Category Archives: List Challenges

OCs, Match Day Books, and Recent Charity Shop Bargains…

Periodic Tales finished

Elementary, my dear Bookworms! Periodic Tales finished at last!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Book number 36 finished off for 2017, Periodic Tales finally came off the Ongoing Concerns list in the early hours! As I’ve said before, I HAVE enjoyed this book. The reason it has taken some time to read it is because it’s not one of those books you can read quickly. I’m not a scientist, my dad was the chemist in our family, not me, so to take in all the information Hugh Aldersey-Williams was providing in his book meant reading it slowly.

I’ve also got other books on the go, including The Angry Chef, which is a priority as it is the current book club read, and I’ve also been preoccupied with awaiting further developments regarding my forthcoming job. I was actually contacted yesterday, and received the medical forms and suchlike via email, so I have completed and returned those to HR. Hopefully, I WILL be getting a start date very soon!

Dental pain has been another issue. I am currently awaiting an x-ray and then an extraction, but still have to put up with this stupid tooth for the time being, and getting through painkillers. Some times it’s fine, other times it’s really giving me grief, and I just want it taken out of my mouth as soon as possible. It has also affected my reading. Not only in preventing me from focusing on a book if it is hurting, but also because it has sometimes caused disruption to my sleep, and then I am tired later and not really wanting to read.

Mata retro United shirt

The Special Juan – Mr Mata modelling a retro United shirt from 1982…

Seeing as I’ve featured a very important Mata wearing a retro United shirt, there’s another match coming up this weekend, as my lads are at home to Leicester City on Saturday evening. As with the West Ham match, I shall be taking a book with me for the car journeys to and from Old Trafford. Quite likely to be The Angry Chef again, although who knows? Having now finished Periodic Tales, I have added Manchester England, by Dave Haslam, to the OC List, one non-fiction book replacing another. I am on for page 54 of 311, so 17% of that book has already been read and it joins the list in the middle of the pile. I will be using my Manchester bees cross-stitched bookmark in that one, as I also mentioned in previous blogs earlier this year.

Going back to the Special Juan for a moment – that shirt is actually older than Mr Mata! The home shirt he is wearing dates back to 1982 when we first had sponsors on our shirts. Juan wasn’t born until April 1988! I had just turned 15 when he came into the world! As I have mentioned previously, he is one of the players in contention for having his name and number on the back of my next United shirt when I get around to buying it. I still think it’s going to be between Mata 8, Matić 31 and Mkhitaryan 22. A Spaniard, a Serb or an Armenian. Waiting until after the summer transfer window closes, and I start my job, anyway…

New OC List 23rd August 2017

The OC List as it stands now…

Neither Here Nor There, by Bill Bryson, is now top of the list, but as it’s 50% read, I’ve got a way to go with all my current OCs. Going to have to have a good look at the current OCs and sort out some kind of reading strategy. The Angry Chef is the main priority as a book club book, but I need to get on with all of them, really.

Not that that has stopped me acquiring other books, been going a bit mad in the local charity shops of late, lol! We have so many round here, and thus there are plenty of bargain books to be found, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson, for a mere 49p, and Brilliant Orange, the neurotic genius of Dutch football, by David Winner, a book I’d had my eyes on for some time, which I got in a 3 for £1 deal at the Scope shop in Eccles. The Maureen Johnson book was in a shop in Salford Precinct, and is a YA novel which had caught my eye in recent times.

Do Not Pass Go, by Tim Moore, only set me back a quid. You may recall that I read Nul Points, by the same author, earlier this year, to tie in with the Eurovision Song Contest back in May, as it was a book about the acts which had failed to win a single vote at the ESC over the years. In Do Not Pass Go, Moore is in London, visiting all the locations on the Monopoly board, which sounds like a great idea for a book! I’m hoping it will be as good a read as it sounds!

As I have mentioned, on many occasions, I have a thing for books about books, so you won’t be surprised that one of my recent charity shop bargains was Dewey, by Vicki Myron, the true tale of how an abandoned kitten became adopted by the library of a small town in the USA.

Another recent purchase – yes, there have been a LOT of those, as I said, I’ve been going a bit mad in charity shops in recent times picking up any books which seemed like a good idea at the time, lol, and thus a copy of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling ended up coming home with me in recent weeks! Not that it had a long journey home, it was from one of the charity shops on Monton Road, as I recall, so I probably popped in while I was on my way home. From the chemist’s, I expect, after picking up my painkillers for my stupid dental pain…

The Music Shop, by Rachel Joyce, and Goodbye To Berlin, by Christopher Isherwood, were picked up at the Oxfam shop in town last week, the former of those a hardback and set in a record shop in the 80s, thus it sounded like my cup of tea, and the latter is the book which formed the basis of the musical Cabaret, starring Liza Minelli. This next one isn’t technically a charity shop book, as it was from W H Smith, but they were having Blind Date With a Book in aid of three charities, and thus my acquisition of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald,  has helped Cancer Research, Mind (the UK mental health charity) and, if I recall rightly, the Literacy Trust. Once again, folks, books about books…

Anyone who wants more photos of books and bits of waffle to tide you over between blog entries should get on Instagram if you haven’t already done so. I am on there, have been for five and a bit years now, since early 2012, posting as joannedj1973 and a lot of my posts, especially in recent times, are #bookstagram posts. Feel free to check out my posts – lots of piles of books, lol!

Just looking at my unpublished lists on List Challenges… There are quite a few of these lists, especially ones which are ongoing throughout the year and can’t really be published until New Year’s Eve at the earliest, or in the first day or so of 2018. For example, the list of books I have finished in 2017, and the list which goes along with this blog… the seriously massive list of every book which gets a mention on this blog during the course of the year! It doesn’t matter if I don’t even own a copy of it, let alone if I’ve read it or not… loads of books get mentioned and if they do, they go on a huge list on List Challenges. Joanne’s Bookshelf Blogs – Books Mentioned 2017. Come 31st December, or early in January 2018, I will publish this list so anyone can then see what I’ve mentioned during the course of 2017 and how many of those books they have read!

At the moment, the list stands at 464 books! So, yeah, it’s gonna be a long one, lol! At 40 books per page when a list is published, there will be at least 12 pages worth of books and that’s just at the current state of affairs as of 23rd August! It could well be even longer by the time we get around to Christmas and it’s nearly time to publish the damn thing!

There’s all sorts of stuff on that list… General fiction, young adult, children’s books, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, and there’s all the non-fiction stuff I’ve mentioned… music, history, travel, football, other sports, autobiographies, languages, tea, coffee, and all sorts of other mad crap! It’s simply a review of all the books mentioned on here, so you’ll see four or five hundred covers representing the books I have mentioned in these blogs during 2017. If you can’t wait for this one to be published, there are some previous ones knocking around on List Challenges. Shorter lists featuring books I’ve mentioned in previous years’ blogs.

Well, I think that’s about it for now, so I shall get this published so you can read my utter waffle and wonder if the charity shops of Monton, Eccles, Salford and Manchester actually have any books left in them, lol! They do, by the way! I haven’t bought up ALL their supplies, however many charity shop bargains I appear to mention on here! Until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson
  • Brilliant Orange – David Winner
  • Do Not Pass Go – Tim Moore
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • Dewey – Vicki Myron
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kaling
  • The Music Shop – Rachel Joyce
  • Goodbye To Berlin – Christopher Isherwood
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend – Katarina Bivald

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Filed under Blind Date With A Book, Books, Books About Books, Bookstagram, Charity Shop Bargains, Cross-Stitch, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Handbag Books, List Challenges, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, YA Books

Me and Earl and the Blogging Girl…

Me and Earl finished August 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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

July Review

Hendrik Groen finished July 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Well, I forgot the tick on my wipeboard, but The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old has now been read, and I would love a sequel! Think of Adrian Mole, but imagine him as an elderly Dutch guy in an old folks’ home in Amsterdam with all his aches and pains, and various grumbles, plus a sense of adventure!

So, I have finished three entire books within the course of this past month, with Hendrik Groen’s completion following on from One Italian Summer and Dissolution which were both finished last week. During the course of 2017 so far, I have read, or at least finished off, 34 books, meaning I am 4 books over my Goodreads Challenge target of 30, which I met in May, and I feel July has been very productive on the book front!

I have read at least 50 pages of each of the six books I have read during the course of July, with Me and Earl and the Dying Girl needing more reading done on it. Only read 50 pages of that one, but with reading Dissolution, the first of the Shardlake series, that was 443 pages, so that was the most for any book I read this month. As I am listing these books here, they will not be listed at the end of the blog, although other books will be mentioned.

One Italian SummerKeris Stainton. 241 pages. (Read whole book)

DissolutionC. J. Sansom. 443 pages. (Read whole book)

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years OldHendrik Groen. 376 pages. (Read whole book)

Periodic TalesHugh Aldersey-Williams. 88 pages read in July.

Me and Earl and the Dying GirlJesse Andrews. 50 pages read in July.

Neither Here Nor ThereBill Bryson. 92 pages read in July.

Total number of pages read in July: 1,290

Nemanja Matic joins MUFC 31st July 2017

My current distraction from reading, but July has been a good month for books!

Wow! That’s a lot of pages! After June, which wasn’t all that productive, I feel July has been a great month on the book front! Probably because I felt I had to do something while waiting for United to sign players in the transfer window, lol! Therefore I got a lot of reading done between breaking news on Sky Sports News! We have signed Romelu Lukaku, of course, and now Nemanja Matic, but the fannying about from our chief exec, Ed Woodward (aka The Gnome), was getting a bit much at times, and doing my head in, so I had to escape into a few good books while I waited for him to get his arse in gear and get signings done and dusted!

(We did also sign Victor Lindelof, but that was in June, so I’m dealing more with July’s events in this blog!)

I think this is something like my 166th book blog, but I know some things for sure. I now have 61 followers, 60 on WordPress, plus 1 via email, so thanks very much to all of you who brave my waffle on a regular basis in the hope that I mention something to do with books! The vast majority of my blogs on here are about books, but there have been one or two occasions when only one or two books have been mentioned because something has happened for me to bring up a particular news event. I am pretty sure that’s not a common thing, though. I remember having a rant at the chavs responsible for the arson and looting in 2011, and I also posted my Manchester La La La blog entry in May this year after the bomb at the Arena. I still did get a couple of book references in each of those blogs, though, but I hope you understand these things had to be said and that you knew I would get back to matters of a literary nature!

(The blog covering the arson and looting rant was in September 2011, I think, and was called If They Steal Any Books, They Might Even Learn Something! It’s either August or September’s archive from 2011, anyway, should you wish to look up that blog and have a read of it.)

Cathedral book bench 4

This month also saw the Book Benches appear around town, and they are on display up to 10th September. For those wishing to see them, they are indoors at their various locations, such as Central Library, the Arndale Centre, Manchester Cathedral and the National Football Museum. There are also many others to find! Not just in the city centre, but also dotted around various suburbs of Manchester!

Charlotte bookmark 2017

My niece, the Junior Bookworm, celebrated her 7th birthday this month, so I stitched her a cross-stitched bookmark. It is currently keeping her place in one of her books.

So, let’s get on to the Ongoing Concerns as July comes to an end. Early this month, as you may recall, I decided it was time for the OC Overhaul, and booted a few books off the list. It was actually a matter of being fair to those books as they hadn’t been read for ages, and were being overlooked and overtaken. I had about 9 or 10 books on the list, but only 3 or 4 of those were being picked up and read, so I had a cull and decided I would have six books, two fiction, two non-fiction and two young adult.

The revised list of six books was Dissolution, One Italian Summer, Hendrik Groen, Periodic Tales, Me and Earl, and Neither Here Nor There. As you know now, the first three of those books have been read, so that leaves  us with three to be continued as we head into August…

Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews

Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson

OC list end of July 2017

The new OC List as we head into August…

Two of those are non-fiction, with Me and Earl being Young Adult, so we need two general fiction books and one young adult one to get the OC list back to the half dozen. One of the general fiction books I am adding is The Beach Hut, by Veronica Henry. As that one is already 34% read, it can go straight on the OC List. It is over 10% read. The other two books are Dark Fire, by C J Sansom, the second Shardlake novel, of which I will need to read 58 pages to get to 10%, and A Quiet Kind of Thunder, by Sara Barnard, 31 pages of which should see me reach 10% and I will thus be able to add it to my OC List. With those two, of course, it all depends on that first ten percent, and whether it grabs me enough to continue!

If, for any reason, I am not enjoying them, I will have to reconsider matters, but I feel confident that I will enjoy these books.

Lake District purchases July 2017

Before I finish, a couple of mentions for some books acquired recently. As I went to the Lake District last week, I picked up The Shepherd’s Life, by James Rebanks, which had been a bit of a word-of-mouth surprise best-seller a year or so ago if I recall rightly. It’s from a shepherd in the Lake District, so it’s local to that area. Yes, there were also magnets purchased, lol, and some necessary Kendal Mint Cake! Had to be done! Today, I was just out and about locally to me, though, and picked up a 20p bargain from one of the charity shops on Salford Precinct, the book in question being The Food of Love Cookery School, by Nicky Pellegrino. It’s set in Sicily, it’s about food, and it was a mere 20p, so I decided to risk it for a biscuit!

Well, that’s about it for this month on the book front, I think that’s all my news for July, so as we head into August, I shall finish this off and get it published, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry (other than the original 6 OCs)

  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom (Shardlake #2)
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • The Shepherd’s Life – James Rebanks
  • The Food of Love Cookery School – Nicky Pellegrino

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Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Month in Review, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Sticky Weather!

Sticky Weather June 2017

Avoid sunburn – Stay indoors and read!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

PSB Literally finished

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

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

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

Goodreads challenge surpassed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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

A Sense of Completion

MUFC Europa League Winners 2017

Mission Accomplished: European Silverware and Goodreads Challenge…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome again to yet another blog from the most waffly bookworm in Manchester! As you can see from the blog title and the photo, there is a feeling of satisfaction and completion here. On Wednesday night, my lads delivered the goods in Stockholm, beating Ajax 2-0 in the Europa League Final to win the trophy for Manchester and complete the set of continental silverware! We have now won every trophy European football has ever had to offer at least once each! European Cup 3 times, the old European Cup-Winner’s Cup in 1991 and now the UEFA Cup (as the Europa League was known for donkey’s years) on Wednesday night in Sweden. Actually, it’s the first time we have ever kept a clean sheet in a continental final! Even in our other victories, the opposition had had a goal back, but not this time!

Yes, we’re still shocked and upset, but the best tribute to the 22 who died at the Arena on Monday night is that the show goes on… the sports, the entertainment… The athletics went ahead this evening on Deansgate and outside the Town Hall, and the Great Manchester Run goes ahead on Sunday. As it says at the end of the poem I posted in my last blog, this is Manchester, and the bees still buzz!

Anyway, on from sports to the matter of books, and United’s trophy collection isn’t the only thing being completed this month, as my Goodreads Challenge has also reached my target of 30 books! Yay! As I had mentioned after our last book club meeting, I never included our current book on the OC List. It was far too short! An overnight read as it turned out, and I finished The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman, by Denis Thériault, last weekend! This took me to 29 books for the year, and I finished Nul Points earlier today, Tim Moore‘s book of Eurovision losers, so that brings up the 30 books I had set as my target!

So, what to do next? My OC List is now down to 9 books at present, I’ve not added to it yet. It’s also a question of what to do next with the Goodreads Challenge side of it. Last year, I set the original target at 25. I met that around May or June of last year. Plenty of time to go, I thought, so I upped the target to 40, thinking another 15 books was perfectly sensible…

But then I read A Little Life. And then I had an Epic Book Hangover! Oops! For the rest of 2016, I did not feel up to reading ANY fiction at all! Nothing appealed to me. Nothing grabbed me. My final total for 2016 was 30 books, and that’s because I managed to read some non-fiction books for the rest of the year! I’d missed my target by 10 books, though, because I’d wasted a lot of time fretting about my inability to read any fiction.

However, I now know that if the same thing ever happens again, I can turn to my non-fiction reads, of which I have plenty I can be getting on with, so I am NOT going to let it bug me if I have Reader’s Block on the fiction front. It would only be a worry if I didn’t fancy reading anything at all! This has also happened in the past, so I am not going to bother upping my Goodreads Challenge total. I will leave it at 30 and see how many more books above and beyond my target number I can read by the end of 2017!

So, back to the Ongoing Concerns… Pet Shop Boys, Literally, now returns to the top spot, followed by Periodic Tales. The number of OCs is currently 9. Do I add to that, or get others off the list first before adding new ones? I really think some of the YA ones on there could do with reading! Perhaps get PSB off the list first, though. The book is at 62% and I am going to see them in Blackpool in June, so back to Chris Heath‘s account of their first proper tour back in 1989…

Just looking over at the OC pile, and the nine books consist of four non-fiction titles and five YA novels! My plan, from a previous blog, was to get the list to a balance of general fiction, non-fiction, and young adult. Three of each. So, next non-fiction to come off the list gets replaced by a general fiction title, and the next two YA books to come off the list are also replaced by general fiction, and we would get to that three of each stage. The others could be like for like replacements. So, let’s say I finish Pet Shop Boys, Literally next. That non-fiction is replaced by fiction. Next book after that is Periodic Tales, another non-fiction, but that could be replaced by another non-fiction, as we’d have got the non-fictions down to three. After that on the list are Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, followed by Finding Audrey, so those are the two YA titles which would be replaced by general fiction once those had been read, but then we’d have that balance.

So, the OC pile stays at nine. No more books are added. Next non-fiction, and next two YA novels are to be replaced by general fiction, and then we’re set.

For one of my next fiction ones, once I’ve finished with Pet Shop Boys, Literally, I have a few in mind. Obviously, Midnight Blue, a recent acquisition could be read, but then again, maybe it’s time I gave The Miniaturist a go? However, I did recently find I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb, at a charity shop in Salford for £2. Bearing in mind that it’s quite a chunky book, and the RRP was £9.99, that’s still quite some bargain, even if I have had much cheaper acquisitions from the local charity shops, of which we have many in Monton, Eccles and Salford! I still can’t see that book without thinking of the Spandau Ballet song, lol!

Anyway, that’s about it for now, and while we’re still on 26th May, 18 years on from the best night of my life in Barcelona in 1999, I wish all my fellow Reds a Happy St Ole’s Day! Until my next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman – Denis Thériault
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • Periodic Tales  – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • Midnight Blue – Simone van der Vlugt
  • The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
  • I Know This Much Is True – Wally Lamb

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Filed under Books, British Weather, Charity Shop Bargains, Football, Goodreads, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Reader's Block, Sports, The TBR Pile

Signed, Sealed, Delivered…

Tobacconist finished May 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Another blog, another book finished and off the OC List! Not quite in time for yesterday’s book club meeting, but The Tobacconist has been finished off, and I can recommend it! Historical fiction without being too chunky (we all know historical fiction, as a genre, has a well-earned reputation for chunky novels!) Very well-written. So, currently, until I add another book, there are 10 books on the OC list, and now 28 on my Goodreads Challenge! Woo hoo!

Going back to my OC List, it may have occurred to you that when I give percentages for how far through any book on my OC List I have progressed, they are always at least 10% or more. Usually coming in on the list at around 12 or 13 percent. This is my OC List policy and it also means that I can try a bit and see if I like it first. If it doesn’t grab me, it’s not even going to go on the list! It’s my escape clause so that I don’t feel pressured into reading stuff which really doesn’t fizz on me, such as horror novels! So, if you WERE wondering why books had to be read, at least a little bit, before even appearing on the OC List, that is why! In case my book club chooses something which isn’t my cup of tea, or if I try one of my many books from my TBR List only to find that I can’t get into it…

New books May 2017

My latest acquisitions from Waterstone’s yesterday…

Anyway, talking of the book club, the next book, for our meeting on 14th June, is The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman, by Denis Thériault, a novella set in Quebec, Canada. The author lives in Montreal, according to the info at the front of the book, so that’s our new one, with the postman theme giving us the blog title for today! Thing is, it’s a short one. 137 pages. Thus I am debating whether it will even need to go on the OC List at all, or whether it will only take a day or two to read and I needn’t list it as an Ongoing Concern, in the same way I didn’t bother listing Diary of an Oxygen Thief as an OC.

The other book in the photo is one which caught my eye in Waterstone’s yesterday, Midnight Blue, by Simone van der Vlugt. Historical fiction set in the Netherlands, in both Amsterdam and Delft. I have been to Amsterdam, of course, been there twice, let in the new year there once, back in the noughties, but not been to Delft as yet. I believe it’s in the south of the country and not far from Rotterdam, which I mentioned on here earlier this week due to Feyenoord winning the league and due to the anniversary of United winning the European Cup-Winners’ Cup at their ground in 1991.

Anyway, back to Midnight Blue. I read the blurb on the back, and it struck me that it seemed like the sort of book I might like, having enjoyed Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier, a couple of years ago. Actually, I really should get round to trying The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton, sometime soon, if we’re discussing historical fiction set in the Netherlands, lol! Plus, I met her last year, and she signed it for me, along with my copy of The Muse.

Really should read some more of my hardbacks. Thing is, they’re not always the most ideal handbag books, are they? So I don’t feel as inclined to lug them around as I do with paperbacks, which I just stick in my handbag and take them around with me. Some books just come everywhere… Nul Points is still in my handbag. That’s top of the OC List now that I’ve finished The Tobacconist. Still got a lot of YA novels on there to get on with. Perhaps I need to get Nul Points finished and have a good go at the YA stuff… get it off the list and some fresh stuff on.

Talking of YA novels, anyone who knows me on FB book groups might know that I’ve recently commented that I much prefer the cover of the US edition of The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, rather than the UK version. Very helpfully, the young lady who was working in the YA section at Waterstone’s yesterday said that the Book Depository would be the place to go if I wanted to get a copy of that book with the US cover, so when I get around to acquiring one, I shall look online at that site. The book has different publishers in different countries. I don’t dislike the UK cover, but I have to say I much prefer the US one.

Bit of a List Challenges mini rant! Grrr! Why is it that sometimes they either change the edition or put image not available?! I’ve had to find new images for a couple of books and I’ve had to put those back in where they belong on a very long list, meaning I had to scroll upwards quite a bit, not just for 11/22/63, by Stephen King, but especially for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J. K. Rowling! Very irritating, and a total pain in the arse, but covers have been found and the old ones deleted.

The other rant, although this applies to other sites, not just List Challenges, is that when you hide an advert for whatever reason, they bloody lie to you with that “We’ll try not to show that advert again” bullshit, but you know that’s not true as it crops up yet again shortly afterwards. If they are trying, which I very much doubt, then they’re NOT trying anywhere near hard enough as far as I’m concerned! Lying tossers!

The standard of advertising on the internet is subterranean to say the least! So much misleading shite! I just wish there was some kind of strict regulator, like we have the Advertising Standards Agency here in the UK. That tends to cover TV, radio, papers and magazines. Sadly, websites don’t come under their remit and there’s a load of bullshit “adverts” on the internet which would NEVER get shown on telly for a bloody good reason – they’re false and misleading and just bloody clickbait! If pigs ever fly, and I ever get to be in charge, a whole host of shite ads would get banned! Why should people’s enjoyment of time online have to be spoiled by shitty fake adverts?!

Been on the Book Depository website, but, disappointingly, it just seems to have the UK edition of The Hate U Give. Is there anywhere where I could get a copy of the edition with the cover I prefer? Anywhere at all? Not that I’ve really got the dosh right now, but on a need to know basis for when I do get around to buying it…

Well, time to get a bit more of Nul Points read, I think! So, until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler
  • The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman – Denis Thériault
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Midnight Blue – Simone van der Vlugt
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
  • The Muse – Jessie Burton
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • 11/22/63 – Stephen King
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling

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Filed under Books, European Literature, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Music, Ongoing Concerns, Rants, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

April Review

Cross stitched book girl in frame

Another good month on the book front…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to the monthly review for April 2017! A month in which I have managed to finish off 8 books and reach the 25/30 stage on my Goodreads Challenge for this year. A matter of an hour or so ago, I finished Diary of an Oxygen Thief, by Anonymous, which it only took me a day to read. Wasn’t a particularly long book, only 151 pages. There was no point putting it on the OC List, as I felt it would be a quick read, which it proved to be. Likeable in an odd sort of way, rather in the way I enjoyed Fight Club last year!

While I accept that two of the eight books I’ve polished off this month were the kids’ books I read in Waterstone’s the other day, six of my finished reads during the course of April have been grown-up reading matter, lol! I have got quite a few long-term ongoing concerns off the list! Some of that is thanks to being on jury service, although I finished I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović before Easter and passed it on to my sister.

I also finished the cross-stitch of the girl with the book before Easter, as seen in the photo at the start of this blog!

Skintown, by Ciaran McMenamin, was published on 6th April, so I was finally able to find a photo of the actual cover for the purposes of List Challenges! This was a book which I had got as a freebie in February at a book club meeting, because it was an uncorrected proof copy.

That was also the day I was at Cheshire Oaks, and acquired a few books at The Works while I was there. While I don’t need to list all of them here, a couple of them were added to the OC List this month, those being The People’s Songs, by Stuart Maconie, which I have since finished, and City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, the first of the Mortal Instruments box set of 6 books, which I am still reading at present.

12th April was my book club night, and our chosen book for our next meeting, to be held on 18th May, is The Tobacconist, by Robert Seethaler, so that is currently one of my ongoing concerns.

Four of the five missing books were found on 14th April in part of my wardrobe unit, Good Friday proving a very good day for locating stray paperbacks, lol! Of those books which I had listed as missing in previous blogs, the only book still AWOL is The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy. I still haven’t a Scooby where that one buggered off to, as it used to be in Computer Corner! It went walkabouts some time ago, though.

An Equal Music, by Vikram Seth, was the first of the books I finished while on jury service. Also coming off the list thanks to my time at Manchester Crown Court were The People’s Songs, The Saffron Trail, and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.  The Stuart Maconie book hadn’t been on the OC list for long, but the other three had, so some of the long term OCs are finally off that list!

The OC List, as things stand at the end of April, has eight books on it, and this is the present state of affairs…

Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath – 62%

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews – 34%

The Tobacconist  – Robert Seethaler – 32%

Nul Points – Tim Moore – 30%

Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella – 29%

City of Bones – Cassandra Clare – 21%

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You – Ally Carter – 15%

Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson – 13%

Nul Points is, as you can imagine, a book about the acts which have failed to register a single vote from any country at the Eurovision Song Contest. I added this book in April, along with the Ally Carter book, the first in the Gallagher Girls series of YA novels about girls at a school for spies, and Bill Bryson‘s tour of Europe. I also added the book about the Pet Shop Boys, which I had mentioned earlier this year. That was already half-read, so it’s just a matter of resuming it, which I have now done. As I have listed the current OCs above, they will not be listed again at the end, just the other books I’ve mentioned in this blog which are not currently ongoing concerns will be listed in my usual bullet points.

I am now a 44 year old bookworm, by the way, as I celebrated my birthday last Sunday, 23rd April. Have to admit that I had a day off from the reading. It was a day for eating, and also for celebrating a 2-0 away win at Burnley for my lads. I just wish more of the home performances were better, I feel short-changed! We’ve had far too many draws this season, especially at Old Trafford, and I am not impressed! Too many wasted opportunities. Anyway, less about the footy and back to the books…

On Saturday, I read Tidy, and The Day the Crayons Came Home, which accounts for the two children’s books added to the Goodreads Challenge this month, and on Sunday I polished off all 151 pages of Diary of an Oxygen Thief, as I mentioned at the start.

So, as we head into the merry month of May, there are more books to be read, more to be added to the OCs, and hopefully more to come off that list, too! I will probably add at least a book or two to the OC list to get it back up to ten. I just need to decide which books to choose! Got plenty of possibilities! Maybe The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli, just in case she actually lets us know how mermaids pee, lol! Maybe I might even find The God of Lost Books, er sorry, The God of Small Things?! Stranger things have happened, like Leicester City winning the league last season, but that book must be around somewhere! I’m pretty sure I didn’t give it away!

Oh well, I think that’s about all my book related waffle for now, so I’ll get this published so you can read my review of April’s book-related activity! Until my next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry (other than the current OCs)…

  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • Skintown – Ciaran McMenamin
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • Tidy – Emily Gravett
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home – Drew Daywalt
  • The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli

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Filed under Books, Cross-Stitch, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Free Books, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, List Challenges, Month in Review, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books