Category Archives: List Challenges

Towels, Tigers, Travel and Tortoises

Towel Day

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Happy Towel Day to all you hoopy froods out there! We’ve actually got some new towels in our bathroom recently. Dark teal ones, really gorgeous shade. So, yes, I’m a frood who knows where our towels are! For those who are unfamiliar with the works of the late great Douglas Adams, I am making reference to the legendary work of science fiction humour that is The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. As 25th May was Douglas’ birthday when he was still with us, it has been declared Towel Day in his honour since he passed away.

Sadly, while on the subject of authors no longer with us, Judith Kerr passed away earlier this week, aged 95. She is particularly famous for her children’s books, one of the best known ones for young readers being The Tiger Who Came to Tea. One of those books my sister and I enjoyed when we were kids and my niece has enjoyed it too in recent years. Charlotte, the Junior Bookworm, is quite into David Walliams books these days, and has recently been laughing her way through Fing. According to my sister, Charlotte had already started reading it in Waterstone’s and had got through the first three chapters in the book shop! You know it’s a good book when you haven’t even left the store and you’re already well into it!

You won’t be at all surprised to learn that I was at Waterstone’s earlier today. Let’s face it,  you’d be more gobsmacked if I hadn’t been, lol! The big one in town, on Deansgate. I wanted some more of those Object Lessons books – you will recall in a recent blog that I bought and read Souvenir, by Rolf Potts, and I wanted more from the same series about items which interested me, so I will be mentioning those shortly. I also got some books from HMV this afternoon. Yes, I know, it’s ostensibly a record shop, or that’s what it’s famous for, but they do have books and usually on offer.

As you know, my dad passed away in January. I used to get him HMV gift cards for Christmas, I had been doing this for some time. However, he hadn’t got round to using the last two I’d got him, and Mum found them amongst his stuff the other day. I got them checked out before I bought anything and, yes, they were both still valid and with a tenner on each. I have now spent one, on some books, but I still have one to use.

Books bought 25th May 2019

Book haul from HMV and Waterstone’s.

The three at the bottom, plus White Teeth, by Zadie Smith, were from HMV, and the other five were from Waterstone’s. I did toy with getting myself another copy of Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins, and I still might. I had read that the other year when Sarah lent me her copy. I then found a paperback edition last summer for a quid at a charity shop in Wales when I went to Conwy and Llandudno for the day in August. I then lent that copy to my dad as I thought he would enjoy it.

Although we got a lot of his stuff after he died, my Phil Collins book wasn’t amongst the belongings. It doesn’t really matter as I have read the book, but it would have been nice to have got it back anyway!

Obviously, with having my ups and downs, I am not doing the Goodreads Challenge this year, as I mentioned in a previous blog. I only just started reading again in April. Book slump, followed by bereavement, meant that I hadn’t finished a book since the end of November, until April this year. I have now finished my fifth book of the year, though, as I finished off You Do You, by Sarah Knight while I was on my lunch at work the other day! It’s the second book I have read by this writer, as I previously read and enjoyed The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k the other year.

I am very near to my sixth book, too, as I am almost at the end of the ebook version of The Girl With the Curly Hair, by Alis Rowe. You may well know her from Facebook and other forms of social media. She has Asperger’s Syndrome, so she’s on the autistic spectrum, and posts about life on the spectrum from her own experiences and in order to help others – both those with the conditions and those without. Having an invisible health issue myself, my lifelong dodgy thyroid, plus being introverted and having my run-ins with depression from time to time, there is a lot I can relate to when Alis posts on FB, so I downloaded her book on my Kindle. Other than that she is an early bird and I’m a night owl, I feel there’s a lot of cross-over and stuff in common.

I would like to get to double figures in books read by the end of the year. I know that’s a low target, but I don’t care. I also don’t care if nearly all the books I read this year are non-fiction. I have read a couple of poetry anthologies, too, but I’ve not finished any novels yet, and the books on the horizon for being finished look like being factual stuff, too. I’ve still got the book about Ole on the go, so a biography will add to the non-fiction list once that’s been read.

Anyway, as I said a few paragraphs ago, lol, I bought some more of those Object Lessons books when I was at Waterstone’s earlier. Given my impending jollies, Luggage, by Susan Harlan, was an obvious choice! I’d bought a book about souvenirs, I might as well buy one about suitcases, lol! The other two OL books are about relevant items to me due to being a bookworm and a music nut, as they are Bookshelf, by Lydia Pyne, and Personal Stereo, by Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow.

Sony launched their first-ever Walkman portable personal cassette player in 1979, so it’s the 40th anniversary this year. I had a couple of personal stereos, not branded ones, since the mid 80s, getting the first one when I was 12. I think it was for Christmas in 1985, so, yes I would have been 12. I got another at about 15, but it was in 1989, ten years after Sony launched the first model, that I saved up and bought myself a Sony Walkman. One with MegaBass, in my case, and that really served me well in the early 90s when I was a student and commuting to Bolton and back on the bus for the three years of my degree at uni! Pretty sure I still have that Walkman, and that it’s in the garage. Might even still work if fresh batteries were put in it! We still have some tapes in the garage, so if my Walkman does work, I would have something to play them on, lol!

In the past 30 years, though, audio technology has changed. I went from a Walkman and tapes to a portable CD player, and also MiniDiscs at one point, and an MP3 player, and then, of course, an iPod, and in recent times the advent of having my music on my phone so that everything is on the same device and I would notice if someone was trying to ring me while I was listening to some tunes! My tastes in music haven’t changed much, just how I listen to my favourite songs! I’m listening to music digitally, on my mobile phone, when I’m on the bus or tram, but it’s pretty much the same stuff I loved to listen to on tapes back in the day! Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, and pretty much most other 80s music, especially the synth stuff! Human League, Depeche Mode, New Order, Soft Cell, Ultravox, OMD, etc…

Tortoise, by Peter Young, is not from the same series, not an Object Lessons book, but it is from a series about different animals. I am hoping to see some giant tortoises when I’m on my holidays, so that’s why I bought the book, in case you were wondering! No, I don’t have one as a pet. I don’t have any pets. Lots of music by the Pet Shop Boys, but no pets, lol! The only time we had any pets, temporarily, was when my sister and I were at primary school and we looked after Sooty, one of the nursery class’s guinea pigs, during school holidays. We did that a few times, particularly when Ellie was in the nursery.

Well, that’s about it for now, I think, so have the rest of a Happy Towel Day, fellow froods, and I shall be back again some time soon! Might not be this side of my jollies, but I will be around again before too long! Take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  • The Tiger Who Came to Tea – Judith Kerr
  • Fing – David Walliams
  • Souvenir – Rolf Potts
  • White Teeth – Zadie Smith
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • You Do You – Sarah Knight
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
  • The Girl With the Curly Hair – Alis Rowe
  • Ole – Ian MacLeay
  • Luggage – Susan Harlan
  • Bookshelf – Lydia Pyne
  • Personal Stereo – Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow
  • Tortoise – Peter Young
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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Computer Corner, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, List Challenges, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Poetry, Science Fiction, Travel

Science Fiction and Cheeky Nando’s

Tallest structures in the world 2019

Hello again, fellow Bookworms,

Trying to decide what to read next! Also got to give some thought to holiday reading. OK, so my Kindle will be coming on my jollies, so there’s plenty of ebooks on that, and there is always the chance I will find some book or other while I’m away and come home with some reading matter as a souvenir, but I usually do take a physical book or two away with me.

However, there’s still some weeks to go, and I still need to decide what to read now, never mind when I’m on the plane or sunning myself overseas! So, what I could do with, and this is a concept that might be familiar to other bookworms, particularly on Facebook and particularly if you’re a fellow Potterhead… the Book of Requirement. In the Harry Potter series, I think it might be around the 5th book where this comes in, there’s a Room of Requirement at Hogwarts. A room that isn’t always there, but makes itself appear and become available when it’s needed, which it does for Dumbledore’s Army when Hermione and others form the resistance movement against Umbridge and all the dark stuff that’s going on by then…

Thus, someone came up with the idea, in a meme, that there should be a book that turns itself into whichever book it is that is right for you at that time! A book that might, sometimes, be blank, but then when you’re having one of those “I don’t know what to read next” times, you open that book, and it is whichever book is just right for you at that time. The Book of Requirement! If there was such a book, that’s what I could do with right now, lol!

patronus is a bookworm

As for the Harry Potter books, I’ve listed them all on the books mentioned in 2019 list on List Challenges, the 7 main books, anyway. I’m not going through all the spin-offs, I just wanted to raise the issue of the Room of Requirement so you got the idea about the Book of Requirement concept.

Someone once said, and I think it might have been Margaret Atwood, that the book to read is the one that makes you think. Right now, though, the book to read is the one that will make me want to continue reading and help me get back in the mood for more books! I’ve been in a book slump since November, and my dad popped his clogs in January, then the funeral was in February, so I’ve only just been in the mood for reading since April, therefore it’s not necessarily about books that make me think, although I do read a lot of non-fiction so it is pretty true that they usually make me think, but the book to read is the book that makes you want to read even more!

Decisions, decisions! Fiction or non-fiction?

If non-fiction, what to read about? If fiction, which genre? Historical fiction? Science fiction? Fantasy? General fiction? Some people on social media suggest re-reading an old favourite when in a slump, but I just feel that I should read something I’ve not read before as I have absolutely stacks of unread and partially-read books…

I may have to resort to getting a few out and selecting a book by the time-honoured method…

Ip dip do, cat’s got flu, dog’s got chicken pox, out goes you!

Sometimes, that’s the only way to make a decision! I mentioned, last time out, that Howard’s End is On the Landing was on our landing, which seems appropriate enough, lol, but there are plenty of books on our landing. There are also some books downstairs, and, of course, in the book chest in the garage. And then, there are all the books in here. There are books right under Computer Corner as well as on top of surfaces near here!

I seem to have two copies of The Music Shop, by Rachel Joyce! One hardback and one paperback. I think it’s because I couldn’t find the hardback at the time, and found a copy of the paperback in a charity shop, thinking I would need it for the work’s book club, although they would have read that as I think I was on leave due to bereavement when they were reading it. My hardback copy was from a charity shop, too, so both copies of the book were pretty cheap!

Regular readers of my blog will recall the infamous Duplicate Books List from a year or two ago now. I think I actually ended up giving the duplicates to charity shops last time I was having a clear out, so I no longer have more than one copy of those books, and there were quite a lot on the list. I think it was at 17 or even 19 books at one point where I owned two copies of the same book! A lot of it was accidental, I genuinely forgot that I already owned those particular books, saw the book on offer in a charity shop and bought it, before realising that I already owned a copy! Occasionally, though, it was deliberate, as I knew I had a copy but didn’t know where it was, and bought another copy anyway with the intention of reading it fairly soon. However, I didn’t get around to it, as you might have guessed, lol!

Let’s see which books are lurking around here…

I’ve got Who’s the B*****d in the Black? here, the autobiography of former referee, Jeff Winter. I could read that, actually! It would be the third referee’s autobiography that I’ve read, as I’ve read The Rules of the Game, by Pierluigi Collina, and The Man in the Middle, by Howard Webb, in recent years. Could take the Jeff Winter book on holiday if I’ve finished the biography of Ole by then, as it might help alleviate the notorious Football Withdrawal Symptoms which come upon me once the season is over, and it very nearly is! Final game of the season this coming Sunday for my lads, at home to Cardiff City.

Although the lads have run out of steam in recent weeks, I still reckon we’ve done much better than we would have done if the Bus Parking One hadn’t been sacked the week before Christmas. Ole did give them belief back, but I think fitness and stamina need to be worked on to get us back to the side that used to be able to play to the final whistle as they did under Sir Alex. I expect that, with those who stay, and with the new signings, Ole will make it a priority to get a side together that keeps going for 90 minutes plus stoppage time.

We’ll be in the Europa League next season, which is a bit of a pain as those games are on Thursdays, so I’ll have to miss steel pans some weeks.

Funnily enough on the covers of the referee books, Howard Webb isn’t brandishing any cards. Pierluigi Collina is showing a yellow card on his, and Jeff Winter is showing a red card on his, giving some player the grand order of the early bath!

Still deliberating whether to take Dune with me on my jollies so I can read it on a dune in June. I was actually looking at my science fiction section the other day, and considering To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. That one actually sounds quite amusing. I could give that a go. I think it’s a time-travel novel by the sound of the blurb. I’m still considering Resistance is Futile, by Jenny T. Colgan, on the grounds of humour. It is “a riotous cocktail of geeks” according to Matt Haig.

OMG, there’s a Nando’s receipt in my copy of the Connie Willis book, lol! It’s for an order taken at 7:17pm on 2nd March 2018, and from the Nando’s in Piccadilly Gardens! Must have been in town after work and bought the book at Waterstone’s on Deansgate, and then gone for a cheeky Nando’s before I got the bus or tram home… I am partial to a cheeky Nando’s, it has to be said! On that occasion, I had the double chicken breast wrap, with chips, and a bottomless soft drink. I also had a reward on my Nando’s card, so I actually got money off! Eat in total was £8.50 which is pretty damn good!

There is a Waterstone’s receipt at the front of my copy of The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin. It’s dated 2nd February 2018, so I bought that book exactly a month before the Connie Willis novel. According to the receipt, I also bought a brown notebook with dotted pages on that same occasion, plus The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester. I probably went for a cheeky Nando’s that night as well, although there’s no evidence of my dining destination for 2nd February! Not in any of my nearby books, anyway!

I still intend to read The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon, but am thinking I might wait until I’m home from my jollies before starting that one due to the sheer physical size of the book. I don’t really want to be lugging it anywhere, so it’d be one I’d read here at home, and thus I don’t want to start it now and really get into it and then feel that I do have to cart it around with me, and I certainly don’t really want to be carting it around overseas! So, we shall wait until I am back from my hols before that one is commenced!

Another one I’m not about to attempt yet is S, by J J Abrams and Doug Dorst. I got this a couple of years ago now, as I recall, from a bookshop and cafe on Lever Street in town. I think it’s called Chapter One. The idea of this book is that it’s an old library book and it’s been written in by these two people, students I think, who write comments in the margins, and there’s loads of stuff in it between certain pages. Postcards and the likes… All part of the story, so it’s going to take some kind of strategy to work out how to tackle this one when I do read it. I think the guy at the shop said, at the time, that there’s a lot of stuff online about it, so I might look for online advice and ideas when I do get around to trying it. Again, a book I will probably want to keep at home. It’s not massively chunky,  well not compared to The Priory of the Orange Tree, lol, but with all the things inside it, I don’t want anything getting lost or mislaid once I do start reading it.

I have some seriously weird and random books, don’t I?! Regular readers of my blog won’t even be surprised, though, lol, as I’m a very random person and I do waffle on about anything and everything! It will be, mostly, about books, but then other ingredients are added to a blog entry… music, food and drink, Manchester United, holidays I’ve been on or am going on, various handicrafts… Somehow, though, it hasn’t put people off as I seem to have over 80 brave souls now who follow this blog!

I’ve always read anything which took my fancy. Some people tend to stick to one thing or another. Some like romance, some like horror, some crime… my late dad was very much into spy thrillers, he certainly read a lot of Len Deighton and John le Carré novels when I was a kid. That was during the Cold War era of the “Iron Curtain” so there was plenty of material for spy novels! He also liked war-themed stuff, but then again, his dad was a bomber pilot in the RAF during the Second World War, so that’s pretty understandable. He also liked poetry, as I mentioned recently, and I certainly share at least some of that – definitely the appreciation of Roger McGough, anyway!

I’ve liked fiction and non-fiction pretty  much alike since I first learned to read. I’ve even read a lot of reference books. That’s how much of a nerd I am, lol! I remember getting an encyclopaedia for Christmas one year as one of my pressies. I think I was about 8 or so. Anyway, there was a double-page spread of Flags of the Nations. Bear in mind this was about 1981 or so. Dad went through all the flags and wrote a C next to all the countries that were communist, so there were a lot of those back then! That’s when I asked him something of a hypothetical question at the time… If East Germany and West Germany ever became just Germany again, did my dad think they’d be western like us or eastern like the Russians? My dad thought they’d be eastern like the Russians. Then again, at that time, I think we all thought it would be how it was forever, we didn’t see the Berlin Wall coming down… that all came as a massive surprise when it happened at the end of 1989!

Obviously, towards the end of this year, it will be 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down, so I may well do a special blog on it, or at least part of a blog. Having been to Berlin in 2012, I have seen some slabs of the Wall, and also where the Wall was is marked throughout the city with two lines of cobbles and metal plates bearing the words Berliner Mauer 1961-1989. Fascinating city, I would love to go back there again.

Anyway, I think that’s about it for now, so 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
  • Howard’s End is On the Landing – Susan Hill
  • The Music Shop – Rachel Joyce
  • Who’s the B*****d in the Black? – Jeff Winter
  • The Rules of the Game – Pierluigi Collina
  • The Man in the Middle – Howard Webb
  • Ole – Ian MacLeay
  • Dune – Frank Herbert
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog – Connie Willis
  • Resistance is Futile – Jenny T. Colgan
  • The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon
  • S – J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Chunky Monkeys, Computer Corner, Duplicate Books List, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Food & Drink, Football, Half-Finished Books, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Science Fiction, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Blogging I am. Read it you should.

darth vader reading

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Happy Star Wars Day! May the 4th be with you! Sad that Chewy didn’t make it to today, though, as Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca, passed away yesterday. He will now be in a galaxy far, far away, though, and reunited with Princess Leia.

Don’t go over to the Dark Side… it’s too dark to read! Stay here with a good book and enjoy this blog, lol! I shall start with poetry, as I mentioned a few poetry books in my last blog and I have added a couple to my “books read” list. Poetry anthologies are something you can dip in and out of, though. I think, if you’ve read and enjoyed a significant amount of poems in any given book, you can say you’ve read that book. It’s not like a novel where you start off and read all the way through it, or at least try to. I mean, for instance, with Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë, you start off with her at Gateshead with her mean aunt and spoilt brat cousins, and then you end up with her marrying Mr Rochester, don’t you? Poems, however, are not usually a continuation of the same story. They might be on a theme, you might have an anthology of love poems, for instance, or war poems, something I studied 30 years ago for my GCSEs, and I can recommend The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry should you wish to read any Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon.

If there’s anyone reading this at the moment who’s currently sitting their exams, good luck to you you for the remainder of your exams, hope they go well. Doesn’t matter if it’s GCSEs, A Levels, degrees, or any other qualifications. As I said, it’s three decades ago since I was sitting my GCSEs, so 28 years since my Bastard A Levels (worst exams ever) and 25 years since I was about to graduate from university.

Ice cream van’s outside, playing the Match of the Day theme as the jingle, lol! Nearly the end of the footy season now, though, ha ha! Only two more league games left. My lads are away to Huddersfield Town tomorrow, and then at home to Cardiff City next Sunday, on what would have been my grandma’s 100th birthday! She did make it to 95 and a half, though, so she did have a good innings!

Anyhow, back to books, and I have added You Took the Last Bus Home and The Luckiest Guy Alive to my list of books read in 2019, so those are the third and fourth books for this year so far. May the fourth be with you, indeed, lol!

I have a book here beside me at Computer Corner as I sit typing this blog, and it’s Jacob’s Room is Full of Books, by Susan Hill. You may recall that, some time ago, I read Howard’s End is On the Landing, by the same writer. Well, this is the follow-up! If she thinks Jacob’s room is full of books, which it may well be for all I know, and I hope it is, but she’s not seen mine! Mine is definitely full of books! A lot of them in huge piles, one or two of which, quite memorably, came toppling down one day in February a couple of years ago just after United had scored away to Leicester, lol! Never underestimate the excitement caused by a good goal, even my reading matter was celebrating!

My copy of Howard’s End is On the Landing is, appropriately enough, on our landing!

I had started the second of the Susan Hill books. Might resume that one, but am also considering The Rhine, by Ben Coates, which I have mentioned again recently. Wondering when it might be right to return to the fiction, though. Should I stick to factual stuff just to get through what is still a difficult time, or will something made up grab me?

I could actually start The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher, which is here in Computer Corner, and it would be apt to start that on Star Wars Day, wouldn’t it?!

Star Wars musicians

One for Star Wars AND music nerds.

Talking of music, I’ve been playing steel pans for 6 months now, well just over that, and as part of Salford Steel, I will be off to the north-east in July, to North Shields for a steel band festival! Going to be a massed pans bit at one point, with over 100 of us all playing.

Oh, and, if you recall a couple of years ago, I mentioned on this blog the Learn to Play Day, well weekend, that Forsyths held in March – it was a national, or possibly international, thing where music shops offered free short lessons on various instruments… Well, I did that again in March this  year! You may recall I had a go on the accordion the last time, but this time there were strings attached, lol, as I had a go on the cello!

Me on the cello March 2019

I really enjoyed it! If space wasn’t such an issue, I wouldn’t mind learning the cello. It has quite a huge pitch range, around four octaves from its lowest possible note to the highest achievable note, so the register goes from the bass clef into the treble, essentially two octaves below middle C up to two octaves above it.

The keyboard is out again, been in the garage for ages, but it’s back in our house. Running on batteries at the mo as it needs a new adaptor for it to run on mains, but I was playing it the other day, attempting “Always On My Mind” and “Rent” like the Pethead that I am! I thought, seeing as my old keyboard was out again, I may as well play some Pet Shop Boys stuff and pretend to be Chris Lowe, ha ha! My niece, Charlotte, is learning the piano on keyboards, so that’s why it’s out. She’s still also learning the violin. Taking after her Auntie Jo and playing more than one instrument…

Ironically, when I watched the old Top of the Pops from 1987 the following day on BBC 4, Neil and Chris were actually on it and performing “Rent”! The Bee Gees were number one with “You Win Again” so I think we were on for some time around October 1987 at that point. Sad that there’s only Sir Barry Gibb left now. Very partial to their music, especially all the disco stuff from Saturday Night Fever that was out when I was a little girl in the late 70s!

I think that’s the music news caught up with. I am going out in a bit, to a quiz night, so this won’t be a particularly long blog compared to the previous couple, but it’ll have to do for now! I just wanted to get the Star Wars references in, given today’s date, lol! Otherwise, I know you’d find my lack of blog disturbing! So, until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

The Force was strong with these books during this blog entry…

  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
  • The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry – Various
  • You Took the Last Bus Home – Brian Bilston
  • The Luckiest Guy Alive – John Cooper Clarke
  • Jacob’s Room is Full of Books – Susan Hill
  • Howard’s End is On the Landing – Susan Hill
  • The Rhine – Ben Coates
  • The Princess Diarist – Carrie Fisher

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Filed under Books, Food & Drink, Football, List Challenges, Music, My Bookworm History, Poetry, School, College & Uni Reading, Science Fiction, Sports, Television

April, blog she will…

 

Birthday photo 23 04 2018

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

Hello, fellow bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adam Kay book signing

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Bass Amp Book Tower, Books, Childrens' Books, Chunky Monkeys, Computer Corner, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Foreign Languages, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, List Challenges, Loom Knitting, Manc Stuff!, Mental Health, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Pixelhobby, Reader's Block, School, College & Uni Reading, The TBR Pile, Travel

Talking Leaves

Hot coffee and red book with autumn leaves on wood backgroundHello there, fellow Bookworms!

A suitably autumnal photo for the time of year, eh?! Books, leaves and coffee, although you’d need to take that leaf out first, lol!

Not really been all that much to report of late, I didn’t get anything finished last month, but have just finished My Name is Book, by John Agard, which is basically an autobiography of the written word and its many formats over the centuries. I think my niece would probably like it. I certainly loved it, and it brought back some memories of my student days, back in the early 90s, as there is a poem, or at least an excerpt from a poem, by Grace Nichols in this book – Book-Heart. I studied some of her poetry when I was at uni! Pretty good stuff, actually. Trying to find which anthology includes the poem, and I think it’s called Everybody Got a Gift. I remember reading The Fat Black Woman’s Poems when I was at uni.

The title of this blog is from My Name is Book, as Agard mentions that the Native Americans call books “talking leaves”, so that gave me the idea!

While we’re on the subject of across the Atlantic from me, I shall wish all my followers in the USA a very Happy Thanksgiving for tomorrow! I can take an educated guess at some of the things for which you’re thankful… Books, bookshelves, authors, bookshops, the invention of the printing press, ink, pens, typewriters…. am I correct?!

I didn’t manage to read Elizabeth Is Missing, by Emma Healey, for our council book club, but our next one is Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson – bit of a chunky monkey at 611 pages! I took a library copy at lunchtime, but I will offer that up to any council colleague who needs it as I do own a copy of the book myself, and was able to locate it this evening after work. The book club that has been meeting at Waterstone’s has now been postponed until the new year, although that does give us more time to read Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims. Also, we are changing the location to the cafe at Asda in Swinton. It’s nearer to where we work and they have book offers on. I have ended up going to the Asda in Trafford Park for the books, though, as the past couple of times, they’ve not had any left in Swinton for the chosen book.

The loom knitting continues apace, and that’s what I’ve been pretty busy with although only one item of that was bought from the church fair at St Paul’s. We did very well on 10th November, but I was a bit disappointed that my knitted stuff didn’t go other than a mug rug. I hope those coming to St Thomas’s on Saturday might be more willing to buy my handicrafts. I have made some mobile phone holders now to add to the knitted stuff. A small circular loom from a kit I bought at the weekend has proved just the right size to make phone holders. So, there’s not only loads of books in my room, but plenty of yarn, too! All sorts of yarn, different colours, different effects and different thicknesses from double knit to seriously chunky stuff! Loom knitting suits chunkier wool, but sometimes I do combine a few balls of double knit.

I have still got All Quiet On the Western Front on the go, actually, and that’s a Handbag Book at the moment. The Eighties: One Day, One Decade, by Dylan Jones, is still my main current read on my ebook.

Got my first gig as part of the steel band tomorrow, a Christmas Lights switch-on at Media City, Salford Quays. I think we’re performing near the BBC studios. There’s also supposed to be some giant snowmen! It’s to do with the children’s book The Snowman, by Raymond Briggs. I think it’s a special anniversary year. So there’s going to be big snowmen on the Quays, twelve of them I understand, like the twelve days of Christmas.

Not long now until I need to check my emails for the Madness tickets. That’s soon come around, hasn’t it? Only a couple of weeks now until Sarah and I go and see the Nutty Boys at the Manchester Arena! Can’t wait! Funnily enough, due to having lost just over two stone now at Slimming World, I’ve ended up with a lot of Baggy Trousers, lol! Many of them have gone to a charity shop as Mum and I sorted the kecks out the other week and I found loads of pairs in my wardrobe which may well fit me again now I’m slimmer, to replace those which are far too big for me! I will be giving Sarah her book back, but as  I now have my own copy of What Does This Button Do?, I am not panicking over getting it finished.

Went to the cinema for the first time in absolutely bloody ages on Saturday! Mum and I went to the Vue cinema at the Printworks in town, as we were doing some shopping, and I had got myself an absolute bargain from Gap (I had an offer in the post, but it had to be the Arndale store and I needed to use it by 19th November, which is why we went into town at the weekend) so we went to see “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which was brilliant! Saw a trailer for “Rocketman” which is due in cinemas next year, and is a biopic of Sir Elton John, so I already want to go and see that one when it’s released!

Yes, I admit I was singing along during the film, lol! Can’t help it! Can’t beat a bit of Queen! There’ll never be another like Freddie Mercury ever again!

Anyway, I think I’ve covered nearly everything for now. Books, poetry, book clubs, loom knitting, music, films, shopping… just don’t mention the footy. Still waiting for that idiotic manager of ours to get the sack. Should have happened at the end of last season, as I’ve said before, but certainly should have happened after we lost the derby at the council house! I don’t want any players to leave. I just want the manager to park his bus as far away from Old Trafford as possible. He can park it on the dark side of the moon for all I care!

I just want a manager who encourages an attack-minded style of play, brings players into the first team from the youth team, and who keeps criticism of players private and behind closed doors, NOT in front of the media! Is that really too much to bloody ask?!

Anyway, rant over, and blog over for now! I’ll be back again soon enough with another helping of waffle and some mention of books, lol, but for now, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • My Name is Book – John Agard
  • Everybody Got a Gift – Grace Nichols
  • The Fat Black Woman’s Poems – Grace Nichols
  • Elizabeth Is Missing – Emma Healey
  • Life After Life – Kate Atkinson
  • Why Mummy Swears – Gill Sims
  • All Quiet On the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
  • The Eighties: One Day, One Decade – Dylan Jones
  • The Snowman – Raymond Briggs
  • What Does This Button Do? – Bruce Dickinson

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Filed under Books, Chunky Monkeys, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Loom Knitting, Music, Ongoing Concerns, Poetry, School, College & Uni Reading, The TBR Pile

Not Dead Yet!

Your Eighties finished 7th September 2018

Another book finished! This was a great read for me!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Back again with another blog, and to paraphrase a bit of Mark Twain, reports of the death of the Waterstone’s Book Club have been greatly exaggerated! Well, possibly! Thanks to some of my council colleagues, it looks like things are back on, as I was receiving emails earlier this week from a lady who I met by chance at the gym yesterday evening after my post-work workout, and she and at least one other person expressed an interest in joining the book club because they might want to read something more recent than the library service can provide for the work book club.

To cut a long story short, as Spandau Ballet sang back in the early 80s, lol, I had communications both from work and from a lady called Charlotte at Waterstone’s Deansgate, and I am set to meet Vivienne and others at the usual place at 6pm on 16th October to discuss Snap, by Belinda Bauer!

Thus, the book club, which looked to be popping its clogs last month after I ended up as Billy No-Mates at Waterstone’s on meeting night, has somehow pulled through and come out of intensive care! Hence the blog title, Not Dead Yet, which is, coincidentally, the title of Phil Collins‘ brilliant autobiography which I read and loved at the start of this year! I had to give that copy back as my friend Sarah had lent it to me, and I returned it to her when we went to see Paul Young in February at the Preston Guild Hall, as you may recall. However, I did manage to pick up a paperback copy when I was in Wales the other week, for a mere quid in a charity shop in Conwy, so I now have one of my own, and I have let my dad borrow it. I thought he would enjoy it, but didn’t think it would be right to have lent him Sarah’s copy!

I have let Charlotte from Waterstone’s know about the date and the book for the meeting, and I have now emailed a few of the people who have been in the book club in the recent past to let them know it’s back on, and to give them details of the date, time and book. Keeping everything crossed, although maybe not eyes, lol, that people turn up! Personally, I don’t give a shit how much or how little of the book they’ve read, I don’t always get books finished so I can’t call others out on it, and anyway, it’s turning up that matters right now! I just want enough people to turn up to make it worth doing!

I think, if enough of us do turn up, that I will make a suggestion for the next book club, which would probably meet some time in November. I know this will be an old book, but with it being 100 years since the end of the First World War, I think I might suggest that we read All Quiet On the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, or something of that ilk. Talking of the centenary of the end of WWI, a large display of poppies is going to be outside the Imperial War Museum North on Salford Quays until late November, so anyone in my neck of the woods has a couple of months to go and see it.

Me with Bee United 1st September 2018

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of large items on display in my area, this brings me back to Bee In the City, which is currently still running until about 23rd of this month, so you’ve still got around another fortnight to do any more bee-spotting! That was me last weekend, when I was on my epic bee hunt – I got someone to take a photo of me with Bee United at Old Trafford. I’d been doing a lot of bee spotting with my mum on the Friday afternoon, which I mentioned in my August Review blog, and then I continued my quest the next day, albeit on my own, visiting Media City, the Lowry Outlet Mall (where there’s a lot of little bees, including one decorated by pupils from my former high school), Old Trafford and then into town.

I was getting about by tram and by foot, and as I was walking from Old Trafford football ground to the cricket ground and tram stop, I was thinking how I was now at least in a fit state to do all this walking around. If it’d been a couple of months ago, before I started at Slimming World, I would have been knackered and having to rest a lot more than I needed to last weekend! And, despite what I had to eat during my week off work, when I went to Wales, and the Lake District, and even had an ice cream on the Saturday while making my way from one Old Trafford to the other, I still managed to lose 4 and a half pounds on Monday when I weighed in after a week off! If I can get at least another pound off this coming Monday, I’ll have lost 1 and a half stone!

Right, anyway, I was back in work on Monday, and brought my colleagues some fudge from my trip to Wales. I had a lot of emails to catch up with after having been off for a week! I’d missed the August book club meeting, where Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine was discussed, but the next meeting is on 25th September, and it’s another re-read for me, as the book is Water For Elephants, by Sara Gruen, which, ironically, was the first book I read for the Waterstone’s Deansgate book club when I joined that in October 2008! After that, the October book will be Salmon Fishing In the Yemen, by Paul Torday. This will be the first one which won’t be a re-read for me, lol! I own a copy of the book, had it for donkey’s years, but not got around to reading it yet.

So, I have Water For Elephants and Snap to get on with for book clubs, plus What Does This Button Do? by Bruce Dickinson, the Iron Maiden frontman, as Sarah has lent me that one and I need to get it read so I can give it back to her when we go to see Madness at the Manchester Arena in December. Not started Snap yet, but 15% of the way through Water For Elephants and 10% read of What Does This Button Do? at the mo. I can probably skim much of the elephants one, as I have read it before, I just need to refresh myself on the story. The other two books with deadlines are new to me.

Now on to the non-deadline books, and, as you can see from the top of the blog, I’ve already finished one book this month, as I polished off Your Eighties, by Sarah Lewis, on my Kindle in the early hours of today! Not sure how I came about it – it may well have been either free or 99p on a Kindle offer, and you know what I’m like when it comes to the 1980s, so it had to be downloaded and read! This means I’m now on 26/30 on my Goodreads Challenge, only 4 more books to go to meet my target, which is pretty good considering I’ve been working a whole year now, full-time, and I got bugger all read in June and only one book either side of that in May and in July. Getting six read in August was a big help!

My current Handbag Book, besides all the ebooks on my Kindle, is Good As You, by Paul Flynn, which is a 30 year history of gay Britain from 1984 to 2014 taking in the three decades from the release of “Relax” and “Smalltown Boy” to the go-ahead for gay weddings in the UK. It’s probably the book I am most enjoying right now, and not just because of all the 80s disco music, but also because a lot of it centres around Manchester, and the writer is a Manc and not much older than me, so I know, or at least know of, many of the places in town that he mentions! I actually went to the gay village last weekend on my bee hunt, as there is a big bee in a park near Sackville Street and Canal Street. A rainbow-coloured bee, needless to say! The LGBTQ+ Queen Bee. It was moved temporarily, as I believe it was on a float during the Pride parade at the end of August, but it has returned to the park. Years ago, back in the late 90s, I had a work placement at a housing association, and the office where I was based was on the edge of the gay village.

LGBTQ+ Queen Bee

The guy in the bee’s eye is Alan Turing, the guy who cracked the Enigma Code, therefore played a major part in helping the Allies defeat the Nazis and win the Second World War. Thus, to any decent person, this guy is a hero. Unfortunately, not to our politicians, certainly not those around at the time, who had a big problem with the fact that he was gay. Some people are just ungrateful bastards, aren’t they?! One of the many reasons why I dislike politicians, especially right-wing ones.

I’ve never been bothered as to whether a couple is a man and a woman, two men, or two women. What I think is important is that people are loyal to one another in relationships. Whether that’s a straight one or a gay one is unimportant, the important thing is to be faithful and not go seeing anyone else behind your partner’s back.

Anyway, back to the books, and Good As You is 37% read, so that’s currently leading in the Ongoing Concerns list, closely followed by The Antidote, by Oliver Burkeman at 35% read. There are some other partially-read books, but they’ll have to take a back seat to some of the books with deadlines. I can return to less urgent reads later.

I’m off to the Creative Craft Show tomorrow, at Event City, near the Trafford Centre, so I’ll be taking a bit of my loom knitting with me and looking for tips, particularly regarding different stitches, and with casting off, and on Sunday I might be going to see those poppies I mentioned earlier, which are on display outside the Imperial War Museum North. I will be back with another blog entry soon enough though, but until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Snap – Belinda Bauer
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • All Quiet On the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Water For Elephants – Sara Gruen
  • Salmon Fishing In the Yemen – Paul Torday
  • What Does This Button Do?  – Bruce Dickinson
  • Your Eighties – Sarah Lewis
  • Good As You – Paul Flynn
  • The Antidote – Oliver Burkeman

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Filed under Books, Bookstagram, E-Books & Audiobooks, Goodreads, Humour, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel, Zoe Ball Book Club on ITV

August Review – Books, Bees, and a Bag

Bookstore Conwy Wales 29 August 2018

Me in Hinton’s of Conwy, when I was in Wales on Wednesday.

Hello again, fellow Bookworms! Or should that be Book Dragons, given that I was in Wales a couple of days ago?!

Have had a very nice week off work to finish August. Monday was a bank holiday here, and then I have been using up annual leave for the rest of the week as I can only carry 5 days or fewer over into my new leave year which starts in September. Hence I have been out and about this week and the weather has been great! You can have some really good days out here in the UK if the weather’s not too shite (which is a technical term, as you know by now)! We’ve actually been having a decent summer this year, helped by that heatwave in July! Usually we have to go abroad for that sort of weather! Actually needing sun lotion and after-sun in this country is something of a novelty, hence many of us still go on about the Summer of 1976!

Anyway, never mind me waffling on about the weather, another month has come to an end, and therefore it’s time for the monthly review blog, and the most successful month so far this year for finishing books off, as I have finished SIX books in August! Yay! I’ve also finished off a couple of items I’ve been making on my knitting looms, so I can show you those as well! Right, all aboard for August’s Review of the Month blog… Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for books, bees, bara brith, a bag and a baby hat…

Well, August’s first two finishes were both early in the month and they were two I loved and gave 5 stars to, although they were both very different to one another. The first was Notes On a Nervous Planet, by Matt Haig, and that was followed very closely by The Man I Think I Know, by Mike Gayle, both of them finished off within the space of 24 hours! I had discovered the Mike Gayle novel thanks to the Zoe Ball Book Club on her Sunday morning show on ITV, and gave it a go on the strength of that, so thank you, Zoe, for choosing that one as one of your ten books!

Back in the 90s, I used to think she was a bit annoying, actually, probably as she’d jumped on the football bandwagon without knowing her stuff and thus not helping the cause of female supporters, especially the likes of myself who want to be seen and respected as clued-up knowledgeable fans just as much as male supporters, but in recent times, with running this book club on telly, I’ve seen a different side of her. She’s a couple of years older than me, so I guess it’s that difference between being some annoying mid 20s bimbo back in the 90s, and now being middle aged, as I am myself, and obviously matured a lot!

Anyway, enough waffling on about Zoe Ball, and back to the books. Book club at Waterstone’s seems to be either dead or in intensive care, lol, although I do have one at work, despite missing the most recent meeting because I’ve been on leave all this week, but I did eventually finish Wigs On the Green, by Nancy Mitford, which I’d been up to around 75% of the way through when it was supposed to be the meeting night, only to end up sitting in the coffee shop area of Waterstone’s Deansgate for around 45 minutes on my own like Billy No-Mates, and then realising that no bugger else was going to turn up, so I might as well have a shufty, buy some books to cheer myself off, because I was a bit pissed-off to say the least, and then go for a Cheeky Nando’s before getting a tram home! As one does!

For a quick read, and I mean quick, my next finish was probably the shortest adult-orientated book I’ll have read all year, the 100 page Alan Bennett quickie, The Lady In the Van. OK, so Fantastic Mr Fox, by Roald Dahl, is probably the shortest book I’ve read this year, but that is a children’s book, so this is the shortest I’ve read which is aimed at an adult readership, and is a biography of the cantankerous old bat who lived in her clapped-out van in Alan’s front yard for quite a number of years! I guess he was a bit too kind to her in the first place and she took advantage of that and spent the rest of her life there.

Little bag finished August 2018

It was also around this time that I finished my bag. Having acquired some actual knitting looms from Abakhan Fabrics in town, I set about making some stuff, and this was my first creation. The bag itself is made on that long rectangular loom, and the handle was made by using the “knitting fork” or lucet, which you also see in the photo – that two-pronged wooden thing with the hole in it. The variegated purple bits give a bit of a contrast to the sparkly white main bit of the bag.

Me with a bee Manchester 31st August 2018

Bee In the City – Manchester, 23rd July to 23rd September 2018

I’d gone into town to do a bit of bee-spotting, because, as I have mentioned before, Bee In the City is on in Manchester, and the surrounding area, at the moment, and runs up until 23rd September, I think, so there’s still around 3 weeks left to go bee hunting, and I’ve been doing a lot of that today, and will be doing more of it over the weekend. Certainly tomorrow. I have the app on my phone, so as well as taking photos of the bees, I’m also entering the codes on my mobile to unlock the bees and count how many I’ve seen. In terms of book-related stuff, there are bees in some of the libraries in town, certainly in Central Library, and I think there’s a bee in the John Rylands Library on Deansgate, so I will have to investigate that!

French Revolutions finished August 2018

On Sunday, just before my Big Week Off, lol, I finished off the utterly brilliant French Revolutions, by Tim Moore, which has now been added to the roll of honour featuring books which have made me laugh my arse off over the years! If you like travel writing, sports writing, and/or you are in need of a damn good laugh, you should definitely read French Revolutions! It’s up there with Penguins Stopped Play, by Harry Thompson! I read that one some years ago now, and that was hilarious! You don’t even have to be into cricket to enjoy Penguins Stopped Play! Just read it!

Bara Brith and Coffee in Conwy 29th August 2018

Bara brith and a cup of coffee, Conwy, North Wales

That’s in case you were wondering what the hell bara brith is when I listed it with all the B words at the start of the blog, lol! It’s a kind of tea loaf from Wales, and Mum and I had a slice each when we were in Conwy on Wednesday. I am well aware that many of my followers are not from the UK, so I guess you would’t have known about certain items of food and drink from these shores! If I’ve got any Welsh book dragons following this blog, they’ve probably known for donkey’s years, but I know that quite a few of you are more far-flung, including the USA and Canada. The last time I recall knowing my follower count, I had either 77 or 78 followers, I think, so thank you for deciding to follow this mad blog and I hope you’re enjoying this entry!

By the way, the book I am holding in the photo at the top of the blog is not one that I actually bought, but I did purchase The Pebbles On the Beach, by Clarence Ellis, when I was in Hinton’s of Conwy.

Twisting My Melon finished 30 August 2018

I was in the Lake District yesterday, but was spending time in the holiday park with my sister, her partner and my niece and nephew, including sitting in a hot tub, which was lovely, and I definitely want to do that again! Therefore, I didn’t get out and about near the Lakes and didn’t get to go in any shops, so no books were purchased. However, I did get to finish off one of my ebooks during the journey there and back! Twisting My Melon, by Shaun Ryder, became my sixth finish for August, and my 25th finish for 2018 so far, thus meaning I have 5 more books to go to meet my Goodreads Challenge for this year! Woohoo!

Little hat finished 31st August 2018

Bringing you right up to date, as this blog draws to its close, this is the little hat I finished earlier, although it would only be big enough for a new baby. It will probably go on the stall at the church Christmas fair later this year. The size of the circle determines the size of the hat. I bought a set of four, and the biggest one would be too big, and would probably make a snood, but the next biggest one would probably make a good adult-sized hat. The third one might make a kid’s hat or at least an older baby or toddler, but that small one would be for a newborn, probably.

I’ve also been taking some books to charity shops in Monton and Eccles while I’ve been off. Occasionally, I need to do this to make way for newer purchases. Sometimes I just have to figure out “Am I going to read this?” or “Am I going to finish this?” If not, then I might as well give it away, especially if I’m likely to get a cheap copy from a charity shop in the future should I ever decide I do wish to read it! Some books crop up in charity shops all the time, so there’s a good shout that I’d get hold of it again if I do want to read it, but I’ve given away my previous copy.

Well, that’s about it for now, so I’d better get this published while we’re still just about in August, lol! Until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Notes On a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig
  • The Man I Think I Know – Mike Gayle
  • Wigs On the Green – Nancy Mitford
  • The Lady In the Van – Alan Bennett
  • Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl
  • French Revolutions – Tim Moore
  • Penguins Stopped Play – Harry Thompson
  • The Pebbles On the Beach – Clarence Ellis
  • Twisting My Melon – Shaun Ryder

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