the other day on Facebook and had to save it for future use! Especially when dealing with matters of literature and failing to give a shit what any book snobs might think about a grown adult woman reading young adult novels! To be frank, my giveashitometer has been malfunctioning for donkey’s years, so the likelihood of yours truly giving any flying f**ks about the opinions of literary snobs is on a par with Leicester City’s chances of retaining the Premier League title this season. In other words, Not. Gonna. Happen.

As I’ve said countless times, I aim to ENCOURAGE reading! This is why I am so anti-snobbishness! I am against anything which puts people off and stops them from enjoying books! Reading should be entertainment. It should be fun. It should be a pleasant experience, not just a necessity which people have to do in order to get on at school or in work! Therefore I salute any Book Heroes who do their bit to encourage reading! I have a few here…

Henry Winkler for one. Yes, I know most people just think of him as The Fonz from Happy Days, but did you know he had an honorary OBE, which he was awarded for services to literacy? He received it in 2011 for helping people with dyslexia here in the UK, having been diagnosed with the reading difficulty in his adult life.

It must be hard to motivate yourself to read if you have a problem which makes reading difficult for you. It is the book-reading equivalent of me being motivated to do any form of exercise when I have a dodgy thyroid gland (under-active from birth) and a track record of having been utterly shite at PE when I was at school! So, for one dyslexic to still make the effort to read, and then to help others, that is truly deserving of his OBE. It is actually a shame that he’s not from the UK or the Commonwealth, so he isn’t really entitled to use the letters after his name, because he bloody deserves to as far as I’m concerned!

Greg Smith in Orlando, Florida, for helping a local homeless lady, Amy Joe, learn to read so she can enjoy reading and also use the skill to get on in life and improve her chances of getting a job and a roof over her head.

Sidney Keys III from St Louis, Missouri. This fine young man, all of 11 years of age, thus at elementary school (primary school as we’d call it here in the UK), has set up a club called Books N Bros to encourage his fellow young black males to read more books! He has helped to source more African-American literature for children around his age, and set up a book club to encourage more reading amongst his peers… Hope this link works…

So, those are some serious Book Heroes for us to applaud! We definitely need people like this, so if you know of anyone who goes out of his or her way to encourage reading, give them a mention! Perhaps in the comments of my blogs! This one is coming to an end right now, I think I’ve pretty much typed everything which needs typing at present! So, until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
  • Moonstone – Sjón
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
  • Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli

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My Family and Other Bookworms

Family Photo March 2017

Ellie, me, Auntie Andrea with Reuben, Charlotte on Mum’s knee, and Auntie Jenny…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

That photo was taken this afternoon after we’d got back from lunch. My aunties are two of Dad’s sisters, and they’ve been over to see him and also keep an eye on him, lol, and make sure he actually starts taking advice about his health and looking after himself! But they also came to meet up with the rest of us and have some lunch at Vintage Ambiance here in Monton, which was lovely! My aunties are bookworms, particularly Jenny, although she’s had a bit of a problem and needs to contact lost property because she left her Kindle on the plane! I hope she can get it back!

Reading to Reuben 2017

That’s not my tractor! Its engine is too bumpy…

Reuben was treated to some reading time while we were out, Ellie reading to him from That’s Not My Tractor, from the Usborne series of touchy-feely books for babies. Charlotte had quite a few of those books when she was a baby, and she is a right bookworm, so I hope her little brother will also have a love of reading. He certainly seemed to enjoy being read to by his mummy at Vintage Ambiance. I, for my part, borrowed Esio Trot, and have already read it! It’s a very quick read, actually, which is quite ironic given that it’s about tortoises, lol!

I’ve now got 12 books on the Goodreads Challenge for 2017. OK, I admit the last two were children’s books, but all books count! When your niece is a bookworm, you get to read her books as well as your own! It’s research – you need  to know what sort of stuff she’s into on the book front, so I make no bones about having some kids’ books on my Goodreads Challenge and therefore on my List Challenges lists! If family members are reading books, there’s every chance I will blog about it, no matter how young they are!

As well as making swift work of Esio Trot, there’s more progress on the Ongoing Concerns front from the past night or two. I’m over halfway through The Pie At Night now, 53% of it completed according to Goodreads, putting it level with I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the moment, and An Equal Music is now up to 68%, so I have 4 out of 7 books on the OC list which are over halfway on the reading front, the other being The Saffron Trail – that’s at 55% if my memory serves me well. This coming Tuesday will see a return to Tuesdays With Morrie as the main focus, see how much more progress I make on that. I am just over a quarter of the way through it already having only had one Tuesday session with it, so I hope to make more good progress in the week ahead.

Rainbow Book Tower March 2017

Reading Rainbow: Selection of books in one of my TBR piles…

What can I say about the above? I was bored, I saw a photo on Facebook of some books arranged in a rainbow, and decided to have another reshuffle of my book piles, lol! Actually, most of those were already in that particular pile, the only one I added was Prince, by Matt Thorne, as it had a purple spine and I needed that for my rainbow tower! The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt, is just underneath as the “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow due to it having a gold spine! Technically speaking, The Sisters Brothers is a partially-read book, and also on my notorious Duplicate Books List, but all the other titles in that photo are definitely unread as yet!

Sisters Brothers

Great cover, isn’t it?! Funnily enough, my very good FB friend, Liz Craig, has borrowed The Sisters Brothers from her local library and is loving it thus far, and she said it was the cover which caught her eye. It is, I think, one of the best book covers I’ve seen in recent times, although another excellent one is that of Look Who’s Back, by Timur Vermes, which I read and enjoyed last year, and would definitely recommend!

Let’s have a look at some of the other books on that rainbow tower of reading matter… China Mieville gets two entries, as does Vanessa Greene. Technically speaking, so does Stephen King, as one of his books is lurking at the bottom of the photo under the “pot of gold” so we should include 11/22/63 as well as The Green Mile, which is definitely in the rainbow! The City and The City, and Un Lun Dun give Mieville his two entries in the book rainbow, while Greene‘s books are both on the theme of cuppas, with The Vintage Teacup Club, and The Seafront Tea Rooms appearing in this literary spectrum! Actually, mention of those books makes me want a cuppa, so if you don’t mind, I’ll just nip down and get a brew! Won’t be long…

* goes downstairs to put kettle on, returns with mug of tea… *

Right, back again! Sorry about that, but I made myself thirsty mentioning books about tea! That’s given me an idea for a themed blog, though, so stay tuned for that in the coming days!

Back to our reading rainbow and YA is well-represented in this colourful tower of books. At the top, with pink and red spines, we see Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli, and Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli. Then we have a couple amongst the yellow-spined books, with Boy Meets Boy, by David Levithan, and Eleanor & Park, by the aptly-named Rainbow Rowell – only right and fair that we had at least one book by Rainbow Rowell in a rainbow of books! Then, in the blue corner, as it were, we have Wonder, by R. J. Palacio, and Paper Towns by John Green. Those are NOT my only YA novels, either, there’s quite a bit more where that came from knocking around in my room for when I’ve finished a few more of my Ongoing Concerns, lol! There’s a couple of YA novels on the OC list as it is!

As I’ve said before, I’m in my 40s, I read YA books, and a flying shit is not given!

* flicks the Vs at any book snobs *

Anyway, back to our reading rainbow… There are three books outstanding we have not yet mentioned to complete our literary spectrum, and the first of those is Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood, with the fetching orange spine. I think I bought that one not long after I’d read the brilliant Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent,  so probably about 4 years ago now. Just below that one is Capital, by John Lanchester, and the one remaining book, with a blue spine, is English Passengers, by Matthew Kneale, one of those books I seem to have had for absolutely donkey’s years and really must get around to reading some time!

And that concludes the votes of the Swedish jury, as they used to say during the Eurovision Song Contest, lol! In other words, we’ve mentioned a considerable amount of books tonight! Lengthy reading list coming up! Therefore, I’ll bring this to a close for tonight, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • That’s Not My Tractor – Fiona Watt & Rachel Wells (Usborne series)
  • Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
  • The Pie At Night – Stuart Maconie
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
  • Prince – Matt Thorne
  • The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt
  • Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes
  • 11/22/63 – Stephen King
  • The Green Mile – Stephen King
  • The City and The City – China Mieville
  • Un Lun Dun – China Mieville
  • The Vintage Teacup Club – Vanessa Greene
  • The Seafront Tea Rooms – Vanessa Greene
  • Stargirl  – Jerry Spinelli
  • Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
  • Boy Meets Boy – David Levithan
  • Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
  • Wonder – R. J. Palacio
  • Paper Towns – John Green
  • Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • Capital – John Lanchester
  • English Passengers – Matthew Kneale

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